Connect with gaming and metaverse leaders online at GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3 this February 1-2. Register here.

When I first told my girlfriend that I’d decided to buy a $150 smart scale, she laughed at me.

“Can’t you get a scale for like, $10?” she asked.

I sure could. A quick Amazon search today reveals plenty of sleek scales, many priced around a modest $20 and all probably suited to helping me track how much (or little) weight I may (or may not) lose over time.

She had a good point. And so, like any rational person, I doubled down and ordered Withings‘ fanciest scale: the Smart Body Analyzer. It tracks my weight, BMI, fat mass, heart rate, the air quality in my bedroom, and it tells me the weather. It’s suuuper fancy.


Intelligent Security Summit

Learn the critical role of AI & ML in cybersecurity and industry specific case studies on December 8. Register for your free pass today.

Register Now

And for a while, it motivated me to get fit (fit being a relative term), until I changed apartments, the batteries died, and I abandoned it under my bedside table indefinitely. It sat there for months, gathering a sad coat of dust.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I felt motivated to give the scale another try and checked what sort of batteries it requires (four AAAs). I resolved to buy them that week, didn’t, and then last week Withings contacted VentureBeat with an offer to review “the most advanced device” it’s ever made: a pricier, fancier scale. A shiny new thing! What a series of events! I said yes, and here it is sitting next to my bed.

Withings’ new scale is called the Body Cardio. It costs $180, and it does just about everything my scale already did, plus it can measure your pulse wave velocity — a metric that I truly do not understand, but which is apparently “a key indicator of cardiac health and associated with hypertension and risks of cardiovascular incidents,” according to Withings’ press release.

And so I used the scale last week — the same week I decided to really get my diet together and start exercising a bit more, but for real this time.

My first weigh-in was disappointing; the scale’s display might as well have read “lazy millennial” (I hated writing that just as much as you hated reading it).

A few days later, however, when I weighed in after a one-time-only Soul Cycle thrill ride, I realized that I’d already lost a few pounds, and I felt motivated. And another day later, when I saw a string of progress indicators inside Withings’ accompanying mobile app, I felt that familiar little push to eat a bit healthier and exercise more.

In that way, Withings’ smart scales are the gadget equivalent of hiring a personal trainer. Both are costly mechanisms for improving your health, both carry a sort of elitist vibe, and neither is purely necessary because exercise is free, and laziness is a function of privilege. But that’s not a good enough reason to write off Withings.

Now that the company’s Body Cardio is out, I’m not going to buy it. The scale I already own does almost everything Withings’ new scale can do, in addition to the one random thing it can’t: measure air quality.

But if I didn’t already own that scale, reviewing Withings’ latest scale could have motivated me to buy one. For some people, and surely I cannot speak for everyone, scales are an excellent motivator, and the smart scale category somehow feels more advanced and mature than the bumbling world of wearables. That’s why I can certainly recommend Body Cardio if you’re looking for a connected scale with heart health features (the features I lament not really paying much attention to).

And if that niche pitch doesn’t woo you, here are a few other options: You can buy a $20 scale and manually enter your weight into Withings’ free app — maybe a safe way to start — or you could buy one of Withings’ slightly cheaper connected scales, which now start at $130. If you’re okay with outsourcing your motivation, I think it’s worth the price.

In fact, after I send the Cardio back to Withings, I may even go pick up some batteries.


Update June 15: Withings is no longer selling its Smart Body Analyzer, but you can still find it (for now) on Amazon

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.