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Withings shows off new lower priced Withings Activité Pop



Here at CES Withings showed off their latest activity tracker, the Activité Pop.  The Pop is a daily activity and sleep tracker but in a non-obvious form factor.  It’s designed to look like a regular watch, but with the internal smartphone connected aspects of a full blown 24×7 activity tracker including the ability to track steps, running and sleep.  And, firmware updates willing – even swimming.

The Pop is perhaps the easiest product to describe thus far at the show in that it’s exactly the same product technologically speaking as the Withings Activité…just without being made in Switzerland and without the fancy band and exterior materials.  As such the price has dropped from $450US to $149US – a massive dip.

Here I’ve placed my regular Withings Activité next to the new Pop (in black):


For those not familiar with the inspiration for the Pop, the regular Activité was announced last summer and just recently started shipping about 4-5 weeks ago.  I’ve just about wrapped up my in-depth review on it, which should publish next week.  For what it is, I love it.  Your steps are shown on the interior dial of the watch, which slowly increments to 100% of your goal over the course of the day.



The Activité Pop is identical technologically and also transmits your daily steps and sleep data to the Withings app.  This connectivity is done via Bluetooth Smart within the Activité Pop.  In addition, you can also capture running data using the watch too.  I find the distance to be no more than about 10% off the actual distance of the run, which is pretty common for accelerometer based distance estimates in a wrist watch.


The Pop comes in a bunch of colors and bands, which admittedly look quite nice.  I was a bit concerned that they’d have taken the secondary rubber/plastic sport band that is included within the regular Activité packaging, and stick it with the Activité Pop.  That gray plastic band that’s included in the regular Activité is horribly ugly.  But the ones within the Activité Pop are far better.


The Future:

Now, the one unknown on both the Activité and Activité Pop is when exactly they’re going to add the swimming functionality.  As you see below, it’s prominently featured within marketing for the Activité Pop.  Just as it was within the regular Activité.


The problem is that Paris-based Withings keeps pushing back the dates on the swimming functionality.  They initially promised it at release (which in theory was early this past fall).  Then it was by the end of December.  Tonight I asked two different people.  The first was a non-Parisian PR person who happily chirped January, while the second (President and co-founder Eric Carreel) who mused it might be a few months. However  It was the attitude and way founder conveyed these timelines that clearly indicated they (or at least he) didn’t really give a rip as to when it would be rolled out.

Which, is somewhat the core problem that Withings keeps coming up against.  They continue to announce and then subsequently release products that they don’t finish.  One can look at their Withings Aura, which was significantly delayed and then once introduced has been – by their own admission – a complete mess.  They even just sent an apology letter to buyers (including myself) noting:

“Withings Aura is an ambitious product that our teams developed over several months….We acknowledge that it was brought to the market too hastily, and that malfunctions and missing features have been a source of frustration for some of you.”

So now once again we have Withings releasing a product that is quite literally almost half-baked (technically speaking Activité Pop only has three features: Steps, Sleep, Swim), without any clear plan on when they’ll release that final swim feature.  Or whether or not those features will even work well once released.



Now if swimming isn’t of interest to you – then yes, both the Activité Pop and Activité are very solid little devices that I actually like quite a bit.  I’d have zero problems recommending them as long as you don’t have a big wrist (as they won’t fit).  And while they do have some odd little quirks (such as alarms that you can’t dismiss), they are by and large completely unobtrusive and fully blend in with not looking dorky.

Last but not least, the Activité Pop is shipping in super-limited quantities starting Monday, January 5th (today) at Best Buy online (US), and then more widely available globally in March.

As always, feel free to drop any questions below!

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Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as my continual updates throughout the day on Twitter.  It’s gonna be a crazy busy week!

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  1. Juro

    I assume “I find the distance within about 10% of the actual distance” was mean to be “I find the distance within about 10% OFF the actual distance” – the former would indicate a much bigger problem in distance tracking.

    • Hmm, interesting. I think that might be a US vs Australian English thing. I would have said (verbally) something was within 10% of actual, but could see how it could be confusing either way when written. Just tweaked it. Thanks!

