Fitness and Health Gadgets: Tracking your Life

BodyTrace eScale

The eScale is cheaper ($79), simpler and more basic than the Withings Body scale. While it’s not unattractive it doesn’t have the same sleek good looks, and it only works for one user, so the lower price doesn’t make it better value for a family. The price does not include a subscription fee to cover the phone connection that you’ll have to keep paying in future years (at $5.99 a month).

Fitting the batteries to the eScale; the phone connection doesn’t need setting up.Fitting the batteries to the eScale; the phone connection doesn’t need setting up.

Because it uses GSM rather than Wi-Fi, setup is very easy; you give BodyTrace your email when you order it online, so you just have to put in the batteries and start weighing yourself. You can’t put it on carpet because the feet wouldn’t be even enough, and you have to tap the scale with your foot and then wait for the scale to turn on before you stand on it – which takes longer than is really convenient when you’re in a hurry in the morning. We suspect that’s making the connection to the phone network (and while we had no problem getting a signal, you’ll see an error if the eScale can’t get online).

Like the Body scale, the eScale measures both weight and BMI; the BMI fluctuated less than the Withings scale’s measurements, and although we did weigh-ins at the same time of day the weights recorded were slightly different (although both scales were consistent, which matters much more). You can see the chart of your weight on the BodyTrace site, and you can also see a table of measurements that lets you delete individual figures.

The BodyTrace site is simple, and it lets you delete erroneous weights.The BodyTrace site is simple, and it lets you delete erroneous weights.

The eScale rejects weights that are impossibly different so you don’t have to worry about a visitor skewing your chart, but it’s still useful to be able to remove figures that aren’t you. You can enter food you’ve eaten on the site, but you don’t get a cumulative calorie count. You can also link the measurements to a handful of sites (including the now-defunct Google Health). We like the email reminder if you haven’t weighed yourself for a while – especially as you can set when you’ll get it) but some of the messages about how close you are to the goal you’ve set can be a little off-putting.