Withings unveils two new hybrid ScanWatches with Apple Watch-rivaling heart health features

 Withings ScanWatch 2 on wrist
Withings ScanWatch 2 on wrist

Withings has revealed two new hybrid watches at IFA 2023, the ScanWatch 2 and the ScanWatch Light. The ScanWatch 2 offers medically-certified heart heath features just like an Apple Watch, revamped body temperature tech and period tracking, while the ScanWatch Light is a smaller, stripped-back watch at a cheaper price.

Withings ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light are, like its predecessors the original ScanWatch and ScanWatch Horizon, a hybrid watch with physical hands, a still-novel hybrid approach to the best smartwatch game despite the likes of Garmin getting involved. Embedded in the watch face is a minimalist grayscale OLED screen showing a statistic of your choice, such as heart rate or body temperature, while the larger ScanWatch 2 also contains a smaller secondary dial.

Both watches offer round-the-clock health tracking with Active Minutes, sleep scores, and heart rate zones during workouts, alongside overnight heart rate variability, respiratory insights and period cycle tracking. Because of the lack of any sizeable screen, the watches are very battery-efficient - you’ll only need the charge them every 30 days, according to Withings.

The ScanWatch 2 goes a bit further, offering more than the stripped-back ScanWatch Light. All-day body temperature tracking is here thanks to a cluster of sensors including a new TempTech 24/7 module. The watch will show you how your temperature changes from day to night and during workouts, providing possible indications of a coming illness.

The ScanWatch 2 also offers irregular heart rate rhythm notifications and that Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved AFib feature, which was also present on the first ScanWatch and last year’s Horizon model.

Withings ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light
Withings ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light

FDA clearance is something not many other watches can boast about, certifying the device for use in medical settings, and being able to look for signs of heart-threatening atrial fibriliation via the watch’s electrocardiogram (ECG) app and sending the information to a physician is a very useful tool to have. The best Fitbit watches, for example, can perform ECG scans, but aren’t certified by the FDA, so it’s not strictly for use in a medical setting. The ScanWatch 2 is.

The ScanWatch 2 comes in two sizes, a 38mm and a 42mm, weighing 34.6g and 52.6g respectively, starting at $349.95 / £319.95. The Scanwatch Light comes in one size, 37mm, and weighing just 27g and priced at $249.95 / £229.95. Australian prices are to be confirmed.

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I love my Garmin Instinct Crossover because it doesn’t look like a smartwatch: instead, it looks like a rough-and-tumble G-Shock at first glance. Withings’ ScanWatch range takes another approach, looking instead like a slick dress watch that wouldn’t be out of place underneath a shirt cuff in the boardroom. You’d hardly know it was a smartwatch, until you looked at the back or the tiny OLED screen.

For those who want a watch that doesn’t feel like a smartwatch, who dislike the idea of another screen on their wrist, and who are health-conscious rather than heavily into outdoor fitness pursuits, the ScanWatch Light and ScanWatch 2 are going to sing.

Initially, the ScanWatch 2 looks like far better value considering the features you get for the extra money, but time will tell if that’s true. Apple better bring something truly special to the plate with Apple Watch 9 if it wants to keep its mantle as the premier health-focused watch on the market.

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