Connected devices are becoming more and more popular, with WiFi being integrated into everything. There seems to be no limit to what will be ‘cloud enabled’ in the near future – with many people left asking “Why”? I must admit, this was what first came to mind when I was asked to review Withings latest connected device, Thermo. This brings cloud enabled features to, wait for it, your thermometer.
Now this struck me as a little over the top, but Withings produces some great products, so I thought I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Withings have a good track record for developing health-focused connected devices that are simple, well designed, and provide access to a wealth of data. Even at first glance, you can see Withings has tried to embed these traits in Thermo.
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I also chose to review Thermo because I’m fairly used to a thermometer or two. In my day (evening, night, weekend) job I work in a Major Trauma Center as an Emergency Doctor. Here I use a host of different thermometers. For most people we can make do with an under-the-tongue, in-the-ear, or non-contact thermometer. If you’re (un)lucky, we also have the ultimate thermometer: the rectal probe. Now the rectal thermometer isn’t just a source of amusement, it is the most accurate way we have to measure your core temperature.
Thankfully, Thermo uses non-contact technology that is perfectly suited to the home – this means there are no disposable covers to use and cleaning is easy. There are 16 infrared sensors used that take over 4000 measurements to gain an accurate temperature reading.
So what about the WiFi? Thermo can be used independently, and just works as an easy-to-use thermometer. What you are paying for is the smart features enabled by the Thermo app. Temperature readings are synced to your smartphone which keeps a record but more interestingly can give advice based on the reading and age. You can also track symptoms, medications and photos to keep a better record of the illness.
What’s in the Box?
Withings has a great eye for design, and this extends all the way to the packaging. Thermo comes in a small box that holds everything together perfectly. Opening the front flap reveals the Thermo held inside by a small tab, with the user guide in a separate pocket. There’s even two Duracell batteries included so you can get going straight away.
Thermo itself is a small handheld unit that has the all-important sensor on one green end, recessed for protection and with a separate dust cap.
The battery compartment is located under a flexible plastic panel on the back of the unit. It takes two AAA batteries that should last for about a year.
At first glance there’s only a single button on the front of the device, but once activated the concealed display features a swipe sensor for navigating the menu.
Getting Up and Running
Once you have installed the batteries, you need to download the Thermo app and then follow the instructions. This involves setting up an account then discovering the Thermo through the app.
Next you set up your WiFi details and are guided through how to use Thermo.
You are also given the option to enter details of your household members including name and date of birth.
Every family with children should have a digital thermometer. It’s an essential aid to monitoring illness and is much more accurate than mum or dad’s hand!
With Thermo it’s really simple to check a temperature. You just press the button then swipe the sensor across the forehead, from the middle to one side. The temperature is recorded and displayed on the handle. If you’ve set up different users, you can then swipe on the display to select the correct one. Press the button again and you get an age-related indication of how concerning the fever is (red, amber or green). The temperature feedback you get is based on American guidelines, which differ to those in the UK, so don’t be surprised if your doctor suggests something different to the app.
The display is clear and bright which I found really useful, especially when checking kids temperatures in the middle of the night. The contactless design was also great, meaning that I didn’t have to wake anyone up to get a reading.
The temperature recording is automatically synced with the Thermo app where you can check the result. The real benefit is the advice that you get which is customised to the level of the fever and the age. Withings has partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital for advice about symptoms and correct medication doses. You can have a look here (http://thermia.io/) to see the advice, or use the tool with a non-connected thermometer.
Thermo is a stylish high-end thermometer. The design is great, the synchronisation works seamlessly, and it’s really simple to use. But the big draw here is the app that offers a reliable way to track a fever. This is offered in conjunction with helpful advice from Boston Children’s Hospital. The advice is for an American audience and is different to other countries fever guidelines. It’s a shame that Withings didn’t tailor the guidance by working with other organisations, but overall the advice seems reasonable.
There’s a lot going for Thermo, and it’s definitely worth a look if you haven’t yet got a thermometer for your family. Thermo does cost more than basic thermometers but it offers some unique and advanced features that work really well. If you want to save your cash, you can get all the information you need from a much cheaper model. If you value design, convenience and simple advice then Thermo is worth the extra spend.