Withings ScanWatch 2 review: 5 key points
Product test

Withings ScanWatch 2 review: 5 key points

Lorenz Keller
13.2.2024
Translation: Elicia Payne

The Withings ScanWatch 2 is both stylish and practical for everyday use with it’s eight-day battery life and decent health tracking. Is that enough for a smart watch though? That’s up to you to decide.

Initially, I had a lot of trouble with my test device because the Withings ScanWatch 2 drained my Android phone battery. The watch itself also ran out of battery far too quickly and was slow to show notifications. At the end of December, the manufacturer released an update to solve the problems at hand.

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So all’s well then, right? Well, yes and no. The manufacturer didn’t leave a positive lasting impression. After the first reports were made it took them two months to resolve the problems. This is too long a period which I couldn’t use the watch for.

Nevertheless, everything’s running as it should now and I was able to test the watch extensively. In this review you’ll find my five most important factors in everyday use.

The Withings ScanWatch 2 is available in two sizes: with a watch face measuring 38 or 42 millimetres in diameter. The smaller version is also available in white and black, the larger one only in black. When I did the test it cost 350 francs or 340 euros – regardless of the model.

1. Design: simple but nice

I was sent a watch with the 38-millimetre dial for my test. Personally, I probably would have chosen the larger version for my wrist, but I’ve come to realise this size is fine. The watch sits comfortably and is completely silent, which is important if you want to use it for sleep tracking at night too.

At first glance, the ScanWatch 2 looks like a conventional quartz watch. And I like its simple, timeless design. The look is understated but elegant. It goes with a suit or dress as well as with a hoodie.

I like the Withings ScanWatch 2 with its simple but elegant design.
I like the Withings ScanWatch 2 with its simple but elegant design.
Source: Photo: Lorenz Keller

The silicone wristband that comes with the watch looks good, but I don’t particularly like the material. However, the band looks high quality and I didn’t sweat underneath.

The fact that you can change the strap and replace it with a standard strap is ideal. A strap with a width of 18 mm fits the 38 mm model and a strap with a width of 20 mm fits the 42 mm model. The manufacturer also offers alternative straps.

Withings Mesh loop bracelet (18 mm, Steel)
Watch straps
46.90 CHF

Withings Mesh loop bracelet

18 mm, Steel

Withings Wristband (18 mm, Calfskin, Stainless steel)
Watch straps
46.90 CHF

Withings Wristband

18 mm, Calfskin, Stainless steel

Withings Mesh loop bracelet (18 mm, Steel)
46.90 CHF

Withings Mesh loop bracelet

18 mm, Steel

Withings Wristband (18 mm, Calfskin, Stainless steel)
46.90 CHF

Withings Wristband

18 mm, Calfskin, Stainless steel

2. Display: small – and not so mighty

At first glance, you can’t see the screen because, unlike the Apple Watch and similar products, it only covers a small part of the surface. There are two round compilations on the dial. There’s a real hand in the lower circle. It doesn’t serve as a stopwatch, but shows how much of your daily step target you’ve already achieved.

The circle at the top is the screen and this is switched off by default. You can activate it by pressing the crown. You’ll then see the time and date. Of course, you can’t expect too much from such a mini display. The screen is only 0.63 inches in size and doesn’t have colours, only grayscale. Despite the OLED technology and theoretically good resolution, it looks a bit old-fashioned.

The screen is just the circle at the top of the dial – it’s teeny-weeny.
The screen is just the circle at the top of the dial – it’s teeny-weeny.
Source: Photo: Lorenz Keller

The screen doesn’t respond to touch so you have to use the crown to control any function. Although you can also turn, click or long press with gloves or wet fingers it makes it complicated to operate. For example, if you want to start a workout, you have to: press, turn six times, press, turn, press, press. Then you can finally start running, swimming or cycling.

The screen is also limited in its usage. You can easily display individual values or figures such as your heart rate or the distance you’ve covered. But you have to switch to the app for your daily total or the weekly overview.

