Withings Scanwatch Horizon review: Diving into luxury

Withings Scanwatch Horizon

The Withings Scanwatch Horizon is a showstopper. It’s a gorgeously designed wearable packing undercover smarts and powerful health sensors, especially for anyone interested in AFib or sleep apnea detection. On the other hand, its hefty design is matched by a steep price tag and its fitness tracking is far from the best. This is, first and foremost, a health-focused hybrid built to catch glances.

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Our wearables don’t just keep getting smarter, they look to be getting more beautiful too. The Withings Scanwatch Horizon packs powerful health sensors and more into an absolutely timeless piece of wristwear. Once you get a glance at this hybrid smartwatch, the price tag probably won’t even surprise you. Find out everything you need to know about its specs and features in this Withings Scanwatch Horizon review.

What you need to know about the Withings Scanwatch Horizon

A user models a Withings ScanWatch Horizon on wrist.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

  • Withings Scanwatch Horizon: $499 / £499

For the best of the Withings Scanwatch housed in even more elevated packaging, the company presents the Scanwatch Horizon. It is a chunky, statement hybrid smartwatch reminiscent of a traditional diver’s watch.

In fact, packing water resistance up to 10ATM, the Scanwatch Horizon takes its dive watch vibe literally. It’s also the company’s most durable device yet with a weighty stainless steel case, a flat, sapphire glass watch face, and the choice of a silicone strap or stainless steel link style band.

The Scanwatch Horizon is a chunky, statement hybrid smartwatch that takes its dive watch vibe seriously.

Below the surface, headlining features include on-demand ECG recordings, medical-grade SpO2 tracking, and the ability to scan for potentially life-threatening medical symptoms. It is also a dedicated activity tracker and records useful sleep details, all via an accessory you can’t help but imagine on wrists in first class.

The high-end Scanwatch Horizon launched on May 17, 2022, in two styles, a classy dark green and a deep blue color. You can purchase one today from Withings for $499.

What’s good?

A Withings ScanWatch Horizon and its out-of-the-box accessories rest on a leather chair.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

To start with the obvious, this is a gorgeous watch. After spending a few months reviewing mostly sporty devices, the impact of such a luxury wearable was almost a shock to me. In terms of material and build, Withings pulled out all the stops for the look of this traditional analog dive watch. The 43mm case features an oversized crown surrounded by stainless steel lugs as well as a stainless steel rotating bezel. All in all, it weighs in at a hefty 72g, so you know it’s expensive. It also features custom hollow hands with a luminous coating (a fancy way of saying they glow in the dark).

Out of the box, you’ll find a Scanwatch and fluoroelastomer band in either blue or green, a stainless steel link style band, hammer, pin punch, holder for removing links, and a charging cable. As intimidating as it all may look, once you’ve unpacked your new kit, the device is incredibly easy to set up. Both band options are quick-release, so swapping one for the other takes no time at all. From unboxing to first use took about 20 minutes in total. That included creating a Withings Health Mate profile, removing three links, and staring at the hammer in trepidation for a few full minutes before removing said links.

A Withings ScanWatch Horizon in Green rests on a black leather surface.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

At the top of the watch face, the design features Withings’ typical monochrome Passive-Matrix OLED (PMOLED) display. I found the screen plenty bright indoors and out. Plus, the brightness is adjustable, so you can set it to your preference. Despite the small window, it is very easy to navigate menus and settings. A quick press of the crown wakes the watch, and turning the crown scrolls through menus. Another short press makes selections. When you wake the display, the watch’s hands pivot out of the way and land straddling either side of the screen. It’s a very sleek transition.

You can enable a vibration alert for all of the obvious smartwatch features, including incoming calls, texts, and events. You can also choose more specific notifications to enable, so I added Slack, email, and Instagram during my tests. It’s not exactly easy to read the scrolling text of a message on your wrist, but the alert is useful. There is no call support on the device or music storage, so be sure to only expect the basics before buying.

Another high point for this device is battery life. Withings lists a 30-day claim for basic use but this only accounts for a few workouts and minimal sensor use. With sleep tracking, advanced health features such as overnight respirator scans, and multiple workouts per week recorded, I landed closer to ten days. That’s still pretty good compared to a lot of smartwatches. Plus, I love that the watch dropped into reserve mode after the battery ran out, so I could still tell the time.

A user views her heart rate on her Withings ScanWatch Horizon.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

As a health tracker, the Horizon offers everything users found in the original Scanwatch, including on-demand ECG tracing, medical grade blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2), and advanced heart rate tracking. For users in the US, your first ECG will be reviewed by a healthcare professional before the feature can be unlocked. This takes place within 48 hours, and it’s worth getting started right away. I took an ECG shortly after pairing the device to my phone.

Depending on where you live, you may also be contacted to get on a call with a physician. I spoke with a doctor almost right away who answered any questions I had regarding the feature and ECG data in general. It was honestly an unexpected perk of testing the device.

I will say, it is easy to start this process and not realize a video call may be coming in as little as twenty minutes, so be sure not to get caught mid-workout as I did. The entire experience is also completely free of charge. It is necessary because the ECG feature is cleared under Rx by the FDA. That means US users need a prescription to use the device. Withings says it is working to make the function available without a prescription in the future.

A Withings ScanWatch Horizon display depicts the device's ECG feature.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

In the meantime, the ECG feature is quite exemplary. Most notably, the watch can scan for indications of atrial fibrillation. If enabled, it will continuously scan for signs and alert you to take an on-demand ECG if it detects anything concerning. On-demand readings comprise a 30-second ECG recording with immediate results displayed on the watch screen, and the option to replay them on a millimetric grid in the Health Mate app. You can also download a PDF of your results to show your doctor.

On-demand ECG recordings and SpO2 readings make the Scanwatch Horizon a powerful health tool and potential life-saving device.

On-demand SpO2 tracking is also a highlight of this device, and my results consistently matched those of my fingertip pulse oximeter. The watch also offers deep integration of blood oxygen tracking into other data. For example, overnight SpO2 tracking is integrated into the device’s sleep tracking offerings. While you rest, the Horizon will record your Zs and provide a sleep score, sleep cycles, sleep apnea detection, and irregular heartbeat detection. During my Withings Scanwatch Horizon review period, I found the watch a bit unwieldy for sleeping in. However, on the nights I did test its sleep features, it performed well compared to other devices.

What’s not so good?

A Withings ScanWatch Horizon watch displays a user's steps.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

This Scanwatch Horizon certainly delivers on the features it touts, but there are also a number of features missing that you might expect. To start, there is no built-in GPS on the Scanwatch Horizon, which means lugging your phone for connected GPS if you want to track a run. In fairness, this is a very fancy watch to wear while working up a sweat. However, activity tracking is available, and that automatically makes built-in GPS a desired addition.

Likewise, there is no music storage or music controls. There is also no ability to connect to any external monitors, many of which are used by distance training athletes. The Scanwatch Horizon uses low-energy Bluetooth to connect to the Health Mate app only. In short, it’s not a great device for dedicated runners or cyclists who plan to use it as their go-to fitness companion. I would add hikers to that list as well if someone is truly considering wearing something so high-end out on the trails.

Read more: The best fitness trackers you can buy

On the topic of Health Mate, the companion app is quite simplistic. Users can set some basic goals, such as a daily step count, and earn badges for different accomplishments. You can also view your activity, health, and sleep tracking data or tap into some basic wellness programs. However, insights are limited, as are customization options. For example, I enjoyed the ability to enable some Health Mate wellness reminders and set my device to prompt me to drink an herbal tea before bed each night as well as get ready for bed an hour later. What I would have liked to see were even more choices or, better yet, the ability to create a custom reminder.

Generally speaking, fitness features feel very basic. This device is likely only a good fit for someone who wants the broad strokes and prioritizes style over function. The step-counting dial right on the watch face is certainly a classy way to count your steps. That being said, the Health Mate app does connect with other popular apps, including Strava, Apple Health, and Runkeeper, so it would be easy to supplement your data from elsewhere if desired.

A user holds a Withings ScanWatch Horizon with the Settings icon displayed.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

While the Scanwatch Horizon’s battery life is great, charging, on the other hand, was pretty slow. The watch took a little over two hours to charge completely from zero, with the first 30% or so taking the longest. Luckily, you shouldn’t have to charge often.

