By Mike Riley on Mon, 03/25/2013
The national fitness craze has hit the mobile computing world. Wahoo Fitness, a company at the forefront of the trend, has released the Balance Smartphone Scale ($99.99). Several features of the Bluetooth scale, including its automatic iOS pairing and sleek design, make it worth the purchase price.
Wahoo's Free App: No Social Embarassment Necessary!
When my scale arrived in the mail, I had some apprehensions about using it at first. I've heard stories of scales automatically posting to your Twitter timeline or requiring some onerous account creation to track your weight. I wasn't too keen to share my daily physical stats with the world.
I was relieved to discover Wahoo's weight scale doesn't do any of this. Rather, the data it collects is transferred via Bluetooth 4.0 to your iPhone or iPad running the free Wahoo Wellness app.
The scale itself is beautifully designed, very sleek, and modern. It has a thick glass top covering the base and a large LCD panel that displays weight in kilograms or pounds. The scale is powered by two AA batteries, which should keep the scale operable for months.
Easy Use with Automatic Bluetooth Pairing
So what makes Bluetooth 4.0 support special? Unlike other digital Bluetooth scales, the Wahoo Balance Smartphone Scale doesn't require Bluetooth pairing before use. Just step up on the scale and the data is captured on the Wellness application. The scale has enough on-board memory to store as much as 130 readings, so you don't need to have your iOS device next to you each time you step on the scale. You can check out the scale and app in action in the video below.
Using the scale is as simple as you would expect: step on, capture the reading and step off. If your iOS device is within range of the scale's Bluetooth transmission and is running Wahoo Wellness, the data will be transferred and graphed on the program's time series graph. You don’t need to log in, create an account, or worry about unannounced data leakage.
More Advanced App Options
However, if you want to share your progress, you will need one of the paid applications that support data export as the Wellness app is strictly read-only with no export or e-mail data option available. Some other apps offer more sophisticated weight training that links your weight with other physiological measurements and lifestyle choices. The one that looks most promising for these capabilities is TactioHealth. Other compatible apps include TargetWeight, iBody, and Monitor Your Weight.
The Scale's Limitations
While the scale delivers on both aesthetic and simplicity fronts, it does have a few constraints. Because Wahoo Fitness chose to use the Bluetooth 4.0 protocol like it did in its recent digital fitness measurement products, the scale only works with the newer iOS devices: the iPhone 4S or higher, 3rd generation iPad or higher, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch. If you're using an older device, you either need to upgrade to one of the supported Apple products or be content with owning a very expensive digital scale.
Another problem is the LCD readout is not backlit, making it necessary to use the scale in a well-lit room (or rely on your paired iOS device to clearly display the reading for you). And budget conscious consumers may be put off by the nearly $100 price tag. If you don't plan on regularly taking advantage of the data capture and wireless data transfer capabilities built into the scale, there's a wide range of stand-alone digital body scales to choose from that cost far less than the Balance Smartphone Scale.
Overall, the Wahoo Balance Smartphone Scale succeeds with its objective of making body weight measurement easy to capture and track over time. It only takes seconds to set up but will likely be your primary body weight measurement tool for years.
Product: Balance Smartphone Scale
Manufacturer: Wahoo Fitness
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars