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Garmin Index S2 Smart WiFi Connected Scale In-Depth Review

Garmin-Index-S2-WiFi-Scale-Review

Garmin has just announced the new Index S2 smart WiFi scale, building slightly upon the previous first-generation Index WiFi scale released nearly 5 years ago. This new model switches to a color display that’ll show weight trending information, helping to visualize the normal day to day fluctuations. It also adds a handful of tweaks like being able to customize the data widgets on-screen, showing difference to previous weigh-in, as well as increasing the sensitivity of some of the sensors driving the algorithms related to body fat & impedance-based measurements. Overall it’s a minor upgrade.

I’ve been using the scale for a bit now, but also just as importantly the original Index scale for quite some time before that. So I’ve got a pretty good idea side by side on how they work. So I’ll dig into all the nuances between the two, so you can figure out if it’s worth the cash, since, it’s pretty expensive at $149.

Note that I was sent a media loaner of the Index S2 scale, which as usual I’ll send back once I’m done here. If you found this review useful you can hit up the links at the end of the review to help support the site. Oh, and the Index 1 scale is one I bought myself a while back.

Finally, look, I get it – this is a weight scale – so I’m gonna try my best (and probably fail) at making this review semi-digestible. Wish me luck.

What’s new:

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Now, to run through what’s new on this scale, I’ve got the Index 1 and Index S2 side by side. Both literally and figuratively. I’ve been using them side by side, seeing how they compare for a bit now. Here’s all the differences between them (and yes, these are mostly minor):

– Added new color screen
– Added weight trend to show 30 days of data
– Added previous weigh-in vs current weigh-in data difference to screen
– Added ability to customize which data (widgets) are shown on scale
– Increased sensitivity of sensors
– Tweaked some algorithms related to body fat & other impedance-based measurements (based on increased sensitivity of sensors)
– Can now connect up to 7 WiFi Networks
– Reduced scale size (dimensions) very slightly
– Changed from AA batteries to AAA batteries

That’s in addition to all the baseline bits it previously did:

– Measures weight (lbs/stones/kg)
– Body Mass Index (BMI)
– Body Fat Percentage
– Body Water Percentage
– Skeletal Muscle Mass
– Bone Mass
– Supports up to 16 users
– Maximum weight of 400lbs/181.4kg
– 9 Month Battery Life (4xAAA batteries)
– Uploads via WiFi, configuration via Bluetooth Smart
– Both black and white versions (Pro Tip: The black version is impossible to keep clean, white is half-possible).

So just putting the two scales side by side you can see the main differences are mostly visual (the white one below is the older scale). The size is a bit smaller, though not massively so. And of course, that color display versus the black/white one previously. Albeit, I can’t say having a color display on my weight scale next to the toilet has been a major improvement in my day to day life. Now, if they could run YouTube on that thing…then we’re talkin’!

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The other thing Garmin says they spent considerable time on was WiFi connectivity, seeming to acknowledge some of the problems people have had with the original Index scale. Though, it does seem like most of those problems have tapered out over the last 6-8 months.

Ok, with those quick newness bits covered, let’s get it out of the box.

What’s in the Box:

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Crack open the relatively thin box of the S2 and you’ll find the scale chilling inside a paper wrapper, with a bit of instructions floating in the box somewhere. Underneath the scale are 4 AAA batteries, and four feet to be used if the scale is placed on carpet.

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Here’s a closer look at the feet and batteries. You don’t need the feet if placed on a hard surface, but the batteries are required if you want the scale to do anything other than act as a paperweight.

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And here’s the scale sitting atop its wrapper. This is the cleanest it’ll ever be. From this moment forward it’ll look worse, even if you never touch it. Dust collects at an astonishing rate on this thing.

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Oh, and here’s the manual. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all the bits as part of this review here.

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Ok, let’s get it all set up.

Setup & Configuration:

First up we’ll need to stick the batteries inside the S2. I trust that if you’re investing in a WiFi connected smart scale, you’ve got the technical prowess to correctly insert 4xAAA batteries.

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Also, while on the back of the scale you’ll notice two things you can poke at (besides the springs on the battery compartment). The first is a reset button, which kicks the scale into pairing mode, and the second is a selector to switch between Pounds, Kilograms, and Stones.

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I’ve always found it kinda funny that for a digital scale that shows a gazillion metrics based on information in your account, that it relies upon a physical switch to change the way weight is shown. Perhaps there’s a number of people that need to switch quickly between the modes, I don’t know.

In any event, by the time you’re done dorking around with that switch, you’ll find the Index S2 showing off its new color screen, waiting for you to pair it up.

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This is where you’ll grab your smartphone to set it up, using the Garmin Connect app. It’ll find the device just like a watch. And, once this post goes live the image and codename Garmin uses will magically change to the correct product image and real name instead of placeholders (Garmin does this for all products, to minimize leaks).

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It’ll ask you to confirm the PIN number, to ensure you’re not snooping on your neighbor’s unconfigured scale or something.

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And then finally, it’ll ask you for the WiFi information.

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You can select and save up to 7 WiFi networks within the Index S2 scale. I suppose that might be valuable for use cases where a coach/physician/staff/athlete is moving the scale between locations on different WiFi networks, perhaps having a hotspot one + a normal office/home location.

I did have some initial issues trying to get the scale to pair with my Google WiFi guest network, however, once I set it for the primary Google WiFi network it worked fine. There’s no technical differences between those two to my knowledge, and Garmin isn’t clear either if perhaps it was resolved by a software update that occurred moments later on the scale.

Speaking of which, once you complete that connection, the scale will go off and download a software update for itself via WiFi.

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In fact, every time you step on the scale it’ll check for software updates, and if there is an update, it’ll install it the following night between 1AM and 4AM.

Also, backtracking a step or two slightly, you’ll define the initials the scale displays when you step on it. Essentially your name, but somehow only four characters are allowed. Luckily, in my case, my first name fits easily into that.

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The app will ask you if you’d like to invite any other users to the scale. You can invite up to 15 people (thus presumably making 16 people in total). While it’s unlikely your Brady Bunch is that big in your house, this is more for team scenarios where multiple athletes are weighing in.

