The Withings WS-50 is a highly accurate body-monitoring device geared toward the tech-savvy consumer. The scale automatically transmits readings to a free app for iPhone or Android, and it can track multiple data lines for several family members. Although some might find a few features superfluous (for example, the ability to tweet one's readings), overall, the Withings WS-50 paints a detailed picture of one's health. However, there are those who complain about faulty and defective units and a lack of responsiveness from Withings' customer support team.
A high-tech, accurate performer. The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is no ordinary scale -- a high-tech bathroom scale that analyzes and tracks your health by sending measurements wirelessly to your Android or iPhone. From there, you can view graphs and tracking information and use Withings' software to get more health information. A number of expert reviewers and contributors to Amazon.com note that the scale's progress-tracking feature was a great motivator, making weight loss feel more like a game.
Among hundreds of owner-written reviews on Amazon.com, we did find some complaints that the scale offers unreliable and inaccurate readings, even when used on a hard, flat surface.
Setup is a cinch. An expert reviewer at About.com and contributors to Amazon.com agree that the setup for Wi-Fi connection is seamless -- the scale can automatically copy your phone-stored password so there's no need to input it again. "The true beauty of this scale is its convenience. It logs your weight effortlessly for you," one Amazon user says. Another user says that weight capture and BMI measurement take about one to two seconds, while it takes about 10 seconds altogether to gather the data for body fat and heart rate.
Spotty customer service. Withings offers a one-year, limited warranty, although some owners indicate that customer service is slow or completely nonresponsive to emails and phone calls. Some Amazon reviewers report receiving faulty units and being unable to reach customer support for replacements. Battery life is also reported to be an issue for some users, but like the scale's accuracy, opinions are split. One consumer review says, "The Withings website even allows the user to see the estimated battery charge remaining in the scale. After six months, 73 percent remaining. Not too shabby for using the scale, on average, of twice a week."
Appealing, sleek, modern and shiny look. Reviewers agree that the Withings WS-50 is attractive, with an elegant glass surface. A reviewer at About.com praises the scale's "sleek Apple-like design." Its appearance looks modern, in accordance with its technical functionality, and won't detract from any room's décor.
This reviewer makes a point not noted in many other reviews; he had a hard time getting the scale to work properly on low-pile carpet, even though special carpet feet are included with the scale. Otherwise, the scale is recommended.
Review: Withings Scale Review, Christen Costa, Dec. 23, 2009
The Withings WS-50 receives largely favorable reviews from contributors, earning 4 out of 5 stars. Most users say they found the scale's features easy to use, although some complain about receiving defective units and being unable to obtain replacements through Withings' customer support.
Review: Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014
"The Wi-Fi Scale from Withings isn't the only web-connected digital scale on the market, but for now, it's the best we've stepped on," writes Steven Leckart, who tests the scale with multiple users. He also says it's simple to use.
Review: Withings Wi-Fi Scale, Steven Leckart, Aug. 26, 2010
The Wirecutter names the Withings WS-50 as its "Best Smart Scale," calling it slightly superior to the Fitbit Aria because "the WS-50 has some features that aren't yet available with the Aria or other smart scales." These features include the ability to measure resting heart rate and air quality.
Review: The Best Bathroom Scales, Alexander George, Jan. 17, 2013
"The obvious question here is whether or not you need a web-enabled scale," writes John Biggs, though he is clearly enthralled with the Withings scale. Although he doesn't compare it to any other scales, he imagines the technology would help him lose weight.
Review: Review: Withings WiFi Scale, John Biggs, Feb. 9, 2010
This review is a bit more philosophical than some of the other reviews we read for the Withings Wi-Fi scale. The author isn't sure the scale is worth $170 (the average price at the time this review was written), but he concedes that people love statistics and that the scale's tracking features could be a reliable motivator.
Review: Keep Track of Personal Stats with WiFi Bathroom Scale, Chad Sapieha, Updated Jan. 4, 2011
This short review doesn't go into much detail, but the summary says it all, "expensive, but worth it." The author also states that even if you don't use all of the features, this scale is still worth the price.
Review: Withings Wi-Fi Scale Review (A Scale for the Year 2010), Jason Chen, Dec. 3, 2009
This list of the six best scales with body fat monitoring capabilities links to in-depth reviews of each pick. The Withings Wi-Fi Scale tops the list, earning 5 stars in its individual review. Bumgardner says the scale is sleek and easy to use. "I really enjoyed using the Withings scale and being able to see my trends over time," she writes.
Review: Top 6 Body Fat Monitors, Wendy Bumgardner, Updated Aug. 27, 2011
9. Apartment Therapy.com
This brief list names about a dozen scales in numerous categories, and the author taps the Withings Wi-Fi as one of his "High Tech and Concept" picks. He mentions the scale's high price point and its ability to track the weight progress of numerous family members on different data lines.
Review: Best Bathroom Scales 2011, Maxwell Ryan , Jan. 12, 2011
10. The Huntsville Times
Mary Anne Swanstrom names the Withings WS-50 alongside six other scales, merely writing, "Get a leg up on that verbose friend who broadcasts every calorie consumed or mile jogged with a scale that tweets your weight, body fat and BMI daily, weekly or every time you weigh."
Review: Step Up to Scale Back with Fabulous New Bathroom Scales, Mary Anne Swanstrom, Jan. 21, 2010