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[TechRadar] Review: Withings Go
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Review: Withings Go

<img src="http://cdn.mos.techradar.com/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-hero-470-75.jpg" alt="Review: Withings Go"/><h3>Introduction and display</h3><p><strong>Update</strong>: The Withings Go has earned a spot on our list of <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/wearables/10-best-fitness-trackers-1277905">best fitness trackers</a>. If you're looking for an affordable way to get fit, it's among the top choices out there.</p><p><em>Original review follows below.</em></p><p>The allure of a cool, capable smartwatch is strong, what with options like the flashy <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/apple-watch-1264567/review">Apple Watch</a> and regal <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/huawei-watch-1286545/review">Huawei Watch</a> available. But sometimes all you need is a simple activity tracker.</p><p>Withings Go, the company's most affordable wearable yet, is just that. But it stands out as being clean of all the negatives that commonly tag along with budget-priced trackers. </p><p>The Withings Go isn't chintzy, it doesn't over-promise, and best of all, it essentially disappears on your arm or pocket. No, it's not invisible, it's just super comfortable and designed in such a way that it only requires your passive, not active, attention.</p><p>It doesn't push notifications or remind you where you need to be. The Go just tells you the time and bothers you with the only complication that's worth a hoot for fitness users: how close you are to reaching your goal. </p><p>But there's a bit more going on under its simple shell than it leads on. </p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-5-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>It can auto-detect your workout of choice from common activities like jogging and swimming. Withings' latest is but a small, circular sensor that can be popped out and placed into either a traditional watch form factor or a pedometer-like clip. </p><p>Included in the box are the watch and clip attachments in the color of your choice for $80 (£50, about AU$107.) Each configuration shows off its rather novel e-ink screen, which may not look like much, but translates to an experience that's easy to digest for up to eight months at a time, thanks to its cell battery. </p><h3>Display</h3><p>The Withings Go is stocked with a circular, monochromatic e-ink screen that runs about an inch from end to end. This display is hugged with a band of white bezel, but it hides itself once you slip it into one of the provided encasings. </p><p>It might seem obvious, but the display serves as your means for digesting info. And as I mentioned earlier, there's not a whole lot to see on this little screen. So, Withings doubled its function as a button, which you can push down to show off some more.</p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-8-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>Pressing a finger down on the screen until you feel a click will switch the view to show the time. Yeah, it's not an insanely fancy feature, but I'll credit Withings for implementing the device's only controls in a clever way. </p><h3>Design and comfort</h3><p>Extending out from its e-ink display is the white module that houses the rest of the guts. Popped out of the watch or clip-on molds, the Go module is no thicker than a finger and no heavier than a small handful of coins.</p><p>It's not the most visually arresting design, but like the goal of the Go, its simplicity is intentional. And this simple design allows it to do some cool stuff, like pack in tremendous battery life and waterproofing protection up to 5 ATM (about 50 meters). </p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-3-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>The Go can be inserted into the provided silicon watch to give it a more traditional look. Once popped in, the strap loops through to tighten and fastens with a metal push-pin that does a good job at staying put and remaining comfortable after extended use.</p><p>If you don't want to wear it as a watch, Withings also includes a plastic case that allows you to tuck it out of sight. You can clip it to your pocket, shoes, or onto your car keys.</p><p>No matter which enclosure I choose, I'm relieved to know that this low-profile device is tough enough to withstand the elements. I've spent most of my time during testing with the Go on my wrist and, compared to most <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/android-wear-1260150/review">Android Wear</a> smartwatches, I enjoy not having to take this one off before I hop in the shower. </p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-2-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>The Withings Go is a true &quot;set in and forget it&quot; wearable that requires zero charging and minimal input from the user, which just helps you get on with your day.</p><h3>Specs, performance and interface</h3><p>Withings' affordable wearable isn't a technical powerhouse, especially when compared to today's <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/best-smart-watches-what-s-the-best-wearable-tech-for-you--1154074">best smartwatches</a> that act as a &quot;computer on your wrist.&quot; But it doesn't need to be that.</p><p>The always-on e-ink display powers a basic, yet good-looking interface that gets the job done and, so long as you know the limited nature of what you're buying into, it doesn't leave much to be desired.