Withings Scanwatch Review: Smartwatch Battery Life For Days, But At What Cost?
Editor's Rating: 6/10
Depending on the smartwatch you wear, your wrist device may fall into one of two categories. The first is a true "smartwatch" like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Pixel Watch, or Apple Watch. These watches run on an operating system designed to work alongside the phones they host – namely WearOS and WatchOS. They have a lot of health features and a good level of app support. The biggest drawback is the battery life. Even the Apple Watch Ultra only lasted 36 hours, so only a day and a half. Not good.
Then there are fitness trackers like the Fitbit line of trackers and the Garmin Venu SQ2, which offer less app support, focus more on health, offer lots of app support, and last several days on a single charge.
Finally, there are hybrid smartwatches that reduce functionality even further, but rely on a regular dial and hands instead of a full OLED display. The Withings ScanWatch falls into this third category, and if there's one thing you'll appreciate, it's battery life. I've been using the Withings ScanWatch by Withings for eight weeks, and now that I've charged it for the third time, it's time for my full review. Withings is offering a scanning watch as part of this test.
Choose a hybrid method
One of the reasons these watches rarely run on batteries is their small screen. This is a hybrid smartwatch, meaning it has a regular watch face with only a 13mm PMOLED display for notifications and other health monitoring information. The watch face also has a sub-digestor that tracks your steps. Needles are battery operated; They're non-mechanical and allow you to take your hands off the watch dial while you read the small screen
This screen is responsible for displaying notifications, navigating the clock menu, and displaying the time and date by default. The watch can be set to wake you up like other smartwatches, or you can set the display to light up when you press the crown.
Speaking of the digital crown, it's the only button on the side of the watch. So you turn it on to scroll through the menus and press to select it. You can long press to activate the workout. Overall, navigation on the watch is awkward and not very intuitive. Turning off or restarting the watch is difficult because you only have one button to work with. When using the knobs to navigate, the haptic feedback is good, but the lack of feedback when you turn the knob without opening the menu can be a little confusing.
For limited use cases
The sub counter is a bit of a disappointment as it can only count your steps As you progress through the day, the sub-solution displays your thousands of steps. Given that numbers range from 0 to 100, it would be better to assign more probabilities to these numbers. Maybe you want to display seconds or battery level, or use your face as a stopwatch. The possibilities are endless, but Withings doesn't give you the option to pick one. But you can count your steps, so let's go.
The hands of the main dial are powered by the smartwatch, unlike other mechanical movements, and each hand has a luminous coating, so you can see the numbers at night. Unfortunately, this glow-in-the-dark costume requires sunlight to "charge". So if you're outside for a bit, your hands will glow in the dark, but the effect lasts about 30-60 minutes once you're back inside.
This means you can't read the dial at night. It's true that this review sample is a black model. So mileage may vary if the white model is selected. But it might be a good idea to have hands glowing with LEDs rather than glow-in-the-dark paint, so it's an upgrade that should be included for the next generation.
Win battery life
Owning a battery-guzzling smartwatch like the Withings ScanWatch is a life-changing experience. If you really like sleep tracking, smartwatches often lose power much faster than expected. That doesn't happen here. Withings says the watch can last up to a month on a single charge, and that sounds about right. Turning off features like the oxygen sensor and turning it on to wake makes it easy to see how this watch performs with a month's charge. During our test period, the device only needed to be charged three times – so it's easy to lose battery life here.
Plus, you won't miss many of the features you'd expect from a fitness tracker. I'll get to the features in a moment, but when you need your hands for power, a Bluetooth connection, and a small screen, it's almost easy to forget you need to charge your watch. hand. After about three weeks, you'll get a warning that it's time to charge, and you should hope to find a charger since it's been about three weeks since you last looked at it.
Speaking of charging, the watch uses a proprietary charger that attaches magnetically, but it's not very secure. A full charge from start to finish takes about two hours, which isn't great, but it's an easy trade-off considering how often you need to charge it.
There are two main problems with this watch that make it very difficult to recommend. The first is connectivity. Simply put, keeping that watch connected to your smartphone can be very stressful. Earlier in the review period of this device, I also reviewed Honor Magic Vs and Honor Magic Pro 5 and Chinese manufacturers are known for their background turn off process. This makes connecting to the smartwatch and delivery of notifications very unreliable, even after setting the app to run in the background. Connectivity on US phones like the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is much better, but still not bulletproof. To cover all bases, I tested the watch for a few days connected to an iPhone 14 Pro, and the connection seems to be better than the Samsung and OnePlus phones, I can't tell you anything other than the Apple Watch. I recommend that I use an iPhone.
It's a shame because it's easy to change this watch between phones. Unlike other smartwatches which require you to completely reset your watch to pair with a new phone, the Withings Scanwatch only requires you to open the app in order to recognize your watch. This is very convenient, especially for those who change phones frequently.
But connecting to a new phone and staying connected are two very different things. While good with the former, not so great with the latter. While it's not great, at least you'll get better results with a phone made for use in the US.
Weak health tracking
Withings smartwatches can handle a ton of tracking data, including sleep, steps, blood/oxygen levels, and heart rate, and can even perform EKGs. These are all valuable data points for your overall health. But all of this comes with a pretty big caveat.
In testing, I compared the health data returned by the Apple Watch SE and Garmin Venu 2 Plus. Regardless, the data returned by the Withings ScanWatch still seems to be dropping. From sleep tracking to heart rate, the stats are consistently around 20% lower than the devices they are compared to. For the most part, what I've actually experienced is most accurately represented by the Garmin Venu 2 plus Apple Watch.
However, this doesn't mean that the data isn't necessarily useful. Health monitoring is more important for trend analysis than individual performance on any given day. In this case, the data is consistently lower than the appropriate standard, so you can use this data to describe your overall health and fitness. This is of course not ideal, but it is also not a given. More accurate data is always good, but if you're just looking for a general baseline and want to see where you are, this can help.
Withings Scanwatch's Final Verdict
This is a beautiful watch that is perfect for all occasions. Personally, I prefer the black variant because the white shapes are easier to read in the dark, the black circle at the top of the screen contrasts against the white dial. The build quality is pretty good and the straps are easy to replace.
The battery in particular is amazing and spoils me. Carrying a watch for weeks on end is a game changer in the smartwatch space, and I'd be reluctant to go without it. But the connection is hard to ignore. One of the basic functions of a smartwatch is providing notifications, and this watch just doesn't seem good enough to be taken seriously. There are times when the watch works fine, but there are also times when it malfunctions and is frustrating.
Also, the data is off, which is surprising considering Withings is a health data company, and it's hard to recommend this watch. The battery life is excellent and the watch itself looks great, but at $299.99 (on Amazon), it's too expensive to get a good watch. While it could be considered a good value for watch collectors, they are quite expensive in the smartwatch space and you can find something more reliable for the price. You just need to charge it more often.
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