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My favorite hybrid smartwatch just got smarter, and its battery life is still incredible

Withings' latest ScanWatch 2 embeds the company's best health-tracking technology into a high-end, hybrid wearable.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Withings' ScanWatch 2 is available now for $349 in two sizes and various colors.
  • The watch is well-designed and much thinner than the standard smartwatch, with analog hands to show the time, a robust feature set for health tracking, and a battery capable of lasting a full month.
  • The usual drawbacks of a hybrid smartwatch are present, including the lack of detailed graphics, no GPS tracking, and limited interactions with incoming notifications.

How often do you charge your smartwatch? Once or twice every day? Too often? Doing so regularly often makes me wonder exactly how much value I'm getting out of those occasional notifications and alerts, and it's a big reason why I still have an affection for hybrid smartwatches.

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One of which is the first Withings ScanWatch, released back in 2021, and I've worn it regularly over the past couple of years, primarily because it feels fantastic on the wrist while being able to capture key health data. The watch also lasted me about a month with each charge. 

At first glance, the new ScanWatch 2 is tough to distinguish from the original, but it packs a few important upgrades that make one of my go-to health trackers even better.

View at Withings

I tested the ScanWatch 2 in Black (pictured below), but it is also available in Pearl White for the larger size. The Black model has hands that feature a Super LumiNova coating so they glow in the dark for a short time after being exposed to light. If you prefer a smaller 38mm size, that's available in Pearl White, Black, Sand, and Blue. One interesting thing is that both sizes cost $349, so you don't need to pay more for a larger watch face, which is nice.

The 42mm ScanWatch 2 that I've been wearing weighs about 52 grams and fits very gently on the wrist. As much as I've enjoyed the health-tracking capabilities of the watch, the look and feel of the ScanWatch on my wrist is easily one of my favorite features. 

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The original ScanWatch (left) next to the new version (right).

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

A domed sapphire glass covers the analog watch hands and internal OLED display. When paired with the stainless steel case and rotating crown button, the watch just screams elegance. So avoid this if rugged, multi-textured sports watches are more of your thing.

To navigate the watch, it's as easy as rotating the crown button through the various displays and pressing in to make selections. There is no back button, so you will need to scroll through the available screens in each widget to get to the back option on the display to return to the original main display carousel.

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The ScanWatch 2 is built with a 5 ATM level of water resistance so I was able to wear it while running in the rain. If you are a swimmer or surfer then you can wear it and track those activities in the water as well.

Withings states that the ScanWatch 2 charges up in two hours and may last up to 30 days. I can confirm that the charging time is accurate, but I haven't been using the wearable on "watch mode" only so can't confirm the 30-day battery life. I've run with the watch on several times since I'm training for another marathon and connected it to my phone to test the connected GPS capability. When you use it for an activity, especially with connected GPS, the battery life will be significantly reduced. 

On a positive note, I've been able to wear the watch for much longer than my usual fitness trackers. I once took it on three runs, varying from 35 minutes to 55 minutes, and saw the watch still last for more than a week before I had to charge it up.

The Withings smartphone application is surprisingly powerful and can even share its collected data with Apple Health, Google Health Connect, and Google Fit. The application also brings in data from other Withings devices, including its scales, blood pressure monitors, and more so a full view of your entire physical state is available in the app. The watch will store up to seven days of data, so my suggestion is to sync it at least once a week.

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On the app, skin temperature changes are shown at the bottom of your daily activity metrics (it initially took me a while to find where this skin data was being presented) with a baseline plot and then minimum and maximum changes throughout the day. This information may be used when working out in warm environments where heat exhaustion may be a concern. The only thing missing here is longer-term trends for body temperature, which I have my fingers crossed that Withings will add in a future software update. 

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The ScanWatch 2 (right) has larger sensors and a flatter tracking surface on the back than the original (left).

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The ScanWatch 2 can also perform an ECG assessment, measure blood oxygen levels, track your heart rate throughout your day, measure sleep, and track your general physical activity. One gripe that I have with the sleep tracking on the watch is that it can't distinguish between deep and REM sleep, so it's not the most informative sleep-tracking device available today. 

Also: Samsung is trying to beat Apple to these two life-changing health tracking features

Lastly, on top of the new watch, Withings has launched a subscription service similar to Fitbit Premium, where additional insights and metrics are provided at a cost. The service also includes "Missions" that are intended to help inspire you to move or eat well, while other modules will aid you in building better fitness habits, such as how you can improve your sleep scores. The subscription is available for $9.95 per month or $99.50 per year.

ZDNET's buying advice

Not only is the Withings ScanWatch 2 a fantastic timepiece thanks to its always-on analog hands, but it feels fantastic on the wrist, has a long battery life, and measures the key health and wellness data needed to help you improve your lifestyle. At $349, the smartwatch is reasonably priced and competes well with others in the hybrid watches I've tested.

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