My nitpicky, overarching critique of the Withings Scanwatch Horizon is that it does not do quite enough. Many of the top wearables are true smartphone companions. That means they are capable of streamlining your tasks and data from pocket to wrist. The Scanwatch Horizon, meanwhile, often necessitated I pull out my phone. Scrolling text is cumbersome. You can’t check messages so much as just find out you have one. GPS relies on your phone for tethering. There is no support for voice assistants. Yes, it is a beautiful accessory and a powerful health tool. But if its high-end design and considerable heft don’t make it clear that this isn’t an all-in-one fitness tracker/smartwatch, consider this that message.

The Withings Scanwatch Horizon is a beautiful, medically-certified device, but it is very limited in fitness tracking and smartwatch features.

This is also fair considering a smartwatch isn’t what the Withings Scanwatch Horizon aims to be. It is a statement accessory first and foremost, and there it delivers. Secondly, it’s a medically certified device for significant health issues. There again, it performs well. Any additional hybrid features should be approached as useful extras.

Finally, if you aren’t in the market for a bulky device, this isn’t the pick for you. I personally loved the look and feel of this watch, even on my small wrists. But, it’s not for everyone. It’s also quite heavy, which isn’t great for exercising. Wearing the watch to work out was actually almost stressful given the bulk (and cost) of the device. Likewise, it isn’t ideal for overnight wear. More case size options would be a big improvement to the line, as well as a neutral colorway.

Withings Scanwatch Horizon specs

Withings ScanWatch Horizon

Display

1.7″ PMOLED display
Physical hour and minute hands
Daily step count analog dial

Materials

Watch face: Sapphire glass
Case: Stainless steel
Band: Stainless Steel or FKM

Dimensions and weight

43mm case
20mm wristband
72g (watch only)

IP rating

10ATM

Battery

Up to 30 days (advertised)
Plus 20 days additional in power reserve mode (time and activity tracking only)
Charging: ~2 hours to 100%, ~1 hour to 80%

Sensors

Multi-wavelength PPG heart rate/SpO2 sensor
Stainless steel electrodes
3-axis altimeter
Connected GPS

Smartwatch features

Call/text notifications
Additional app notifications

Connectivity

Bluetooth LE

Compatibility

Android 8 or later
iOS 14 or later

Withings Scanwatch Horizon review: The verdict

A green model with a stainless steel link band rests on a user's bedside.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

In our base model Withings Scanwatch review, we called it, “one of the most sensible wearables you can buy to keep track of your health.” The Scanwatch Horizon offers all of the same features but in a much higher-end watch. However, it’s also significantly more expensive. As a result, the latest option from Withings is only a sensible buy depending on your bank account.

We wouldn’t recommend it for anyone specifically looking for a world-class fitness companion, or for anyone on a budget. It isn’t going to track your workouts nearly as well as a device from Garmin, for example. If you are in the market for a workout-focused hybrid we’d suggest the Vivomove Sport ($179). However, there’s no doubt that on-demand ECG tracing is an invaluable tool for many who suffer from heart conditions. Likewise, a certified device tuned in for signs of sleep apnea can literally save lives.

If you’re shopping for a luxury timepiece with hidden smarts and powerful health features, the Withings Scanwatch Horizon is well worth a look.

If either of those health conditions are a concern — especially if one of them is the impetus for purchasing a wearable in the first place — this is a very beautiful option. On the other hand, you can also save some money and opt for the regular Scanwatch ($279), which is by no means hard on the eyes either.

Still, if it ticks your boxes and you can afford it, it’s hard not to be tempted. The Withings Scanwatch Horizon delivers powerful tools and timeless style.

Withings Scanwatch Horizon

Premium, classy design • Long-lasting battery • Easy-to-use ECG monitor • Clinically validated AFib

Withings’ Scanwatch Horizon hybrid watch melds classic diving watch aesthetics with its tried and trusted health tracking platform. This includes ECG, SpO2, and heart rate tracking, a 30-day battery life, and 10 ATM water resistance.

Top Withings Scanwatch questions and answers

The Withings Scanwatch Horizon supports connected GPS.

Yes! The Withings Scanwatch Horizon packs an FDA-certified ECG.

Unfortunately, the Withings Scanwatch Horizon does not offer fall detection.

Yes. The Withings Scanwatch Horizon is compatible with smartphones running Android 8 or higher or iOS 14 or higher. In addition to pairing with a smartphone, the watch can also be set up using select Apple tablets.

The Withings Scanwatch Horizon automatically detects a number of activities from the 30 available sport modes, including running, walking, and swimming.

The Withings Scanwatch Horizon is compatible with universal, quick-release bands.

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