    • Neil

      It read fine with the initial wording – having the ‘within’ earlier in the sentence makes the meaning clear. If it was “I find the distance about 10% of the actual distance”, then I’d see your point.
      Anyway… first day back at work, so I should be doing something more useful than being an English pedant! 🙂

    • Juro

      You are probably right and I might just have subconsciously skipped the ‘within’ – anyway, good to be double-assured that accuracy is acceptable!

  2. Phil

    Have they completed Android compatibility yet ? In the First Look for the Activite, it wasn’t available yet….

    Given their feature completion record, that’s a concern….

  3. Jonas Christensen

    Why such a fondness for the US market from a European company? I’d definately buy one today if it was available in Europe. Availability i March is probalby going to be overshadowed by the launch of a long expected watch from some fruit company…

    • I suspect it’s simply a shipping volume thing. The reality is (unfortunately) that the North American market simply buys more health/fitness devices than the European market (pure numbers game).

    • Jonny Daly

      Great hands on as ever Ray.

      Another CES round-up mentions that Harrods in the UK will have limited stock in January as well, so that may help in terms of European availability..

      For me it’s a toss up between this and the Fitbit Surge, with the deal breaker being whether the Surge is actually accurate or not.

      If not then I’ll plump for the nicer design of the Pop and keep using my Garmin 610 for training.

  4. Anders Majland

    It is a fair looking watch and it has not lost much in the pop version. The price is also closer to what i’m willing to pay.

    But I’ll hold on to my vivofit/mio link/garmin 910 until they finalize the swimming functionality.

    I’ve gotton one of the original weight scales and it has worked fine for over 3 years. I’m no fan of their website but since it interfaces fine with endomondo that no issue 🙂

  5. Hugo

    I really like how this watch looks, but my problem with this (and all other) activity trackers is that they all have their own ecosystem and there isn’t a simple way of putting all info in one place.
    I currently have a Polar M400 that I’ve been using also as an activity tracker, but if I’d want to use this watch the days I’m not going for a run, I’d lose data in the Polar.
    That’s what’s keeping me from buying it.

    • Both Withings and Polar do feed into MyFitnessPal however (or rather, Polar will shortly).

    • Vinny Lynch

      Hey Ray,

      This is sort of an algebra question. If Withings feeds into MyFitnessPal, and MyFitnessPal can be connected to Garmin Connect, will the Withings data show up in Garmin Connect through MyFitnessPal?


  6. jason K

    I like the looks of the watch but isn’t part of the “draw” of a activity tracker is that it looks like an activity tracker and it makes you one of the “cool kids”?

  7. Greg

    I love how they ignore the phone (android) with the largest market share globally. I was just about to get my wife one of these and realized it doesnt work with here galaxy. Stupid…

  8. Johan

    how about the thickness of the Pop? Same or thinner?

  9. Sagar

    Ray, do you know if the internal movements are also the same across the two variants of Activite?

  10. Chuck Haskins

    Ray, does it support notifications with vibrate feature?

  11. So is this the way to go over a unit with HR? I love the sleek watch look of this unit and I have dedicated units for running and cycling. How good or bad is the FitBit Charge HR? I dont care for the look of it much. Currently using a Jawbone UP24.

  12. sygyzy

    What exactly has changed besides the manufacturing location (presumbly Switzerland to China) to warrant the price drop? Obviously the materials too but what specifically? Sapphire glass to plastic? Stainless case to aluminum?

  13. Josh Potter

    Supposedly it is meant to go on sale late January in the UK:

    “Enter the Withings Activité Pop, a significantly cheaper version of the more elegant Activité, which boasts all of the same features minus the more lavish materials. Priced at £119, it’s set to go on sale in PC World, Currys and Harrods in the UK from late January.”

  14. Is there a way to manually add swimming data to Withings. I’ve had the scale for 2 years and it works wonderfully. I recently tried adding the app to access Health but I can’t get Withings to read the manual info I put on Health and I haven’t been able to find a way to add it to Withings.

  15. Are there any other activity trackers with swimming functions? I’ve come to the conclusion that I lack the brain power to count laps, anywhere other than Kits pool anyway.

