Monday, June 20, 2011

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor for iOS hands-on (video)

Withings users not satisfied with only being able to share their weight with the world can now add blood pressure and heart rate to the mix. This iPhone-connected blood pressure monitor made its first appearance at CES, but you'll finally be able to order one of your own today. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the $129 accessory costs three to four times as much as off-the-shelf blood pressure monitors, but integrates well if you're looking to pair it with your Withings scale for a complete vitals management solution. Results can be sent to health sites like Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, or directly to your doctor. Care to see how it works? Join us past the break for a hands-on look at the monitor, including a video comparison with the in-store vitals machine at our neighborhood Kmart.

Even iOS newbies shouldn't have any issue getting started -- connecting the monitor to your device's dock connector launches the Withings app (or prompts you to install it, if you haven't already done so). An on-screen start button inflates the AAA-battery powered cuff, and presents your results about 30 seconds later. Colored circles indicate a possible health issue, and an FAQ screen helps to explain your results. During our Kmart test, the Withings monitor presented results of 147/93 with a heart rate of 94, compared to 133/95 with a heart rate of 96 on the in-store machine -- perhaps the c-list discounter was trying to imply that we can afford to load up on some junk food? Considering results tended to vary by a similar amount during multiple tests on the same machine, it's safe to conclude that both are accurate. The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor ships today, so early adopters could be tweeting a complete snapshot of their physical health before the week is out.

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