by Florian Schumacher

July 18, 2013

Withings Pulse, the new Health Gadget from French IoT innovator

The Pulse is the first pedometer of French company Withings who became popular with their Wi-Fi connected body scales. With this new device Withings, who also provides a connected blood pressure monitor, is expanding their product range towards a health monitoring platform. Unlike the latest activity trackers Jawbone and Fitbit released, the Pulse isn’t a wristband. It is designed to be worn in the pocket or clipped to your belt or clothes, just as most of the activity trackers before the hype for wrist-worn gadgets during the last two years.

The Pulse’s display comes with touch functionality that allows the user to navigate through his activity stats for the present day and for the previous days. In addition to steps, the Pulse measures distance, elevation, calories burned and sleep time. In order to measure sleep the device needs to be slipped into a wristband and has to be worn on the arm, just as with the Fitbit One.

Syncing and Heart rate measuring with the Withings Pulse

The most special feature of the Pulse is its ability to measure heart rate. Similar to the Mio Alpha and the Basis Band it uses an optical system to do that. You have to press your finger onto an opening on the back of the device for about ten seconds while two green LED’s reflections on your skin are being measured and analyzed. During our tests this system worked great for most of the time but sometimes delivered no results at all. Putting this aside, the Pulse has an excellent usability with 14 days of battery life and a micro USB plug, making charging a lot easier than having to use proprietary plugs like with many other activity monitors. The Pulse uses Bluetooth 2.1 to sync with mobile devices which makes it compatible to most Apple and Android smartphones. The sync has to be triggered manually by pressing the Pulse’s button and can take quite some time. Syncing your numbers automatically and continuously to your mobile device, as seen on some of the latest Bluetooth 4.0 activity trackers, is not supported by the Pulse.

Features and Conclusions for the Withings Pulse

In comparison to Withings competitors Fitbit and Jawbone the Pulse’s app does not provide features to track nutrition and gamification elements like earning badges or sharing your activities with other users are not available to date. Instead the app provides a good overview on your general health situation, especially if you are also using the company’s Wi-Fi body scale and blood pressure monitor. This combination especially provides you with an interesting approach for a holistic health monitoring.


Overall, the Pulse is a great offer, especially if you prefer to have your activity tracker clipped on your clothes. With Withings’ Pulse you get a well-built activity tracker and access to an interesting ecosystem of connected health devices.