Like traditional blood pressure (B.P.) machines, the Withings model ($129.95) measures systolic and diastolic pressures as well as one’s beats per minute. That is where the Withings vs. standard-machine similarities end. At first glance, this monitor initially appears to either require some assembly or be missing a display, but soon it becomes apparent that this is its surprising minimalist design. It only consists of a white cuff connected to a small, aluminum-colored cylinder (15 cm in length with a 3.5 cm diameter that houses four AAA batteries) that is attached to a single wire (containing a 30-pin dock connector). As such, out-of-the box, this B.P. monitor only natively works with the following older Apple models: iPhone 3GS, 4, & 4S; iPad 1, 2, & 3; and the iPod touch 3rd & 4th generations. According to Withings, the B.P. monitor can work with newer models of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, but this will require a lightning dock adapter from Apple in order to connect to such a device.
After physically linking it to my iPhone, this reviewer downloaded the Withings iOS app and effortlessly created a user profile after a few questions (gender, date of birth, and height). Aside from its previously discussed streamlined form, the device’s cuff formed a “c-shape” that greatly eased proper application to the upper arm. This feature especially is useful when attaching the cuff to one’s own arm, literally, single-handedly. Putting the power to easily measure blood pressure in the hands of an individual, this device may have the added benefit of improving regular self-monitoring of B.P. due to ease of use. Additionally, the iOS app far and away surpassed other B.P. monitors in how it displayed recorded data. When the smart device was rotated into a horizontal orientation, a graph was displayed for the blood pressure (mmHg) vs. date. Easily, one is able to scroll through the graph and magnify or minimize the data, as needed, both on an iPhone/iPad and via their website. Moreover, if more information about a specific recording is desired, one could just tap a point on the graph and all of the specific details would be displayed. Even more interesting was that, within the app’s settings, there was even the option to email data to a physician.
Nevertheless, even though the design of the product was enjoyable, there were some difficulties with its proper functioning. After repeated attempts, I was never able to complete the iOS app’s configuration of the blood pressure monitor and several “measurement failed” errors were received during the review. Conceptually, however, some of these issues with connectivity may be due to using Apple’s dock adapter (described above). Accordingly, if you only own a current generation Apple device, you may want to wait until an updated model is released with a lightning connector built into the device.
By integrating Internet connectivity into a B.P. monitor, Withings, Inc. has removed this device from its previous isolative functioning, smoothly allowing the communication of vital signs and, potentially, aiding medical doctors in their treatment of patients. While there are a several “bugs” to be fixed with their B.P. monitor, it was a completely useable and purposeful product.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.