Losing weight is so difficult both physically and mentally that anything which will help the process is very welcome.
Well, how about a scale that not only records your weight but uploads the information, along with your lean & fat mass and calculated body mass index (BMI), to a secure website and generates data charts that you can access from your Mac or iPhone?
It exists, it’s great, and it’s called the WiFi Body Scale, from French company Withings.
The scale itself is a very upmarket model, with a smoky glass top and digital readout. Setting it up is easy – insert the four supplied AA batteries, then go to the website displayed on a large sticker on the scale.
Once you register, you download a Mac installation wizard which configures your scale on your wireless network (yes, as the name suggests, you must have a Wi-Fi network that the scale can connect to).
Adding a user is as easy as clicking on ‘Add a User’ on your Withings dashboard on your web browser, or even just standing on the scales. If the user’s weight is different to your own weight then he or she is recognised as a new user.
Up to eight users can share the same account – my wife, two daughters and I could see our data as a family – or each user can have his or her own account.
When you step on the scales, they send your weight to the database, then show your name on the display.
The dashboard lets you see charts of your weight, fat and lean mass, and BMI. This info can be printed out, shared with other Withings users, published on the web or Twitter or linked with a Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault account. This is particularly good for those working in a group or with a personal trainer.
There’s also a goal-setting feature.
The iPhone app, WiScale, shows the same data.
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
Withings has dragged the scale into the 21st century, and has done a very good job indeed. Not only does it work well, it does it with a minimum of effort from the user. The only negative is that it occasionally records a widely varying weight. I ‘lost’ 2.4kg one day, but went back to my previous weight the next. While you obviously get some variance due to time and circumstances, this seemed a bit too much.
This review originally appeared in the May issue of Australian Macworld magazine.