Withings Connect review: Easy blood pressure monitoring
“The Withings Connect makes blood pressure monitoring easier than ever before.”
- Long battery life
- Display difficult to read
- Hard to switch between users
Withings is known for its stylish smartwatches that allow you to track your fitness without compromising your style. This emphasis on good looks carries over to its $100 Connect blood pressure monitor, which looks more like a fashion accessory than a medical device.
Does the Connect favor style over substance? I tested it against competing home digital blood pressure monitors, manual blood pressure cuffs, and even hospital units to find out.
A stylish medical device
Withings hits all the check-marks with the design of its Connect blood pressure monitor. It’s slim and stylish with an all-in-one construction that attaches the pump directly to the cuff. There’s no cumbersome tubes or bulky pumps to manage. The cuff wraps around the device for storage, making it about the size of a sunglasses case. It’s a perfect size, small enough to fit in a purse or messenger bag easily, yet large enough to accommodate most arm sizes.
The Connect has a gray cuff that doesn’t attract attention and a small white pump module that blends into the device. The discreet, stylish design made me feel comfortable taking it out of my bag to use in public without worrying about attracting any attention. It’s also quiet when operating; there are no beeps or chimes. The only noise is the sound of the pump inflating and deflating the cuff.
The Connect doesn’t have a typical LCD display but instead uses dot matrix-style LEDs to display the blood pressure reading. This hidden display gives the unit a sleek appearance, but it does make it more challenging to read your blood pressure results.
I compared the Connect to three different devices: a competing home blood pressure unit from Omron that you can find in your local drug store, a manual blood pressure cuff with a stethoscope and a bulb, and a hospital blood pressure monitor. I had three surgeries this summer, which gave me ample chances to test the Connect.
Withings didn’t skimp on the Connect blood pressure monitor — it’s a quality device. The pump inflates quickly and is powerful enough to measure blood pressures at both ends of the extreme. It takes about 30 seconds to get a measurement, which is then displayed on the blood pressure monitor and sent to the Withings Health Mate mobile app. The Connect measures both blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) and heart rate, supporting up to eight different users, though it is a minor pain to switch between them. To do so you have to press the button once the reading is over and cycle through the users to assign it to the correct person.
As with most blood pressure monitors, there were a few spurious readings, but the Connect was accurate about 95 percent of the time. If I had an unusually high or low reading, I could usually attribute it to user error. Either I didn’t position the cuff correctly, or I moved while I was taking a reading. The Health Mate app allows you to delete flawed readings if you prefer to remove them.
The most significant benefit of this blood pressure monitor is its ease of use. It was so simple to measure my blood pressure that I ended up taking readings all the time. I accrued a ton of data points on my blood pressure and heart rate over the course of a month, and of course, the more data you have, the better the insight into your overall cardiovascular health.
Quick syncing and a long-lasting battery
One indispensable feature of the Withings Core is the unit’s wireless connections via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This always-on connection immediately sends blood pressure readings to the Withings Health Mate app, enabling me to see my reading right at the top of my health timeline as soon as I open up the app. This includes my systolic and diastolic measurements and heart rate at that moment. Each blood pressure measurement is graded as normal, prehypertension, Stage 1 hypertension, Stage 2 hypertension and hypertensive crisis.
These single measurements are also aggregated as trends you can see over a week or month. You can view your average systolic and diastolic readings as well as view your highest and lowest measurements. This can be exported to share with your doctor or sent to Apple Health or Google Fit.
The Withings Connect is powered by a USB rechargeable battery, which, even with multiple readings a day, I only charged once over the course of a month. In fact, I didn’t even charge it because it was low; I only charged it because I’m so conditioned to charge batteries on a regular basis that I felt like I should after a month of use.
Pricing, Availability and Warranty information
Withings offers a one-year limited warranty on its digital health products.
The Connect earns my praise for its simplicity and slim design. It was so quick and easy to use that I found myself checking my blood pressure all the time. When I went to the hospital for surgery, it was small enough that I was able to carry the blood pressure monitor in my purse. I could bring it with me anywhere, which allowed me to monitor my blood pressure throughout the day, wherever.
Is there a better alternative?
The Withings Connect is as useful as any blood pressure monitor on the market. My only gripe is its LED-style display, which some people may not like. Those who want a larger, more readable display should consider the Omron 10 blood pressure monitor, which has a backlit display and oversized letters.
How long will it last?
The Connect is solidly built with a secure velcro flap and a durable cuff. I expect the unit to last three years or more under normal usage.
Should you buy it?
This is is an outstanding blood pressure monitor for those with a busy lifestyle who need to monitor their blood pressure on the go.
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