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Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense (2022): Which Is A Better Health Smartwatch?

Withings is one of the top names in connected health devices. From smart scales to blood pressure monitors, its catalog is extensive. The company also offers a modest lineup of wearables, including the Withings ScanWatch. A hybrid analog-digital device, the ScanWatch is known for its lean set of features and impressive 30-day battery life.

Fitbit, on the other hand, has built a reputation for its smartwatches and fitness trackers. Like many consumer electronics companies, it has introduced advanced features to its series of wearables like the Fitbit Sense. Billed as a health smartwatch, the Sense offers a range of fitness tracking capabilities combined with advanced health sensors.

Is the traditional-looking Withings ScanWatch worth a look? Or does the Fitbit Sense make more sense as your health companion? Below, we compared the devices to find the answer.

Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense Comparison Chart

ModelWithings ScanWatchFitbit Sense
 
Price
TypeHybridDigital
DisplayAnalog dial with a PMOLED screen1.58 in. AMOLED touchscreen display
Battery Life30 days; +20 additional days on power reserve modeUp to 6 days
Charging Time2 hours to 100%40 minutes to 80%; 12-minute fast-charging for one-day battery life
CompatabilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Water RatingUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate TrackingYesYes
SpO2 MonitoringYesYes
ECGYesYes
Activity TrackingYesYes
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Contactless PaymentNoYes
Sports Modes30+20+
Sizes38mm, 42mm40mm

Design

The Withings ScanWatch combines an analog-digital design, while the Fitbit Sense is all-digital.

Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense Design Comparison
Here’s a look at the Withings ScanWatch 38mm in white and rose gold (left) and the Fitbit Sense in lunar white and soft gold.

For some people, all-digital smartwatches stand out too much. And because they’re using LED screens, the battery life is an issue. The Withings ScanWatch addresses these concerns with its hybrid design. From afar, it looks like a traditional watch. You’re getting an analog dial with hands for hours and minutes. But there’s also a subdial for tracking activity progress and a small, PMOLED screen to display fitness and health metrics.

On the other hand, the Fitbit Sense is what most will expect from a smartwatch. It sports a squircle AMOLED display set in an aluminum watch case. On the Sense, Fitbit has also opted for an inductive button instead of a physical one. Together with the touch screen, it makes navigating the wearable easier in any weather condition.

Speaking of weather, the Fitbit Sense and Withings ScanWatch can operate in temperatures of 14ยฐ to 113ยฐF. Fitbit adds its wearable will work up to an altitude of 28,000 feet. Both Fitbit and Withings devices are also waterproof up to 50 meters.

Material and Colors

With the Withings ScanWatch, you’re getting a traditional watch dial. The brass dial seamlessly connects with the stainless steel case of the device. Meanwhile, the hands of the device have a metallic finish. Withings opts for a scratch-resistant sapphire glass to finish the ScanWatch’s look.

On the Sense, Fitbit continues its use of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It’s a tried and tested material used in today’s smartphones. While Gorilla Glass isn’t as hard as sapphire, it’s lighter and less expensive to produce. As for its straps, the Fitbit Sense opts for a durable elastomer material found in many sports watches. Withings, on the other hand, uses a fluoroelastomer wristband.

You can buy the 38mm Withings ScanWatch in four different color combinations, including two rose gold options. The 42mm model, on the other hand, comes in white and silver and black and silver. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Sense comes in one size (with two bands out of the box) and is available in three colors.

Health Features

Withings’s ScanWatch boast clinically validated measurements, while Fitbit’s Sense focuses on an integrated Biosensor core.

Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense Health Features
SpO2 monitoring on the ScanWatch and the Sense.

Both wearables monitor your heart rate, breathing, and blood oxygen saturation levels. They can also take ECG, a feature popularized in wearables by the Apple Watch Series 4. Of course, sleep tracking is also present. And as expected, the health data recorded by the wearables are integrated into a companion app.

However, the ScanWatch isn’t your run-of-the-mill health tracker. The wearable, after all, was developed together with cardiologists and sleep experts. Its ECG has been validated in two clinical studies for AFib detection. The device’s pulse oximetry has also been evaluated and validated using blood oxygen sample analysis.

Fitbit claims nothing similar. Nonetheless, the company shares that Sense is equipped with a biosensor core. It’s a fancy name for a technology that integrates the hardware changes on the watch with Fitbit’s software. The Sense also adds unique monitoring tools, including an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to monitor your body’s response to stress.

There are a couple of extra features on Fitbit’s device as well. For instance, female users can benefit from menstrual health tracking. The Sense can also detect snoring and noise that may impact your sleep. Withings’s edge is connecting data to health care professionals. Like its BPM, Withings’s ScanWatch can share ECG reports to your doctor via the Health Mate app.

