Health & Wellbeing

Review: QardioBase smart scale doesn't quite measure up

Review: QardioBase smart scale...
QardioBase smart scale and accompanying app for iOS and Android devices
QardioBase smart scale and accompanying app for iOS and Android devices
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QardioBase smart scale and accompanying app for iOS and Android devices
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QardioBase smart scale and accompanying app for iOS and Android devices
QardioBase smartscale requires you to be barefooted to establish weight and BMI
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QardioBase smartscale requires you to be barefooted to establish weight and BMI
QardioBase smartscale is an attractive slim design
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QardioBase smartscale is an attractive slim design
A side view of the QardioBase smartscale
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A side view of the QardioBase smartscale
QardioBase smarts scale app gives you multiple modes from which to choose
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QardioBase smarts scale app gives you multiple modes from which to choose
QuardioBase smart scale app screen after providing a measurement of weight, BMI, fat and muscle
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QuardioBase smart scale app screen after providing a measurement of weight, BMI, fat and muscle
QardioBase smart scale provides a way to track progress on all measurements
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QardioBase smart scale provides a way to track progress on all measurements
A snapshot view of progress on the QardioBase smart scale app
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A snapshot view of progress on the QardioBase smart scale app
Another way to view progress over time on the QardioBase smart scale app
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Another way to view progress over time on the QardioBase smart scale app
QardioBase smart scale prompts you to step on the scale before giving you a reading
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QardioBase smart scale prompts you to step on the scale before giving you a reading
QardioBase smart scale greets you with a smile
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QardioBase smart scale greets you with a smile
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As someone who likes to stay in shape, I was looking forward to reviewing the QardioBase smart scale and body composition analyzer. The device sits alongside the QardioArm, a smart blood pressure monitor, and the QardioCore, a wearable EKG/ECG monitor, in Qardio's lineup, and was recently awarded a CES 2016 Innovation Award – the third for the company. Unfortunately, after receiving the QardioBase our enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration.

It began with the arrival and initial set up of the first unit we were sent. The company was kind enough to include batteries, but they were dead. Then, once fresh batteries were inserted, a lot of the settings were already in place, which meant our repeated attempts to set it up per the simple instructions kept resulting in someone else's name being displayed and relegating us to guest status. That guest function lets multiple users use the scale just like you would any other, but that's not what we wanted.

Qardio and its PR firm were very quick to respond to our cries for help and sent us a new unit. It turns out that the first one had been a tradeshow unit that hadn't been cleared of its prior settings or sent with fresh batteries.

When the new unit arrived, we were eager to forget the previous frustrations and start afresh. With new batteries in place, the single green dot followed by the smiley face and a digital wink lit up as it should once we stepped on the scale. But it still indicated we were a guest and not the primary user, our weight was shown in kilos and no measurements were appearing on the companion app.

QardioBase smart scale greets you with a smile
QardioBase smart scale greets you with a smile

A few more emails with the PR firm and we were advised to check our profile to be sure all of the information was correct. All good there, but the app and unit combined weren't doing their intended job, which was to establish our baseline weight, BMI (body mass index), and muscle and fat percentages.

When all else fails start over, so we hit the reset button. That required finding and entering the last few digits of the serial code, which requires you to take the battery cover off of the back of the QardioBase unit to access. That's easy enough, but unfortunately you have to reset everything while the app is active and you're standing on the unit. You can't do that while it's upside down and you're trying to read the serial code inside the battery compartment. The only solution was to write it down, then restart the reset process.

Voila! That did it. Our name showed up, our weight was in pounds and our BMI, complete with a muscle and fat percentage breakdown, was displayed. We could now put the unit to work. But other issues ensued.

QuardioBase smart scale app screen after providing a measurement of weight, BMI, fat and muscle
QuardioBase smart scale app screen after providing a measurement of weight, BMI, fat and muscle

Weight measurements could vary by as much as a pound in a two-minute stretch by just getting off of the unit and back on. Taking a measurement with pants on would sometimes change the weight by more than a worn pair of Levi's would seem to add.

Using BMI as a measurement is another issue in and of itself. It is a value that comes from taking the square of your height divided by your weight. In this reviewer's case, that's 69 inches (175 cm) tall and just under 170 pounds (77 kg), indicating a BMI that was just tipping into the overweight category. Quite a shock for someone who works out religiously 45 minutes to an hour a day, five days a week and has done so for many years.

Here's a better example that puts the BMI into question. Take Marshawn Lynch, an NFL running back who is 71 inches (180 cm) tall and weighs 215 pounds (97.5 kg). Clearly not overweight if you saw him. In fact, he has a habit of plowing through defensive linemen who are even bigger. But a BMI calculation puts him in the obese category. Clearly someone needs to do something to take physical build into account when it comes to BMI.