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With all this done (which really only takes a minute or two), you’re good to go.

Weigh-ins and Data:

By now the scale will have updated itself and be ready to use. To use it, simply tap or kick it. Which will wake it up. This is a slight change from the Index 1 scale, where I can simply step on. In my case, simply stepping on the Index S2 does nothing. Once it’s awake, it’ll show the zero/empty weight:

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Go ahead and step on the scale, and you’ll see the weight fluctuate a bit for a few seconds before deciding on a final weight.

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Once it decides on that final weight, the little weight icon will turn green, indicating that weight is locked in.

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At this juncture you can step off the scale, it’s done its thing, and will flash the initials/name of who it thinks you are, based on your weight and the historical weight data it has. If it gets it wrong, you can simply use your foot to tap left or right, which iterates through the known users on the scale. Also, if you want to discard a weigh-in, the easiest way to do that is just simply go to the “?” user, and then let it vanish to nowhere. Or, you can just delete the data point afterwards on Garmin Connect (smartphone or web).

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You’ll notice above it shows +0.2 above my name, this means I gained +0.2lbs since the last weigh-in. The idea here being that if you wanted to do a workout (such as a long run on a hot day), you can compare the weight metric to the previous value quickly and easily. So you’d weigh yourself pre-run, and then again post-run. For example, I’ve found that for most 45-60min indoor trainer workouts I tend to lose about 2 pounds. Of which, the vast majority of that would of course just be water weight.

And while the goal isn’t realistically to try and have 1:1 replacement of fluids during a workout (especially running), you can at least use the information to guide your hydration choices.

The saving of multiple data points per day certainly isn’t new in the Garmin Index scale world, it’s been doing that for quite a while with the older scale, but it wouldn’t show the change in weight.

What is new with the S2 scale though is this little trendline chart seen on the scale. This is basically the pièce de résistance of the Index S2 scale, showing your weight over the last 30 days, as well as progress towards a goal line (in green).

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However, if you’re coming from the previous Garmin Index scale, you’ll first have to live with a bit of disappointment: This marquee feature doesn’t actually pull any of your historical Index 1 weight data in to the scale itself.

Seriously.

A connected scale that has all the data in the world, somehow doesn’t pull the data in from arguably Garmin’s best customers (the ones who are buying yet another scale from the company). It’s mind-boggling.  So in my case, I’ve got piles of data that would show up here – and most importantly from a vanity standpoint, show up with a nice decreasing trendline over the past while. But nope.

And it’s easy to say ‘Sure, it’ll fill in over the course of the next 30 days’, and yes, it will. But that’s not the point. Its entire point in life is to be a CONNECTED scale. It fails somehow at this most basic task for the most pro-Garmin customers. Yet, it pulls in the weather data just fine.

In any event, after it’s done showing you that trendline, it’ll iterate through the following metrics: Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Fat Percentage, Body Water Percentage, Skeletal Muscle Mass, Bone Mass, and Weather. Another new feature with the Index S2 scale is the ability to customize which of these metrics it’ll show each time you step on it. So if you don’t want to see a particular metric you can disable it within the settings on the smartphone app:

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Note above though that you can’t have a ‘Biggest Loser’ style scale and not show weight at all (just take readings).

As it iterates through each of these data points it’ll show an icon above to it indicating what it is, such as muscle mass below.

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Or bone mass or body water percentage:

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And yup, even the weather, showing the slated high/low for the day as well as the current temperature. The idea here simply being that if you’re getting ready in the morning and just going in or out of the shower, this could guide your clothing choices for the day.

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After all that’s done, it’ll display your weight one final time, and then shut itself off – waiting patiently for its 30 seconds of use each day.

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Behind the scenes, this data is saved on Garmin Connect, and thus accessible from Garmin Connect Mobile or Garmin Connect. There’s a widget you can add to the dashboard to show your current weight. Alternatively, you can view more details in the ‘Weight’ section under ‘Health Stats’

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In the weight section you’ll see every individual weigh-in, as well as trending and even the variance of multiple weigh-ins on a single day (the little grey blobs indicated on certain days with multiple weigh-ins).

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(Note: Above, I was purposefully taking a bunch of weigh-ins slightly differently to show multiple weigh-ins on a single screenshot)

You can delete weigh-ins if you want, as well as add a weight goal, which will show up on your trending charts both on the app and on the device itself:

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For the weight scale itself there are a few options in the Devices menu. As noted earlier you can change the widgets, as well as invite additional users to the scale.

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Now – what about accuracy? Well, given the current world climate it’s a bit difficult right now to waltz in and get a fancy body fat analysis and such done. Though, I have done so in the past and recruited a bunch of people to test various devices. When I look at the Index 2 vs Index 1, the weight is almost always nearly identical – such as .1lbs apart. The body fat however was pretty substantially different, usually about 2-2.5% (generally higher) with the Index 2.

I asked Garmin about this, and here’s what they had to say:

“For body fat and the other impedance-based metrics, there’s been some under-the-hood changes including tweaks to the algorithms.  The tweaks were to allow for more accuracy and more sensitivity in the measurements.  There will almost certainly be some noticeable differences between readings on the original and the S2. With more sensitivity, the S2 will allow for more fluctuations and movement over time in those metrics compared to the original.”

Now within the Index scales you can tweak your profiles Activity Class (seen above), which in theory improves accuracy for body fat measurements on more athletic people. Though, in my case it made no difference. Typically this would be for people closer to single-digit body fat %’s. There’s been too many late night Stroopwafels for me lately for that to impact my testing.

Anyways, as I was saying – if I look at impedance metrics like body fat and muscle mass, based on all the testing I’ve done historically, I don’t focus too much on the absolute values, and instead look more at trending. After all, the fact that one scale has me 2.5% higher than the other side by side is a great example of that. Undoubtedly Garmin would argue (perhaps correctly) that the newer technology/sensors/algorithms in the newer scales are indeed more accurate.

Ultimately though, for me, I don’t put much value in these extended metrics using electro impedance like other scales (nor do I put much value in people using calipers, most folks screw that up – despite having done it ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’ of times).

