Garmin scale

Garmin Index S2 Smart WiFi Connected Scale In-Depth Review

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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!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Index S2 WiFi Scale or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Index S2 WiFi Scale or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Sours: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/10/garmin-index-s2-smart-wifi-connected-scale-in-depth-review.html

Garmin Index Smart Scale Review

This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the Garmin scale with my own money and all opinions are my own.

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I don’t do many product reviews, but after picking up the Garmin Index Smart Scale on Prime Day and using it for a few months, I thought other runners would like to hear my thoughts on the scale and how I’m using it. Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a bargain shopper and picked this up on sale for $99 (normally $150). Also, I’m not one to track my weight because I think that can get tricky for athletes on many levels, but the other metrics it tracks really appealed to me along with having it all in one place where my running data is already located - my Garmin Connect account. This review will share the setup process and the data it provides, so let’s jump into it.

Setting Up The Scale

This process was pretty straightforward. I’m not a tech savvy person by any means, but getting this all connected was super easy:

  1. Install batteries.

  2. Open Garmin Connect app on your phone.

  3. Go to “More” -> “Garmin Devices” -> “Add Device” -> Select Index scale from the list of compatible devices. Garmin Connect will then find your scale.

  4. You’ll want to enter initials, starting weight, height and activity levels.

  5. Then select your WiFi network, enter password and VOILA! You’re set up!

Here’s a quick video you can watch to go through the easy setup process if you have any questions on it.

Measuring and Tracking Data

Us runners love our data, don’t we?? The Garmin Scale is great for those that want to track body composition a bit more closely. It measures the following:

  • Weight

  • BMI

  • Body Fat %

  • Body Water %

  • Skeletal Muscle Mass

  • Bone Mass (lbs) - I find this is most beneficial to women or athletes in their 30s (aka me!) and older if you’re concerned about losing bone mass

Here’s a few screenshots of the data I collected over the last month. You’ll see I went about a week without any measurements… just getting used to weighing myself at the same time each day was tough and I fell out of routine. I also removed my weight because that’s just not important:

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Pros and Cons of Using the Garmin Scale

Pros (some of these are specific to me + what I want from a scale):

  • Everything is in one place. The biggest pro is that all of this data is in my Garmin Connect account. I can quickly check how my weight is fluctuating on heavier mileage weeks and as my cycle continues to ensure I’m not losing a ton of weight in my peak weeks (reducing my risk for injury).

  • Hydration needs. The body water % was super helpful when I performed my sweat rate test to see that what I lost was in fact water. This is great if you have baseline hydration data and use it to ensure you aren’t dehydrated going into a run or on heavier weeks of training.

  • Muscle mass. I like this feature because I’ve introduced more strength training this summer and will continue into my training cycle this fall. Seeing increases in my muscle mass will be reassuring if I do start to gain weight this season. Since muscle weighs more than fat, I’ll be looking for changes in my overall weight to also reflect an increase in my muscle mass.

  • Connectivity. I read some reviews stating that the WiFi connection was terrible on the scale, but I think this entirely depends on HOW GOOD YOUR WIFI IS. We have a great router that blasts WiFi throughout our home, so the upload is fast and immediate after stepping off the scale.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t track more than one reading/day. I found this to be an issue while performing a sweat rate test. The scale does not hold more than one reading/day. Once you get on the scale a second time in the same day, it overrides the first reading and will save the second. This can be an issue if you are looking to track hydration needs or running more than once/day and want to check your stats before or after each run.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like the scale and would recommend it if you are interested in these metrics. I love the integration with Garmin Connect and having all of my data in one place. I also like being able to compare the metrics over time in the app. One thing I can’t speak to is battery life - it requires 4 AA batteries to use, but I imagine it will last around a year or so using it every day.

Ricky has had a Withings scale for several years and that tracks heart rate, weather, and room temperature through it’s own Health Mate app. It’s been reliable and accurate for the last 5+ years he’s had it. One note of difference between the two is that Garmin scale does not track HR. Withings came out with a Body Cardio scale recently, which tracks everything the Garmin scale does, but again has its own app so the downside is not having everything in one place. Just wanted to offer some options if you are in the market and looking for some things to compare. Price point on both the Garmin scale and comparable Withings’ Body Cardio scale is similar, but Amazon has a great deal on the Garmin scale that makes it about $10-20 less than the Withings scale.

I hope you find this review helpful. If you end up purchasing this or another smart scale, please let me know how you use the data and what you love/hate about yours!

J

Sours: https://www.sugarruns.com/blog/2019/9/15/garmin-index-smart-scale-review
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Two-minute review

The Garmin Index S2 is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smart scale that makes it easy to track changes to your weight and body composition over time. It’s a stylish, well designed piece of equipment, and gives reliable and consistent results, making it a great tool if you’re aiming to reach or maintain a specific weight.

It’s a particularly good choice if you already own a Garmin watch or other device, as it links to the Garmin Connect app and allows you to see all your health, sleep and activity stats in one place. Garmin Connect also has a social element, letting you network with friends and family to share stats and encouragement.

While it’s possible to drill down for more information on each metric, it’s a shame that the Garmin Connect app doesn’t give you an indication of whether your body fat, muscle and other composition scores are within the healthy range for your age, sex and height, and how close you are to the boundaries.

The Garmin Index S2 is also expensive, so if you’re not already invested in the Garmin ecosystem, it’s worth checking out cheaper alternatives like the Eufy Smart Scale C1 and FitTrack Dara before making the investment.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Garmin Connect gives you a huge range of extra tools and resources that you would have to pay for in many fitness apps. These include workout plans, menstrual cycle tracking, safety tools to let family members track your location, and even an option for tracking the lifespan of equipment like running shoes and bikes so you know when it’s time to service or replace them. This all adds a lot to the scale’s value, and does a lot to help justify its price tag.

