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Withings Activité Pop, activity monitor : Analysis and in-depth testing

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There are more and more activity monitors on the market. Whether it's in the form of a bracelet, smart watch or belt clip, they all do more or less the same thing: they count steps, analyse the intensity of your activity, the quality of your sleep, and some even count stairs or display smartphone notifications. And they will end up transmitting all that information to your mobile phone. They are usually discreet, but when someone looks at them they always ask what it is that you are wearing. But the Withings Activité Pop is different from the rest.

What makes Activité special is that it doesn't look like a "gadget". It breaks away from everything on the market. It does what other manufacturers do, but in a stylish watch that you can wear at all times and that no one will notice, at least not as an activity monitor.

Within the range you can find two models. The first one to arrive on the market was the Activité, boasting of its Swiss manufacture and with a price of 390 ?. During the CES in Las Vegas Withings it presented the Activité Pop: same concept and features, but changing its label "swiss made" for "made in China", in exchange for significantly lowering its price to 149.95 ?. And despite the disparity in price, the only thing that makes them different is the materials used. The Activité Pop loses the sapphire crystal, the stainless steel case and the leather strap. This does not mean that it feels cheap next to it, quite the opposite. It still has crystal (although mineral) and not a plastic lens, the silicone strap has a good feel and the watch case is made of metal with a PVD coating. And its functionality as an activity monitor is exactly the same.

The watch I have tested for a few weeks is the Withings Activité Pop, which is the most interesting watch in the Activité range because of its quality/price ratio. It is available for purchase on the Withings website since the beginning of February.

As always, I like to clarify the origin of the test units. Despite contacting the Withings press department on several occasions to get a test unit, I got no response. So as soon as it was in stock in Europe, I went to their website and bought a unit. And in just two days (and without shipping costs) the test was already starting.

Unpacking

The Withings Activité Pop is unobtrusive and at a glance you can see its main features. You don't have to charge it (it works with a button battery that lasts about 6-8 months and you can replace it yourself) and it is synchronized via Bluetooth Smart. It monitors your activity, your sleep and has a silent alarm.

Withings-Activite-003

This is the first time I have to break a box to get a device out. Withings has not made it easy, and by pulling the watch and the small box that holds it, it doesn't seem to come out, so the option is to pull the whole block. Wrong, because it's stuck to the bottom of the packaging. The trick is that you have to take the box out by forcing it slightly forward to overcome some tabs that it has. And so you avoid the damage.

Withings breakage of box

We throw away the box and keep what we are interested in: a small instruction manual, our new Withings Activité Pop and the tool to activate it and to remove the battery cover.
Withings-Activite-013

The Activité Pop allows you to change the strap very easily. If you turn it over, you will see that it has some actuators on the pins. You can change the strap for any of the ones offered by Withings (leather or rubber) or use any one you want, as it is a standard size of 18mm. You can also see the activation button that you will have to press to start the watch, and the small tab on the cover to be able to change the battery.

Withings-Activite-014

And speaking of changing the battery, it's very simple: lift the lid, replace the CR2025 battery (which you can buy in any supermarket for a small fee), close the door and it's done in another 6 months.

Withings-Activite-016

Once I've assembled it and made sure there are no pieces left over (you never know...) it's time to put it on my wrist and start moving.

Withings Activité Pop, the clock

The Withings Activité Pop is only available in one size, with a 36.3mm diameter dial. I think this is a size that will satisfy few, because while for men it may be too small, for a woman it may be too big. I have a fairly wide wrist, aesthetically it is too small.

Withings Activité Pop on my wrist

In the case of a woman's wrist, the sphere size is much more natural, but the problem here is that the strap is very long.

Withings Activité Pop on her wrist

All the clock settings are made directly from the phone, so after pairing it up and checking if there are any software updates available, what we need to do is calibrate it. You should leave the hour and minute hands at 12 o'clock, and the movement hand at zero. After that, the clock synchronises with the time the phone has at that moment, and it will stay that way as long as it remains connected. So if you make a change of time zone, the clock will change time automatically.