Device & 3rd Party Integration:

The main appeal of buying a Garmin Index scale over any other scale is if you’re in the Garmin ecosystem. If you don’t have Garmin devices, then frankly the appeal evaporates pretty quickly, and there are other scales that cost just half of the Garmin scale with basically the same features.

But within that ecosystem it’s pretty good. For example, your Garmin watch will automatically update your weight anytime it syncs with your phone, which, is basically 24×7:

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So that’s handy if you’re focused on losing weight, rather than finding out three months later that your watch weight is still at a substantially higher value.

Moving to 3rd parties, things are super mixed. Some platforms support it, but many disappointingly do not. This isn’t entirely the fault of Garmin, but it’s also an area they could put some effort into convincing their partners (cough, Zwift). Assuming an app is supported though, you can link it up to get weight data automatically sent to it. For example, here’s TrainingPeaks:

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Note though that this is a different setup than your regular Garmin workout/structured workouts sync, see below how there’s both a Health Sync option for weight data, as well as another one for workouts/activity data. Ideally this would be more cohesively presented to a user upon any link-up, but it’s not today.

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But unlike Withings or Fitbit, there’s no clear landing page on all the services/partners Garmin supports here. So you kinda have to figure them out yourself. And, when there’s gaps, you’ve gotta figure those out too.

For example, with the huge surge in indoor training, apps need correct weight information to accurately simulate cycling courses/speeds. And while Zwift does support weight scale integration, they haven’t lit up the Garmin side of that equation. However, some creative 3rd party apps have basically made a bridge where you can do that via a Fitbit account, but, that 3rd party app (SmartScaleSync.com) costs $15/year.

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While I don’t use it myself, a bunch of people seem pretty happy with it. Alternatively, for iPhone users, there’s also the HealthFit app, which can pull the data that Garmin Connect Mobile puts into Apple Health, and from there send it off to 3rd party platforms.

But realistically, this sorta thing shouldn’t be on 3rd parties. Garmin has a robust API/platform for this data, but just seems to lack the marketing or something for getting these 3rd parties onboard directly.

Summary:

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For the most part, we don’t really see major iterations in connected weight scales these days. Or these years. The repeatable pattern is every few years Withings, Fitbit, or Garmin will release a minor update of their scale with a handful of new features. Sure, a few people will upgrade their units, but for the most part this is just ensuring that the product doesn’t appear to be from nearly 5 years ago. Which is fine, it doesn’t have to be major upgrades each time. In the case of the Index S2, it retains the same expensive price as previous, but now adds the new color display and trending information.

Still, I was hoping for a bit better 3rd party support here – albeit that’s not entirely Garmin’s fault. While Garmin has done that development work, there’s gaps in partners picking it up. However, what is firmly in Garmin’s control is the lack of weight trendline information properly accounting for historical data for existing Garmin Index scale users.

As with all my scale reviews, whether or not you find value in the extended metrics beyond just simple weight is up to you. For straight baseline weight, I find most of these scales (even cheap department store scales), tend to be surprisingly consistent and accurate. Beyond that, for electrical impedance-based metrics like body fat, the accuracy varies quite a bit from model to model, and the value can also be a bit more questionable too.

I do in general find WiFi scales a far better option than Bluetooth only scales. WiFi scales tend to be ‘set it and forget it’, versus a Bluetooth scale usually has dependencies on having your phone nearby, the app opened, Apple or Google not having broken something in the recent update, etc… Whereas a WiFi scale doesn’t care about your phone and does it all behind the scenes.

Ultimately, if you’ve got a Garmin device and want weight automatically updated on your account/devices, there are not many clean options. There are some 3rd party integrations that have half-heartedly worked over the years (like MyFitnessPal syncing), but usually they eventually break. This one tends to just work with minimal fuss, even if it’s at a substantial premium compared to competitor offerings. Now, how do I get YouTube running on that display?

With that – thanks for reading!

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132 Comments

  1. Cary Martin

    So the older scale now will take multiple readings per day and not over write them in Garmin Connect? Based on your comments several years ago on this basis I had ruled this scale out but now am much more interested.

  2. Chris Watson

    So we now have a Swim 2 and an Index 2!. Seems like reasonable refreshes of neglected products though I will not be replacing my original Index. All the upload hassles that lasted for years (I spent hours packet sniffing), though recently solved, mean they burnt their bridges with me on this product line.

  3. Tom

    Now if only Garmin will integrate with Health Mate so that we could get our data in without having to use the middleman called MyFitnessPal.

  4. Do you stick to imperial metrics because of your audience or is a sentimental thing?

    • The audience is split. I split things in various posts both ways. Historically speaking the Index scale has done better in the US.

      Finally, I use metrics both ways. Sometimes I’ll ride in KM, sometimes run in min/mile. No meaningful difference to me.

    • Kevin D.

      Believe me Ray, in the future there will come a day when your mile times become your Kilometre times. Then you’ll be able to glance down at your wrist and say ” hey, I can still run 6:30 pace” DAMHIKT ;-)

  5. JeffF

    They should really set the units based on the person. Thats the only thing I don’t like about the Index. My wife prefers imperial and I prefer metric. I know I can just see the converted value in GCM but as they’re detecting the user anyway (and showing their weight history), why can’t they also display in preferred unit?

  6. Guillermo Guerini

    Nice review Ray. Quick question: does it save data in Apple Health?

  7. Renaud

    Hello Ray, do you have any idea of avaibility for the Index S2 ?

  8. Joey P

    Here I am thinking I need to lose some weight and I find out I am the same height and weight as the great Ray Maker!!! Crisis averted!

  9. My experience over years with the S1 is that its bodyfat % seems to be the product of measured weight * some black box multiplier or some simple lookup table. IE if my weight is X, my measured body fat % is always Y. Has that been your experience too, Ray (and others)? Is the experience with the S2 different?

    • Phil S

      I’ve also found this with the S1. There are times when weight goes up due to increase in muscle but body fat should sensibly go down but it seems to track with weight. It has also consistently said my BF% is equivalent of that of an olympic runner…. which it isn’t.
      I will probably upgrade in the hope that either the BF% is more realistic or at least I could now get some decent trending data from it.

