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Polar Balance Scale In-Depth Review

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Today Polar announced that they’ve joined the weight scale club and are now making their own Bluetooth Smart scale. This scale integrates straight into the Polar Flow ecosystem. You step on the scale, and it then syncs to your phone, and then onwards to the interwebs. Once on the interwebs it’s displayed and available there for you to track like most other health sites.

But before I get too deep, let’s start with the scale, which I’ve been using for a number of weeks now (dragging it carefully boxed from one spot to the next during my travels – handily upsetting TSA & Border Patrol officers numerous times).

Unboxing:

You know what I loved about this unboxing?  It took like 28 seconds.  Seriously, fastest unboxing ever.  First, here’s the box:

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Next, here’s the box opened:

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Finally, here’s the sum of the contents of the box:

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And…done.

Ok, fine.  I’ll give you a few more voyeuristically pretty pics of the scale and the manual:

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Actually, two minor things to note.  First is that the scale comes in black or white, as seen by the little label on the corner:

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Also, you can note its current compatibility list on the side corner, which center around Bluetooth Smart compatibility.

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Further note that you didn’t see any batteries during the unboxing.  That’s because they’re already in the scale with a tiny little plastic protector thingy, to keep them from being discharged.

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Now we’re done with the unboxing, for realz this time.

General Scale Use:

When it comes to usage, the scale is rather straightforward.  It visibly does precisely two things (measure your weight, and transmit said weight), and does so in two display variants (kilos & pounds).  End of story.

Well, mostly.  After all, I’ve got like 328 photos of this scale to share with you, so I’ve gotta type some text.

First up, the scale has a small but crisp display on the front of the unit.  This will display your current weight in the metric of your choosing, as well as display connectivity to a Bluetooth device status.  Here it is with me standing on it:

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If you flip over the scale, you’ll find a single button.  This button controls which format to display your weight in.  You simply hold it down a few seconds and it’ll iterate through the two options: Kilograms & Pounds.  For those unfamiliar, pounds are what American use, and Kilos are what the rest of the world uses.  Except the Brits, which use stones for some odd reason (and Polar Flow doesn’t support at this time).

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You’ll also find the battery compartment here.  It’s inside of this that you’ll already have 3xAAA batteries, which should last you about 12 months if you took 4 measurements per day (which, is what we call obsessive).

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And with that, we’re basically done explaining how the scale by itself works.  But of course, there’s little reason to buy a $99 scale if you’re not going to integrate that data with something else.  Given the scale isn’t a WiFi scale, it needs some way to talk to other devices to save that data for you.  So let’s segue straight into how that piece works.

Polar Device & App Integration:

In order to get the weight data off the scale at this time you’ll need either a Polar device (a wearable device, like the V800), or the Polar Flow app.  These devices can connect to the Polar Balance scale via Bluetooth Smart to save the data.  Effectively the Polar Balance scale acts as a sensor for these watches/apps, sorta like a heart rate (HR) strap would.

So just like when you pair a HR sensor, you’ll need to dive into that menu and search for the scale while it’s turned on – which will pair the device to the watch.  This allows it to remember it for the future:

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Next, when you step on the scale and get your weight, you’ll notice the nifty little Bluetooth Smart icon start blinking.  This tells you that it’s broadcasting your weight at that time to any previously paired Bluetooth Smart devices that decide to ask for it.

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When you jump on the scale, the weighing process is super-quick.  Sometimes I see lag in weight scales figuring out your weight.  Not here though.  This one is probably one of the fastest scales I’ve seen.

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It’s at this juncture that on your wearable device (or the app) that you trigger the sync process.  For example, on the V800 with the current firmware you just hold the back button down for a few seconds.  That starts the search process, the same process that you’d otherwise use to sync your phone.

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Within a few seconds, it’ll hook-up with the scale and show your weight on the watch:

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Then, the next time you sync your watch with Polar Flow (the online platform), via either Bluetooth Smart or USB, it’ll transmit the data to the puffy Polar Flow clouds (which I cover in a second).

As of this writing, the following devices already are supported: Polar V800, Polar M400, Loop (1), Loop 2.  The A360 should be added within Q1 2016.

There are no plans for Polar cycling devices, such as the M450 and V650.  Of course, if you don’t have one of the compatible Polar devices you can just use the free Polar Flow app.

3rd Party Device Integration:

Next, a brief note that Polar has designed the Balance scale to be interoperable with any 3rd parties that support the Bluetooth Smart Standard Weight Scale Profile (WSP).  So just like there’s an ANT+ standard for weight scales, there’s also one for Bluetooth Smart.  Thus somewhat ironically when Garmin & ANT+ more or less gave up on ANT+ scales, Bluetooth Smart is just getting into the game.

The reasoning though is easy enough to understand: Bluetooth Smart support (via Bluetooth 4.0) is ubiquitous on phones, whereas ANT+ is only on Android phones (albeit the majority of them these days).  Of course, many weight scale companies have just switched to WiFi scales – skipping that step altogether.