    • Aside from multisport watches like the Polar V800 and FR920XT, the upcoming Vivoactive does, but that’s about it (the Misfit says the do, but it’s never worked for me when it comes to actually measuring distance).

    • I’ve got a first gen. Ambit when it first came out, I wish it could be upgraded for pool swimming (it works perfectly so I can’t justify replacing). I’m hoping Bia adds pool functionality in the near future. It seems to be on their to do list.

  16. Paolo Menaspa

    I’m dreaming about that day in which these “classic” style activity tracker will be battery-less. It should be possible with the current solar technologies (see Citizen, Casio, and Seiko have solar powered GPS watches)!!

  17. Gina

    Hi Ray, I’m waiting on the indepth review of the original withings activite that you mentioned will be published a week after this article. Any news on when you might have it up? I’m interested in buying one and would love to see your review first due to the cost.

  18. two questions: (1) any idea why they decided to not add a seconds hand?? (2) does it import to strava?

    • I suspect on the second-hand because most people for that kind of watch don’t much need it. You’d likely have a phone if you needed something more precise.

      And no, no import/export to Strava.

  19. jamie hancox

    I bought two of these when they came out… seemed the ideal way for my wife and I to compete on steps… but we’ve now been through 3 watches in total (including one replacement) – all of whose glass faces have broken for no apparent reason. I’ve looked on twitter etc… and this seems to be a familiar story. I’m very sad for the Withings guys but really, you can’t launch a product without the right amount of testing.

    • Jordyn Tracy

      I’m really glad to have read your comment, Jamie. I’ve been using the Withings Pulse O2, which I LOVE but I tend to wash my hands frequently, and it’s not even remotely water resistant. This is the only issue I’ve had with it, but I’ve gone through 2 and most recently, water got into the second device and the sleep functionality no longer works 🙁
      I was willing to lose the HR function, since that part still works on my current device and I could use it intermittently at my desk. But I didn’t even think about whether the glass would stand up to the constant abuse of my lifestyle as a Construction Manager. Maybe I should spring for the original Activite that has “higher quality materials.”

    • Rob

      There were issues with the glass exploding (or imploding?) for no reason. Thankfully this has been resolved!

  20. Rob

    I’ve only had my Activite Pop for 5 days but had an email today (following a firmware update yesterday) confirming that the Swimming function is now live. I swim a couple of times a year at most so some time before I get to try it out!

    Early days for me but I’m getting on well with it. My job means I have to go out to meet customers, deliver training sessions etc. and I’ve got no concerns with doing so with my Pop on. It isn’t a smart watch but it looks fine in an “every day watch” sort of way. I’d put it in the Swatch sort of range in terms of looks which is fine for me.

    My issues- Poor integration with other apps. I use this with MyFitnessPal which is fine in isolation but if I add an activity to MFP from another app or manually Withings sees the difference between their calorie projection and MFPs and throws my daily calorie adjustment waaaaay out. This is because Withings don’t accept activity data from other sources, a big oversight in my opinion.

    They do have a tie in with Runkeeper but again activities on there only show as activities within the iOS app and as a separate section. The activity time and calories aren’t combined with the data from my Activite Pop.

  21. iain Thomas

    Have been using the Activite Pop for just over a week now. Overall pleased, with a couple of buts…

    I attend a fitness course called TriLine which is based on pre-rugby training, mixture of running, weights, interval training. All of these sessions have been registered on the app as only a walk, none of the running is registered at all. Even more confusing after I had updated the activite for the swim function, swim was detected for 20mins in the app at the Triline session last night, despite being nowhere near any water source.

    Anyone know how the the watch detects swimming or why running is not registering, have contacted Withings but not heard anything back

  22. Michael

    The withings website indicates that the swim function is now live. Have you tried it out yet? Anyone? Wondering how well it works.

  23. Shannon

    Would love to see an update to this with specific information about how the swim function works, what size pool it works with and how accurate it is.

    Thank you.

  24. Mike Edwards

    I’ve enjoyed your no-nonsense reviews.
    You’re prepared to both praise and criticise.