Having started to log my activity automatically with the Fitbit Zip, which as you’ll notice from the daily step count figures, is still working nicely, I began to consider the possibility of going for some automagic weight recording too.
Now there is a Fitbit scale on the market, but having read a lot of reviews, there seemed to be a general tendency towards there being more issues with that than there were with the rival device made by Withings. Add to that the detail that the Withings scale comes with stick on feet that allow it to be used on carpet as well as the hard surface the Fitbit scale demands, and I began to think about it a bit more. Then I found out that it’s a simple matter to get the Withings service to talk to other things, including my Fitbit account, and I began to think a bit harder.
The only thing that held me up was the price – RRP is £120, and even Amazon were mildly expensive. But as it happened, while I was away, I spotted it in one of their Boxing Day Bargain thingies, and was able to get one for £75, which is still quite a lot for a scale, but…
Anyway, it was delivered to work yesterday, and I set it up as soon as I got it home. Setting up involves connecting it to a computer with the supplied USB cable, then downloading a setup wizard from the Withings website. This allows you to set it up to connect to your wireless network. I’ve seen some reports of people having trouble getting this to play nicely, but it worked immediately on my kit.
I then set up some details on the website – my height, age, and so on. Then it was time to try the scale. The first measurement didn’t seem to get through, but after the second it started to recognise me, and happily uploaded the data. It records weight, calculates BMI and by means of a small electrical current, makes an estimate of body fat levels. All this is uploaded to your personal dashboard on the Withings website, where you can see graphs of your progress (or lack of progress), and if you choose to, share the data with assorted social networks.
In a brave move, I’ve added the widget to the footer of the site – this will always display the most recent measurement, and lets you scroll back to see earlier ones, which I’m sure will give you hours of entertainment.
There’s also a graph thingy you can look at, which won’t be very interesting until there’s a lot more data, but here it is anyway:
I’ll probably add this to a static page to make it easier to refer to, should you be odd enough to want to do that.
The scale runs on four AAA size batteries, which it’s claimed with run for months. And it can record measurements for multiple users, so long as everyone has their own Withings page.
So far it seems like a nice bit of kit – the display is bright and clear, and it does its measuring and calculating in just a few seconds, after which it turns the display off so you know it’s finished.
 Except when I forget to clip it on to my belt
 Body Mass Index, a slightly spurious measurement, but it does give a good idea, so long as you’re not too tall or too muscular or too fit. Which I’m not.
 This is not safe for anyone with a pacemaker, by the way.