In any case, the Balance scale supports the official BT specifications, so it’s up to 3rd party apps to add support for it.  I imagine it won’t take long for someone to add support for a simple app which in turn talks to any number of 3rd party sites (i.e. MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, etc…).

As of today however, there aren’t any 3rd party apps that either I (or Polar) am aware of that support the spec.

Still, once that happens I’ll stick a note in this section to let ya know about it.  This is positive though, because it shows interoperability.  Whereas a solution like Garmin’s scale is basically limited to just Garmin (though, that’s totally their fault/decision).  Other companies like Fitbit and Withings have made 3rd party compatibility via backend services also an option (which is something that Polar is looking at).

Polar Online Integration:

Once you’ve weighed yourself, you’ll find the data up on Polar Flow.  Now the site is still in a bit of flux as they roll it out, so I’m going to show you two different things.  First is where the site is at as of this morning, and next, one new page that’s going to be available in the coming days (I’ll update the image with my own once I can see it).

First up, you’ll now see your weight plotted along the same progress graphs that you had before:

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Note that it only seems to keep/display a single data point per day, in my experience.

You can further change what’s displayed on the graph, as well as the scale by either the ‘Show’ drop-down box, or the selections below the graph, seen below.

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However, what Polar is really looking to change here is the idea of trending progress towards a goal, which is something that I’m not quite yet able to access (but will circle back and add in here once ready).

Specifically, that they’ll track target goal weight progress and then provide specific recommendations based on that.  So you see in the example below, the person has added half a kilo.  So in that case they recommend a specific calorie burn increase, as well as ideas for how to burn those calories.  Most importantly though (in my opinion) – they remind you to eat less of certain products.

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I think this ‘eat less’ part is actually really helpful, because far too many fitness products assume the only solution is to workout more.  When in reality, not having that can of soda and pizza is just as much an option as going for a 40 minute run.

To be clear though – they’re still giving options for how to reduce weight by fitness, such as customizing your daily step goal count.  It’s just that they’re giving you more than one option now.

Also interesting on the graph is the weight-speed idea, which is showing you based on current trends, how much you’re gaining or losing per month.  This helps make it a little more real with respect to what the actual impact is.

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This probably sounds like an obvious metric, but the reality is that nobody has done it before.  So in that respect, it’s kinda brilliant.

Summary:

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I’ve long said that when it comes to activity trackers and scales, the general rule of thumb is to keep it in the same brand family.  Meaning, if you already have Polar devices – it’s usually best to buy a Polar scale.  Inversely, if you have Garmin devices – there’s zero reason to buy a Polar scale.  However, I’ve also said that I’m not generally a big fan of Bluetooth scales, preferring WiFi scales instead because it means you don’t have to have a device handy to sync with it.

And with a bit of confliction – both of those statements still hold true here.  The Polar scale is priced at $99/€99, making it a fairly reasonable purchase –albeit, one that works with far less partners than the identically priced Withings WS-30 WiFi Scale.  The Polar Balance/Flow system works well, and if you have a Polar device – then I really see no problems with it.  Plus, I think what Polar is doing around personalized goals is definitely interesting and worthy of a deeper dive once it’s ready.

But what about the lesser known Bluetooth Smart scales that are cheaper?  Well I don’t have a ton of experience with them.  But I’d point you back to the original statement: Buy within the same product family of your other devices.  If you’re currently a free agent – then you’re able to make your purchasing decisions more freely.  But those others scales don’t integrate with Polar Flow, so you’d be out of luck using them if you were Polar based.

Thanks for reading!

Found this review useful?  Or just wanna save 10%?  Read on!

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the Balance Scale from Clever Training. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10MHD at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Polar Balance (Select drop-down for color)

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

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124 Comments

  1. There are lot of “XXX”s in this post…. seems like a draft was posted

    Reply
  2. Nedim

    Is seems that this article got published ahead of time? Lot’s of “xxx” markers :)

    (which is, oddly enough, exactly how I mark my “go back here”)

    Reply
  3. Mike S.

    xxx? Search and replace not working?

    I guess the scale only gives you your weight. No other measurements?

    I’m hoping to hear some news from Polar this week. Their watches are looking pretty dated these days. While my M400 works well, I am lusting after the newest offerings by Garmin and TomTom.

    Reply
    • Correct, just weight.

      There’s no other Polar announcements this week.

      Reply
    • Marko

      So you’re telling us that we must wait for v800 successor a bit longer.. too bad!

      Reply
    • Dave Lusty

      Seriously?! I kind of get that there would be a lot of annoyed people if the v800 was abandoned but I’d have thought at least whacking in a colour screen to show they are moving with the times. Of course they must have the next version in development and seeing the Fenix HR coming we must assume the next v800 would have optical HR too so I guess sensible to wait until their OHR actually works :)

      Reply
    • Marko

      If not, they can give us cadence on v800. And there is more stuff that other watches have… i am not saying that i need all of them but some of them are good.. like i sad cadence, ground contact time, stride length, vertical oscillation… and some hiking functions .. and that is it :)) and i know that v800 has all the potencial for that..

