The best smartwatches tend to share some common features, such as a large display, software customization, fitness tracking, and a variety of apps. To create a niche, Withings decided to go in a completely different direction with the ScanWatch. Withings has designed a striking and classically designed watch offering a wide range of health tracking features.
By designing watches with smart features, the Withings ScanWatch is in an interesting corner of the wearables market. The culmination of Withings’ efforts is more than enough to sway those who aren’t sold on modern smartwatches, but it probably won’t be able to attract Wear OS lovers the world over.
Withings ScanWatch is a classic analog watch with modern smartwatch features. It can track most of your health and fitness needs, give you mobile notifications, and last for weeks on a single charge. The ScanWatch is perfect for those who don’t like the look of modern, big-screen smartwatches, but want something with similar capabilities. The ScanWatch has a small screen, which can be a bit limiting. Fortunately, the Withings Health Mate companion app can show you much more detail about your overall health. This includes your step count, current heart rate, SpO2 data and heart rate information. If you’re looking for a hybrid smartwatch that looks as good as it does, the Withing ScanWatch deserves your attention.
- Mark: Withings
- Battery life: Up to 30 days
- On-board GPS: No
- Adjustable strap: Yes
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Water rating: Up to 50m
- Connected GPS: Yes
- Sizes: 38 mm and 42 mm
- Colors: Black white
- Display: 1.6″ PMOLED monochrome (38mm) or 1.65″ (42mm)
- Health sensors: Heart rate, ECG, SpO2
- Price: 299 dollars
- Strap: Compatible with 38mm and 42mm straps
- Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 13.7 mm
- Mobile payments: No
- Training detection: No
- Exercise Modes: 30
- Beautiful overall design
- Battery life can last for weeks
- Lots of health tracking features
- The Withings Health Mate app is well laid out
- At $300, it competes with traditional smartwatches
- The small screen limits the information about the device
- Notifications can be difficult to read
Price and availability
The Withings ScanWatch retails for $300. At the time of writing, purchasing options are somewhat limited. It can be found on the Withings website and at Best Buy.
The ScanWatch has a stainless steel body with a single brass painted dial on the right side. The ScanWatch is a hybrid watch, like the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition, meaning it features analog watch hands prominently displayed front and center. ScanWatch uses sapphire glass to protect the display and hands.
You get a small round PMOLED display at the top and a pointer at the bottom. The indicator is another analog dial equipped with an additional hand that shows your daily progress towards your step goal. It doesn’t show total steps, but shows as a percentage of your daily goal. ScanWatch straps are made of fluoroelastomer, which is a synthetic rubber, and are attached to your wrist with a traditional watch clasp.
For the most part, the Scanwatch was comfortable to wear and the clasp was easy to secure. A few times the straps started to irritate my skin and I had to take the watch off to let my wrist breathe a little. This usually happened after waking up with the watch on my wrist and only after three or four days of continuous use. Your mileage may vary here, but wearing a watch to bed is something I routinely do, and I’ve yet to experience this issue with other brands.
The watch comes in two different models. The 38mm model is 38.4mm in diameter, 13.2mm thick and weighs only 58g. It comes in four different color configurations. There are two different white variants, one with a silver body and the other with a rose gold colored body. You can also get it in black with a silver body or blue with a rose gold body.
The 42mm model has a diameter of 42mm and a thickness of 13.7mm. The ScanWatch is a bit hefty at 83g, but I didn’t notice it unless I compared it to watches like the Google Pixel Watch, which weighs just 36g. It comes in white or black, and both models have silver bodies. Withings also sells the bands individually in a number of different colors.
I felt that the 42mm ScanWatch was a little too small for my wrist, and I wish Withings could increase the size up to 44mm. My significant other has a much smaller wrist than I do and found the 42mm model to be a bit too big and heavy for her. If you have smaller wrists or are concerned about weight, the 38mm model may be right for you.
Withings designed this watch to be water resistant to 165 feet. It features Bluetooth 4.0 to connect the ScanWatch to your phone. Unfortunately, it lacks features like NFC and built-in GPS, so you’ll still need to bring your phone for location tracking and mobile payments.
