Step on the Runtastic Libra Scale and let your iPhone help you battle the bulge

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After the holidays, it’s probably best to avoid the scale. There’s too much food being passed around and phrases like, “Well, it is a special occasion, after all” are passed around with every helping of turkey. But the holidays are over and it’s time to finally get back on track. To help us get rid of our holiday gut, we tried the Bluetooth-powered Libra Scale from Runtastic. It promises more than it’s capable of, but it’s still a very serviceable scale that can help you reach the weight you want rather than just read off the disappointing weight you’re at.

When removing the Libra Scale from its box, we first noticed how sleek it looks. It’s glass-plated top has racing-stripe style lines across it and a shiny silver plated Runtastic logo – just in case you forgot the company that made it. It comes equipped with three AAA batteries, which are needed for power. We haven’t used it long enough to know how long those batteries will last you, and with Bluetooth running constantly on the scale, this could be a legitimate cost concern. Still, it is running Bluetooth 4.0, so it should be fairly efficient with its battery usage.

You can step on the Libra Scale at any time and get a reading, but to use it the the way it’s supposed to be used, you’ll have to connect it with a iOS device compatible with Bluetooth 4.0. That means iPhone 4S or later and iPad 3rd generation or later. While it’s a nice looking scale even if you don’t connect it to an iOS device, it serves little purpose if you don’t hook it up. The strength of the scale comes in the app connectivity, which provides you with a wealth of features that other scales lack.

You can have up to eight accounts linked to the Libra Scale, which syncs with any other Runtastic account you may have. This is invaluable for anyone committed to tracking every part of their health and fitness regimen, from activities to caloric intake, daily weight, and so forth. The longer you use the Libra Scale, the more benefit you’ll get from it. It plots your weight out on a graph and shows your progress over time. It also uses each step on the scale in combination with basic user information that you include in your profile and goals you set to calculate an acceptable amount of calories you can consume in a day. 

The downfall of the Libra Scale is that it promises to do too much. Aside from your weight, which it manages to measure and track accurately enough for the most part, it also promises to tell you other body composition information including body fat, muscle mass, body mass index, body water content, and bone mass. Almost all of this is speculation on the part of the Libra Scale, which probably should be expected as there’s no way a flat slab of glass, metal, and wire could glean that much from you stepping on it. If it could, you’d find out far too much about yourself.

In actuality, this information appears to be generated based on how high you set your activity levels. We changed the profile settings slightly and stepped on the scale again and got totally different readings than the initial one even though our weight was the same. When other users tested their body fat with an electronic body fat calculator and compared it to the Libra Scale, the Libra Scale was off by over 10 percent at times (though the accuracy of the electronic body fat calculator is questionable). So don’t put too much weight – pun intended – on these readouts. They’re just guidelines, which makes you wonder why its even included, really.

If you set a New Year’s Resolution to get in better shape, the Libra Scale could be a great conductor to spark your motivation and help you achieve your goals. It’s a fairly reliable scale and the connectivity with your Runtastic accounts creates an ecosystem on your iOS device that encourages a healthy lifestyle. You can’t count on it to do everything that it promises, but it’s easy enough to ignore the extra information and focus on the stuff  that matters to you – namely your weight and your progress toward your goals. For the tech savvy that need a little motivation each day, catching your reflection in the glass-plated Runtastic Libra Scale could give you the boost you’re looking for. There’s nothing like staring down at your own weight problem.

Libra Scale from Runtastic is available for $130.