      Best regards M

      Reply
    • Dave Bristel

      The problem with color, touchscreens, or a combination of the two is the power draw is quite a bit higher. If the target audience for a product is dedicated athletes, then fluff features that do not provide a benefit for that audience means very little, and the tradeoffs make for a product that fewer people would actually want to purchase. Optical heart rate I could see as an addition for those times you are not working out but want to check on your heart rate(recovery period for example).

      Reply
    • Dave Lusty

      Sorry Dave it’s not 1997 any more. Garmin have many examples of colour screen watches with massively more features for athletes which have equal or better battery life than v800. Before the 920XT I’d have agreed with you but even the 920 is due for replacement this year because that too is an old model!

      Reply
    • Dirk Wagner

      Honestly: Colour screen? What for??? I don’t need this for nothing. So why? I am also not starting to write letters in different colours. Its black and white. I really hate this colour displays that are there just because they can be done and we are in 2015. They are totally pointless in 90% of all cases and they do need more power.

      Sounds harsh, I know. I just wanted to male that clear. 😉

      Reply
  4. Pablo

    Exxxcelent review

    Reply
  5. Chmouel

    I wish those people would support, github type webhooks URL so we could plug any service to it :

    link to developer.github.com

    Reply
  6. AJ

    Hi Ray, do you know the max weight limit of this scale?

    Reply
  7. Robert

    14lbs in a stone. 2.2 lbs in a kg. We went metric in 71, a year before I was born. Thankfully I was taught both systems.

    Reply
  8. Marek Kosmalaosmal

    I am not sure if I understand, You mentioned that scale is working with Bluetooth Smart Standard Weight Scale Profile (WSP). why would other scales using this protocol not work with Polar devices? I have running pod of adidas working quite well with M400. Is different in case of scales?

    Reply
    • Because many other weight scales aren’t using the protocol, they’re just using private protocols. For example, the BLE standards for those came out in Oct 2015, so basically just a year ago:

      link to bluetooth.com

      Based in looking at the qualified listings (which aren’t usually totally inclusive), the only other scale that seems to be compatible is one of the A&D models:

      link to bluetooth.org

      (Select WSP/WSS in the ‘Layers’ drop-down list)

      Reply
    • Marek

      Tanks for prompt replay. Which means, if scale (one You mentioned or some future products) uses this specific BT protocol it should work with Polar devices. Am I right?

      Reply
    • Yup, in theory!

      Reply
  9. David

    Sorry, pet peeve:
    Also interesting on the graph is the weight-speed idea, which is showing you based on current trends, how much your gaining or losing per month.
    Wrong “your”.
    (And coincidently I just saw this tweet NSFW: link to twitter.com)

    Reply
  10. Totte

    Thank you for the review! Syncing idea sounds great and effortless. But how to handle if you are a two person household? Stay away while the other one is weighing? Any experience you can share on this?

    Reply
    • It won’t randomly pickup the weight scale data unless you tell your watch to look for it. So as long as both of you don’t try and get on the scale at the same time (mildly awkward) and press the back buttons on your devices, you’ll be good.

      Reply
  11. Dave Bristel

    One thing to note is that most scales in the $100 and up range tend to support things like body fat, muscle, and water percentages in addition to weight. If I can step on a $30 scale and manually put my weight into a V800, how would a scale that costs $100 a real advantage, to save me 30 seconds? Body fat and muscle percentages on the other hand, are a LOT more important, because the WEIGHT may show the same, but if body fat percentage is down, and muscle is up, that is an improvement that JUST the weight would not show.

    Reply
    • Dave Lusty

      But if those things are measured on a $100 scale they are almost guesswork…

      Reply
    • Stepan

      Any “normal” scale measuring body fat is a guesswork. Including Taninta, Garmin, Omron, etc.
      You can get correc fat measurement only by caliper, dexa scan or lab underwater weighting.

      Reply
    • NIck

      They’re guess work yes, so it may not be accurate compared to a DXA scan or similar, but their consistent and that’s all that matters. A change from 20 to 18 on the scale means you’ve really lost 2% provided you’re doing it under the same conditions. You just may not have been 20 or 18% body fat but you’ll be ball park right.

      Reply
    • Jeff

      Bio impedance weight scales are consistent only if your hydration level is exactly the same each time (impossible). This holds true for any high end 10k scale using 6 frequencies or a $50 scale using 1. If you want to know your fat and muscle %, you need to use something besides a bio impedance device.

      Reply
    • Lee

      Interestingly Tanita recommend doing your daily weigh-in just before your evening meal in an effort to gain a consistent, true-representation of your weight.

      However, assuming you do sleep for roughly the same amount each night, a first-thing-in-the-morning weigh in is very consistent (to itself) in terms of the fat/water content. Thats what I do with my Tanita scales. The figures themselves are wrong frankly, regardless of whether I choose normal or athlete mode, but as Nick says, the device is at least consistent to itself so you can track a trend/progress.

