Gorgeous smartwatches make poor fitness trackers

The Withings Activite is an analog styled watch with fitness tracking capabilities. As GigaOm describes it:

The Activite can track calories, steps, running workouts, and sleep. It’s even waterproof, and Withings hopes to add a swimming workout mode soon.

The watch looks great. Gorgeous even. I like how there’s a secondary dial that shows you how close you are to your steps goal.

However, this would make a poor fitness tracker. Here’s why: first, a watch is fundamentally different from a fitness band; and second, data from the Activite will live in isolation from all your other health data.


First, using this watch to play, say, tennis or basketball will feel gross. Not to mention out of place. And Withings wants you to sleep with the watch too after you play?

There’s a good reason the fitness tracker is typically a band, and that’s because it’s the kind of device you don’t feel weird about sweating in.

I have the Moto 360 (review here), and it’s considerably less posh than the Withings Activite. But I don’t like wearing it for sports at all. The leather band gets dirty, sweaty and frankly the whole thing feels nasty.

That I do wear it leads me to the second reason — before Android Fit, my fitness data was stuck with the Moto 360, meaning if I used multiple devices I wouldn’t get a holistic picture because my data lived in different places.

Now, I can get a fitness tracker just for sports and expect all data to be consolidated in one location.

Will Withings sync data with Android Fit, Apple Healthkit or even Microsoft Health?

All that data can be synced with the Withings Health Mate app. Unfortunately, the Activite can only sync with the iOS at the moment and not the version of the app on Google Play.

Since it can’t even sync with your Android phone, it doesn’t look good. It might be a while before Withings integrates with Fit and Healthkit, if at all. As I understand, integration is not backwards looking; so all that data you had before doesn’t get transferred over.

So if you wear the Withings Activite, it’ll represent something of a black hole in your overall health profile on Android or iOS.

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