We decided to put that aside, and just look at BMI as a number to improve against. Tracking progress is really where the QardioBase has the most benefit.

Once you get the app set up, you establish a weight goal. With the app on and the mobile device connected to the QardioBase via Bluetooth (Wi-Fi is also an option), a measurement is taken as soon as you step on it. In fact, it prompts you to do so, just in case you're staring at it wondering what to do. Over time, the app shows you a history of your progress – changes in weight, BMI, fat and muscle. However, readings in the latter categories were also inconsistent from day-to-day.

QardioBase smart scale provides a way to track progress on all measurements
QardioBase smart scale provides a way to track progress on all measurements

You can also set up reminders and different modes, and even share your progress with your doctor, family members or significant others if you wish. The pregnancy mode could be particularly helpful to moms who want to track their weight gain through their pregnancy.

The accompanying app works with both iOS (7.0 or later) and Android devices (4.4 or later), as well as with Apple Health and the Apple HealthKit.

You can purchase the QardioBase at Amazon, Target or on the company website for US$149.99. If you buy it, just know that it takes some patience to set up and the numbers may not be consistent. There's no doubting the QardioBase is a nicely designed unit that will look good in any bathroom, but Qardio has some more work to do to get it up to scratch on the performance front.

Product Page: Qardio

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5 comments
David993
BMI is a fundamentally flawed parameter! I am 6 ft 1 inch (Almost,in bare feet!) and weigh 157 lbs - I exercise, mainly cycling for more than 20 hours per week. This gives a BMI of 20.7, which is ok, but my bodyfat is 12%!(yes, verified!) Now, if I could remove all my bodyfat, then I would weigh approximately 138 lbs and my BMI would be 18.2 - which is Normal? I feel we need something rather more scientific than BMI!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I never did like BMI. It probably works well for insurance companies and the government. Completely useless for gymnasts, football players and body builders.
christopher
After many different scales all showing different readings minute-to-minute, I finally found the Withings one, which every single time "just works". You even need to calibrate it for gravity at your home location, that's how serious those guys are about getting it right. It's kinda cool being so accurate, you can even measure before-and-after using the toilet :-)
James
Discussion of BMI aside, there is no question that this product is a steaming pile of ****. I had one for a week and it did nothing that it claimed to do - it couldn't even measure my weight consistently! I returned mine too and I got another one which again didn't work.
I now have the Withings scale, which as others have mentioned is brilliant. In that it actually weighs you, you know like a scale is meant to, Qardio.
Ash3y
Fails on so many basic levels - unstable and totally inaccurate!!!
It fails on so many basic levels. If you’re considering buying a scale - do not waste your money on this piece of trash.Buy the Withings scale or FitBit Aria instead - both MUCH better alternatives.
it is COMPLETELY UNSTABLE. When you step on it, it tips to the side or flips over. I have fallen badly before when trying to weigh myself!! You can’t read your weight properly because it’s stupidly displayed in the middle of the scale UNDER YOUR FEET. Setup was almost impossible - so many errors, incredibly slow and you have to stay on the scale the whole time while you’re setting up. Just what the hell?? Then the app wouldn’t connect to my wifi and repeatedly crashed my phone The app looks like it was designed by a 3rd grader - its ugly, terrible UX, just so basic, just like this company’s terrible, faulty products IT IS TOTALLY INACCURATE. When I weighed myself on my Tanita scale, I was 125.2lbs. On the Qardio, 5 mins later, I was 135lbs!!!! Qardio are you telling me that the oxygen I breathed in in the 5 minutes standing there waiting for my phone to pair with your stupid scale, that oxygen weighs 10lbs?? You cannot be serious. I stepped off and then stepped onto the scale again and then I weighed 130lbs. I wanted to throw this scale in your face, CEO of Qardio - how can this product be so horribly inaccurate? What is the actual point of selling/owning this scale at all? NONE of the additional features work - the scale doesn’t measure body fat, it doesnt have a pregnancy mode, it can’t measure your water retention - ALL OF THAT IS LIES.
So boys and girls - what you’re left with is a piece of shiny plastic & glass with the word ‘qardio’ written on it (a brand that no-one even knows or cares about). It is basically just a useless ornament for your bathroom - because it doesn’t weigh you, measure you or track your pregnancy (haha at it being able to do that! it can’t even weigh you properly!).
I don’t know what this company was thinking. Seriously. I retured mine immediately. I haven’t bought such a dud product in years and I WONT be buying anything from this company ever again (oh and I have told all my friends about this too)