The new Withings hybrid smartwatch automatically detects irregular heartbeats

Withings ScanWatch
(Image credit: Withings)

Withings revealed its newest hybrid smartwatch at CES 2020, the Withings ScanWatch, which looks like a great - if pricey - device for those who want their wearable to automatically scan for heart or sleep trouble.

The ScanWatch looks much like other Withings hybrid smartwatches, appearing like a traditional handsome timepiece with analog dials. Much like last year’s higher-end Withings Steel HR, the new model has a subtle circular digital screen to show heart and sleep data; and like the Withings Move ECG, it can take ECG heart readings to check for heart arrythmeas (AFib) on command.

But unlike prior Withings wearables, the ScanWatch can passively scan for heartbeat irregularities, too, thanks to an embedded PPG sensor. If it senses any, the smartwatch will prompt the wearer to take a proper ECG reading. 

The other big new feature takes Withings’ typical sleep tracking to the next level by scanning for sleep apnea. An SpO2 sensor measures oxygen saturation levels and tracks if (and when) they’re inadequate, which could be caused by breathing disturbances like sleep apnea. 

Of course, the ScanWatch fuilfills other fitness tracking like other Withings hybrid smartwatches by sending activity data straight to the wearer’s smartphone to view in Withings’ proprietary app. And while its estimated 30-day rechargeable battery capacity doesn't quite live up to that of the nearly year-long life of Withings' other hybrid smartwatches, it's still a month - which is magnitudes longer than most typical wearables.

(Image credit: Withings)

Passive tracking at a price

All these extra features - including a stainless steel case and a glass watch face - come at a hefty cost that approaches other ECG-scanning smartwatches like the Apple Watch 4. The smaller 38mm version will retail for $249 / £229 / €249 (around AU$358) while the larger 42mm model will cost $299 / £279 / €299 (around AU$430).

That’s pricier than prior Withings devices, which saved on cost by opting for an analog watch face instead of a digital one and funneling all the complex data to display on a smartphone. This is the fanciest Withings yet - and the first to have a proper crown.

But for the consumer who wants a more traditional-looking timepiece with a lot of sleep and heart-rate tracking under the hood, the Withings ScanWatch could be a great option.

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David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.