Calibrating hands in Withings Activité Pop

The clock has a silent alarm that can be activated and deactivated from the mobile application, but with details to be improved. The first thing is that it is not possible to differentiate between the days of the week and the weekend, so if you use the alarm to wake up in the morning you must remember to disconnect it manually when the weekend arrives. Unless you intend to get up on a Sunday at 7:00, which I doubt. The second problem is that the alarm cannot be stopped, you have to wait until the clock stops vibrating, and it will do so for twelve times in a row. Something annoying if at the third or fourth vibration you have already heard the alarm.

A couple of touches on the watch crystal will move the hands to show it.

Withings Activité Pop, the activity monitor

Let's go to what we are interested in, monitoring our activity. Once the clock is synchronized with the phone we will have all the information regarding our activity, both in the application and on the Withings website itself. The synchronization is not with a device, but with its servers, so it is multi-device. We can consult the data from different phones or tablets (and synchronize them), as well as view it on its own website.

In the section of applications, we can find it for Android and iOS. But at the moment in Android it is not possible to synchronize the clock to download the activity, we can only consult data and enter others manually, such as weight. On March 2nd, Withings has updated its Healt Mate app to support syncing with Android.

Both applications, the telephone and the web, are complementary, that is, they do not show the same information. On the web we will find more generic information about our activity, such as objectives or comparisons with other friends that we can add, medals achieved with our achievements (which you will also receive by e-mail), as well as different graphs. Especially useful is MyFitnessPal to be able to follow the evolution of the week if you want to lose weight.

Withings website

In the phone application you will have more detail of the daily activities performed, as well as the duration and steps taken. These activities are separated into fragments, so you will be able to identify each one of them. When you take the dog out, when you go out on the way to the subway, the way from the subway to work, etc. Each one of them will indicate a start time, the type of activity, the distance traveled and how long you have been moving.

But not only is it useful for counting your walks, it also makes a difference when you go for a run, counting it in a totally different way in terms of distances and calories, which it calculates with an algorithm from the height and weight data entered at the beginning.

Buscador de chollos

Here I compare the Withings Activité Pop records against a GPS clock. This is the data present in Garmin Connect. Tuesday and Wednesday running, and Thursday playing football.

Activities saved in Garmin Connect

On Thursday, according to Forerunner 920xt's GPS measurement, I covered 4.71 km (football match), starting at 21:58 and with a total duration of 1:07. Let's see what the Withings Activité Pop recorded for that time of day.

Activity Withings Activité Pop Thursday

A very similar distance, 4.5km done in a little more time, as it has counted as the same exercise, in addition to the match, the coming and going of the parking lot. But the intensity of the exercise has not been interpreted correctly, so it has only counted 199 calories instead of the 850 indicated by Garmin Connect. And it is something that you can not change later, so if the clock is wrong in the type of activity, bad luck, because it will stay that way.

On Wednesday I did a 33:47 workout for a total of 6.8 kilometers at 10:34 p.m. and consumed 615 calories. What does the Withings Activité Pop say about that activity?

Activity Withings Activité Pop Wednesday

Enter the start time and duration of the exercise, 34 minutes from 10:35 p.m., although it counts one kilometer more, but the calorie estimate is very close to the figure recorded by the Garmin Forerunner 920xt.

Finally, Tuesday's activity: 10.51 km training leaving at 22:30, running for 55:56 with a consumption of 882 calories.

Activity Withings Activité Pop Tuesday

As on the previous day, it again perfectly records the time of departure and the duration of the exercise, although again it counts a little more distance. But where it coincides again is in the calculation of calories, indicating a consumption of 936.

Within the typical operation of an activity monitor, which simply collects data thanks to the internal accelerometer it has and interprets it thanks to the algorithms created by the manufacturer, the records offered are closer to reality than we might imagine at first.

Sleep monitoring

Once you're tired of walking, running and exercising it's time to go to bed and rest. Another feature we found in the Withings Activité Pop is that sleep detection is automatic, so you don't have to change modes before going to bed and go back to normal mode once you get up, the clock does it automatically.

The mobile will then receive all the data about how the dream was that night, and you can check it both on the web and in the app.

Withings sleep monitoring

The graph shows when you start sleeping and whether you are sleeping deep or light. It also tells you if you have woken up in the middle of the night. And if you put your finger on the graph, you can tell at what time each of the events has occurred.

