After reviewing the Withings Pulse, Eugene Kim with PCMag.com calls it "one of the most attractive and feature-rich activity trackers we've tested." Experts rave over the Withings's built-in heart monitor -- a rare feature at this price. The touch screen provides instant readings on current activities and saves 10 days' worth of data. Syncing is effortless with the Bluetooth connectivity, but the Withings only works with iOS and Android smartphones.
On-board heart-rate monitor. The Withings Pulse records steps, distance, stairs and calories, but the best part is its heart-rate monitoring capability, which is unusual at this price, say PCMag.com editors (who give the Pulse an Editors' Choice award). It's not continuous, though; you have to hold your finger on a sensor. The touch screen with OLED display lets users instantly see data, including distance and duration of the current workout. Slide a finger across the screen to scroll through totals from the past 10 days. The Withings slips into sleep analysis at the touch of a button, charting how long you are in bed and how many hours you are asleep, and counts the number of times you wake up. However, there is no vibrating alarm like those found on other activity trackers.
Automatically syncs with smartphones. Bluetooth connectivity syncs the Withings Pulse with iOS and Android smart devices, but the Pulse can't plug into a computer for data uploads. Withings includes a free app and web account that, according to Eugene Kim of PCMag.com, is "neatly organized into visually pleasing graphs and widgets, which makes it easy and fun to check how you're doing." It's also compatible with a variety of fitness apps to track food intake and activity. "Using the device is relatively easy, though you may find yourself wondering what some of the data actually means," explain editors at LiveScience.com.
Separate tracker and clip. PCMag.com's Eugene Kim calls the Pulse "one of the more elegantly designed activity trackers, with a clean and understated look that belies its geeky guts." However, users say the instructions do not explain the device's complex features well. The slender silicone-and-metal device is one of the lightest trackers available and can be worn three ways: in a pocket, clipped to clothing or in the included wristband for sleeping. The Pulse features an exceptional battery life, lasting about two weeks between charges; a power-save mode turns the screen off to extend battery life.
In PCMag.com's comparative review, the Withings Pulse scores higher than the Fitbit One, in part because of features like its stylish design, Bluetooth connectivity and heart-rate monitor.
Review: Withings Pulse, Eugene Kim, July 2, 2013
The Withings Pulse ties with the Fitbit Flex for third place, but is the top-rated clip-on tracker in this comparison by LiveScience.com. Rachael Rettner lists the Withings's heart-rate monitor, clip-on design and detailed sleep analysis as its top attributes, but wishes it had an alarm and more detailed instructions.
Review: Withings Pulse: Fitness Tracker Review, Rachael Rettner, Oct. 2, 2013
In his guide to the best activity trackers, Paul Sawers says the Withings Pulse is an excellent clip-on tracker to consider because of its versatile monitoring, built-in heart monitor and compatibility with Android devices. Its inability to sync with a PC or Mac is a disadvantage.
Review: Know Your Fitbit from Your Fitbug: A Guide to the Best Activity-Trackers on the Market, Paul Sawers, Nov. 11, 2013
The Withings Pulse narrowly misses a fourth-place ranking in this 26-device comparison. It loses points for a few design shortcomings, including a profile that's bulkier than the higher-rated Fitbit One. The Pulse scores well for its easy syncing and long battery life.
Review: 26 Fitness Trackers Ranked from Worst to First, Ben Taylor, Jan. 9, 2014
5. Family Circle
Christina Tynan-Wood includes the Withings Pulse in her list of the best activity trackers. Though she doesn't name a favorite or rate each device, she says the Pulse's heart monitor and info-rich display set it apart from the rest.
Review: The Best Activity Trackers for Staying Fit, Christina Tynan-Wood, Not Dated
After testing many activity trackers, Brent Rose includes the Withings Pulse in his list of the three best devices. The heart-rate monitor sets the Pulse apart from comparably priced trackers, offering a better value overall.
Review: How to Find the Best Fitness Tracker for You, Brent Rose, Nov. 20, 2013
The Withings Pulse gets an average 3.8-star score from about 500 owners at Amazon.com. Users appreciate the heart-rate monitor, integration with a large selection of fitness apps and long battery life.
Review: Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker + Sleep and Heart Rate Monitoring, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014