      Reply
  12. Mark P

    not sure I love this – I have a V800, but this sounds too much of a faff.

    With my (old) Withings scale me & my wife can use it & within a few seconds the data is off into MFP or wherever.

    Same too little too late from Polar? Shame as I like their hardware.

    Reply
  13. qbbaa

    Does it measure weight only? Any body fat, muscle/bone/… mass? Is it capable of measuring anything other than weight (now or in future updates)?

    Reply
    • Just weight only. I’ll ask of other metrics are available down the road or not (my guess it not, since it would require more hardware).

      Reply
    • Francois

      Sorry Ray, but I do not understand why you say that this already obsolete scale is fairly valued? It is the same price as the wifi Withings scale (link to clevertraining.com)
      However, the Withings scale gives you body fat, heart rate, weather forecast, steps taken, is compatible with a gazillion apps, is wifi etc etc…
      So no, in all objectivity, you can not say it is fairly priced

      Love your site, and what you do
      Tks

      Francois

      Reply
    • The WS-50 is on sale (and just for this week), it’s normally $150, so not really comparing Apples to Apples.

      Reply
    • But the WS-30 is the same price, and I don’t need to take a phone or watch to the bathroom with me in the morning to weigh in. Lack of wifi is not OK in 2016 end of story. This is like saying how great it is that a car key works in ever lock on the car – smashing, but where is the remote central locking? Someone needs to pay for the Polar product team to have Internet access so they can see the outside world before releasing products…

      Reply
    • I don’t disagree there however. Which, is why I had the litany of caveats in my summary section saying pretty much exactly that. 😉

      Reply
    • dave Lusty

      I think it’s because you say it too nicely Ray (and after a certain power meter debacle we can see why!). In this instance I think someone needs to slap Polar with the clue stick though, and slap them hard before they release a replacement sports watch whose major feature is a stopwatch. I’ve always been a Polar fan and really want them to succeed, or at least offer a good alternative to Garmin but they aren’t giving us much to go on these days.

      Reply
    • qbbaa

      Thanks, looking forward to news about planning updates (if any…). I’ve hoped that there is hardware inside but they just wanted to release it on CES.

      Reply
    • Regarding the body fat pieces, I talked to Polar about it today.

      They said they did consider it initially for the scale, but that in their testing, they ultimately found most products in the consumer price range weren’t really any better than a random number generator. It was their feeling that they didn’t want to put something of that quality into the market under their brand (I’d agree with the thinking).

      To be clear, the Polar Balance does not have the required hardware to do body fat measurements.

      Reply
    • Lee

      A shame, because I live my “health life” on my V800 and would have bought this product in a heartbeat had it done more than just measure weight.

      Since everyone I know uses myfitnesspals to track food and energy balance, and plenty of scales will automatically sync your weight to that, there seems to be very little point to these scales. Polar would have to take on the job of food tracking (no small feat given the functionality in myfitnesspals and the food database!).

      “You’re gaining weight. You’re eating more than you expend. Eat healthy food.” – well that just sums it up. V800 is a product for the technical athlete, but this smacks of “Tomy My First Scales”.

      Reply
  14. JuanJohnJedi

    Great review, one question: In one of your unboxing pics, it shows that the scale is compatible with the A300, yet the Polar website says it isn’t (or at least doesn’t include the A300 in its list — Loops, M400, V800).

    Is this one of those “we plan to update it to be compatible with the A300 soon” kinda things?

    Reply
    • Yeah, I noticed that as well this morning just before publishing. The official listing I have per the press release matches what I was told elsewhere, which is opposite of the box (A360 & A300 switched). I suspect the box was simply older.

      I’ll poke someone and find out though.

      Reply
  15. Stipek

    So there go my hopes of the Withings-App and the Polar app talking to each other…

    Reply
    • Stefan G.

      Agree, I would love if I could get my Withings data into the Polar Balance section of the app/web or even do it manually, but based on Polars history of non-connectedness I doubt that will ever happen. I think the web/app services will only be accessible if you buy the scale.

      Reply
    • Jeffrey

      I’d settle for letting Withings HealthMate continue to write weight to HealthKit so long as Polar updates Polar Flow so it can read weight from HealthKit.

      Reply
    • Stipek

      I asked the Poalr guys on Facebook and they replied that it will be possible to implement 3rd party scales but that won’t be for free. No prices and timelines were given.

      Reply
  16. Evgeniy Egorov

    Stopped caring about my weight about half a year ago. When people say they want to drop weight they usually mean they want to drop fat and no scales I know will show accurate body fat. I use Skulpt every morning to track body fat + scales at the gym every now and then when I’m curious about my weight. If my body fat goes down and weight goes up I’m a happy camper ))

    Reply
  17. Alex

    I’m not sure why anyone would buy this over a withings. My withings is 5 years old and still works great.