Withings Health Mate

Health Mate is the name of the application with which Activité Pop is synchronized. It is the one we have to download to perform the initial configuration and where you will find not only the details of your activity, but also the monitoring of your health with a series of tips that will be offered to you. At this point Withings has set it up well, as the application itself encourages you to monitor your health completely thanks to other products of the brand, such as the scale or the blood pressure monitor that they have in their catalogue and that are also wireless.

The application is simple and the menu is quickly summarized.

Health Mate - Menu

  • Timeline: your daily activity, both on the move and sleeping. You can also set the alarm or take a heart rate measurement (with the iPhone's camera).
  • Control Panel: A section where you can place widgets with the information you are most interested in and that you can order yourself.
  • Rating table: If more friends use Withings, here you can "sting" to see who takes more steps each day.
  • Profile: Set your weight and height here, and you can also enable synchronization with third-party applications such as Apple Health Kit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, and more.
  • Reminders: Health tips for which you can activate warnings, such as going for a run, taking your blood pressure or going to sleep.

At the top of the Timeline you will have your activity of the day while below you can see what you have been doing in the past days. Clicking on each section you will have extended information.

Health Mate - Activity

In the control panel you have the different widgets that you have selected, along with a butterfly with coloured wings, which will be coloured as you carry out the activity and fulfil your objectives. This is what you call your level of well-being.

Health Mate - Control Panel

As you can see, these levels are based on your weight, activity, sleep and heart rate. Activity and sleep are automatically completed with each synchronisation, while weight and heart rate data must be entered manually, although if you have the Withings scale and blood pressure monitor you will also get this data automatically.

Health Mate - Wellness Levels

What is missing from the Withings Activité Pop?

As is often the case with products launched by Withings, their beginnings are somewhat "tortuous". They are launched with some announced feature that is not (yet) present in the final product and that should arrive in future updates. And this also happens in Activité Pop.

The first thing you'll find is the lack of an Android app, although Withings hopes to fix it soon. It's not really that there is no Android app, which there is, but is not yet compatible with Activité or Activité Pop. This issue should be resolved by the end of February, as announced on their website. Withings has kept its promise, and on March 2nd (well, it's been a couple of days) Activité and Activité Pop can sync with Android.

Withings Android compatibility

Withings has also repeatedly announced the ability to use Activité and Activité Pop for swimming and to take pool metrics into account. And when I say announce it, it is really proclaiming it. Here are some examples from his website.

Withings Activité Pop swim 1

Withings Activité Pop swim 2

Withings Activité Pop swim 4

Both on the web and in advertising materials, and even on the box itself, they advertise this feature. This is something that has yet to be updated, and according to estimates by the French firm, we will have it on the clocks by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Withings Activité Pop swim 3

Update July 7

Withings has launched updates for the Activité and Activité Pop, and from today it is already possible to track swimming activity. This makes them the first activity monitors with this functionality. It took a little longer than expected, but finally it has become a reality.

Withings Activité swimming

As for the Activity Monitor feature, one thing we can't do yet is change the target. By default Health Mate sets it to 10,000 steps a day, which for some may be too much and for others may mean only a part of their daily routine. I hope that in a future update they will allow this to be changed, because even if at 10,000 steps the watch continues to count, starting the hand again from zero, it would be more convenient for everyone to adjust it to their own particular use. Thanks to an update of Withings, it is now possible to modify the target of daily steps to your liking.

The sleep tracking function is not as reliable as you would like. Sometimes it fails to go into "sleep" mode and the time you spend asleep does not count as sleep, but as inactivity. This changes all the records accumulated during the week, so the average accumulated sleep will not be correct.

Where it has a lot of room for improvement is in the section on alarms. Not only does it allow more than one to be configured, but it also makes the alarms to wake us up intelligent; a feature that is available for example in Jawbone UpWithin that time, depending on how we sleep (light or deep), the bracelet decides whether to wake us up at the right time or advance the vibration, with the aim of waking up at the right time.

My opinion

Despite these details, I liked the Withings Activité Pop. Quite a lot. And I'm sure you will too. Even if you're a runner, but don't need the accuracy of a dedicated GPS watch or know your workout rhythms right away, the Withings Activité Pop will give you fairly accurate distance data (the usual for an accelerometer-based activity monitor), with a margin of error that will usually not exceed 10%.

