Why you can trust ZDNet
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Withings ScanWatch Horizon review: Luxury looks and clinically validated health data
Hybrid watches provide some key health and wellness data in the form of a standard watch, and Withings' latest ScanWatch Horizon launches in the form of a luxury dive watch. It's an elegant health and wellness tracker with a high-quality build and good looks.
Last year I tested the Withings ScanWatch and even though it couldn't serve as my GPS sports watch or full-blown smartwatch, I couldn't stop wearing it due to its fantastic, high-quality design and very capable health features. Hybrid watches look like standard watches with some inside health and wellness elements.
Following up on the Withings ScanWatch, we have the ScanWatch Horizon that provides the same essentials as the ScanWatch in a luxury diver watch form factor. It's an elegant, lovely watch available in green or blue for $499.95. We've been testing out a blue model for a few days and are once again struck by the great looks and wellness performance.
Materials: Stainless steel case, stainless steel band, sapphire glass, and fluoroelastomer band
Wireless: Bluetooth LE
Water resistance: Up to 100m
Sensors: High precision MEMS 3-axis accelerometer, exclusive multi-wavelength PPG heart rate/SpO2 sensor, stainless steel electrodes for ECG
Battery life: Up to 30 days in normal use, plus 20 days in power reserve mode (time and activity tracking only, no sleep or other advanced measurements). Two hours to fully charge, one hour to 80%.
Watchband: 20mm width
Dimensions: 43mm wide diameter by 13.28mm thickness, weight of 72g (watch without the strap)
Colors: Blue and green
I enjoy wearing my Citizen Blue Angels Skyhawk Eco-Drive watch when my wife and I go out, but I like tracking and analyzing the data captured by a fitness watch. The new Withings ScanWatch Horizon brings a luxury experience to your wrist with clinically validated medical technology so you can enjoy 24/7 tracking while wearing a watch that doesn't look like a fitness tracker.
The ScanWatch Horizon arrives with a stainless steel band mounted on the watch. The blue or green color appears on the bezel, the watch face, and the fluoroelastomer band. The retail package includes both the stainless steel band and the fluoroelastomer band, a charging puck, a metal hammer, a pin punch, a watch band holder, and three extra links for the metal band. To fit my wrist, I had to add back in two of the links, and it was great to have the full kit for managing links included in the retail package.
The bezel has laser-engraved markings for dive support and the bezel even rotates counter-clockwise so you can use it as a dive watch too. The watch face is covered with flat sapphire glass that transitions seamlessly into the rotating bezel. Luminova hollow watch hands illuminate in the dark, along with the five-minute indicators.
Centered at the top half of the watch face is a small round PMOLED display that shows digital time, date, notifications, heart rate, SpO2 readings, electrocardiogram, steps, floors climbed, distance traveled, calories, workouts, breathe work, Strava weekly distance, and settings. The clock options also include an alarm, stopwatch, and timer.
There is a single button on the right, center side of the watch that also serves as a digital crown that rotates to scroll through the small digital display. Press in on the crown to select an option with another setting supporting a press and hold of the crown. I have it set to open the workouts widget. The case of the watch is stainless steel, and on the back, there are three charging pins, second and third ECG electrodes, and three openings for the multi-wavelength PPG sensor. The first ECG electrode is located around the bezel of the watch.
To activate the echocardiogram or SpO2 meter, select the applicable option on the digital display and then place your fingers across the right side of the watch and over the bezel. Stay still for 30 seconds and watch the countdown on the watch as the measurement is taken. The ScanWatch Horizon will vibrate once the reading is complete, and then the smartphone application will show you the results.
Your ScanWatch can also be used to perform respiratory scans while you sleep through the PPG sensor and accelerometer. This data can be shared with your doctor, and if there are recorded disturbances, then the data may help diagnose issues such as sleep apnea. You can have respiratory scans set to always-on, automatic (three nights in a row once per quarter), and off. Having it set to always-on will impact your battery life.
The metal band has two quick-release pins on each end that attaches to the watch body. The fluoroelastomer band has a single quick-release pin on each end. Both securely attach the bands to the watch body.
Compared to the ScanWatch, the ScanWatch Horizon has twice the level of water resistance. The other specifications and functions are the same between the two watches.
The Withings Health Mate application is used to collect data from all Withings health products, including the ScanWatch Horizon. After testing the original ScanWatch, I purchased the Withings BPM Connect to monitor my blood pressure daily, and I love the seamless integration into the Health Mate application. I'm disappointed that Fitbit, Garmin, and others don't support manual entry of core health data such as blood pressure.
After logging into your Withings account, tap on the Devices tab to connect to the ScanWatch Horizon. The Devices tab will then show you the ScanWatch battery life, notifications, alarms, display options, health features, and more settings for the watch that can be managed on your phone.
One feature I have not seen on any other wearable is the smart alarm with a customizable band of time for when the watch can wake you up. Some Fitbit wearables support smart alarms, but these have a long 30-minute window to wake you during light sleep, and that's just too long to be practical for me. With the ScanWatch Horizon, you can set this window to be as short as one minute from the time you must wake up, but I have it set to 15 minutes to increase the likelihood of getting into the right zone before waking.
The Home tab in the app includes your latest measurements, timeline, your programs, and trends. Tap the plus in the upper right corner to manually enter health information such as weight, blood pressure, nutrition, and more. When you tap the nutrition option, a notice appears that Withings and MyFitnessPal have teamed up to provide a comprehensive food tracking experience.
When you tap on one of the measurement categories on the home page, you are taken to another section of the app that provides many more details, historical information, and the ability to view by day, week, or month.
The Dashboard tab shows you single values for your latest data in a number of categories. These include fitness level (VO2 Max), floors climbed, steps, BMI, weight, ECG, oxygen saturation, and more.
From the Profile tab, you can generate a PDF health report to share with your doctor, family members, or others who are interested in your health and progress. You can also connect the ScanWatch to apps such as Samsung Health, Google Fit, Strava, Apple Health, and more.
The ScanWatch Horizon can be used to track more than 30 activities, including the ability to automatically recognize walking, running, and swimming if you forget to initiate workout mode. Over time, ScanWatch will even use your body movements to recognize and track other supported activities that you participate in on a regular basis.
You can pause and resume workout tracking by pressing in once on the digital crown. You need to long-press in on the digital crown to end a workout and save the data. There is very little information shown during your workout, but afterwards, the smartphone app will show you the duration, calories burned, elevation, and more. If you have your smartphone GPS connected, then you will see a GPS track of your workout too.
I'm a fan of the original ScanWatch that launched last fall and the ScanWatch Horizon builds upon that solid foundation with a watch that adds class and style to your wrist. The watch is not too big so it can be worn comfortably to bed in order to track the details of your sleep.
The ScanWatch Horizon subtly provides key health and fitness information on the small display only when you want to view it. The time is shown all of the time, just like a standard watch. The 30-day battery life is also a major benefit over a smartwatch or GPS sports watch and makes the watch something that is more likely to be worn all of the time.
Withings continues to excel in the hybrid watch category. The ScanWatch Horizon is a couple of hundred more dollars than the ScanWatch so it is clearly targeting those who want a more sophisticated look and feel in their watch. While it is rather expensive for a fitness tracker, it is less expensive than many standard dive watches so the price may not be a deterrent for the segment looking for these types of watches.