Withings’ latest hybrid smartwatch poses as a luxury dive watch
The ScanWatch Horizon is Withings’ latest hybrid smartwatch to combine a digital display with a traditional mechanical format. You buy a Withings because you hate the look of typical health-focused wearables and abhor the bombardment of notifications that plague other smartwatches.
Withings says it took design inspiration for the 43mm ScanWatch Horizon from “luxury dive watches” like the Submariner or Seamaster — influences that can be seen in the reflection-free sapphire-glass casing with titanium finish, a stainless-steel rotating bezel, and luminescent watch hands and indicators for visibility in low light. Its water resistance is only rated at 10 ATM, however, making it ill-suited for deep dives. But it should be fine for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and other water activities above 100 meters (330 feet). Dive watches from Rolex and Omega are typically waterproof at a depth of up to 300 meters (980 feet).
As a fitness tracker, the ScanWatch Horizon can automatically recognize and track more than 30 activities, including walking, running, swimming, and cycling. It’s fitted with Bluetooth to use your phone’s GPS to track your routes, with a battery that can last up to 30 days before needing a recharge. Collected data is synced back to the Withings Health Mate (iOS and Android) app on your phone, where performance can be monitored or linked to Apple Health, Google Fit, Strava, and more.
The watch comes slathered in sensors to measure heart rate and blood oxygen to assess your estimated VO2 Max fitness level. It can also prompt a wearer to record a 30-second “medical grade” ECG when it detects signs of an irregular heart rhythm. The ScanWatch Horizon also tracks sleep. And like the original ScanWatch announced last year, the Horizon can detect and warn wearers of possible disorders that might indicate sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops during sleep.
Notably, the ECG claims are holding up both the ScanWatch and ScanWatch Horizon from going on sale in the US since FDA Clearance is required. Withings initially expected clearance in 2020, but these “unusual times” have created a delay, according to the company. Withings says that it’s in regular contact with the FDA and now expects approval “within weeks.” It already has regulatory approval in Europe, Australia, and the UK, for example.
Remember, as we said in our science-based review of the Withings ScanWatch hybrid, doctors don’t trust smartwatches alone to detect sleep apnea, and neither should you. And while blood oxygen is an important metric to monitor patients with COVID-19, wrist-worn sensors like this lack the accuracy of pulse oximeters that take measurements on a finger.
The ScanWatch Horizon is available today in the UK, France, and Germany for €499.95/£499.95. Withings says it should be available in the US sometime in Q4 2021, by which time it expects to have FDA Clearance.
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