The best thing is precisely its aesthetic, as a traditional watch. And within that standardized use there is also the fact of not having to charge it several times a week. A couple of battery changes a year (for which you don't need more than 30 seconds) will be enough. If you want to have the help of an activity monitor without being seen as a "technology geek", the Withings Activité Pop is the best option.

The price is quite interesting given what it offers (and what it has to offer by upgrading), and the choice of colors available, both for watches and straps, allows you to completely customize it to your liking. What I would ask Withings is two different sizes of dial and be able to offer a slightly larger model, around 41 or 42 mm in diameter, for which we have wider wrists.

Did you like the test?

I hope you enjoyed this full review. It takes many hours to do such a review. If you liked it and want to help, comment below on what you thought of the test, or if you have any questions, ask me!

If you want to help out, send this test to your friends and share it on your social networks. If you want to buy the device, you can do it directly on the Withings website through this linkThey return a small commission that will help in the purchase of new devices to perform more analysis like this.

 

 

Buy Withings Activité Pop

You can buy the Withings Activité Pop on their website through this linkOr also on Amazon in the links below.

Withings Activite Pop - Activity monitor, grey
Price: 59,90 €
2 new from 59,90 €   0 Second hand
Amazon logo

Rating

Operation - 8
Connectivity - 9
Design, finish and comfort - 9
Autonomy - 10
Applications - 6.5
Price - 7.5
User Rating: 3.44 ( 4 votes)

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25 Comments

  1. Very good article, especially for someone like me very interested in buying one of these. Did you buy it on their website? I can't buy it now, apparently there's no stock, I don't know. Thanks Eduardo. Do you still recommend its purchase?

    1. Hello Francisco

      Yes, I still find it a good activity monitor, and it is certainly the prettiest and most simple looking one.

      I bought it from their website, at the same link I have here, the day it went on sale. Right now they are with the launch in the USA.

  2. Hello! Now I have the doubt between this and the polar... Aesthetically the W pop wins by a landslide, that measures the daily activity is a draw, but to see in real time in the polar the marked training rhythms, heart rate and such, positions them in different needs, no? Even so I like it and a lot!
    Thanks for the review!

    1. Hello again.

      Yes, these are different needs. The Polar M400 is a watch for those who train regularly, and have certain goals in terms of distance and pace. This watch is complemented by the possibilities of an activity monitor.

      Activité Pop is first and foremost an activity monitor that helps you stay active all day long and is also able to give you APPROXIMATE information on the distance travelled.

      If you run as a hobby but without any specific goal to achieve, you are likely to be happier with Activité Pop.

  3. Hello, good...

    I have had it in my hands and it gave me the feeling of a little weak crystal, qtal behaves at scratch level?

    Thank you.

    1. The glass is mineral, like any type of mid-range watch that does not have sapphire (Lotus, Citizen, Seiko, etc).

      That is, if you hit a wall, the glass will be scratched. But this is true of any watch (unless it has sapphire crystal).

      As long as you don't have any accidents, it won't get scratched in normal use.

  4. Hello: I would like to know if there is an option to adjust the steps to make it more reliable. I know that other activity bracelets have the option. Thank you.

  5. Hello:
    I would like to know if there is an option to adjust / configure the steps to be more reliable, I know that other activity bracelets have this option. Thank you.

    1. No, the calculation of the walking distance is automatic, based on height, weight, age and sex, but it is not possible to specify a specific stride distance.

  6. Hello! One question I have... if you have turned off the bluetooth on your phone or you have it linked to another clock... the clock keeps on ticking, counting the steps and working the alarm?
    And another question if someone has used the Withings Ox...it also automatically recognizes when you have started running like the Withings does
    I activated?
    Thank you!

  7. Hello!
    Congratulations on your work, it's excellent and thank you for all the work you do.
    In the end I couldn't resist and I bought the withings.
    I have only configured it and I just put it on my wrist, but as I have reread the analysis for it I wanted to contribute, if you want to rectify it in the analysis as I have seen that you have done with the theme of the app in android that the daily goal can be modified and put the one you want, comes standard 10,000 steps but you can increase or reduce it to your needs,

    1. That's right, it was updated a few months ago and already offered that possibility, I had to change it. Thanks for remembering!

  8. I've just come from the gym to do a good spinning tute and my withing hasn't even flinched, it doesn't detect the exercise in static, or I've missed something?

