Breathe easy with the Withings Pulse O2, which squeezes lots of tech into a tiny package.
Withings has been creating what it calls ‘lifestyle-friendly’ products since 2009, in that year creating the world’s first connected scale - the WiFi Body Scale. Aiming to provide consumers with a ‘360 degree health and wellness experience’ the company released its first fitness wearable - the Pulse - in 2013, following up a year later with the product we’ll look at today.
Adding an O2 (oxygen) onto the end of the original product’s title to create 2014’s Pulse O2, Withings have managed to pack even more into its tiny fitness motivator.
Let’s have a closer look and see if we can get our heads around - or perhaps more appropriately - our fingers on the Pulse O2.
Wear it your way
As with many of these sorts of products, you’re not limited to simply strapping it on your wrist like a watch. The Pulse O2’s clip, which is sold separately, makes it possible to attach it to your belt, lapel or anywhere on your apparel. The third option is to simply drop the device itself into your pocket or bag. Simple.
As far as looks go, its hard to mistake this little guy as anything other than a fitness wearable, being a very purposeful looking rectangular block. The colour-conscious among you get all of two options - blue or black.
Visual appeal is probably not the Pulse O2’s strongest selling point, so let’s take a look under hood and see what it’s packing.
What does it do?
The Pulse O2 covers the basics such as capturing steps, distance walked, calories burned, and also throws in elevation climbed for good measure.
When it’s time to turn in, your sleep cycles will be captured and analysed, being displayed the next morning in an easy to read graph detailing awake, light and deep sleep periods.
Finally we get to the all-important yet not-so-secret weapon of the Pulse O2. LED sensors on the back face of the device give you access to your heart rate and blood oxygen level - which explains the ‘O2’ of the product’s title. Blood oxygen level is simply a measurement of how much oxygen is in your bloodstream, giving an insight into how well your respiratory system is functioning.
To measure heart rate and blood oxygen level, you will have to remove the device from your wrist if that’s how you’ve chosen to wear it, and place the tip of your finger over the rear sensors.
By being able to measure heart rate and blood oxygen level, Withings have created a product that will tell you exactly how nervous you are on your first date. Vital information!
Heading back to the front face of this tech-filled little package, up to 10 days worth of activity history can be accessed by simply swiping, as the screen is actually a touch screen. Is anything not a touch screen nowadays?
What would a fitness wearable be without an app to crunch all that data and display it in a way that makes sense? That’s where the Health Mate app fits in.
Via BlueTooth, the Pulse O2 will actually send data to your smartphone throughout the day, which you can then access via the app to check on your progress.
The inclusion of nicely designed activity badges gives you something to aim for and achieve, while friend leaderboards let you see how you stack up against the competition. Coaching and health reminders telling you how far away from your next goal you are, and advice on how to get there also helps to keep you motivated, in case you hit that dreaded wall.
The nitty gritty
- Withings’ Pulse O2 is compatible with the following software and devices:
- iPhone 4 or higher
- iPad 2nd generation or higher
- iPad mini
- iPod touch 4th generation or higher
- iOS 7.0 or higher
- Android 4.0
- Android smartphone or tablets with BlueTooth compatibility
The battery will need to be recharged about every two weeks, and is done so using the included standard USB charging cable.