Withings Pulse HR review: A longer-lasting competitor to Fitbit’s Alta HR

Valentina Palladino


Withings has actually returned as its own business after a brief stint under Nokia, and it’s highlighted some brand-new physical fitness trackers to handle the leading competitors. The $129 Withings Pulse HR looks and acts just like Fitbit’s Alta HR: its svelte, rectangle-shaped module tracks heart rate all the time and night along with day-to-day activity and exercises.

Lots of physical fitness trackers have actually debuted in the previous number of years, however the Alta HR stays our leading choice for a lot of users Withings is intending to dismiss it in the minds of the general public by providing a gadget that’s a lot more subtle in style and guarantees weeks of battery life. However those things aren’t attainable without sacrifices, and the alternatives Withings overlooked of the Pulse HR might prevent some from selecting it.


The Pulse HR might be nondescript, however that does not suggest it’s hollow. Stainless-steel comprises the majority of the module, together with a polycarbonate surface area finishing that makes the leading part soft to the touch. The OLED screen is just as huge as it needs to be– it does not use up the whole flat surface area of the modular, rather just the middle 3rd approximately.

Its minimalistic nature makes seeing it in direct sunshine simple, however the screen is tap just. A press of the single side button or a tap on the screen’s surface area cycles through the time and statistics consisting of heart rate, actions, and battery life. Tapping didn’t constantly sign up for me, so I utilized the side button the majority of the time. It likewise has the conventional raise-to-wake function that exposes the clock whenever you turn your wrist up. Sadly, that function was picky too, with the gadget just waking the screen about half of the times I consulted my wrist for the time.

At 45 grams, the Pulse HR is rather light, making it among the most comfy gadgets to sleep with. Its heart-rate display tracks pulse all day and all night, so its style needed to appropriate for 24- hour wear. You might even use it in the shower thanks to its 50 m water resistance, however I chose not to do that.

Its bands are likewise interchangeable, extending the life of the gadget in the long run. Extra wristband colors and designs will be offered from Withings this year, and I hope they consist of more wristband sizes in these brand-new alternatives (presently, the Pulse HR is available in simply one size). Fitbit’s Alta HR likewise has interchangeable bands, however I choose the softer, more versatile silicone of Withings’ bands over Fitbit’s. Bands for the Alta HR are most stiff in the locations linked to the module itself, providing an odd C-like shape when you eliminate them. The hinge and band design of the Pulse HR makes it so the tracker lies flat on any surface area that you position it on when you’re not using it.

Visually, very little makes the Pulse HR stick out to name a few physical fitness trackers. Nevertheless, Withings tactically compromised some style flare and tiresome hardware in favor of battery life. The Pulse HR lasts approximately 20 days on a single charge or approximately 5 days in “exercise mode,” which essentially implies that the battery will drain pipes much faster the more you exercise. My gadget was down to 70 percent after 5 days of all-day and all-night usage, with 3 one-hour exercises tape-recorded because time too.

Physical fitness functions

Heart rate and linked GPS

The Pulse HR tracks workout in 2 methods: instantly or through the on-device exercise menu. Comparable to Fitbit’s SmartTrack, the Pulse HR can find when you’re working out for a particular amount of time and record it as an exercise duration. It’s more precise than I anticipated: on a couple of events, I discovered 10- to 15- minute durations of “physical fitness” instantly tape-recorded in the Health Mate app that accompanied the times I was rushing to run errands. It appears that the gadget acknowledges most sessions of increased heart-rate activity and records it– if you do not wish to consist of those sessions in your day-to-day log, you can erase them in the mobile app.

Probably easier for those who make a point to work out frequently is the exercise menu, which is available by long-pressing the Pulse HR’s side button. 6 exercise profiles live here and you can alter which appear on your gadget from within the Health Mate mobile app. In this method, the Pulse HR is a bit more like Fitbit’s $150 Charge 3, and it makes good sense considering its module and screen size are someplace in between that of the Alta HR and the Charge 3. There’s more area to consist of the graphics essential to make up the exercise menu.

I seldom forget to tape an exercise, so I valued the addition of the exercise menu. Brief presses of the side button let you skim all on-device exercise profiles, and a long-press chooses and begins a recording of the profile that’s on the screen. While working out, statistics like period, heart rate, and range fill the carousel areas on the screen, so you can tap or push your method through them.

Another long-press of the side button right away ends and conserves the exercise when you’re ended up. Each time you do this, the session is instantly conserved, making sure that all tape-recorded activities are secured till you select to modify them in the Health Mate app.

A lot of exercise profiles have the choice to link to your smart device’s GPS; the Pulse HR will look for your smart device with the Health Mate app working on it when you start an exercise in efforts to get that GPS signal. You can start exercising prior to the signal has actually been caught– the function operates in the background, mapping your path as you work out and providing you with a map in the information of the taped activity in the Health Mate app.

The couple of maps I tape-recorded were precise, which’s not unexpected considering that the function feeds off the neighboring smart device and does not count on the hardware of the Pulse HR itself. Even without GPS connection, I was shocked at how precise the running-distance estimations were. The Pulse HR’s measurements of my treadmill strolls and runs were practically similar to those of the device itself.

The heart-rate display tracks pulse continually while you work out, and it’s a quite precise sensing unit, too. It generally determined my heart rate within 5 BPM of the Polar H10 chest strap, however it did take a couple of minutes to heat up and record high heart rates (in the 170 BPMs) properly.