</p><h3>Performance</h3><p>Just a few moments after you take the Go out of its box, it greets you with your walking progress and the time.</p><p>And after just a minute's worth of setup, I had pretty much already forgotten about it on my wrist. It might sound weird, but I was really happy in that moment because it spoke to the power of a device that doesn't try to dictate your life with reminders and notifications. It's there when you need it, like before bed when you want to reflect on your accomplishments. </p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-4-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>Looking at other options, like the <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/fitbit-alta-1317934/review">Fitbit Alta</a>, I commonly found myself frustrated by its (optional) hourly nudges to get off of my butt, and overwhelmed by the deluge of fitness activities available. The Withings Go offers up an experience that encourages you to move at your own pace.</p><p>Once you do start moving, so does the Go. During my time with this fitness wearable, I did about a two week's worth of walking, a little bit of jogging, of course, sleeping. Unlike other wearables, the Go doesn't track every activity under the sun, just the ones that, I would say, are most common.</p><p>Tracking, in general, works well. Step monitoring is accurate, as is its ability to track my sleep. The app does little more to reward you for meeting your step goal than to change the Go's center symbol to a star shape, but the metrics for your sleep are nicely detailed. There's a lot to learn from here, if you're into improving yourself from what the Go puts forward.</p><p>While I didn't have a chance to find a pool that's open in New York City (it's an unseasonably chilly Spring,) it held up without an issue in my showers and during some kitchen chores. I've splashed and submerged it and all is well with the Go.</p><h3>Interface</h3><p>As each day went by, I'd look down a few times at the Withings Go to see how I was doing. The screen shows your progress by wrapping tick markers around the border of the screen. Once the ticks make a full circle, you've reached your goal and the walking icon turns into a star. Some might complain about the lack of positive feedback for reaching your goal, but is a celebratory vibration really all that rewarding?</p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-hero1-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420"></img></p><p>Tracking my progress is simple, but checking the time is more complicated than it should be. For those moments, I found it a bit frustrating that it doesn't allow you to set the time function as the default screen. You need to press the screen in to see the time. The clock face will automatically go back to the goal tracking screen after about five seconds.</p><p>But the Withings Go app does allow users to adjust the color theme between light and dark. Each looks pretty bold and the one you'll choose just comes down to personal taste. </p><h3>Compatibility, app and battery life</h3><p>You can get suited up with Withings' latest fitness tracker regardless of smartphone OS allegiance. Well, sort of. <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/windows-10-mobile-1286717/review">Windows 10 Mobile</a> isn't currently supported for the Go, but anything above iOS 8 and Android 4.3 can run it.</p><p>Considering <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/ios-9-3-update-new-iphone-and-ipad-features-1313731">iOS 9.3</a> and <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/android-m-10-things-we-d-like-to-see-1269443">Android 6.0 Marshmallow</a> are here and <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/ios-10-release-date-news-beta-and-rumors-1311275">iOS 10</a> and <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/android-7-what-we-want-to-see-1311290">Android N</a> are on their way, you're probably safe when it comes to Withings Go compatibility further down the road. </p><p>Third-party app integration is a big deal for those who are deep into fitness. Thankfully, the Withings companion app doesn't disappoint. It's compatible with <a href="http://www.techradar.com/how-to/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/how-to-use-apples-health-app-1305634">Apple Health</a>, Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Nike+ Fuel.</p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-setup-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420" title="Setup is simple, but it can take a few minutes"></img></p><p>To get the Go up and running, you'll need the Withings Health Mate app. It's the same one that manages its other products, like the <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/fitbit-alta-1317934/review">Withings Activite Pop</a> and <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/fitbit-alta-1317934/review">Withings Pulse</a>.</p><p>Setup is simple, but a little slow compared to other devices that operate over a low-energy Bluetooth connection. It's very possible that Withings will patch the app and the Go to communicate in less time, but it currently takes entirely too long to make simple adjustments in the settings.</p><p>If you're someone who likes to keep an eye on your in-depth metrics, the Withings companion app won't disappoint. It's up there in terms of its visual design and ease of use. While waiting for the Go to sync with the app does take some time, it's so worth it just to see the vivid, detailed breakdown of your activities.</p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-fitness-420-90.jpg" alt="Withings Go" width="420" title="Sleep and walking metrics are displayed in a layout that's simple to digest."