Whereas iHealth’s cheaper iHealth Lite body scale only records your weight and BMI, the Wireless Body Analysis Scale records nine different biometrics about yourself including body weight, body fat, lean mass, muscle mass, bone mass, body-water, daily calorie intake (DCI), and visceral fat rating. Taken together, these nine biometrics make up your “body composition” – basically the mixture of all the main structures in your body that give you mass.
Knowing how your body composition breaks down will enable you to get a more accurate view of whether your weight is healthy or not. That’s because though two people of the same height and gender can each weigh, for example, 75kg, what makes up that weight can be different. The first person’s weight could be made up of 30% fat and 70% muscle, whereas the second person’s weight could be made up of 11% fat and 89% muscle. All other things being equal the second person would be healthier because they have much less fat.
The great thing I love about the Wireless Body Analysis Scale is its hardware design. It is extremely rugged and durable. It’s made of a strong plastic material with four metal plates embedded in the top. These plates are the sensors that measure your body composition. On the bottom of the scale are four non-slip pads that keep the scale from sliding out from under you on tiled bathroom floors.
The Wireless Body Analysis Scale has an extremely large footprint at 380 mm (W) × 310mm (D) × 35 mm (H). As someone with a broad frame, I appreciate how wide the scale is. I can stand with my natural stance on the scale and don’t have to bunch my legs together to get my feet on the surface of it.
I also like the monolithic slab-look of the Wireless Body Analysis Scale. Besides the four metal plates, there’s nothing else on the top surface of it. There’s no traditional LCD display window. Instead its display is embedded below the surface of the scale. Stand on it and you’ll see the weight reading glow through. It’s a nice design idea, though some may find the digits of the reading a bit blurry because of it.
Setup and Software
Unfortunately, the hardware design is where my love for the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale ends. That’s because it’s been one of the most frustrating products I’ve EVER used. For some reason, iHealth decided to use Wi-Fi as the connectivity protocol instead of Bluetooth 4.0, a baffling choice since Bluetooth 4.0 is much easier to connect, stays connected, and consumes less battery power. The only real upside to this decision is Wi-Fi-based connection opens up support for older Android and iOS devices that don’t support Bluetooth 4.0. Given the price of the kit though it would have been nice to have both, to be honest.
You setup the scales via the iHealth MyVitals 2.0 app, which seems to be a fairly straightforward process. However, after I weighed myself the first time the scale would lose it’s connection. Sometimes the iHealth MyVitals 2.0 app would say there’s no scale connected. Other times it would think a different user was on the scale. And many times I would need to remove the batteries from the scale and reset my router just to get the scale to be picked up by the app again.
But worse than the connectivity issues was the variability in the weight readings. It’s true that a person’s weight can fluctuate by the day by as much as a pound or two. This is usually because of water weight, which is why doctors say to always weigh yourself at the same time every day before you eat or drink anything. But the thing about the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale is that my weight would fluctuate by as much as a kilogram each time I stepped on it within a matter of seconds of each reading.
One reading would say I was 87kg. The next 88.4kg. The next one 86.9kg. Then 88kg…you get the idea. So which weight was I? 86.9kg – but I only know that because I stepped on my trusty Tanita non-smart, non-connected bathroom scale repeatedly to see how accurate the iHealth scale was (the Tanita never fluctuated by more than 0.1kg at most).
Given that my weight reading on the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale fluctuated every time I stood on it I didn’t have much faith in the other biometric measurements the scale purports to read.
Another issue I had with the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale was the MyVitals 2.0 app. The interface is just too damn confusing. It uses a series of spheres to show you your weight, BMI, and body water readings when it should just display your metrics in an easy-to-view list. You need to tap on each sphere to see the other metrics like body fat percentage, muscle mass, visceral fat percentage, and more. The app does get points for integrating with Apple’s HealthKit though, so your data is automatically sent to the Health app in iOS 8. But since Health is only for iPhone users, this doesn’t help Android people at all.
Cost and Verdict
At around £110 (average price) the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale is about 10-15% cheaper than competitors like Withings, but for that cost discount you aren’t getting the reliability that you need in a smart bathroom scale. The weight readings fluctuate too much. The connectivity is too spotty. The app is too confusing. When I started using the iHealth Wireless Body Analysis Scale I really wanted to love it because I think they did a terrific job on its design. It’s just too bad about the rest of it.