Click on the ScanWatch crown to display the digital clock. From there, turning the crown scrolls through your current heart rate, daily steps, daily distance covered, workout selection, floors climbed, EKG test, SpO2 test, stress test, clock settings (where you can set an alarm, timer or use a stopwatch) and the settings menu. The settings menu on the watch is basic and only gives you a few options, such as setting do not disturb mode or activating the raise-to-wake function.
While the watch itself displays basic information, the Health Mate app is where you go if you want to dive further into your health data or change some more advanced settings on the ScanWatch. After opening the app, you will see the home screen. Here you can find your latest measurements, including your total steps, sleep score, average heart rate and overall fitness. The Dashboard tab gives you all the information about your activity, heart and sleep. If you have a Withings Body+ Smart Scale, you’ll also see a breakdown of your body weight and accompanying data.
In the Devices tab, you can pair your watch and change some important settings. You can enable notifications, set an alarm, customize which exercises you can choose (you can enable a total of eight at once), and change the menus that appear when you press the controller. I liked that you can rearrange the menus and select or deselect the ones you don’t want to suit your needs.
Speaking of notifications, the small display on the watch works against the usefulness of notifications. When you get a notification, it will appear on your watch and scroll horizontally like a stock indicator. Turn the dial while scrolling through notifications to rewind or fast forward for easier reading. A larger screen would make it easier to interact with notifications, but sacrifice the classic look of the watch. As it stands, it does the job, but barely.
Health and fitness
Withings is well established in the world of health and fitness, and this prowess is on full display in the ScanWatch. The watch and its attached sensors are capable of a wide range of different health monitoring functions. You get continuous heart rate monitoring (every 10 minutes), ECG monitoring and a clinically proven SpO2 sensor. Your first EKG test is sent to Heartbeat Health and reviewed by the doctors there.
After the review, doctors will prescribe further use and the feature will be activated going forward on ScanWatch. Depending on your condition, you may receive a call directly from your doctor. All this is free and I was confident in the results. Note: You must be over 22 years of age to be approved for the ECG feature.
The built-in SpO2 sensor monitors the level of oxygen saturation and alerts you to breathing disorders during sleep. These breathing disorders can be a sign of sleep apnea and cause poor sleep. ScanWatch can track your sleep stages, total sleep time, and whether you woke up at any point.
ScanWatch is able to monitor more than 40 different types of training. You have your standard ones like walking, running, swimming, cycling and things like yoga, horse riding and ice hockey.
Exercise tracking was good, but not great. ScanWatch does not have built-in GPS, so it must rely on your phone’s GPS. Thanks to the small screen, you also don’t get a lot of information on the display during exercise. If you like your workout stats, this can be an advantage. After your workout, you’ll get a full breakdown of your workout in the Health Mate app. The watch can also give you a fitness score based on your estimated VO2Max. ScanWatch can automatically detect cycling, walking, running and swimming.
Withings says the ScanWatch will last up to 30 days. I was only able to get about 10 days out of the battery, but I had automatic heart rate detection and boost for wake enabled. Since I was also using it for automatic sleep tracking, I was pretty happy with the battery life I got. Charging is also fine as it takes about an hour to reach 80% and up to two hours to fully charge. If the battery life gets too low, Withings says you can put it into low-power mode, which will give you up to 20 more days while still keeping time and tracking your steps.
The $300 Withings ScanWatch faces stiff competition. There’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 for $280, the Fitbit Sense 2 for $300, and the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition for $229. The ScanWatch will have better battery life than the Galaxy Watch 5. Still, Samsung’s smartwatch will be much more customizable and powerful with a selection of apps, while offering features like NFC and built-in GPS.
In addition to the myriad of Fitbits available that can handle many of the same tasks as the ScanWatch, the Sense 2 offers a much larger display and decent battery life. Its square design isn’t for everyone, but it provides the same features as the ScanWatch and gives you more data on your watch. If you want something that looks like a more traditional watch, then the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition should get a tough look. It’s cheaper than the ScanWatch and offers just as great battery life. Compared to the ScanWatch, it’s heavier and a bit anemic when it comes to health tracking.
Should you buy it?
The ScanWatch is a great watch and is very good at tracking your health and fitness. Withings has provided a great watch in a vacuum that performs very well. The problem is, we don’t live in a vacuum, and at $300, the lack of a large display may be off-putting to many. If you want something with a display that rivals the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, then this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a watch with excellent battery life that happens to send you notifications and track your health data, then you can’t do better than the Withings ScanWatch.