We’re approaching the most dangerous time of the year, the point at which we forget all scruples, all common sense and indulge in what can only be described as an orgy of consumption. Never mind the material cost of all this bingeing, what about our health? One way to fight the inevitable new year guilt is to invest in a set of scales which will offer some sort of diet escape plan, and help us return to a reasonable shape in time for our next stupidwontdoitagain moment.
We took time out from gorging on burgers to check out two of top electronic scales on the market at the moment, to see if a)they worked as advertised and b)which we’d like to have put in our stocking over the festive holiday. Read on for our verdict after the jump.
Fitbit Aria - $160.19 – £99.99
The Fitbit Aria is the first of the super scales from the Fitbit company, and not only does it track your weight but also your fat/lean mass ratios as well. In addition these scales will beam your weight and ratios to an online storage area using your home’s WiFi connection, so you can review your progress later over a coffee and muffin. Sorry, low carb pretzel.
The Aria also integrates with the Fitbit Fitness Program, which incorporates the other devices in the Fitbit stable like the Activity and Sleep Trackers, to help you stay fit as well as in trim. It’s a clever idea and very well implemented.
The Aria is easy to set up, just insert the batteries, connect it to your WiFi network via the online setup wizard, register for a Fitbit account which is where your stats are stored and that’s it. From then on the scale will recognize you when you step on, and upload your weight to your account. You can also set up goals and add in measurements like waist, hips etc, for more detailed tracking. Up to eight different people can be given accounts on the scale, which should cope with the largest of families. There’s even a guest mode.
You need to use the scale on a hard surface and with bare feet in order for it to work accurately, and one thing we found is if you move the scale (say to get it out of the cupboard in the bathroom) to use, it must be left to settle for a few minutes before you step on, because otherwise it gives spurious results. In our case it added 4 lbs to my weight each time until I re-weighed a few minutes later, when the right weight would appear. The fastest weight loss in history, 4 lbs in 20 seconds.
It’s a tad disconcerting, but once you understand the issue you can give it time or leave it permanently down, however it’s not a great feature/bug/quirk. The on screen dashboard in your account is easy to use and self-explanatory, and there’s a nice food plan feature which helps you institute a full weight loss program. Unfortunately there’s only a standard calories in/out structure, which is increasingly becoming discredited in favor of the lower carb doctrine, but that’s something which will probably be corrected in the future as more people opt for sensible dietary habits, rather than relying on dodgy historical low fat misinformation.
The Fitbit Aria is an impressively easy to use weight loss system, which is more than the sum of its parts. The scale is easy to set up, the dashboard clear and understandable. Our only quibble is the scale accuracy, we found it to vary a little too widely for our liking, a problem which is compounded by the fact that the reading on the scale also usually differs from the website or the smartphone app readings, as the system rounds up or down in transit. It’s a small thing but confusing.
Pros: Easy to set up and use. Nice integration with other parts of the Fitbit overall health system
Cons: Doesn’t feel as accurate as other devices in this market, which can lead to confusion.