Garmin Index S2 price and availability

The Garmin Index S2 was released in October 2020, and costs $149.99 / £129.99 / $249 direct from Garmin. That’s a pretty high price for a smart scale, and is roughly the same as the Withings Body Cardio.

The scale proved very popular at launch, and at the time of writing (April 2021), there’s a wait of between five and eight weeks for delivery.

Design

As we’ve come to expect from Garmin devices, the Index S2 smart scale is high quality and robust. The color display is particularly impressive, and the best of any smart scale we’ve tested to date – bright and crisp, with an unusually high resolution that makes icons and text sharp and easy to read when standing up. At each weigh-in you’ll be able to see your current weight, body composition stats including fat and muscle mass, and a graph of changes to your weight over time.

The scale is available in black and white, and the platform (as with all smart scales) is made from toughened glass. A discreet pattern of lines helps you position your feet correctly, and buttons underneath allow you to switch between imperial and metric units, and reset the scale. It’s supplied with four AAA batteries, which Garmin says will last up to nine months.

It has a weight limit of 400lb (181.4 kg), which is standard for smart scales, and matches that of the Fitbit Aria 2 and Withings Body+.

Performance

If you already have the Garmin Connect app installed, setting up the Index S2 will only take a minute or two. Activate it by pressing the platform, go to ‘Garmin devices’ in the app, and you’ll see it listed, ready to connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Enter the PIN displayed on the scale’s screen for verification, then select your Wi-Fi network and enter your password. If you wish, you can also use this opportunity to add extra users, including guests.

Unlike most smart scales, which support between four and eight users, the Garmin Index S2 can handle data from up to 16 people, which could make it a great choice for members of a sports team who all want to keep track of the impact of their training.

If you’re not already a Garmin user, you’ll need to spend a few moments setting up an account first. This is a very similar process to Withings or Fitbit – enter your name, age, gender, height, and set a target weight to get started.

The scale is fast; your weight is displayed on the crisp, bright screen almost immediately. By default you’ll also be shown your body composition stats and the weather, but if you prefer there’s also an option to show your weight only.

The Garmin Index 2 uses bioelectrical impedance to measure tissue types. Essentially, it runs a small current through your body (hence the need for bare feet), and different types of tissue cause different degrees of resistance. The scale measures weight and BMI, body fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass, and body water. Skeletal muscle doesn't include the muscle in your heart, or the muscles that apply pressure to your organs and blood vessels.

Within the app, all this data is displayed on a chart so you can track changes over the last week, four weeks, or year, and see how close you are to your target weight. You can also choose to see your BMI, muscle, fat, bone mass and water weight as line graphs, which helps you track how your body composition has changed over time.

If you prefer to see your stats on a bigger screen though Garmin’s web app, the Garmin Index 2 is ANT compatible, allowing you to transfer data directly to a PC using Garmin’s USB ANT stick. It might seem like a bit of a niche case, but if you use your watch or cycle computer for navigation, you’re likely to find yourself using the online dashboard quite often, and having stats from the scales handy when planning your weekly workouts could be a real bonus.

In our tests, the measurements were very consistent across multiple weigh-ins, and (as expected), the muscle mass value was significantly lower than on other scales due to the difference between total and skeletal muscle. Most scales don't differentiate between the two, which is worth bearing in mind if you're switching from a different brand.

Companion app

The scale connects to the Garmin Connect app, which you’ll already have installed if you have a Garmin watch, heart rate monitor, cycle computer or other device. Data syncs automatically (which isn’t always the case with smart scales) and is accessed through the ‘Health and Performance’ menu. If you want, you can also add it to the dashboard that appears each time you load the app, so you can track it at a glance.

You can tap the ‘Help’ button for a simple, clear explanation of what each metric means in terms of your health, but it’s a shame that there’s no chart showing where your measurements are compared to other people your sex and age. It would be useful to see whether you fit within healthy limits, and how close you are to the boundaries.

It would also be useful to have guides to optimal values for athletes, so users don't have to look up a chart online.

That aside, the Garmin Connect app is excellent. Not only does it pool together stats from all your devices, it also offers extra tools such as menstrual cycle tracking, workout plans and social features – many of which are locked behind paywalls in other fitness apps. All of Garmin Connect’s tools are free, and available as soon as you’ve registered.

First reviewed April 2021

Buy it if

You have another Garmin device
Having all your health and wellbeing data in one place is extremely convenient, and Garmin Connect is one of the best fitness apps around.

You’re part of a sports team
The Garmin Connect Index supports up to 16 users, which means it’s not only a good choice for families, but could also be useful for sports clubs.

You have a long-term fitness goal
There’s a lot more to health than just weight, and the Index 2 and Garmin Connect app put a massive amount of data at your fingertips.

Don't buy it if

You’re on a tight budget
There are some great smart scales on the market that cost much less. Check out our full guide to the best smart scales for some alternative options.

You own a Fitbit
A scale from the Fitbit Aria series will be a better choice if you have a Fitbit on your wrist, as you’ll be able to pool all your health data in one place.

You’re pregnant
Garmin advises turning off advanced body metrics during pregnancy, to prevent inaccurate results. If you want to track your pregnancy, the Withings Body+ is a better choice thanks to its a dedicated pregnancy mode.

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Cat Ellis is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line at [email protected]

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/garmin-index-s2

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