    Reply
    • Typo Ken

      Maybe, if as Ray has written in the review , they already are in the polar family

      Reply
    • John

      Because the Polar scale uploads to the Polar app/cloud/ecosystem.

      Reply
  18. ampestijn

    What will it say when you are underweight or lose weight?
    Eat less healthy or work out less?
    I’m not joking, going underweight is an actual issue for me and daily monitor my weight for that.

    Reply
  19. jf

    IMHO it seems a bit annoying to have to manually sync after each measurement. Will it only sync the latest measurement, or can one bulk sync the latest few days of measurements f.ex. once a week?

    You can’t get the polar flow app to automatically pick up the broadcast?

    Reply
    • Keios

      >>IMHO it seems a bit annoying to have to manually sync after each measurement. Will it only sync the >>latest measurement, or can one bulk sync the latest few days of measurements f.ex. once a week?

      I’m also interested if it will sync only latest measurement or all values after last sync.

      Reply
    • In my case, it only uploaded the measurement if I captured it with the watch. It did not upload/save any measurements if a watch did not capture it. Sorta the whole ‘if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it’ thing.

      I’ll circle back with them and validate that’s the way it should work (I’d assume so, since otherwise it’d never know who to associate it with).

      Reply
    • Antti

      How about, is the watch (V800) able to memorize multiple weight sessions? I sync my watch with Flow once a week, so would I lose daily weights measured between the syncs?

      Reply
    • Yup, it can do that.

      Reply
  20. ifor

    Surly if the Polar is really BT smart spec compliant you can pair your Polar wearable device with another BT Smart scale and still get the backend flow but with the cheaper scale?

    Reply
    • Assuming another smart scale actually follows the BT spec. Looking at BT’s site, I only see one other that’s certified (others might use it, but I’d guess most don’t).

      Reply
    • ifor

      should read comments better before posing. Would be interesting to actually have someone test the third party BT Smart scale with a Polar wearable. Polar have not got the best record with regards to inter opp.

      Reply
    • Florian

      Or maybe, we get some genious app developer (*ahem*) to write an app that pretends to be a BTLE-scale and reports weight to Polar watches so that we can use the nifty new Balance-Features in flow….
      Where that app then gets the actual weight data from could be exchangable (typing it in after reading it from your non-smart scales comes to mind as a base option, but alternatively it could act as a bridge between Polar and ANT+ scales…)

      Reply
  21. Beautiful review.

    Best regards,
    Kamil Nowak

    Reply
  22. I was already sold on the scale after seeing it this morning. After reading the review I’m completely sold as a dedicated Polar user. Thanks for the review Ray!

    Reply
  23. Stefan G.

    Hi Ray,
    Any Idea if Polar will allow manual input of weight into the flow app or web software?
    I am thinking that the whole Balance section might be locked only to those that connect the Balance scale to the app, just like other functions get unlockedwhen you add a certain product.

    Ideal for me would be if it could read weight data from Withings app or apple health, but that might be too much to ask from Polar.

    Reply
    • Rz605

      You can enter your weight manually in Flow. Go to the diary, enter any of the days and there’s a box on the bottom left to enter it there.

      Reply
    • Stefan G.

      Yes, I am aware of that part, but I think its slightly ridiculous that It cannot automativcally update the weight from my Withings app, Apple Health or My Fitness Pal.

      My main question, which i might not have been clear about, was if I will be able to still use the Balance software on the web. Many other brands allow this, Withings, Garmin and Fitbit all allow manual input to show graphs, Fitbit even automatically inport data, cant remember if Garmin does.

      That said, its not really been in Polars history to show compability with other brands, so i guess i am out of luck.

      Reply
    • Chris Oldroyd

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing, would like to know if you “Have” to use the scale to see the info in Polar Flow.

      Reply
    • So right now the way it works is that the Polar Balance tab won’t appear unless you have a Polar Balance Scale registered to your account (under the Sport Devices), using a Polar Scale serial number. On top of that, you’ve also got to then have a device that has been paired to the scale and then that pairing relationship validated with Polar Flow (I know more than I wanted to about this, though it is interesting).

      Somewhat logical stuff that would also apply to other scale platforms insofar as automated connectivity goes, except that those do allow you to manually enter/update weights.

      Reply
    • Stefan G.

      I can see the Polar Balance tab on my Polar Flow web, when i click on it i get a promotion text and link to Polars site for the Balance scale.

      Reply
    • Correct. Sorry, by ‘appear’, I mean ‘appear with anything useful besides an ad’.

      Reply
    • JuanJohnJedi

      Asked Polar via Twitter when the A300 would be compatible with the scale, and they responded:

      “No date to give at this point but we’ll keep you posted.”

      Reply
  24. SteveT

    Hi Ray thanks for the review,

    Just to know how BMI is calculated and how to “interpret” the gross categorizations.
    readers may want to take a look at link to en.wikipedia.org

    I’m not an exercise physiologist but like many DCR devotees I’m serious enough to want to train and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle and want technology to help.