></img></p><p>The app's homepage and dashboard make it easy to parse through daily and weekly wrap-ups for personal reflection. But if competing with friends is more your style, Withings has you covered here. Leaderboards allow you to face-off against your companions to see who can walk, run, sleep or swim more. It's a rather basic social feature, but appreciated nonetheless.</p><h3>Battery life</h3><p>For as much promise as wearables often hold, battery life is a common low point. Thankfully, that isn't a problem with Withings' Go. </p><p>Whether the efficient e-ink screen gets all of the credit, or it's just the limited functionality of the Go in general, you can't cough at a battery that lasts for eight months.</p><p>This doesn't happen often: the battery in your smart wearable lasting just as long (or nearly as long) as your standard wrist watch.</p><h3>Competition</h3><p>The Withings Go competes squarely with other affordable fitness trackers that you'll see in the store aisles. </p><p>This wearable is a much more simple device than many of its competitors, but does that make it a bad choice? Certainly not. Let's see how it stacks up against some similar, well-established models found in our list of the <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/wearables/10-best-fitness-trackers-1277905">best fitness trackers</a> available today.</p><p><img src="http://cdn.mos.techradar.com/art/Wearables/Garmin%20Vivofit%202/Garmin%20Vivofit%202/photo%2013-420-100.JPG" alt="Garmin Vivofit 2" width="420"></img></p><h3>Garmin vivofit 2</h3><p>Similar to the Withings Go, the <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/garmin-vivofit-2-1292271/review/">Garmin vivofit 2</a> activity tracker is just a module that's fit into a slick wrist band, and each wins big for lasting months on end without swapping batteries.</p><p>Where the vivofit 2 differs from the Go is with its backlit screen and optional heart rate tracking support. If those features aren't on your &quot;must-have&quot; list, you'll do just fine with the Go, and save a bit of cash along the way, since the more expensive (but similarly featured) Garmin vivofit 3 just came out.</p><p><img src="http://mos.futurenet.com/techradar/art/Wearables/Withings/Go/review/withings-go-1-420-90.jpg" alt="Fitbit Alta" width="420"></img></p><h3>Fitbit Alta</h3><p>Based on looks alone, it's tough to imagine that these two are in the same category of fitness trackers, but they are indeed.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.techradar.com/reviews/wearables/fitbit-alta-1317934/review">Fitbit Alta</a> is the latest from the popular wearables company. While not yet as popular as the Fitbit Charge HR, it has all of the makings of a star. The Fitbit app is excellent, if not the best, out there for fun, easy-to-use metric tracking.</p><p>And, of course, the Alta has good looks, which is something that previous Fitbit models don't excel in. The Withings Go, more or less, ties it up with Fitbit's Alta.</p><h3>Verdict</h3><p>The Withings Go is a fitness tracker in its most simple form. And at those very simple functions, it's a strong performer. Compared to many other fitness trackers, the latest from Withings doesn't do a whole lot. </p><p>But whereas many of those same devices tend to overpromise and underdeliver on a good, wholesome experience, the Withings Go mostly nails the balance. </p><h3>We liked</h3><p>The Withings Go is a minimalist's dream. The e-ink screen, in tandem with the solid color enclosures, looks heavenly and feels unobtrusive to the activities of daily life and sleep.</p><p>It doesn't try much, but it easily accomplishes what it sets out to do. If you're looking to track steps and monitor your running, sleeping and swimming, this is one of the more affordable ways to achieve it.</p><p>The Go wins big points by being versatile as a watch or a clip. Its rugged, waterproof design means it can handle whatever you throw at it. But why wouldn't you want to show this cool, little device off on your wrist?</p><h3>We disliked</h3><p>While the Withings Go does push the boundaries for sleek, simple design and ease of use, there are some issues to note.</p><p>The Go's interface is too short on information. Most wearables attempt to free you from checking your phone by pushing its metrics and other notifications to your wrist, but Withings' latest does no such thing. While it's sometimes a blessing to be removed from it all, it's a curse for those who would prefer a wearable that beams more info.</p><p>Speaking of the Go's display, this device is proof that the use of e-ink in a wearable is a clever, but imperfect application of the tech. It has its benefits, like supreme, eight-month long battery life and readability. But switching between screens often shows unsightly ghosting of the previous screen's visual elements, and it lacks a backlight, so forget about peeping the time at night.</p><h3>Final verdict</h3><p>The Withings Go is a perfectly good fitness tracker for those with perfectly simple needs. This wearable doesn't aim to spark a revolution in the way that you work out, nor does it pack in the features to push the endless stream of notifications to your wrist.</p><p>But, in a market where every other device tries to do just that, the Go is a refreshing breath of air in that it defies the trends to make a very solid, reliable, long-lasting tracker that will only cost you $80 (£50, about AU$107.)</p><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/techradar/allnews/~4/0WHuNzmcOt4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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