      For me BF% should be more important that’s weight. I don’t care if my weight increases if my BF% is falling.

    • Seth

      That is the case with every cheap scale.
      Only pro scales with handlebar could provide reasonable %BF.

    • CJ

      Conversely: I’ve had 3 DEXA scans, each 6 months apart while cutting.

      The Withings/Nokia Body+ showed exactly the same trendline as DEXA, with a consistent 1-2% variance.

      The original Garmin Index? Completely inconsistent, Bizarro World random number generator on the body-comp side. (weight is easy, even the cheapest of Walmart digital scale can nail that)

      I don’t trust Garmin to have nailed the body-composition in the S2 so I’ll hold onto the Body+ until more user reports trickle in. (I would love tighter integration with Garmin

    • Patrick Renschler

      Do you have your withings scale set to athlete mode when you compare it to your Dexa scans? I ended up turning that off because I thought the numbers were too low.

    • Joshua Tootell

      The BF% has been completely worthless on mine. Unless by some strange miracle I have been able to hold 7% body fat for 19 straight months. Given that on some months I can see my abs, and no others, I am guessing my BF% has fluctuated a little.

    • CJ

      No, athlete mode is disabled on my Nokia/Withings Body+.

      From the reading I’ve done, that mode is for hardcore bodybuilders doing cuts and shedding water to get down to, like, 5-7% body fat. I never got below about 12%.

  10. Steven

    Is the data from the scale used in Garmin Connect as base for BMR calculations (and other weight based metrics)?

    If yes, is GC using so body fat to fix BMR calculation?

    I have BMI > 30% and now for proper calories (BMR and active) calculations I put in GC setting ‘fake’ weight (weight I should have without extra fat). There is not body fat settings in GC so this was the only solution for proper calories calculations.

    Is Garmin fixed this somehow with integration with this scale?

  11. So do you think it’s worth the upgrade? Seems like no so much to me.

  12. fl33tStA

    would be interesting if the bug with 7% Body Fat is really solved with the new sensors, on the old one, when you reach arround 21 BMI or so, your body fat is always 7% or so
    .
    Think in 3 to 5 weeks i am back on this level (7% Body Fat) on my Index 1 and of course the Athlete Mode thing with Activty Class 8 or higher never worked for me! :-)

    • Jacques

      Yep, I have the same issue with my 1st gen Index scale. Whilst having a bodyfat percentage of 7% is a nice vanity, it’d be great if they fixed it to a more reasonably accurate amount.

      Like you, I never found a fix for it either. Not good for a device that cost me > £100.

    • Gordon Freeman

      I have the same question. Indeed as you said Ray the absolute value doesn’t matter, the evolution does, but the scale won’t measure below 7%. In my case it always shows 7% which is definitely off (I have 22.7 BMI), and I don’t care, but I can’t see the evolution, because I’m stuck at 7% except after Christmas for a few weeks.
      It would be interesting to know if that’s fixed.

  13. Derek Chan

    Cool trainerroad integration. Now do I really want another doodad in the house…

  14. Pavel Vishnyakov

    Hi Ray,
    speaking of third-party integrations with Garmin – I’ve talked to a developers of HealthFit and they said that it’s not possible to request API access despite Garmin stating otherwise. I tried requesting said access as an individual hoping to create a personal sync solution, but also failed. It looks like you have to be quite special to get Garmin API access.

    P.S. About the scales: If you really have to kick the scale before stepping on it to wake it up – that’s a huge disappointment. I don’t even know how did they come up with such an idea.

    • There’s really two aspects of integrations: Outbound and inbound.

      Outbound is pretty easy to get approval for. Inbound is basically impossible.

      Oh, speaking of which…Garmin Developer Conference starts in 14 mins…maybe some news there will drop. ;)

    • Henrik

      Did Garmin present any news about integrations on the developer conference? I was occupied doing more important (work) stuff.

    • Essentially they’ve consolidated all of the developer programs under one umbrella agreement. So that means a developer only has to fill out one form, and gets keys to the kingdom for all the various platforms/accesses.

      For users, the more important bit is more granular control for how users give rights to their data and portions.

    • Pavel Vishnyakov

      It’s weird that there’s a developer cannot get a simple API to upload for files yet the same can be done by any user via web interface.

    • They don’t want you to be using none Garmin devices. Adding any form of API to make it easy to upload data means they start loosing control of this. I have not checked the terms and conditions recently but historically you were never meant to upload data that was not from a Garmin device.

      Technically parsing an arbitrary Fit file is harder than when you only deal with your own Fit files. There are plenty of discussion threads where developers are trying to figure out why Garmin connect want accept there Fit files even though there files are perfectly valid and sites that are not tied to a specific manufacturer ream them perfectly well. Garmin may or may not be trying to make life hard. They don’t need to worry as they only support there devices.

      If you have any intention to mix devices then your main training platform can not be tied to a manufacturer.

  15. Paul S.

    “I’ve always found it kinda funny that for a digital scale that shows a gazillion metrics based on information in your account, that it relies upon a physical switch to change the way weight is shown.” I have a Withings Smart Body Analyzer. On the back there are two electronic “buttons”. One of them rotates between pounds, stone, and kg. But the scale has a mind of its own, and frequently switches units on me. It’s not worth turning the scale over and switching back to pounds, so every day is an adventure, and I’m very familiar with my weight in stone and kg as well as pounds. Having a physical switch that would fix it on one unit would be an advantage.

  16. Neil Jones

    The original model had (has?) an issue where with my Activity Class in Garmin Connect set to 8 or 9, it would use a different algorithm for body fat% on the flawed assumption I was a world class athlete and tell me my BF% was about 5%. Changing my Activity Class to 7 (or lower) made the scale report 13-14% BF, which is a lot more credible. Do you know if this has been rectified, at least to give a more gradual phasing of algorithms between different Activity Levels?