    If Polar would have offered the lean mass, % water, etc features and then integrated that into their calculations that yielded a better approximation of my true caloric needs and expenditures during my activities (and a BMR adjusted for lean mass for all the rest of the time), and does that automatically when I step on the scale and sends it to my devices and websites-then that is value added and a reason I might want to buy their scale. Heck if they accounted for my vertical distance and different equipment loads while exercising now I would be even more interested, and if they pushed everything to Training Peaks until they got a website that could be tailored to a serious recreational athlete then I will replace my old Tanita inner scan scale and buy theirs and not a Garmin.

    So Ray would you please ask them why they didn’t/don’t/won’t do that the next time you’re at or are in communication with Polar HQ I would like to know. If they say they’re are working on it, could you get that in writting and hold them to it?

    Focus group of one, take it for what it cost them

    Steve

    Reply
  25. Phil mckenny

    Until polar announce their next flagship watch I won’t be buying this.

    I’m interested by smart scales and having this polar unit would be perfect but my V800 is looking a little dated nowadays. If they don’t announce a new top end watch in the next few days I could well be moving away from polar.

    I bought an Apple Watch to see if it could replace my v800, it couldn’t (it’s pretty useless) but having the high res full color screen was very nice indeed. A mix of the v800 and Apple Watch screen is required. :)

    Is there really no sign of the v800 replacement..? 2 years since the v800 was announced.

    Reply
  26. Stace

    Hi,

    How do these type of devices work with different members of the family? Are they profile related?

    Thanks in advance :0)

    Reply
    • Lasse

      I’m interested also if both me and my girl can use the scale with our separate accounts to Polar Flow. I’m using V800 and the lady of the house has M400.

      Reply
    • Mats

      If you zoom on the packaging pictures above you can see in the bottom right side a people symbol and it seems to say “1 to 10 users”

      Reply
    • Stace

      Thanks :0)

      Reply
  27. Robert

    Hi there,

    first of all, thanks DC ranimaker for this review!
    I was actually looking for such a scale, when I stumbled across the “balance” tab in my flow profile and got curious. So this fits perfectly 😉

    I’m actually wondering, what other scales might be used with Polar flow. Based on the FCC ID shown on the pictures ( link to fccid.io ) this should be at least the Oregon Scientific BW121, BW128, BW129, and the FitBug ( link to fitbug.com ). All these are mentioned in the FCC reports, and it appears (not realy surprisingly) that the Polar scale is just a brand labled device ( link to welltec-usa.com ).

    It seems there are two different bluetooth profiles that could be used to link the scale to the Polar eco system: WEIGHT SCALE PROFILE or BODY COMPOSITION SERVICE. As Polar is mentioned as author on the WSP Document of the Bluetooth group, I suppose this protocol is used. Unfortunately, the majority of the other smart scales on the marked (alltogether brandlebled for Whightings, Runtastic, Wahoo, …) seem to use the BCS as they also provide the less-than-acurate body fat analysis (which should better be referred as sweaty feet analysis, by the way 😉 )

    If any of the readers owns one of above devices: could you please check whether it does or does not links to your V800 / Loop / other polar device?

    Reply
    • Stefan G.

      HI, you are mainly asking about the Oregon Scientific, But I can at least confirm that as expected I cannot link my Withings WS50 to my M400.

      Reply
    • ifor

      BODY COMPOSITION SERVICE is an optional part of WEIGHT SCALE PROFILE. The actual weight data is in the mandatory WEIGHT SCALE SERVICE part of the WEIGHT SCALE PROFILE. The other scales should work with the Polar device but the same was in theory true for the other power meters but it did not work straight off. The Scales are far simpler than the power meter stuff though.

      Reply
  28. Doug

    So, if I read the “Balance” tab of Polar Flow right…I have to spend $99 on a BT scale so that I have the ability to input my weight into Flow AND get access to the “Balance” section of the site? Why doesn’t Polar simply allow me to manually input my weight AND access Balance?

    Reply
    • Mika

      Almost too clearly said on update page :(

      “After purchasing the scale, the Polar Flow web service with the Polar Balance service is available free of charge for all Polar Balance scale users.”

      link to updates.polar.com

      Reply
    • Doug

      I guess that’s my point. I have a V800 and access to Flow already.

      Why by a $99 (any type) device so I can automatically input weight? Shouldn’t Polar just allow a manual input on the “Balance” tab and provide access to the same data?

      Reply
  29. Grzeg1

    I’m actually a bit surprised that this is already “in-depth review” and not “first look at” given the fact that you were not able to access the whole balance ecosystem ergo you were not given hands-on experience with the product. For me it would be an important part of the review as especially with the latest Polar products the devil is in the details, especially as far as web app is considered. I mean lots of things work in a different way one would imagine.
    Other than that, as always thanks for spending your time to keep us up to date on sports gadgets and saving our money.