    1. No, the exercise builds up with the accelerometer, so if there is no movement of the clock it cannot know that you have been working out.

  9. Hola, pues a mí no me monitoriza cuando corro, en el total diario de pasos y km sí, pero no me lo indica el desglose de actividad. Por ejemplo, ayer me pone 13,19km, pero me desglosa sólo 6 tramos con: 0,5+0,7+0,4+0,4+2,1+0,9 km que en total suman 5km me faltan 8,19km, que es un poco más de lo que debí correr. Además de que pone que empieza la actividad de 2,1km a las 17:43 y dura 18min. A esa hora más o menos empecé a correr y terminé sobre las 18:30, no hice ni 2,1km ni fueron sólo 18min. Justo cuando terminé de correr a las 18:30 es cuando me pone que empieza el siguiente tramo de andar: 0,9km durante 13min. Para mí, un misterio. No llevaba el móvil mientras corría, sólo el reloj, el móvil lo dejé en las gradas (corremos alrededor de un campo de rugby), pero se supone que para eso se tiene un reloj, no? para no tener que llevar el móvil. La vez anterior que hice lo mismo (tengo el reloj desde hace muy poco tiempo) me pasó lo mismo: sale en el total y en la gráfica, pero no en el desglose de las actividades. No sé, qué te parece que puede estar pasando?

    1. The race detection is based on the internal accelerometer of the watch, so the movement of the wrist must be natural and not too loose, as it can confuse the calculation algorithm. Apart from that, it has no other possible configuration.

  10. Me sigue monitorizando fatal, cuando corro no me lo mide como te comenté y ayer que te hice caso y apreté el reloj para llevarlo más ajustado, corrí 35 minutos, sin embargo el reloj (bueno la aplicación) me dice que 66 minutos!!! una barbaridad, cuando corro no acierta ni a tiros, con lo que dudo ya en los resultados de caminar también. El sueño tampoco veo yo que me lo monitorice como debe ser, no me cuadra lo que pone, pero eso es menos comprobable que lo de correr. Las siestas ni caso, ni aunque sean de dos horas. No lo he probado nadando pero temo lo peor. En conjunto no me gusta nada, porque no me sirve para nada. Es un regalo por lo que no puedo cambiarlo, pero como siga así, simplemente dejaré de usarlo, me da más datos mi reloj simple digital, que también tiene alarma, que por ahora, es lo único que funciona bien del Withings, pero al contrario que éste no tengo que llevarlo puesto de noche para que me despierte, puede estar en la mesilla. Fatal compra.

  11. Hello! Excellent analysis, congratulations.
    I'm looking at activity bracelets to give one to my girlfriend. I'm hesitating between this one and the Jawbone Up2, since at first glance they are the most "feminine" to wear all day.
    My girlfriend likes to go for a walk for an hour a day and I think it's a good article to do her exercise routine.
    I would like to know your opinion and which one you would choose, I am seduced by this one because it also functions as a clock and is waterproof. Otherwise at first sight they are similar.
    Thank you very much and best regards!

    1. I haven't tried Jawbone Up2, but personally I find the Withings Activité Pop more appealing precisely because it doesn't look like an activity monitor.

  12. Hi! after buying my watch at Christmas, I had detected that sometimes I didn't synchronize my sleep or the steps of a day well and they were left blank in the app, but I blamed it on the fact that I was the one who didn't synchronize it daily, otherwise great. until yesterday, when he asked me to update the watch and I did, the watch was a few minutes late, when I went to set it right, it no longer recognized the watch, there's no way that the mobile could find it, the app says that it's a problem with my bluetooh, I try with another mobile and it doesn't detect it either, I've restarted it several times and it works, so I guess it's not a battery issue... Or is it? Any idea to solve it? Thanks!

  13. Hi, I was captivated by this watch and looking for analysis I found your website and since then I'm a loyal follower of yours (although honestly I'm not one of many of these things, maybe that's why I chose this model. Even so, it was difficult because I wanted it to have a heart rate too, and I just saw on your website that they are going to release a model like this, whtings steel HR, so I ask you to get it as soon as possible and do a great analysis as you always do!

    1. Hi Yolanda

      That's right, they plan to launch a version with an optical pulse sensor, but unfortunately I don't plan to test the new model at the moment, because right now the list of devices to be tested is quite long...

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