Review: Withings BPM Connect is better with a display & Wi-Fi
Withings' BPM Core is a capable at-home blood pressure cuff that builds atop the solid foundation offered by the original Withings BPM and BPM+. AppleInsider strapped one on to test out how the changes made an impact.
Withings, freed of its Nokia oversight, has updated many of its products and releasing new ones. One of the most recent is the BPM Connect. BPM connect is an iteration on its classic, and popular, blood pressure cuff, with a couple of beneficial improvements over the original.
What it does
BPM Connect is a blood pressure cuff that will return readings for your systolic and diastolic measurements as well as your heart rate at the time of the test.
It also will rate your blood pressure and categorize it as normal, elevated, high (stage 1), high (stage 2), and "hypertensive crisis" where emergency care would be needed. Those are color coded as well into green, yellow, and red where appropriate.
Taking a test is easy, with the cuff slipping on the left arm. It is positioned near the top of the arm, over the bicep. The tube is to be against the body with the Withings logo level with the heart.
The test only takes a few minutes before the results get displayed, just as if at a doctor's office — but at home.
Everything above sounds on par with the last generation — and it is. To push things forward, Withings has now integrated an LED matrix display as well as Wi-Fi.
This has a profound impact on usage because it no longer requires a smartphone to take a reading. The results are displayed right on the tube, as well as the categorization, and synced to your account via Wi-Fi.
When the cuff is on the arm, a button press brings it to life. It will say BP when ready, and another press will start the test. As soon as it concludes, the systolic, diastolic, and heart rate values will be shown and a red/yellow/green indicator.
If used for multiple people, it will then give the name of the user who just performed the test and confirm with a checkmark once it has synced with the Health Mate platform.
Personally, we found it far more convenient to take readings at any time without having to open the app.
A health companion
Withings really sees itself as a hub to all of your health information. For us, we have our sleep data from the Withings Sleep Tracker, our weight and other stats from the Body+ scale, our steps (which is imported from the Health app), and of course now our blood pressure information from the BPM Connect.
All of this data is synced with Apple's Health platform for further analysis and use within other medical apps. That includes being shared with your doctor if your medical network supports the Health app.
The BPM Connect feels like a premium hone health product with soft, heathered fabric around the outside and a soft-touch plastic to the tube and a metal ring when connecting on your arm.
Withings clearly has bee doing this for a while as they've perfected so many of the little touches. Take the magnet embedded in the end. It not only keeps the product as a whole nicely wrapped when not in use, when we were putting it on our arm and let the sleep slip through the ring, the magnet stopped it in its tracks from coming loose and needed to be rethread.
One thing we'd have liked to see here is a change from Micro USB to USB-C. They spent the time to add the impressive LED display that stays completely hidden but they didn't see fit to swap the port for something more modern.
BPM Connect is a stellar product that adds value to those who do these tests regularly without being intrusive. We are even more excited for the BPM Core which builds on the BPM Connect by adding a digital stethoscope which can monitor the heart and identify failing heart valves as well as take an ECG, similar to the Apple Watch.
The BPM Core will be launching in the US soon, pending FDA approval. Til then, the BPM Connect is here to take the crown for our favorite home blood pressure cuff.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Where to buy
The BPM Connect can be picked up on Amazon for $99.95