  17. Matt Smith

    Ray, did you test the scale with multiple users syncing to Garmin. I found that people who had partners that used the scale mucked up the Garmin health data. In fact, one of the measurements showed a 7kg weight increase in just 5 minutes (it was the weight of the pregnant girl friend!)

  18. Nuno Pinto

    Thank you for your review.

    I own a Withings scale (with a NOKIA tag) for already 4 years. It is funny to see that between garmin and Withings the only major difference is the color screen. There are no other interesting feature on the S2 that I do not find on the Withings. Of course the Withings does not integrate with GARMIN connect, but at least I am able to have the weight. And the price is 1/3.
    Cheers

  19. Dave Lusty

    You’re right that the physical switch for units is weird, but it would be a godsend after my withings unit which has a touch sensitive button on the bottom with ambiguous icon next to it. Literally any time my scale gets a splash of water on top the weight units reset to default and I have to manually change it back to kg using the silly button that sometimes can’t detect a finger.

    How hard can this be? I know it’s probably not a big money spinner but realistically the things that were wrong with wifi scales 5 years ago are still wrong and yet they’re all easy to fix, with the major one being a simple open API in both directions.

    Having said that, Zwift and Strava are the only integrations I’ve ever used outside of Garmin so I care much less about it than I thought I would. I’m tempted by this, if only because I’m 100% in the Garmin universe these days since the competition has dropped away and the Fenix line has matured. The colour screen actually is the biggest draw for me even though it will make very little difference :)

  20. bat0nas

    How multiple weight-ins per day are calculated? Average?
    In the graph I see a dot on a lower part of the grey blob.

    Btw.. I didn’t new it was possible with the original Index Scales. Will test that.

    • Benedikt

      There is no calculation. Only the last weight will be pushed to the devices. Only the last weight is used to plod your trend line as a graph. No average values per day are used for that.
      Only thing: you can see the range of that day via the blobs as you call them.

  21. Adam

    Hey Ray,
    I own previous generation of Garmin Index and I love it (despite it’s high price). I’m wondering if you have any comparison with first generation when it comes to differen metrics like fat percentage? I’m curious if they improved something in that area or they just changed display and software a little bit :)

  22. Pavel

    Hey Ray,

    when you checkout your weight on website version of Garmin Connect (direct link to GC Web for today’s weight: link to connect.garmin.com)

    Do you have Physique Rating or Caloric Intake available there with Index S2?

    • Nope, neither of those.

    • Adam

      Nice “before and after” on the 10:24 and 10:26 weigh-ins . . . .

    • Bradley Tipp

      That chart shows how useless these things are, except to give indications of the direction of change…As a canonical example your bone mass changed 0.6 lb and back in the same day… I think that is a physical impossibility.

      What also frustrates me is that there should be some way to say ‘Hey scale I just had a DXA scan done and these are my REAL results’ – can you calibrate yourself based on that – I can’t believe that is a hard thing to do, but none of the scales offers it… Feedback to Garmin

  23. ReHMN

    With the old Tanita, the measurement is being stored:
    In your device
    On Garmin Connect
    In Healthy Edge software (desktop)
    Tanita cloud (my.tanita.com)

    Pricewise, the Garmin is fair comparing to Tanita. BC1000 was 190EUR in 2011 and the BC1500 is holding the price level of 400EUR since 2009…

    • Benedikt

      There are almost non devices left in the Garmin store wich are able to connect to the Tanita.

    • ReHMn

      You do not need a Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Samsung, Apple, or any device to do a measurement on Tanita. It has a desktop software associated with it…

      @Mike

      Rechargeable batteries have limited charging cycles. After 100 cycles are all garbage.

      My personal preference is AA or CR2032 over rechargable batteries in HRM straps, speed & cadence sensors, blood pressure measuring devices and scales as well.

      Replace with new and go. There is no charging time at all…

  24. Mikael

    The original version had an issue of only showing body fat% at 7% or higher, no matter how hard you pushed your limit. Any idea of changes to this data?

  25. TriGuy

    Hello Ray.
    Interesting review as usual.
    I have a question regarding the weight trending chart.
    On your app screenshot, it looks like it is based on the last weight-in (blue dot) recorded per day.
    To me it is not really appropriate.
    Indeed the trend should refer to measures taken in the conditions that is just after waking up (in the morning) therefore the first weight-in of the day.
    As you mentioned a weight loss after a workout is quite artificial.
    Could you precise the way the trending chart is computed (in case of multiple weight-ins of course)?
    Many thanks

    • ReHMn

      Nope, that is wrong…
      Body composition must be measured at the end of the day when all fluids and processes of the body are up and running. (This information was also included in a manual for scales)
      What must be measure right after awakening is the blood pressure!

  26. Mike

    I’ve had a Withings scale for years. I was enamored with the ancillary measurements, but now I only bother with the weight tracking. It syncs with Apple health, so my weight is always up to date throughout my apps. The Withings has had a rechargeable battery for years. It only needs to recharged once or twice a year. Not sure why Garmin is still using AA batteries.

    My main issue with Withings is that it cannot tell users apart if their weights are similar. My wife and I have crossed weights since the pandemic (I run all day, she is more stationary, leave it at that). You would think it would be easy to differentiate between users considering that the scale is taking or making multiple measurements, but it seems they only differentiate based on weight. This has led to mixups. I wonder if Garmin is any smarter about the way it handles users.

  27. Simon

    I still use an old Tanita BC-1000 circa 2011. I now use the android ANT+ Weight Scale Display app which pushes data to Garmin Connect and Training Peaks. I see nothing here to cause me to upgrade.
    As long as the Tanita keep on going, and the app works, I stick with my current set up.

  28. ron gurney

    Need to know………Do I need to know this info? The body is 60% water and weight fluctuates considerably before/after exercise. I’m going to focus on the exercise and let the weight, etc. fall where it falls……….or rises, so be it….

  29. Oskars

    I really hope Polar will release their Balance 2

  30. “Still, I was hoping for a bit better 3rd party support here – albeit that’s not entirely Garmin’s fault.”
    I’ll argue with that point. Maybe if Garmin didnt charge a fortune for their dev tools – there would be more dev’s working on their platform.