Fitness Tracking

The Withings ScanWatch tracks more activities, while the Fitbit Sense displays more workout information.

Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense Fitness Tracking
The durable straps on the Withings ScanWatch (left) and Fitbit Sense (right) are sweat-resistant.

Withings’s ScanWatch and Fitbit’s Sense measure the usual fitness metrics. Both wearables track daily steps, distance, and calories burned. They can also assess a user’s fitness level. On the Withings ScanWatch, this is done through a VO2Max estimation. In contrast, Fitbit’s Sense looks at sleep, recent activity, and heart rate variability (HRV). The Sense then recommends a Daily Readiness Score that tells you if you should work out or prioritize recovery.

The ScanWatch can detect over 30 sports and activities. Out of these, 13 can be automatically detected by the wearable. Some of the profiles tracked include swimming, running, pilates, soccer, ice skating, and indoor cycling. Users can also choose 5 to display on the watch for quick access. However, the ScanWatch doesn’t have GPS functionality, so you’ll need to use it with your phone for tracking outdoor activities.

Fitbit Sense offers 20+ goal-based exercise modes. Users can track running, weights, swimming, interval workouts, and martial arts, among others. The Sense also comes with auto exercise recognition called SmartTrack. With SmartTrack, the wearable can recognize and record seven high-movement activities, including aerobic workouts, running, and swimming. GPS is also built-in, allowing you to see the pace and distance of select outdoor activities.

Another advantage of the Fitbit Sense is real-time stats. Thanks to its larger display, you can check heart rate zones during workouts. The Sense also comes with Active Zone Minutes, where the watch buzzes to let users know they’ve reached a target heart rate zone.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The Fitbit Sense may have more smart features, but the Withings ScanWatch wins in battery life.

Withings ScanWatch vs Fitbit Sense Smart Features and Battery Life
Messages are more readable on the larger screen of the Fitbit Sense (right) than on the sub-display of the Withings ScanWatch (left).

Because of its hybrid design, the smart features on the Withings ScanWatch are limited. After all, you can only make do with so much on a small screen. Fortunately, the standard capabilities are present. These include call, text, calendar, and app notifications. Its clock menu also comes with a stopwatch and timer.

The all-digital Fitbit Sense offers more. Aside from smart notifications, the Sense has built-in Alexa and Google Assistant. Using voice commands, the wearable can check the weather, set alarms, or control smart home devices. There’s also Spotify music control and Fitbit Pay on the device. The Sense can even take calls directly via Bluetooth, thanks to a built-in microphone and speaker.

However, battery life goes the way of the Withings ScanWatch. Here, its smaller monochrome screen and lack of GPS functionality mean less power is needed. Withings says the watch can last 30 days on a single charge. In power reserve mode, you even get an additional 20+ days of battery life. Meanwhile, charge time takes about two hours.

In contrast, the Fitbit Sense offers a modest six days of battery life. Actual performance will vary depending on usage, but it’s arguably better than what Apple or Samsung offers. The Sense takes about one to two hours to charge. If you’re in a hurry, a 12-minute charge gives you a day’s worth of usage. The best part is that you can use the watch even while charging.

Verdict

While the Withings ScanWatch builds on its medical-grade health features, the Fitbit Sense is still a better option for most people

If you want a smartwatch that doesn’t look like one, the Withings ScanWatch is a good buy. It’s a stylish wearable that combines the best of what analog and digital devices offer. Withings is also known for consumer health devices co-developed with healthcare professionals. The ScanWatch is no different. Its advanced health sensors promise accuracy and are backed by clinically validated testing and evaluation.

However, the ScanWatch feels more like a niche device. Owing to its hybrid design and starting price of $279, the wearable appeals to a specific demographic. The Fitbit Sense, molded on the typical smartwatch template, will benefit a broader demographic, including casual users of health features. While it costs $20 more than the ScanWatch, you can do more with the Sense outside of fitness and health monitoring.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Withings ScanWatch and Fitbit Sense?

The Withings ScanWatch is a hybrid wearable that combines an analog dial with a digital screen. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Sense is an all-digital smartwatch with a touchscreen display.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Withings ScanWatch ECG FDA-approved?

Yes, the ECG app of on the Withings ScanWatch has been cleared by the FDA.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I take calls using the Fitbit Sense?

The Fitbit Sense comes with a built-in mic and speaker for taking calls. However, the wearable uses Bluetooth instead of LTE. This means you need your phone nearby when taking calls.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do I need a doctor to use the Withings Scanwatch ECG app?

Not necessarily. When using the ECG app, a Withings medical professional will review the report and then activate the feature for regular use. However, you don’t necessarily need a doctor’s prescription or approval.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.