Smart Blood Pressure review
The first time you plug Withings’ monitor into your iPhone, it’ll ask if you want to download the app (and will take you straight to the right page on the app store, helpfully). You then key in some personal details and get started.
Anyone who’s had their blood pressure taken will know the routine: the sphygmomanometer is strapped around your upper arm, and inflates and tightens. It then slowly deflates and spits out your readings: a maximum and minimum blood pressure, and a heart rate. Multiple results can be collated and displayed on a graph.
The device takes you through an initial five-step tutorial, and we recommend you pay attention to this; even so, we still frequently got messages saying the device had failed to make a measurement. It usually worked on a second attempt, though.
So how accurate was the testing? It seemed to be largely consistent for individuals, except for one worrying episode where a colleague was given a systolic figure in the 140s, which somehow dropped to a more tolerable 125 when we immediately re-tested him. We assume this was a fault in the way we applied the device rather than a medical miracle.
We can’t imagine many people will shell out £119 just for giggles, but we’d stress that the device is more suitable for regular use over a prolonged period than for one-off curiosity tests, which could go wrong and terrify you.
The device is fairly straightforward to use, but we’d advise you to follow the instructions carefully. For those who’ve been instructed by a GP to monitor their blood pressure, it could be a handy tool.