Monitor your health better from home with this connected device.
There are a lot of things you can do to look after your health. Proper diet, regular exercise, and even daily meditation (for managing stress) can have profound effects on your overall health. Another thing you could do to look after yourself is to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Blood pressure readings can tell a person a lot about their current health and even their future health. In order to do this properly, you need a blood pressure monitor and something to record the data into. Nowadays, most people would record this information into their smartphones, but what if you could have your blood pressure readings recorded automatically and synced directly to your phone. The BPM Connect from Withings does just that.
The BPM Connect is billed as “the simplest way to manage your blood pressure from home” on the Withings website. It’s deemed ‘medically accurate’ and ‘easy to use’ by way of the product page. The companion app, Withings Health Mate, does provide instant feedback and give you the opportunity to share your findings with your doctor. With the device, you get free data storage – at no extra cost. The monitor is multi-user friendly and can be used by up to 8 people. It features a rechargeable battery (recharge with Micro USB) and it’s travel-friendly. The BPM Monitor is compatible with Apple Health.
|App||Withings Health Mate is the best way to keep track of activity, sleep, weight, and more.|
You’ll see trends, progress, and get coaching to help you improve over time.
Whatever your health goal, you’ll find support for it in the Health Mate app.
|Requirements||BPM Connect can be installed on a smartphone or a tablet, via the Health Mate app available on iOS (iOS 10 and higher) and Android (6.0 and higher).|
Cannot be set up from a computer
|Dimensions||1.97 x 2.56 x 6.10 inches|
|Arm Circumference||9 to 17 in|
|Display||LED Matrix Screen|
|Storage and memory||Unlimited storage on Withings cloud|
Up to 8 measurements on-device between synchronizations
|Power Supply||Rechargeable battery|
Charge via micro-USB cable
Battery life: up to 6 months
|Metrics Tracked||Blood Pressure (systolic & diastolic)|
Getting the BPM Connect set-up is very easy. The first step is to download the Withings Health Mate app. The device connects to a user’s smartphone using Bluetooth and then asks the user to sign up for a Health Mate account. During that process, you will define some of your personal characteristics such as first and last name, sex, date of birth, height, and weight. Data from the Health Mate app will sync to the Apple Health app and the two services will trade data between each other once you grant permissions. Another part of the set-up process is to allow Health Mate to send you notifications. Once this part of the set-up is completed, you will select the device tab and then “install a device.” There is a list of devices to select from including Blood pressure monitors. From there you select BPM Connect and ‘install’.
Then, you just follow the on-screen directions to pair the phone to the app and connect to your home Wi-Fi. At this point, the app will update the device and go through automatic configuration. When it’s all completed the app will say “Your BPM Connect is ready!” From here, you place your arm in the sleeve of the monitor and start taking measurements. To do this, you press the button on the device to wake it up and then a second time to start the measurement. There is a 3X measurement mode (you can activate this by doing a long-press of the button) that will take your blood pressure measurements 3 times in a row. In the app, you can select the time between measurements with the longest being 60 seconds.
The sleeve is comfortable to wear and adjustable to fit the largest of arms and the smallest of ones, too. I tested this out on myself, my fiancé, and my fiancé’s grandmother. Now, each time readings were taken, they were recorded under my profile, but I ended up deleting the readings after taking screenshots of them so that they didn’t mess up my individual profile trends. Each one of us had a similar experience with the BPM. The test takes approximately 60 seconds or so to complete. In my opinion, it seems slower than other BPMs I’ve used before. That said, I thought it did a good job completing the measurement process.
When it came to the actual measurements that were captured, I am a little apprehensive of how accurate the BPM Connect is. Anytime I take my blood pressure measurements, I’m typically in the ‘normal’ range. There are a few exceptions to this like when I’m under a lot of stress or feeling unwell. The first time I took measurements with the BPM Connect, the reading was 153/104, which is a lot higher than normal for me. I took it again and it was slightly lower at 160/89. Next, I pulled out a wrist blood pressure monitor and took another reading. While it was still a little on the high side at 140/94, it wasn’t as high as what the BPM Connect was showing. Because I thought these readings were off, I asked my fiancé and his grandmother to take theirs as well. Both of theirs were higher than normal, too. I took a break from the measurements for a while and then took my BP again with the wrist monitor and got a reading of 122/81. I immediately retook my BP with the Withings monitor and it was 173/95.
Even though the specs on the device state that it’s ‘medically accurate,’ I have some doubts about that. I, unfortunately, do not have a standard sphygmomanometer at home so I only have other electronic options to gauge the Withings on. I decided to take my blood pressure again the next morning immediately upon waking up. Again, the results were quite high (183/103) so I retook the measurement using the wrist cuff and got a BP of 132/85. After this point, I decided to look up additional reviews from other users and discovered that I wasn’t the only person who had higher than normal readings. In some cases, users were reporting 10-20 points higher than other BP monitors for both the diastolic and systolic figures. There isn’t an option for users to calibrate the monitor or adjust the settings, which would be a great option in the app.
While the concept for this product is very good and the execution is super simple, It just doesn’t seem to be very accurate. It’s possible that some units that are in circulation are not as accurate as others and I just happened to get a faulty device, but I would recommend to anyone using one of these devices to double-check your BP with a secondary monitor if your readings seem too far off the norm for you. I would especially recommend this if you weren’t experiencing any other symptoms of high blood pressure. Personally, I expected my readings to be slightly elevated since I have been under some stress recently, but I didn’t expect them to be in the ‘dangerous’ territory based on the app’s definitions. I would also suggest that if you have any concerns about your BP to seek advice from your physician. While connected devices are great to have in order to keep tabs on your personal health in between doctor visits, they should always be used in conjunction with a medical professional’s guidance.