Withings reintroduced itself nicely with the Steel HR, but now it's taking bold new steps into both more advanced health features and customisability. The Withings Move ECG embodies both of these things.
This is the first hybrid smartwatch to pack in an ECG, but you can't tell that just by looking at it (unless you notice the tiny logo at 6 o'clock on the face). I was able to get the new Move ECG on my wrist at CES 2019, and let me tell you: the new look is absolutely gorgeous.
Essential reading: Atrial fibrillation explained
The Move ECG is slim and light on the wrist ‚Äď it's wonderfully and typically minimalist for Withings. There's something fun and playful about it too, which is a bit deceiving because it's packing some serious hardware.
That ECG is built into the metal ring around the watch face. There are three contact points, one built into the watch body and two on the ring. To activate the ECG, you simply put two fingers on the ring. In my demo, it started reading instantly.
However, it did take about 30 seconds to complete the process, which is the same amount of time it takes to take an ECG reading on the Apple Watch Series 4. You have to remain still and not talk for the entire period. This is so that the watch can record and save a segment of your ECG, which you can then save to PDF to show to your doctor via the companion app (Withings printed mine out and handed it to me).
Unfortunately, I didn't have another ECG device like the Apple Watch to compare with. It looked nice and steady, with some odd dips while I was talking at the beginning of the demo. Still, Withings hasn't yet got FDA clearance on its ECG, as Apple has, so we'll have to wait and see on that.
The speed is impressive, and Withings tells me that if the Move ECG is to detect atrial fibrillation (aFib) it needs speed. There are a number of symptoms associated with aFib, like breathlessness and chest pains, and it's important that someone who experiences those things can quickly get an ECG reading and send it off to their doctor. That way, the doctor can get an accurate look at what was happening with the heart shortly after the symptom.
In total, it took about a minute to record and send off my ECG in my demo. In the companion app, there's a button below your final ECG reading that'll bring up your smartphone's share sheet instantly.
Elsewhere, the Move ECG is water resistant to 50 metres and will automatically track workouts. We weren't able to test either of those, though, or its connected GPS feature. There's also a single button on the left side that will activate workout mode. When that happens, the hands will start to move as a timer.
The Withings Move ECG is promising. It looks beautiful, it feels wonderful on the wrist and it's got some serious health tracking powers thanks to a fast and seemingly-great ECG.
The big question for the Move ECG is when Withings can get FDA clearance. Once it's got that layer of trust, it's hard not to see how the Move ECG won't become one of the best hybrids you can buy.