Way back in 2010, TUAW reviewed one of the first connected health devices for the iOS ecosystem. That device was the Withings Connected Body Scale, which I had owned for about a year at the time the review was posted. Withings recently released the latest iteration of the device, the all-new Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer (US$149.95), adding new features while also making setup of the device incredibly easy.
Like the previous models, the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer looks like a scale that Jony Ive would be proud to have in his bathroom. It's a thin slab of dark glass with a display in the familiar top-center position and a metal circle dead center. But don't just think of this as just a pretty bathroom scale...
It does a lot more than just display the bad news about your weight every morning. The previous versions could also determine your BMI (body mass index) and display just how much excess poundage you're carrying around. Now the WS-50 adds extra features -- not only does it also check your pulse rate, but it also captures the ambient temperature and CO2 levels in your house.
All of this information is made available to you either on the Withings website (free account required) or through the free Withings Health Mate iOS app. That app is also now used to set up a new scale (more on that later) and display data from the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. You could think of the app as your window into your well-being ... or lack thereof.
Setup is incredibly easy to do. Back in the old days in 2009, setup was a complicated affair requiring a USB cable, opening the back of the scale, and performing sacred rituals involving squirrels and tap-dancing. Well, forget the sacred rituals part, but it was a total pain to set up.
Not any more! The WS-50 comes with batteries not only included, but installed. You pull a plastic tab to let those batteries do their job, and then fire up your iOS device. In Settings > Bluetooth it's a simple matter of pairing with the device, and then you're asked to go to the Health Mate app to finish setup. It's as simple as tapping a button to "Install now", after which you're asked if you wish to copy the Wi-Fi settings on your iOS device to the scale. Reply in the positive, and the WS-50 is added to your network.