The new Withings ScanWatch 2 could predict when you’re about to fall ill

ScanWatch: the next generation. Going boldly where no watch has gone before?

The Withings ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light are a pair of new health-focused devices which fly in the face of smartwatch design.

Most smartwatch manufacturers essentially strap a smartphone to your wrist that also happens to tell the time. French health tech company Withings, on the other hand (no pun intended), creates a watch that also does other bits.  

We thought the Withings ScanWatch was one of the best-looking devices on the market when it was launched almost two years ago. It was a good choice for those looking for a watch that offered health tracking but weren’t bothered about lots of apps or other functions.

A silver Withings ScanWatch 2 on the wrist of a manCredit: Withings
The new ScanWatch 2 offers 24/7 temperature tracking

Now the company has announced two new hybrid smartwatches, scheduled for release later this year: ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light – both similarly emphasising health and wellbeing features over Smartwatch facilities. 

So what do the new devices offer?

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Withings ScanWatch 2

  • Withings ScanWatch 2 price: £319.95
  • Withings ScanWatch 2 release date: mid-October
    (pre-orders open now)

The Withings ScanWatch 2 is the new flagship model, designed to supersede the original ScanWatch. It goes much further than its predecessor in terms of health tracking.

As well as blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring (including FDA-clearance for atrial fibrillation detection using ECG), the ScanWatch 2 also features 24/7 temperature tracking, thanks to the inclusion of the TempTech24/7 module.

The watch will be able to track fluctuations of day and night body temperature, and Withings claims this “may indicate the onset of an illness or other health condition”.

We have asked Withings for more information on this, and will update this article with its response.

It can also provide workout temperature variation zones, which could help you manage performance and recovery from exercise. 

Withings product manager Etienne Tregaro says: On the ScanWatch 2 we integrate sensors that allow us to follow the fluctuations of your baseline temperature 24/7. So we aren’t limiting the recording of temperature to the night; that’s what a lot of competitors do.”  

He also points out that 24/7 temperature tracking does not negatively impact battery life; like its predecessor, the watch should run for 30 days before recharging. 

The ScanWatch 2 promises to track blood oxygen and breathing disturbance at night, as well as giving you a sleep quality score. It can also track over 40 activity types and estimate your VO2 max, which is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness.

Withings ScanWatch Light

  • Withings ScanWatch Light price: £229.95
  • Withings ScanWatch Light release date: mid-October
    (pre-orders open now)

This smaller and cheaper variant comes with slightly fewer features. The original ScanWatch did not offer a “light” version, so this should widen the potential customer basis. According to Tregaro: The ScanWatch Light is for people who want to start their health journey.”

The ScanWatch Light offers activity tracking, sleep monitoring, and breathing disturbances and respiratory rate measurements; it also monitors average heart rate and overnight heart rate variability. 

But unlike the ScanWatch 2, it won’t track your temperature or blood oxygen levels. And while the ScanWatch 2 can take an ECG (electrocardiogram) reading and notify you if it detects an irregular heart rhythm, the ScanWatch Light cannot. It also lacks an altimeter so is unable to measure elevation, for example climbing stairs or walking up a hill. 

It is a simpler device, then, but if you’re looking for basic insights in a stylish design, it may still offer enough. 

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Price and release date

The ScanWatch 2 has an RRP of £319.95 for both the 38mm and 42mm models. Initially, it will be available in silver/black or rose gold/sand (38mm only), but silver/white and rose gold/blue options (both 38mm) are also planned. 

The ScanWatch Light, which just comes in a 37mm size, has an RRP of £229.95. It’s available in silver/black, silver/white, and rose gold/sand, with light blue and light green faces coming later.  

The current Withings ScanWatch has an RRP of £279.95, or £499.95 for the ultra-premium Horizon version. Whether the price for these comes down when the new devices are released is unconfirmed.  

Both the ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light are available to pre-order on the Withings website.

Tregaro says they wont be available with other retailers until mid-October, with a specific release date yet to be confirmed. 

Our thoughts

These watches are the first new smartwatches from Withings since 2021. When we reviewed the Withings ScanWatch, we felt that it was probably the best-looking smartwatch on the market, and the ScanWatch Horizon is an even more premium looking device.

At first glance, we don’t think the ScanWatch 2 or ScanWatch Light look as attractive – but we’ll reserve judgement until we get to hold them in our hands. 

The ScanWatch 2 does add a few new features, most notably the temperature tracking capabilities. But like the original ScanWatch, this is a device that is focused on health first, fitness second and smartwatch capabilities a distant third.

The original ScanWatch is an excellent device, although probably not for everyone. We suspect that the new version won’t persuade people who are fans of fully-fledged smartwatches – such as the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5  – to try something different.

But for anyone who’s interested in monitoring their health and isn’t fussed about smartwatch features, these devices could be very appealing.  

The Light version makes a little less sense. Withings is perhaps hoping to capture buyers who don’t want to spend a lot on a new watch. But in terms of features, it doesn’t appear to do much more than some of the best budget fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge 5, and for a considerably higher price.

Of the two, this feels like a harder device to sell. When asked about this, Tregaro told us: It’s a hybrid smartwatch; it’s not an extension of a smartphone on the wrist. Basically, we take inspiration from the watchmaking world with analogue mechanisms and align it with the digital world. And that’s what we want – people to have an elegant watch on their wrist”. 

We really liked the original ScanWatch, and we’re hoping that these devices won’t disappoint. Of course, it won’t be until we’ve rigorously reviewed them that we’ll be able to pass judgment.  

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Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him

Updated:

Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.