Withings announces ScanWatch, a smartwatch with ECG, Sp02 features and 30-day battery life

Withings Scanwatch Black and White
Withings Scanwatch Black and White (Image credit: Withings)

What you need to know

  • Withings today announced ScanWatch, a new health-focused smartwatch.
  • The new watch features AFib detection and a medical-grade oximeter.
  • It'll be available in the United States starting at $279 later this year.

Smartwatches are all the rage and we've seen them save lives left and right in recent years. That's made possible by advanced features like built-in ECG capabilities – for detecting atrial fibrillation – and blood oxygen monitors that do the obvious. Withings has a new smartwatch that packs both of those features and somehow manages to still look like a watch as well.

Withings today announced ScanWatch, and it's available in Europe now. The company says it'll go on sale in the United States later this year once all the red tape has been sorted out and prices will start at $279. That's for the 38mm option, with the 42mm size costing an extra $20.

The features really do speak for themselves, but here's what Withings has to say about its ECG feature.

AFib is the main form of irregular heart rhythm that is often underdiagnosed as it can be intermittent and easily missed if symptoms are not occurring during infrequent doctors' visit. ScanWatch can detect if a user has AFib thanks to its ability to take a medical-grade ECG on- demand. ScanWatch also enables users to identify if their heart rhythm is slow, high or shows sign of AFib through a proactive heart scanning feature. Through its embedded PPG sensor, the device has the ability to monitor heart rate, which allows it to alert the user to a potential heart event even if they don't feel palpitations. When ScanWatch detects an irregular heartbeat through its heart rate sensor, it will prompt the user via the watch display to record an ECG in just 30 seconds.

That's the kind of thing that can very literally save lives and Apple in particular has sold tons of Apple Watches on its ability to detect when someone has AFib. The more watches that support its detection, the better.

Withing Scanwatch Color Options

Withing Scanwatch Color Options (Image credit: Withings)

Something Apple Watch can't boast is a blood oxygen monitor, or Sp02 sensor. ScanWatch has one though, and it sounds like it could be another big deal for anyone at risk from something like sleep apnea. The sensor not only keeps tabs on the amount of oxygen in your blood during the day, but its night time monitoring can help give Withings a better feel for how you're sleeping, too. Medical -grade sleep apnea detection will be added once regulators are happy, Withings says.

Currently, users can see the intensity of breathing disturbances that occurred during the night, in the Health Mate app, from low to high. Medical-grade sleep apnea detection will automatically become available following further regulatory approval later this year.In addition, ScanWatch provides sophisticated sleep monitoring and analysis of sleep patterns, including the length, depth and quality of sleep, and can wake users up with a gentle vibration at the best time of their sleep cycle.

The usual array of activity and workout tracking is also included, and the watch will be available in both black and white color variations. The black is particularly stunning.

It's always a net positive for everyone when a new smartwatch hits the market and the more lives devices like this can save, the better. The Withings ScanWatch might also be worth checking out if you're someone who wants their watch to look like a watch, rather than a mini-computer, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.