Designed for those who want to keep an eye on their blood pressure without regular visits to a doctor or clinic, the Withings blood pressure monitor is a niche piece of gear that does what it says on the box.
For those who need it, it should pay for itself pretty quickly with regular use given the cost of visiting a medical professional.
Arguably it’s not the ability to measure your blood pressure that’s the biggest selling point of the monitor but rather the ability to track your measurements over time and have them presented in graph form.
It’s the ability to see change over time in a visual representation that makes personal fitness, health or activity tracking devices truly useful.
The data you collect over time is stored on your phone or tablet and can be exported to a spreadsheet or even e-mailed to your doctor directly. There’s also the option to share the information to social networks, which seems a little strange, but may prove useful for putting far-flung family members’ minds at ease.
The unit consists of a regular-looking blood pressure cuff, a cylindrical air pump (which takes four AAA batteries) and a cable with a 30-pin Apple connector on the end of it.
The monitor supports every iPhone up to the 4S; first, second and third generation iPads; and the first four generations of iPod Touch. We tried it on an iPhone 5 with a Lightning to 30-Pin adapter and it didn’t work.
Plug it into a compatible device and a pop-up will ask you to download the Withings apps. The first lets you use the monitor, while the second collates data from any other Withings product you may have and can generate a wide range of graphs comparing various metrics.
Once the necessary app is installed, using the monitor is as simple as fitting it to your bicep, unlocking your device and plugging the monitor in. The app opens automatically and all you need to do is hit the on-screen button labelled “start”. After that, the cuff will inflate and deflate and display your systolic and diastolic pressure, along with your heart rate.
Withings also makes personal activity trackers, a range of Internet-connected scales and even a wireless baby monitor, which leads us to wonder why its blood pressure monitor requires a cable.
The Withings Web portal offers even more detailed charts than the app and also displays information like your body-mass index.
The monitor retails for R2 470 on Orange’s South African online store. Well made as it is, that seems steep. But then, if one has to pay a professional for the same service regularly, it would pay itself off in short order. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media