3. Notifications: annoying on many levels

You can’t install apps on the ScanWatch 2 or use it to make wireless payments. But still, the screen displays your notifications. I like the fact that I can decide exactly what’s shown on the watch.

The screen is too small for text since there’s only space for a maximum of ten characters. That’s why your notifications scroll across the screen like a ticker, and you can scroll forwards or backwards using the crown. It’s tedious to read. If you accidentally press the crown, the notification’s gone and can’t be found again.

A maximum of ten characters can be displayed on the screen.
A maximum of ten characters can be displayed on the screen.
Source: Photo: Lorenz Keller

Basically the notifications aren’t saved and you can only retrieve the last one. Since I get a lot of notifications, I’m constantly losing some of them. Sometimes, one will disappear while I’m still reading it because a new one comes in at the same time. Therefore it’s worth only forwarding the most important messages and notifications to your watch.

What’s also annoying is the vibration. The watch literally shakes when you receive a notification. This seems cheap compared to smartwatches like the Apple Watch or the Google Pixel Watch, which notify me and my wrist much more gently.

4. Fitness and health: more sensors than expected

The ScanWatch 2 can’t keep up with other smartwatches in the screen or app departments. But when it comes to tracking it can. The new watch from Withings not only measures step count and pulse, but can also record an electrocardiogram, track changes in body temperature and measure blood oxygen levels.

The data is primarily analysed in the app. This is nicely designed and clearly laid out. For example, you can see your step count, sleep quality and average heart rate. You can also view everything in detail.

The neatly designed app offers many evaluation options.
The neatly designed app offers many evaluation options.
Source: Photo: Lorenz Keller

What’s important to know is that the watch doesn’t automatically measure oxygen saturation and the ECG. You have to set this up manually. Unfortunately, the procedure isn’t the same for both. You can monitor your blood oxygen directly via the watch; but for the ECG you first have to activate it in the app. You can then start the recording on the watch, but the data will only be available in the app.

Withings doesn’t stop there with convoluted controls. Scheduling one or more wake-up times or alarms can only be done in the app. On the watch, these can then only be switched on or off. You can’t quickly set an alarm on the ScanWatch 2.

All the important fitness and health functions are included. But if you want more, a subscription model is available for additional functions. With Withings+, you can access fitness and health programmes to lose weight or build muscle. This includes training plans, recipes for a healthy diet, as well as activity and sleep monitoring. Whether that’s worth 9.50 francs a month or 80 francs a year is up to you. The watch can also be used without a subscription.

5. Battery life: long, but not as long as promised

According to the manufacturer, the ScanWatch 2 battery should last 30 days. However, this is only realistic when you’re using it for its most basic function i.e. to tell the time. If that’s the case, you don’t need a smartwatch and can fall back on a cheaper, analogue watch. These run for years on a button cell battery.

During my test, I used the notifications and had myself tracked around the clock – including my temperature, heart rate, activity and sleep. The battery lasted eight days in this set-up. This is definitely a good value, but even smartwatches with a large, colourful screen like the Huawei Watch GT4 achieve similar results.

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The lowdown

The Withings ScanWatch 2 is a smart tracker for health and activity that has a precisely defined area of use. The built-in functions appear to be reliable and accurate. The understated design, which is more reminiscent of conventional watches than smartwatches, is also likely to win over many buyers.

ScanWatch 2 is limited to a few central functions, which can be quite pleasant for some. Another plus point is the analogue dial with real hands, which may appeal to many people who don’t always want to look at a screen. But the lack of a touchscreen also comes at a price because the watch is complicated to use. And without the app you can’t analyse the health data collected properly.

There are smart watches or fitness trackers that offer more features for less money, especially in the sports sector. You can also find real smartwatches with access to countless apps such as an Apple Watch SE or a Google Pixel Watch at this price.

Header image: Lorenz Keller

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Gadgets are my passion - whether you need them for the home office, for the household, for sport and pleasure or for the smart home. Or, of course, for the big hobby next to the family, namely fishing.


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