  31. I am still using my Fitbit Aria, sometimes I wish it had more metrics though.

    I somehow got it to sync with Garmin and Strava, but I have not idea how. Maybe through MyFitnessPal?

    My favourite application is link to trendweight.com for the smoothed graph and trend-line.
    I don’t understand why all other graphs are so bad.

    Currently they just do Fitbit and WIthings though.

  32. Curtis Repen

    Bobbie!

    Her name is Bobbie, she’s from the Rock, and she’s FAMOUS!
    link to huffpost.com

    I’ve followed you for several years now and never knew The Girl’s name.

  33. Mark

    I’ve had a Fitbit Aria for a few years and even though it meshes nicely with myfitnesspal, I have to export CSVs from fitbit to import into Garmin, and even then it sometimes doesn’t go to Strava.

    Ray, have you heard anything if the Google deal is going to change that? You currently can’t even link Fitbit to google fit on the same phone.

  34. The Real Bob

    I think Garmin should have made a weight only scale with the wifi connect and sell that for like 50$. They would sell a ton of those. I align with you and think most of the other metrics are largely useless. I wrestled in highschool and the difference between calipers, bioimpedence, and hydrostatic testing is crazy. The structure of a person impacts it greatly.

  35. Gabe

    Ray –

    Any comment on accuracy of body fat %?

    Can you size it up against a hydrostatic weighing – fat test?

  36. Edward Lockhart

    If your phone is using regular Google WiFi and the scale joins the guest network, then it won’t be able to connect to the phone (because the guest network doesn’t allow access to local resources). Could be the reason why it didn’t work!

    • Benedikt

      No, that’s not the reason. The phone connects to the scale via BT. Its the only time these two are talking. At the point the scale is online, it will only talk to the server where the Connect App pulls the data. That is (in my opinion) the biggest flaw with the old and the new Index and was the reason why a lot of people couldn’t use their scales for almost two years like intended: The Garmin NTP server wasn’t responding good enough and the scale wasnt uploading. So you had to enter the weight manually via the app.

  37. Marek

    My index 1 stopped recording body weight metrics about a year ago after three or four years of ownership. Garmin service wasn’t able to fix it, despite some ideas around troubleshooting. Seems to be a problem others have had per a thread on forums.Garmin.Com

  38. Chaos215bar2

    Looks like another scale that won’t really work well on carpet, even with those feet.

    I really with more companies would take the route of Withings (e.g. with the Body Cardio) and just put a flat bottom on their scale with the “feet” located internally. Solves the carpet problem perfectly, no matter what type of carpet you have.

  39. Ralph Schupp

    Have you looked at the Wyze Scale… $19.99…. ?

    • giorgitd

      I’m interested in any feedback on the Wyze scale. We bought into the Wyze ecosystem with a cam, which has been fabulous. Then added the sensor kit – equally great. I rigged a contact sensor to tell me when the garrge door opens and closes and Alexa announces that transition. Then, an outdoor cam. Not as impressed. Some of their newer devices are getting mixed reviews, maybe as they move away from their basic cam expertise. So, Wyze scale? I’m thinking about it tonight (I have a $10 Prime Day credit burning a hole in my pocket). I do have a preorder on the Wyze headphones…yeah, a sucker for their low price/high functionality devices… Is the scale a winner?

    • dan

      I have quite a few wyze cams, but I’ve kind of soured on them as a company. But, the Withings scale is $59, I’m not sure what additional features or hardware Garmin has that justifies the $90 premium.

  40. Dan Powell

    Does the scale acknowledged that the weight was before or after a workout which may cause weight loss? I’d expect a scale from garmin that knows every step I take all day would know my weight is low because I just ran.

    Taking this a step further, after a workout, Garmin estimates your water loss, I wonder if they could actually track my water loss through my weight change if done immediately before and after.

    • Benedikt

      The scale isn’t getting any information despite your height from the server. Thats also the reason it doesnt show you 30days trend when you unbox it even when you had the S1.

      The water loss estimation is done in-device on the newer devices. Garmin Connect does not correct that data point if you weight in. This is already technically possible with the S1 customers but it isn’t done.

  41. Hi Ray, thanks for the coverage, I enjoyed your keynote today. If anyone has questions about SmartScaleSync.com I’d be happy to answer them here.

    • Pedro

      I’ll definetely vouch for Patrick and the SmartScaleSync website. It’s been working flawlessly for I think 2 years now syncing my Withings scale to Garmin. Patrick even sent me an email before I noticed my weight was not sycning with Garmin when I had changed my Garmin password and hadn’t remember to update it in the SmartScaleSync website.

    • Guillaume

      I agree, great service. Been using that smartscalesync.com for 2 years also, works great!

  42. Rui Pereira

    Pet peeve warning… PIN number… Personal Identification Number Number…

  43. Nate C

    If you’re more of a once/week or bi-monthly weigh-in person, or you are all about getting the most functionality for the least money, you can get a $30 Bluetooth scale on Amazon and manually copy the weight/fat%/muscle/bone/water values from the scale’s Bluetooth app into the Android “Weight Logger” app and it uploads a fit file to Garmin Connect with the data. The photos of the Garmin scale look almost exactly like my model right down to the markings on the foot bed.

    The Weight logger app keeps your previous entries so its easy to quickly update and save or upload the new data to GC.

    It doesn’t have a color screen on your Scale but you will have $120 in your pocket for a different toy (watch upgrade, etc.) and most people probably don’t spend much time reviewing data on the scale itself.

  44. GLT

    For whatever reason I was enthusiastically waiting for this new version even though it is a scale. Not disappointed, but it did not instantly streak to the top of the buy-list either. It would be insanely awesome to someday have TrueUp Recovery Status, Training Status, distance-to-goal, and hydration status displayed in the widget rotation. Until then I would probably turn off all the widgets to get off the scale quicker.

    The weather data is a good addition, but in my specific case I already have easy access to that. Having it parade my GC data to me before my morning exercise would be useful though.