    Reply
    • Grzeg1

      One more question: everywhere on Polar pages it’s said you need to have a Polar wearable device. Are you sure it can connect with just Polar Flow app without a device?
      If it can’t, then every user in the household needs to have a Polar watch/tracker and that means it’s much less cost-effective than a wifi scale (if used by multiple persons).

      Reply
    • Yes, sure you can connect it via app.

      I waffled back and forth between in-depth and first look. The challenge is that I got a walk-through from the Polar people on how the other piece works, and have it on my dev account, but not my prod account. So just waiting for me to get my prod account set correctly so I can gather screenshots.

      In some ways, I was between a rock and a hard place, in that if I just changed the title from ‘In-Depth’ to ‘First look’, the only thing that would ever change would be those screen-shots later down the road if I was to do an ‘In-depth’, which realistically, I wouldn’t otherwise do.

      6 in one, half a dozen the other.

      Reply
  30. William

    Here’s my question: If the Balance can connect to the Flow smart phone app, and the Flow service redetermines your activity goal based off your weight loss goal, is it still possible to have that adjusted activity goal transferred to the A300 or A360 from the Flow service during normal syncing?

    Reply
  31. Benjamin

    Interesting proposition that new Flow screen with weight. 2 questions: first, will it work with weight that’s added to flow manually? And secondly, will the dynamic goal also extend to activity tracking, so that it advises based on the past days à la Garmin? Or are we still stuck with the three tiers of activity that can’t be changed?

    Reply
    • ampestijn

      It does not work if you add weight manually, i do it daily with my v800 and the balance tab in flow just tells me to buy a balance. Which is weird since all you do with the balance is add your weight to the v800 every day.

      Reply
  32. Slewis

    If you have a v800 and a fitbit which scale would you recommend the Polar Balance or the Fitbit Aria? I mostly use the V800, but maintain the fitbit for sleep tracking (I like it better) and for the social aspect (I have a lot of friends with fitbits, no one with any Polar products).

    thanks

    Reply
    • Honestly, really just depends which platform you think it prettier. :)

      If it was me, I’d probably stay/go Fitbit for weight, only because it can be shared with so many other partners should you need change.

      Reply
  33. FJ

    “whereas ANT+ is only on Android phones (albeit the majority of them these days)”

    Say what? I’m in the market for a new phone, and the only ones I know off that have Ant+ are some Samsungs (Galaxy line at least) and some Sonys. Are there many others as this quote seems to imply?

    I’d love a Nexus with Ant+… as things stand, vanilla Android is more important to me than Ant+ on my phone

    Reply
  34. Jared

    If I sync my weight each day for a week with my watch and then sync my watch at the end of the week to Polar Flow will it show how my weight varied during that week?

    Sorry if this has been answered already. I looked through the article and comments and couldn’t find a clear answer.

    Reply
  35. Wesley Forbes II

    I don’t know where else to ask this question, so I will give it a try here.

    I have had the Polar M400 since it was released, and own a M450 for my bike. For Christmas, I bought my wife the A360. Even though I have all Polar products, I am unsure if I will get the Polar scale over the Withings scale. If I act now, the WS-50 is the same price as the Polar and has more features.

    Ray, in your opinion, what would you get?

    Reply
  36. Gerald

    thanks for that great review! But I’m confused about one thing: Polar states the Balance can support up to 10 customers – how does this work? I don’t need 10 profiles, but I own a V800 and my wife a Loop, so I need 2 profiles. There is nothing written in the manual about that, I only found that the Balance can have 7 (!) BT-connections configured at the same time – but how does the Balance know to add my weight to my profile and the weight from my wife to her profile?

    thanks for hints! Gerald

    Reply
    • david n

      My guess: The v800 and the loop2 both have different Device ID’s (you can see them in flow). So when it records the weight, it attributes it to the device ID which is linked with your polar flow profile. That’s just an assumption though.

      Reply
    • Gerald

      ok, that’s clear… but how does the Balance know to send my weight to my V800 and not to my wifes Loop (and the other way around)?

      Reply
    • Because when you step on the scale and it blinks the BT symbol, you then have to press a button on your watch to have it search. So the only way someone else would get it would be if they were A) Paired & B) Pressed button while you were on scale.

      I’ll put together a little video of it all in the next day or two when I get home.

      Reply
  37. Koen

    Thank you for reviews, they are really valuable. What about accuracy? In my bathroom I have a balance that makes me 1.5-2 kg lighter, and 2 measurements within 5 minutes can have a difference of 0,2 – 0,3 kg.

    Reply
  38. Eli

    With all the scales you test you don’t seem to mention calibration or if the scale is truly taking a new weight measurement each time. Do they all calibrate each time? If you step of and then back on holding and extra half pound will it show your weight go up by that amount? (some average previous measurements if they are close to cover up for the strain gauges not being very accurate)

    Reply
    • Most do calibrate each time, either before or after. I think Fitbit does it like every other time or something. Generally speaking, if you haven’t moved the scale since the last weigh-in, then it’s the same. However, some scales take a bit more stabilization post-move (like the UA scale, up to 4 times).

