The names Cédric Hutchings and Eric Carreel may not be instantly familiar to you, but these two gentlemen are concerned about your health and well being. Cédric and Eric are the founders of Withings, a company that creates products and services designed to enable people to track aspects of their lifestyle. One such product is the Withings Pulse 02, which is described as an ‘activity tracker’.
This small device, measuring 43 x 22 x 8mm and featuring an equally small touchscreen, can attach it to your wrist, belt, clothing (using the supplied attachments) or be stored in a pocket, whereupon it can be used to provide feedback as to your sleep pattern, heart rate, blood oxygen level and general activity. This includes such metrics as steps taken, distance travelled and the amount of calories burned by these activities, the measurements for which can then be synchronised to a smartphone or tablet via a Bluetooth connection.
Powered by an internal battery, providing up to two weeks of usage, the Pulse 02 keeps its controls to a minimum. A single button on top of the unit allows you to turn power on/off, cycle through modes and activate a sync. On the rear of the device is a light sensor that provides heart rate and blood oxygen level data. A microUSB port on the base of the product can be used to charge the device with the supplied USB lead.
In order to set up your Pulse 02 you will need to download the free Withings Health Mate app onto your smartphone or tablet (versions are available for iOS and Android), which can be used to set up a free Withings account containing your personal information. The Pulse 02 will then receive the necessary software that allows it to gather the data that will be fed to your smartphone or tablet.
The Pulse 02 touchscreen only has limited viewing capabilities due to its small size. Only one set of data can be displayed at any one time. You can cycle through the different sections by using the button on top of the device, though. You can also scroll through previous days of data by dragging a finger across the screen.
This device can also measure heart rate and blood oxygen level. In order to carry out these tasks you will need to place a finger on the rear-mounted light sensor for a few seconds before the relevant figures appear on the screen. Withings tells me that this blood oxygen level testing is a first for activity trackers and will prove extremely useful for mountain climbers, athletes who train in high altitudes and those with breathing problems.
The device can also be set to record your sleep pattern. For this particular task it is best if you have the Pulse 02 attached to your wrist using the supplied accessory. For other times I preferred to make use of the belt/ clothing holder.
The Health Mate app presents the data gathered by the Pulse 02 on its Dashboard or Timeline screens. There is an option to drill down to check on weight, activity, sleep and heart sections and receive basic advice based on your performance. A Help section which I found more useful that the Quick Start Guide, is included in the package.