  45. JJS

    I wonder for years why it is impossible to measure HRV with a scale. Feet should be a very good option to do this (far better than fingers because of its large surface). It would be a big improvement to take the daily readiness while standing a little bit longer on the scale. THIS would be a feature making me buying a smart scale!

  46. DK

    Any info if the scale can handle 5 GHz WiFi connections now? The old one could just use 2.4 GHz.

  47. Alex

    Hi Ray, I´m not sure if I got it 100% correct regarding sync with trainingpeaks (3rd party). I understood that it is possible to jump on the scale and it syncs via Garmin connect to trainingpeaks. For sure after I´ve connected it correctly. Will this then open a “metrics-session” on that day showing the weight? Plus will this also update the weight I´ve entered in the setup to calculate e.g. Watts/kilo according to my last measurement? Thanks // Alex

  48. Ak

    I think Zwift only supports Nokia withings and Fitbit that’s big draw back specially for Zwift races

  49. Stepan Bouda

    I wonder why the scale cannot display additional info from our Garmin watch, like body battery, stress score or sleep quality. The data are in cloud anyway.

  50. I am wondering what happens if you change your age in the scale to say 50, or 20? Does the body fat percentage magically go up or down by a few points? My stupid scale (Beuer) does that … Oh, and when do you think the Elite TUO review is coming out? I feel like spending some money…but only with your blessing:)

    • Pavel

      Even Changing activity class can change readings as DesFit shows in his video: link to youtu.be so I would assume that changing age will have a huge impact. However, it makes sense because those scales are using some tables to look up your body fat based on resistance reading coming from scale. There is a lot of guess work there. For example if you have relatively skinny legs and most of your fat is stored in your upper body, home scales might be under reporting your body fat.

    • Seth

      For sure.
      Cheap scales are dumb and use user’s data to compute results.
      If you want reasonable results you have to spend much more money (for example for InBody 120).

  51. Jason Karew

    Hi Ray – Thanks for your review. I have an Index S1 scale and have noticed an inverse relationship between body water percentage and body weight. For example, my water percentage is generally around 64.0% – 64.4% with my weight hovering around 185lbs; however, I’ve observed multiple instances where my water percentage approaches 65% or higher and my weight subsequently drops to a range of 179lbs – 182lbs. The higher the water percentage is the lower my weight becomes.

    Have you observed this or heard anything from Garmin on this phenomenon? Thanks in advance.

  52. Robert

    “You can select and save up to 7 WiFi networks within the Index S2 scale. I suppose that might be valuable for use cases where a coach/physician/staff/athlete is moving the scale between locations on different WiFi networks, perhaps having a hotspot one + a normal office/home location.”

    I have a Withings scale, and that’s one feature I’d like it to have. If I move the scale somewhere else, the process to change the WiFi network connection is anything but user-friendly. And the worst is you see in the app that the SSIDs used previously have been stored – just not the passwords nor any intent to use this data.

  53. Alec K

    Reckon you could get Doom to run on it? Somehow do tilt based controls from the individual foot sensors.

  54. Hi Pavel, yes that was the point I was making, indirectly, too much guesswork involved! I mean it’s one thing to “measure” (most people would associate buying a scale with trying to actually “measure” something) and another to look up some averages! Fat percentage can never be measured accurately, but when the number coming out of the instrument is based more on some known averages (not constants!) than an actual measurement, then it’s a gimmick imo. It just shouldn’t be pretending to measure it.

    • GLT

      There are valid aspects to this perspective, though this is slowly inching closer to the “Running Power” rabbit hole.

      If the numbers the device outputs follows a consistent, rational & explainable pattern, then it may be helpful to the user simply to note that some aspect of their physicality is increasing or decreasing. If the user is trying to decrease and the device consistently shows an increase then the user can infer they need to make an adjustment to their plans. Agreed this isn’t nearly as fulfilling as having the user know their actual stats, but apparently there isn’t a convenient way to determine the actual stats.

      Personally I measure every day and then look at the trend at the end of the week. The fuzziness of each of the readings isn’t consequential to me. The older scale I currently use has never provided a higher weight reading seven days in a row without my clothing fitting a little bit tighter.

    • Hi GLT.
      Yes, scales are indeed very accurate for measuring weight, no one is denying this. With body fat though they’re not even close for them to be pretending they are imo. Yes trends are good if you’re doing what you’re doing and ignore the day to day randomness of the “measurement”. But then the scale should at least do what say a Fitbit Charge 4 does for SP02, that is to show a relative change with time and not the actual measurement, that’d be more honest I think.

  55. lee bamber

    Really interested with the body fat part of this scale, but is it any good ? Or accurate ? Don’t want to spend a chunk of money to find out garmin is just guessing my body fat

  56. Mark R.

    On all of these devices (including the Tanita with the pull up handles I own) there seems to be an inverse relationship between hydration level & body fat %). Hydration goes up then “measured” body fat goes down and VV.
    This seems to be THE dominant factor in what you body fat comes out as.
    Over time it’ll average out and trend in the right direction as it’s also influenced by your underlying body fat but it’s still annoying. Do you have any insight into the algorithms they use to do the calculations here Ray? … or any insight into why this might be the case?

    Ray’s post of multiple weigh-ins in a single day shows the inverse relationship perfectly.

    • Macvos

      Isn’t that logical? If the weight of either water or fat in your body changes and the other one changes less or not at all, the direction of change in percentage will be the opposite for water and fat.
      That’s the thing with percentages. If the number of women increased faster than the number of men, the percentage of women goes up and that of men goes down. The same with fat and water. Isn’t that just math?

  57. RTellis

    Timely. I was thinking about getting an Index scale just the other day due to the hit-or-miss way weigh ins from my department store smart scale get in to Connect. I think it’s usually when iOS updates that things go whacky because the only way for my current scale to communicate with Garmin is by going through it’s own app, which connects with AppleHealth, which then should communicate with Garmin.

    So, off to dig myself deeper into the Garmin ecosystem.

  58. Thanks for the review! I own the earlier version, and the reason I was willing to pay more was the ease of mind and simplicity. If I had to spend just 1 manual minute every day to get my data somehow to the Garmin ecosystem, it would already be a bad investment to buy something else.

