The first product I tried from French health gadget producer Withings was their blood pressure monitor. I loved how easy they made it for me to analyze my results through their mobile app, so I was really enthusiastic to lay my hands on a Withings Activité Pop and see what their version of an activity tracker would be like.
The Withings Activité Pop is an analog smartwatch from Withings that tracks steps, running and swimming. The steps tracker is on the display, while the others are tracked within the app. It’s also a sleep tracker with a silent alarm to wake you up.
Things I like about the Activité Pop:
1. Subtle and non-intrusive design
We have seen several activity trackers, most of which are robust and big and stand out because of their—well lets be honest—ugly design. It’s hard to dislike the design of the Withings Activité Pop, which is a breath of fresh air in a wearable world: sleek, colorful (depending on the watch band) and analog. If you don’t want an activity tracker that stands out and clearly says, “I am an activity tracker,” then you’ll like this watch.
The mobile app and the watch itself are very simple. There are no hard-to-read graphs or analysis and no difficult functions on the watch itself. It’s all very simple and basic.
I never actively check the badges, but whenever I get a pop-up that I scored a new badge, I feel accomplished. The badge system motivates me to keep going.
4. Water resistance
You can easily wear the watch when showering and even while going for a swim. The fact that the device actually tracks swimming makes it stand out from all the other devices. The swim tracking isn’t 100% accurate, but at least when you’re swimming it gets picked up.
5. Withings ecosystem
Whether you’e using the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, a Withings activity tracker, the Smart Body Analyzer or a Withings Pulse, all of your info from these devices easily comes together in the Withings Health Mate app.
6. Battery life
The activity tracker has an amazing battery life of eight months because it works with a real watch battery. I never had to charge it while using it, which is a big plus.
Things I don’t like about the Activité Pop:
1. No deep analysis
Whereas most wearables try to give some recommendations based on your data (for example, Jawbone UP3 with its Smart Coach), Withings does not give personal recommendations, which is a missed opportunity.
2. Sleep analysis seemed off
My sleep tracking was radically different than when I tracked it with my Basis Peak or with my Jawbone UP3. I can’t say which tracking is the most accurate, but I definitely know that there was a night when my Withings smartwatch recorded an hour less than I actually had slept.
3. Silent alarm
The thing that frustrated me the most about my Withings Activité Pop is the alarm: It would go off every day at 8 a.m. I spent at least 20 minutes searching for the off switch in the app, but it was nowhere to be found. Eventually, I found the answer in a corner of the Withings web site that involved flipping through a PDF of their 40-page user manual, but the answer should be more clear from the get-go. Turning off an alarm should not be like embarking on a scavenger hunt!
4. No touch screen
On top of the Withings Activité Pop vibrating when I didn’t want it to during every alarm ordeal, there was no option of silencing it. When I tapped the watch, it wouldn’t react to my touch. Even non-smartwatches usually have some sort of responsiveness, like a button to push, but this smartwatch is only controllable via the app.
I missed having a touch screen, or at least something to interact with. A watch that is a smartwatch but that you can’t interact with it on your wrist? That was weird to me.
5. Difficult set-up
To set up the watch, you have to reset it by pushing a button on the watch and keeping it close to your phone while turning the Bluetooth on. A colleague couldn’t manage to pair it with his phone either. I had to try several times and was close to giving up. The set up could have been more simple and less frustrating.
The syncing process takes too long, and you’ll have to sync it every other day or else you lose your data.
Would I recommend it?
I would recommend the Withings Activité Pop if you’re looking for a good-looking smartwatch that doesn’t look like an activity tracker but does basic tracking.
I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to improve your health and well-being and count on a device and app to help you with that. The (inaccurate) tracking and recommendations are too basic to get a clear picture of your health and how to improve it.
Being a device priced at $149.95, I would rather pay a little bit more and get an activity tracking smartwatch like the Basis Peak.
More wearable reviews in your mailbox?
More wearable reviews in your mailbox?