      Typically I’ll get on and off a scale twice to validate it shows the same number (and most times it does).

      Reply
  39. Are there any of these fancy connected scales that will simply sync to my phone, and not a third party web apo? I’d rather just keep all my data mostly local if possible. I’d just like to save the trouble of entering the data into Apple Health or a similar disconnected tracking app.

    Reply
  40. Adam

    Noticed the “Sleep Analysis” under the Diary section. Looks like Polar is going to break out more sleep data as well? :-)

    Received the balance yesterday. Was an easy setup. Wish they would have included Wifi as well to have less “friction” to get the data into the Polar Flow service, but once in there I do like the information on the Balance page.

    Reply
  41. Marshal

    Another great review! I’m a Polar user and the scale looks like a great “sensor” to introduce to my house. Glad to find your review so I could get the answers to my questions — and more so, the answers to questions I didn’t even know I had.

    Reply
  42. Petter

    Thanks Ray, great info as always.

    I have a question about the connectivity. The Polar Balance scale solves the issue of multiple users by syncing with paired devices. This works quite nice in practice. Me and my wife use the scale and it is quite trivial to activate Bluetooth on mine or her device depending on who used the scale. But, how does that work with wifi-scales? How do they discriminate between different users?

    A second question that probably Polar should answer. I don’t see any way of removing a bad data point. Do you know if that is possible? I assume that could happen by bad calibration or a very untypical weight caused by bad timing.

    Reply
  43. erica leister

    When you select ‘View daily goal goal’ it shows activity beyond a measurement of 24hrs. For example, mine says 33 h 8min up. I don’t get it. The energy expenditure seems unreasonable for the goal weight loss. Another issue is you cannot put less than negative 2.0 lbs per 2 week period, unless I’m doing something wrong. Please advise.

    Reply
  44. erica leister

    When you select ‘View daily goal’ it shows activity beyond a measurement of 24hrs. For example, mine says 33 h 8min up. I don’t get it. The energy expenditure seems unreasonable for the goal weight loss. Another issue is you cannot put less than negative 2.0 lbs per 2 week period, unless I’m doing something wrong. Please advise.

    Reply
  45. Phil Legault

    I’m really interested in the Polar Balance, but I have to ask the basic question — why can’t we get those Flow features using any scale and manually updating our weight on our V800?

    Reply
  46. Nicholas

    Can the scale connect to more than one Polar device? Example: My wife and I each have a Polar m400 and want to use one scale. Is this scenario possible?

    Reply
    • Petter

      Yes. I and my wife use it. I think it can supply 7 devices – and therfore 7 Flow accounts.

      Reply
    • Nicholas

      I am having trouble pairing my wife’s m400 to the scale. The watch has a HR strap paired to it but it is not connected when using the scale. We should be able to have the m400 paired to the scale and the HR strap and be able to use one or the other at any given time, correct? Thanks for the help.

      Also, is it is possible to have a m400 and a iPhone connected to the same Polar Flow account and both connected to the Scale as long as you only try and snyc with one or the other?

      Reply
    • Petter

      I don’t know why you have problems pairing the M400. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the HR strap. Try to redo the pairing between the weight and the M400.

      I have had trouble a few times when I try to sync the weight to my watch. It seems they don’t find each other or for some reason and connects to something different, my phone maybe? The solution for me has been to keep the watch fairly close to the weight to ensure the find the correct device. (But, this could be caused by something completely different.) My wife, that has a M400 has not experienced any trouble.

      I think it is possible to pair many devices (e.g. M400 and phone) that belongs to the same account.

      Reply
  47. un11imig (@un11imig)

    I notice that there is a tab “Sleep Analysis”. How we can activate this?, what is the information that is reviewed here?.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  48. Keios

    Got my Balance few days ago.
    It’s confirmed that with V800 its possible to measure your weight every day and for example once a week sync with Flow.

    Sadly Loop 2 can save only one measurement (every new measurement will overwrite previous), so when using Loop 2 with Balance I have to sync with Flow everyday.

    Reply
  49. Adriaan

    1) If you have the scale set-up and registered in flow and connected to your device (let’s say V800) and you leave your house for while (a vacation, the weekend,…).
    2) You have your goal set-up, can you manually put in your weight and does it update in the flow web-service?

    Or are only bluetooth measurements “accepted”.

    Reply
    • Adam

      Adriaan,

      You can always go to the Polar Flow website, click on a specific day and enter your weight manually.

      Reply
  50. Robert Black

    just found something on my new iPhone that my android handsets x3 don’t do. after weighing myself and pressing the back button on my watch. It synchronised that data to the watch, and then without further intervention the watch (m400 today) sync’d to the phone and uploaded the lot to flow. Sorry if that’s old news but I thought it was cool, not having to open the app, maybe change device m400/v800 owner and then push the back button again to sync.

    Reply