    A bit offtopic question: will you have a summary about the CIQ conference? And will your presentation be available on youtube? I’m looking forward to those.

  59. TB

    Just to confirm: Garmin Connect will not import my legacy weight measurements ((CSV file, etc.), correct? Also, does the scale itself connect to the cloud and post the measurements to the cloud? Or does the scale send the measurements to the GC app on the phone and the GC app sends the measurements to the cloud?

    • I’m not sure about CVS, but you can add data manually, bus as I can see, only weight, not the advanced metrics. There was an app I used before buying the Index, with which I could do that. So the API seems to be open, but there is no GUI for it.
      For the second question: it connects directly to Garmin servers over Wifi, your phone, and GC app is not needed. Your phone and BT connectivity is only needed for the setup part.

  60. Nick

    Any way to automatically get measurements from the scale (weight to start with) onto Garmin watches?

    • Yup, it does this automatically – see this section of the review: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Nick

      I suppose I meant being able to access this information (eg weight trend over the past 7 days) directly on the watch.

    • Ahh, no…that’d be super logical though.

      Technically speaking, with the new Garmin Connect API aspects, that should actually be possible. Messy, but possible, if a Connect IQ developer wanted to do it with a watch-face. I say messy, because they’d basically have to setup a backend webservice to receive and store that data and then create their own trends.

      But I do agree, it seems like a great example of a no-brainer type widget Garmin could add to their own watches relatively easily.

  61. Ian

    Thanks for this, great review…. as always.

    Do the scales connect with MyFitnessPal directly please ? …. and is that reliable

  62. Ivan

    Hi Ray,
    Not related to the post here, but regarding the partnership with Competitive Cyclist and Backcountry.com : these websites are not available in Europe due to GDPR regulations. This is very annoying, as links don’t even redirect to the same product on other websites (in France they redirect to the top page of alpiniste.fr). I often cannot see products that people link to. It would be great if they could make an effort to be GDPR compliant.

    • Indeed, it’s a bummer. In Europe they redirect to two different entities, but as noted, the blocking is tough. As an American living overseas I have to deal with a larger than number of US websites that have given up on GDPR and just do that instead. definitely not ideal.

      Ultimately, my partnership there is aimed at US people, whereas my Wiggle partnership is aimed at the rest of the world. Plus of course, Amazon anywhere.

      Cheers!

  63. Eelco

    Why has Garmin opted for Wi-Fi upload only and not made it possible to upload data via Bluetooth too? It would be great to have a choice for example when the scale in a place without Wi-Fi for example on a training camp or on remote location. All my other Garmin devices (Fenix 6 and Edge 1030) sync with Bluetooth.

    • I would assume, that it is a really rare occasion, that someone needs this. And when they do, they can just tether over wifi, and connect to that. (If the phone has no 3G, then BT connection wouldn’t help either) Workaround? yes. But I can see, why Garmin does that. It is probably 0.01% or less of the people who need this (as your scale is most probably in your home, where you have wifi). I’m not sure I’d complicate my software for such a rare usecase, especially, if those people can solve this by tapping on their phone and enabling tethering.

  64. Omar

    Regarding MyFitnessPal. I pretty much live within the Garmin ecosystem with bike computers/watches/lights etc. However, I do use MyFitnessPal for weight tracking. From the article I assume this is not recommended if I want reliable weight syncing with MyFitnessPal? If so what would be a good alternative?

  65. Linda

    This S2 scale seems to have the same body metrics as the previous version. My old Tanita BC1000 measures visceral fat, physique rating and metabolic age. As long as this data is still shown on the Garmin Connect website (not in the app), I have no reason to upgrade. Even if this means I have to hold on to an Android phone for the ANT+ Scale Display app and an ANT+ stick.

  66. Cary Martin

    If the scale can’t connect to the internet/servers at the point of the measurement will it cache the value and upload when it can next make contact? Wondering about the scenario of taking it to a workout or race venue etc where there’s no access.

    • Daniel

      Good question! Yes, the scale will cache the value and upload when Wi-Fi reconnects. It should have more than enough storage room to accommodate a workout/race/trip.

  67. Shawn McClelland

    Can’t I just get whatever impedance measurements they’re taking instead of their terrible algorithm? I don’t care what my body fat really is, just want relative measurements. The actual measurements from the scale would be more useful long term to me, since they have over the years suddenly changed algorithms and their ‘activity’ level settings.

  68. Jonathan Johnson

    Thanks for the in-depth review as always. One problem I consistently have with the 1st generation Index is the weigh is consistency 2-3 pounds higher than any other digital scale that I compare with. Have you done any comparisons with weight with other scales?

  69. Denis

    Dear Ray,

    thank you very much for another fantastic review.
    You mentioned in an earlier post that getting Garmin API access should not be to hard as long as you have a website with a proper privacy statement.
    Is this still the case in your opinion or has it in the meantime become harder to be granted Garmin (Health) API access? Any tipps on dos and donts along this way?

    • Actually, the changes announced last week should double-down on making it super easy to access the Garmin Health API aspects. I’m planning a post out on that today. I wrote most of it last week and then got distracted eating ice cream or something.

      Mind you, there’s a couple of caveats:

      A) This is for read-only access to GC data (or, utilization of the transfer API’s like workout/courses)
      B) Write access (such as how Zwift or TrainreRoad pushes workout files to Garmin Connect isn’t included here, that’s still behind double-secret backdoor (basically, you have to be a household name in the sports world and not massively compete with Garmin).
      C) The new umbrella API access is slated to be fully lit up by end of this year. You can certainly apply for things now, but it’s just not as cohesive one-click process as planned.

      Anyway, more later…after lunch.

    • Denis

      Great, I am looking forward to it!
      Best, Denis

  70. Charlie

    I am interested to know what other brand that has accuracy that is within 0.5lb. I have an old withing scale, it is a little frustrating that the weight could change by more than 0.5lb when making a few measurements in in a row. Maybe it is meaningless to fight over 0.5lb?

  71. Mark Dainty

    So if you already have the original Index and it works fine, not really worth it to upgrade?