Who wouldn’t love to lose a few extra pounds? Shedding fat can help both our physical and mental health. And with so many people stuck behind a desk all day, keeping ourselves in prime condition is more important than ever if we want to stay healthy well into our later years.
Of course, losing weight is easier said than done. Adverse weather conditions, the temptation of tasty food, and the cost of paying for a gym membership all chip away at our motivation. We need some help.
Luckily, thanks to smart technology, you don’t need to pay out for an expensive personal trainer. You can invest in a set of smart scales instead.
But do they work? What features are on offer? And what are the differences between the two leading products, Nokia Body Cardio and Fitbit Aria? Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Smart Scales?
As I’ve spoken about elsewhere on the site, the bathroom is very much at the forefront of smart home technology in 2017. Companies want to know about stuff you wouldn’t even share with your nearest and dearest. Smart scales are just one part of the washroom revolution.
Smart scales have been around for a while, but it’s only in the last couple of years that they’ve really progressed into worthwhile gadgets.
In years gone by, they could tweet your weight, share your fitness progress with friends, and perform other similar “sundry” tasks. Today, they can give you a clear snapshot of many aspects of your overall health. You barely need to lift a finger (though, admittedly, the whole point of a weight loss program is to lift a few fingers!).
What Features Are Available?
Any smart scale worth its salt will be able to connect to a fitness tracker using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. A good one might be able to read your heart rate and connect to a third-party blood pressure cuff.
The best models will also be able to record other important metrics. They include bone density, water retention, body fat mass, body mass index, and more. Some even have a special pregnancy mode.
Importantly, they’ll also support multiple users. Each user will have their own account on the device, which can record their history accordingly. After all, you don’t want a whole row of smart scales in your bathroom for every family member. It’d be expensive and would look ridiculous.
I’ll look at some of these features in more detail later in the article.
Do Smart Scales Work?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Smart scales aren’t cheap — you’ll be lucky to find a leading product for less than $100. You don’t want to spend all that money if they don’t help your shift your tummy fat. After all, you can buy a lot of pizza with a hundred bucks.
I’ll be up front: I’ve not used either of the products. Therefore, I’m going to turn you over to our very own James Bruce. He spent a few weeks testing and reviewing the Fitbit Aria a couple of years ago:
“Tracking your weight is essential for weight loss, but tools for manually recording it can be tiresome. The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale removes that effort and automates the process, and does it well. The Fitbit site that it integrates with is a competent training tool especially when combined with a Fitbit activity tracking device.”
But don’t take our word for it. Take a look at what Phil Nickinson (the man behind the thoroughly excellent Modern Dad YouTube channel) had to say about the Withings smart scales:
TL;DR: He loved it.
Note: Since June 2017, Withings products are sold under the Nokia brand name.
Nokia Body Cardio and Fitbit Aria: A Comparison
We’ve established smart scales are full of features and can be a vital weapon in your bid to lose weight. In short, they’re worth your money.
Therefore, the obvious next question is, “Which one should you buy?”
You will be able to find lots of different models on the market, but don’t waste your time and money on a cheap version. It won’t be worth it — you’ll find yourself shelling out more cash further down the line for a replacement.
Nokia Body Cardio
Nokia offers three smart scales: the Body, the Body+, and the Body Cardio. The Body Cardio is the top-of-the-range model. It costs $179.95, which is almost twice the price of the Body+.
It includes many of the features I touched on earlier. Its weight measurements are accurate to within 0.2 pounds, and it can record your fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, and water retention.
The device also has a built-in heart rate monitor. Interestingly, it includes one unique measurement: pulse wave velocity (no, I hadn’t heard of it either). According to Nokia, the medical community recognizes it as “the best stand-alone indicator of overall cardiovascular health.”
Apparently, it detects the “propagation speed of the pressure wave along the arterial tree” and is “linked to the elasticity of the aorta arterial wall.” In short, it’s a good metric to track.
Furthermore, the Body Cardio supports up to eight users and links with more than 100 third-party health and fitness apps (great for nutritional monitoring).
Oh, and it even displays the daily weather forecast on the screen. What more could you want?
Nokia’s leading competitor is the Fitbit Aria. Unlike the Nokia range, there’s only one model available, which costs $99.95.
If you’re observant, you’ll have noticed that’s quite a bit cheaper than the top-end Nokia product. So, what are you sacrificing for the savings?
Well, there’s no pulse wave velocity measurements (I can hear you crying from here). It’s also not as compatible with other apps as the Nokia product, and it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor. In fact, it’s specifically designed to work with Fitbit’s range of wristbands.
And there’s the rub. To maximize the Aria’s potential, you’ll need either an Alta HR or a Charge 2. They are the two wristband models that also have a heart rate monitor. And the cost of an Alta HR or Charge 2? $149.95. The $99.95 price tag of the smart scale suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bargain anymore, does it?
In other areas, the Aria is almost identical to the Body Cardio. It supports eight users, measures weight, lean mass, body fat, and body mass index, and presents all your historical data in its native smartphone app and web portal.
Time to Get Fit
Okay, let’s sum up what we’ve learned. Yes, smart scales are worthwhile, and yes, they can definitely help you lose weight.
As for the debate between the Fitbit Aria or the Nokia Body Cardio? It really depends on your personal usage situation. If you and your family already own Fitbit wristbands, then you should buy the Fitbit Aria. The shortcomings of the scale are picked up by the wristband’s features.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting to get into the smart fitness world, spend a bit more and buy the Nokia Body Cardio. You’ll instantly have access to lots of valuable metrics, and you’ll have more options to expand your gear in the future.
Do you own a set of smart scales? Have you found them useful? As always, you can leave all your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Image Credit: MimaCZ via Shutterstock.com