Withings BPM Connect
Withings created its first blood pressure monitor that connects to an iPhone in 2011. That might not sound too impressive as it doesn’t seem that far back. However, there were no smart blood pressure monitors back then. It makes you realize just how much wearable technology has progressed during the past decade!
That version became wireless in the next product iteration in 2014. The other upgrade was that it worked both with iOS and Android and had the stamp of approval from the FDA. Simply called Withings Wireless BPM it was one of the first connected health gadgets in my possession. I still have it and it still works in case you were wondering.
Essential reading: Top smart blood pressure monitors
Since then there were several iterations of the product, the most impressive of which is BPM Core. It integrates the ability to take an ECG reading along with your blood pressure and pulse so offers a complete heart health checkup.
The latest BPM in the French outfit’s lineup is called Connect. It is not as feature packed as BPM Core but it does offer a nice set of features in a nice, sleek design.
I’ve had the opportunity over the past few weeks to test it out. This is my review.
How to set up
How to use
The good thing about technology is that it is getting more powerful with each passing year. Coupled with this, manufacturers are managing to make chips, sensors and other high tech components smaller.
BPM Connect was obviously designed with portability in mind. Not only is the core unit small, but the cuff that is attached to it is incredibly flexible. This means you can wrap it around the main part and the whole thing will take very little space.
I don’t suggest keeping it in your pocket (although it would fit), but it should store away nicely in an overnight bag, handbag or a rucksack. Whether you are at home, in the office or on a trip, carry it along and you’ll be able to check your blood pressure regularly.
As far as the dimensions, the core unit is rectangular and measures 2.36 x 2.16 x 6.10 inches (L x W x H). There’s a single physical button in the middle which blends nicely into the case. You use this to switch the BPM on, initiate measurements, assign readings and saved them. The unit itself is cream white in color with the Withings logo along the top.
Just like Withings Thermo, BPM Connect has an integrated digital display. This shows your blood pressure, pulse and other info right on the device in a bright-white dot matrix format. There’s also a separate little LED light next to it which offers color-coded feedback letting you know at a glance if your measurements are healthy or not.
BPM Connect charges via a standard USB cable. The company could have included batteries but I am glad they didn’t. A single charge is good to keep it going for an incredible six months. I’d don’t mind charging something only twice a year.
Setting up is a breeze. BPM Connect works with the standard Health Mate app that is used for all other Withings smart gear. If you don’t already have it on your phone download the app and set up a login.
When the software is up and running click on the Devices tab, and then the + in the top right-hand corner. Put your BPM into pairing mode by pressing the physical button for three seconds. You should see a blue light and the word “SETUP” appear on the dot-matrix display. Go back to the app and choose Blood Pressure Monitors and BPM Connect and let the app find your device. Then follow the instructions to pair. It should be pretty hassle-free. It was for me. You are now ready to take measurements.
Before you proceed there are a few options in the settings you might want to tweak. The first is the WiFi configuration. I suggest you add your network and password in order to enable this. From that point on your results fill find their way from the BPM to the cloud automatically. This is better and quicker than the default Bluetooth option.
The other option you might want to review is the x3 measurement interval time. The device allows you to take a single or triple measurement with a long press of the physical button. Choosing the latter will ensure more accurate results as it is recommended you take three readings and then average up the results. The settings allows you to choose the delay time between each of the three measurements (30, 60, 90 or 120 seconds).
You can set the device up for a single or multiple (up to 8) users. They can all go under the same or separate Health Mate accounts. BPM Connect also allows you to take an anonymous measurement, i.e. not attribute it to anyone.
The device works like any other blood pressure monitor. Sit yourself down for at least five minutes. It’s good if you take a measurement at roughly the same time each day as it will allow you to compare results more accurately. Your blood pressure can go up and down quite a bit depending on what you are doing, whether you have eaten recently, etc. My preferred option is to do this when I get up in the morning, before I start work on my computer.
The rest is, again, pretty standard stuff. Wrap BPM Connect around your upper left arm and make sure you are in a comfortable position with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground. The left arm and back should be supported.
Then click on the single physical button for the unit to power on, and click again to initiate the measurement. The cuff should start to inflate. I’ve tested a few BPMs over the years and this is one of the quickest ones in terms of the time to get your reading. The cuff inflates speedily and you should see your result on the display in a few seconds.
A long second press of the physical button initiates the 3x measurement option instead of a single measurement. In this case the results will be averaged up for you.
After taking a measurement, clicking on the physical button will cycle through all the registered names. Press and hold on the button until your name pops up.
A useful add-on is the multi-colored LED. If you see green you know there’s no cause for worry – your systolic, diastolic reading and your pulse are healthy. Any other color and you might want to take a closer look at your results. This can be done via the smartphone app.
Here you can sift through individual readings, chart and average up your measurements (by week, month, year), see lowest and highest values during a particular period. Clicking on any mesurement takes you through to separate page. This displays the individual reading on a horizontal line showing the green healthy zone, yellow elevated blood pressure zone and red high blood pressure zone.
All of this is clearly displayed and very easy to find. If you wish to do so the app will also let you add comments to each individual reading and share results with your doctor.
Let’s face it. No-one really likes to take blood pressure readings. It’s a hassle and we have better things to do with our time. Withings BPM Connect makes this quick and easy.
This device doesn’t have the bells and whistles of its big brother BPM Core. Rather it is designed with simplicity and portability in mind.
I found it to be accurate and I loved the beautiful dot matrix display and multi-color LED. It means you see your results in a few seconds on the device and they’ll find their way to the cloud and app without you having to do a thing.
BPM Connect will be particularly useful for those that already own other Withings products. With COVID-19 making all the headlines, we are meant to be taking better care of our immune systems. Maintaining healthy weight is one of the things to focus on. Get a Withings connected scale and see how your BPM improves as your weight comes off. Everything will be graphed and charted for you in the Health Mate app.
I really liked Withings Connect. It offers a simple way to take your blood pressure from home or on the go.
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