A record of your progress is a fantastic motivator when you're trying to lose weight, which is probably why Withings' connected scale has been popular enough to warrant a fourth iteration already. But the latest version, now called the Body Cardio, adds an additional metric for measuring the health of your heart as well.
Building on the capabilities of previous versions of the scale, the Body Cardio can measure a user's weight, body fat mass, muscle mass, percentage of water in the body and current heart rate by just standing on it in bare feet. But the new Body Cardio adds another useful measurement in the form of the user's heart's Pulse Wave Velocity, or PWV.
So what exactly is the PWV? It's a measurement of the speed at which vibrations generated by your beating heart spread out along the walls of your arteries. A high PWV indicates the presence of stiff arteries (think of the surface of a drum that's been stretched tight) which could indicate high blood pressure. While a low PWV tends to indicate just the opposite, and better heart health.
Pulse Wave Velocity testing is typically conducted at a doctor's office or a hospital, and usually only when a patient is already dealing with high blood pressure. But Withings' new Body Cardio scale should be able to measure a user's PWV by calculating the time it takes for blood to flow from the heart's aorta to blood vessels in their feet.
It's by no means a substitute for regular doctor checkups and physicals, but it could help provide early clues about possible blood pressure concerns, and allow users to improve their lifestyles accordingly.
As with previous versions of the Withings scales, the Body Cardio connects to your home's Wi-Fi network so that it can send all of the measurements it takes to the Withings Health Mate app running on your iOS or Android smartphone, and so that it can give you a weather report and quick forecast every morning before you step off the scale.
For users serious about losing weight, or improving their physique, the Health Mate app is an essential part of using the Body Cardio as it allows the various measurements to be graphed over time, providing a better overall picture of how things like weight and body mass can fluctuate. It's especially useful when it comes to monitoring the new PWV metric, allowing a user to spot when it might be time to have their blood pressure checked by a doctor.
The Withings Body Cardio is available now on the Apple Store for $289.95. It's without a doubt one of the pricier bathroom accessories you can buy that isn't clad in gold. But with an aluminium base and tempered frosted glass top, its looks match its advanced functionality.