Review: Withings Pulse activity monitor Oct 13 2013.

The Withings Pulse activity monitor raises the bar with the introduction of two new-to-the-industry features: a built-in Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and an elevation tracker. Combined with dominant scores across categories, the Pulse pulls ahead of a tight group of competitors with an overall score of 34.4, about 4.5 points clear of its nearest rival. And at a price point of $99.95, no other product offers the same value on a price/performance basis.

Let’s take a look at how the Pulse’s scores compare to the other devices we’ve reviewed:

 Withings PulseFitbit FlexJawbone UPNike+ FuelBand
DATA & CONNECTIVITY Criteria8.45.554.5
FUNCTIONS Criteria8674
PERSONALIZATION Criteria1212119
SUPPORT Criteria6679
TOTAL SCORE34.429.53026.5

The Pulse comes in the form of a fob that can be slipped into a clip-on holder or for sleep tracking, a wrist band. The band looks as though it’s meant only for use when sleeping – aside from the fact that it may not have the esthetic appeal for day-to-day use. Note that there’s small window in the band that allows the Pulse to take your pulse (hmm). It works, and with minimal or no fuss.

Some basic facts about the Pulse and its competitors:

CriteriaWithings PulseFitbit FlexJawbone UPNike+ FuelBand
Review DateOct 3 2013Aug 15 2013Aug 15 2013Aug 15 2013
Product CategoryActivity MonitorActivity MonitorActivity MonitorActivity Monitor
Form FactorFobFobWrist BandWrist Band
SensorsMotion, Elevation, HRMotionMotionMotion
On-Body/Body LocationWrist, Clip On, PocketWrist, Clip OnWrist onlyWrist only
Algorithms by ƒ??MotionX?
MSRP$99.95$99.95$129.99$149.00

And finally, the Pulse has a display! Relative to its competitors, the display is large, easy to read, it’s touch-enabled, a small button makes for easy scrolling through the various functions, and it’s OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode). This technology is key because of the inherent power efficiency – all manufacturers have to be careful with their power demands on such highly constrained devices and OLED displays are one way to address this challenge.

Let’s dig in to the categories and see how the Pulse compares on a point-by-point basis: Data & Connectivity.

Quick link to buy at Amazon