The connected health market is booming. Wearables and other connected products in the health sector are multiplying. The French brand Withings took advantage of CES 2019 to unveil the very first analog watch capable of recording an electrocardiogram with Withings ECG. Apple opened the door with its Apple Watch Series 4, Withings (formerly Nokia) continues and democratizes the concept. Now available in shops.
If we had not been convinced by the entry-level model Withings Move, its big sister Withings Move ECG has made us more excited. Better equipped with in particular a sensor for performing an electrocardiogram, it effectively tracks physical activity and sleep.
An affordable watch
If the ECG functionality of the Apple Watch Series 4 has already proven its worth in the United States by saving lives, it is still not very affordable, financially speaking. Good news, things are changing with the Withings Move ECG.
We had to wait a few months before seeing the Withings Move ECG finally accessible to the general public. A time necessary to obtain the precious (and compulsory) CE medical certification for its marketing in Europe. The new analog watch from the pioneer of connected health and connected analog watches has therefore been available since the beginning of September at a price of 129.95 euros.
Two colors are available for the dials: black and white. Withings then offers silicone bracelets in different colors: mint, blue, gray, yellow and red.
Let’s start with the design which we are not keen on, even if it remains very subjective. The Move ECG largely shares the aesthetic codes of the Withings Move, with bright color elements, very rounded shapes and a case that appears relatively thick, all of which gives the product a somewhat childish silhouette.
The Withings Move ECG watch
But the Move ECG offers a more classic design than that of its little sister. You have the choice between a black or white dial, associated with a black, yellow, gray, coral, blue or green strap. If the finish of the watch itself is good, the plastic strap still looks cheap. And we will regret once again to only access a single length of bracelet, which makes the unused part hang flabby when you have a small wrist.
In terms of autonomy, the watch has the undeniable advantage of not having to be recharged, thanks to its battery designed to last for one year. This Move works with the Withings mobile Health application (iOS and Android), simple and functional.
A smooth evolution
Aesthetically speaking, the Withings Move ECG has changed little compared to the Steel. The brand keeps the design of the analog watch. A good decision a priori since many users shun smartwatches because of their look.
We thus find a diameter of 38 mm comprising three hands, the first two allowing to indicate the time while the third displays the progress of the activity of its use (from 0 to 100%) according to the objective of not set in the Health Mate companion app.
The strap delivered by default is made of gray silicone and is pleasant to wear. It is ideal because of its material for sports activities as well. You don’t mind the bad smell of sweat. If you are not satisfied, you can always easily change to another 20mm strap.
On the wrist, the watch is easily forgotten, and its classic design makes it easy to confuse it with an unconnected watch. Enough to seduce a large audience, both male and female.
A connected watch
Despite its design, the Move ECG is a connected watch. It also offers functions for monitoring activities (calories burned, number of steps, distance, floors, etc.) and sleep (analysis of its duration and different sleep cycles in particular). You can use it during your walking, running, swimming (waterproof up to 50 meters) or even cycling sessions. You can long press the button to start a training session as well.
The watch even offers an altimeter. You just won’t find a real GPS chip inside, but a connected GPS system. A choice certainly dictated for a question of autonomy. Either way, if you are looking for a watch more geared towards tracking your sports activities, the Steel HR Sport is more suitable. The Move ECG records heart rate only when recording the ECG. In addition, also forget any possibility to receive notifications. The absence of a second screen also playing against the Move ECG.
All results can be viewed on the Health Mate app available for free download. The app is simple, quick and easy to use. Synchronization is done automatically and hassle-free.
An ECG on the wrist
It is not the design of its watch or the fitness features that interest us the most about this model, but its ability to record an electrocardiogram. Withings thus achieves the small feat of finally offering an Android watch capable of recording an ECG.
Available on demand, the Move ECG can record the heart’s electrical signal in seconds. The aim is to help detect atrial fibrillation, the most common form of arrhythmia, and according to the manufacturer, responsible for around 1/3 of strokes (Cerebrovascular Accident) in Europe. However, 90% of these accidents could be avoided with early detection.
Withings is particularly proud of this model which could help the brand to turn up the slope and hopes “to be a game-changer in terms of cardiovascular disease detection” according to Eric Carreel, president of Withings. “We have created a simple alert system with record-breaking autonomy that can be worn every day, in order to record an ECG immediately at the onset of a symptom, which allows for early management of fibrillation. little finger. “
The data is reliable
We compared the results of the watch with those of an Apple Watch Series 3 and we found relatively similar results during our training sessions, except of course the heart rate which is not available on the Withings. Compared to the Move, the Move ECG also tracks daily physical activity much more finely.
Regarding the calories counted, the data from Withings seems to us to be much more reliable than those usually displayed by connected watches of this range and which tend to overestimate things. We have thus recorded, for example, an expenditure of 487 kca for a distance of 7.46 km and a pace of 6’42. Completely consistent given our profile. The same goes for the counting of steps, the Withings ECG watch displays figures lower than the standard and therefore less flattering but much closer to reality.
Sleep tracking is at the level of the rest of the performances and rather finely represents the different phases of falling asleep, without confusing your inactivity with a nap. Rather well done, since the watch does not rely on cardiac monitoring for this.
So how does it work ?
The Move ECG wants to democratize the realization of an ECG, traditional medical devices often proving to be quite complicated it is true. To perform an ECG, it’s quite simple. Just squeeze both sides of the dial and wait for the watch to take the measurement. To do this, the Move ECG has 3 electrodes (two on the back and one on the steel ring around the glass).
The measurement can be done at any time and takes approximately 30 seconds. Once the registration is complete, the watch vibrates slightly and automatically synchronizes with Withings’s home application, Health Mate. You can then view your results. The Health Mate app displays a detailed graph of long-term heart rate trends along with a history of ECG readings. You are then free to share this with your doctor.
Compared to the Withings BPM Core, I found the ECG recording much easier to do. Admittedly, the watch does not offer all the functionality of the BPM Core, but its ease of use makes it more practical. I still think that a word with his doctor or his cardiologist can be interesting before the purchase. Note, for example, that you should not use the watch if you are wearing a pacemaker or any other medical device. The Move ECG emits a slight electrical signal that can harm a pacemaker.
In the end, Withings makes a great proposal here for a connected watch to monitor your daily physical activity or your fitness. But it should not be counted on to prepare for a half marathon!