The Withings WS-50 smart scale is a top choice for the tech-savvy user that want's a connected scale to keep track of their weight and more. It's versatile, with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to play nice with third party apps -- though reviews say that its own app is powerful enough for most users. Testing shows that the WS-50 is highly accurate when it comes to weight measurements, and no less accurate than other home scales when it comes to measuring body fat. While most users are satisfied, those that run into issues say that customer service is often unresponsive.
A high-tech, accurate performer. The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is no ordinary scale. It's a connected smart scale that can share its measurements via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You can use your favorite third party app to track your progress, or use Withings' own app, which draws praise for its usefulness and versatility, including the ability to accept data from other apps and devices. For those with massive self-confidence, the Withings app can even tweet out your progress to the world, if that's something you'd actually like to do. When it comes to measuring weight, no scale does better in expert reviews, and TheSweethome.com calls it the most accurate scale it's tested. It's also one of the few scales that testing shows to be reliable on a variety of floor surfaces and coverings, including carpeting, according to Elizabeth Palermo at Livescience.com. Body-fat measurements, on the other hand, are no more accurate than other home scales -- a limitation of the technology they all use -- in other words, fair at best, though that's still better than many body-fat scales. The scale can also capture and record room air quality and temperature data, and even display that day's weather forecast.
Setup is a cinch -- most of the time. Connected devices often pose challenges to users when it comes to getting that connectivity to actually work, and the WS-50 is not immune from that -- and, no surprise, the challenges are especially steep for those connecting via Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth. However, if you don't run into those issues -- or can overcome them -- everything else seems to go as smooth as silk. "Setting up the Withings scale was refreshingly simple," says Palermo, who adds that Bluetooth pairing with her smartphone was actually easier than with other smart scales in the Livescience.com test. The WS-50 can automatically track up to eight users, with the initials of the user appearing in one corner of the 2.9-inch backlit display so you know you are using your profile rather than someone else's.
Spotty customer service. Although Withings offers a one-year, limited warranty, some owners indicate that customer service is slow or completely nonresponsive. Reports of units that failed prematurely are not uncommon, though don't appear to be higher than with similar products.
Appealing, sleek, modern and shiny look. Reviewers agree that the Withings WS-50 is attractive, with an elegant glass surface. "We like its sleek all-glass top, which will look up-to-date on any bathroom tile floor for years to come," says Laptop magazine's Mike Prospero.
The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is named "the absolute best scale" in this multi scale faceoff that includes basic and smart scales. "The Withings WS-50 is the most feature-rich smart scale available now," says Melanie Pinola. "While the other smart scales suffered from connectivity issues, poor mobile app design, and/or inaccuracy during most of the tests, the Withings WS-50's weight tracking and high tech features were reliable each time we used the scale." This report was updated in January 2016 to add in some scales that were announced at CES2016.
Review: The Best Bathroom Scales, Melanie Pinola, Jan. 8, 2016
ConsumerReports.org includes six body-fat scales in its latest round of testing, including the WS-50. The site remains unimpressed with body-fat scales' performance on that measure, but allows that "they offer other features you might like, such as sending your measurements to your computer or smart phone so that you can keep track of your weight." Testing includes ratings for performance when measuring weight and body fat, as well as the repeatability of the measurements, the quality of the display, and ease of use, but the details are only available to subscribers.
Review: Scales, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Livescience.com conducts hands on testing of smart scales, naming the Withings WS-50 tops. "After testing these three scales for three weeks, we found that the Withings Smart Body Analyzer is the best (and most accurate) for tracking weight and other metrics," says Elizabeth Palermo. "It's also the easiest scale to set up and use every day."
Review: Best Smart Scale: Fitbit Aria vs. Withings Body Analyzer, Elizabeth Palermo, Feb. 25, 2015
4. Laptop Magazine
Laptop magazine look at the WS-50 and awards it an Editors' Choice selection. Michael A. Prospero considers the smart scale's measurement capabilities, smart features and performance to say that it is "worth more than the sum of its parts."
Review: Withings Smart Body Analyzer WS-50 Review, Michael A. Prospero, April 16, 2013
The WS-50 racks up another Editors' Choice win at this technology site. "If you're serious about your health and want comprehensive at-home analysis, it's hard to argue with the well-designed and full-featured Smart Body Analyzer," says Eugene Kim.
Review: Withings Smart Body Analyzer (WS-50), Eugene Kim, April 17, 2015
We spotted more than 3,100 reviews of the WS-50 at Amazon.com. At 3.7-stars, feedback is only so-so. Though the majority is happy, we see a good number of concerns, especially with the smart/connectivity features, and disappointment with the lack of customer support.
Review: Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2016
Though it's based on many fewer reviews, owner feedback at BestBuy.com offers a counterpoint to the poorer ratings at Amazon.com. Following more than 255 reviews, the WS-50 earns a 4.2 star rating, with 86 percent of owners recommending it to a friend.
Review: Withings - Smart Body Analyzer - Black, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of January 2016