Theo is a tech junkie that writes articles and reviews about products he has used.
Overview: LifeCHARGE Smart Scale
Typically known for their smartphone accessories, LifeCHARGE recently made a push into home and entertainment products as well.
Aside from their range of wireless speakers, the latest product is the Smart Scale with Body Composition Analyzer. After spending some time with this product and its compatible applications, here is an in-depth review.
284 x 284 x 25 mm
1.89 x 1.22 inch LED
17.6 to 400 lbs
Android 4.3 & iOS 7.0 above
On a first glance, I am mind blown! I never knew scales were capable of doing so much more than just track weight. I know that BMI or Body Mass Index can be calculated with your height and weight. However, I did not know we can yet measure the various types of body mass and fat.
Looking at the key features, this scale can measure all of the following:
- Body Fat
- Muscle Mass
- Bone Mass
- Body Water
- Fat-Free Body Weight
- Skeletal Muscle
- Metabolic Age
- Visceral Fat
- Subcutaneous Fat
Seeing all these components, I admit I have much to learn about what these figures mean and how to meet the ideal numbers based on my own fitness goals. In one sense, it serves as a good learning experience to understanding your body composition and how you can strive for continuous improvement as you work out on a regular basis.
They did make one small blurb though by listing BMI twice so the packaging design could have gone through a more detailed review.
What makes this scale super smart is the smartphone app compatibility as listed out on the back. The official app to use is FeelFit, which I assume was built for this scale in particular. I also noticed that it can sync with other apps such as Apple's HealthKit, Fitbit, or Google Fit. I will talk a bit more about this and the limitations of it.
In terms of installing the FeelFit app, I highly recommend you scan the QR code to take you to the correct app store application. The reason is that there seems to be more than one app using the name FeelFit, but by different developers. This may lead users to installing the wrong app by searching for it instead of using the QR code.
One cool feature I really like is that you can have up to nine profiles or nine family members to keep track of. The FeelFit app was actually surprisingly welly built to track the weight of all family members. I will actually discuss this in more detail later on.
The back also provides some explanation to how the body composition analyzer works. Using Bioelectrical Impedance Analyzer, it can calculate various types of your body composition. Some calculations are easier done than others. I assume the Body Mass Index is probably a much easier to perform calculation than say body fat.
First Look at the Scale
Inside the square packaging, you have the scale itself and also a short manual. The operation of the scale is incredibly simple and I did not have to consult the manual for how to use the actual scale.
I still recommend reading the manual first though because it does provide some safety considerations. Since the scale would send electrical impulses to calculate the various body compositions, it is not recommended for anybody with a pacemaker, heart conditions, and other health conditions. I strongly recommend consulting your doctor and the manual if you have potential health conditions.
While it does not seem like the body composition analyzer can be turned off, you can potentially minimize its ability of sending electrical impulses by wearing socks. Keep in mind that this is just my own observation. I am Not saying wearing socks will keep your safe if you have potential health conditions.
The quality is absolutely amazing and really changed the way I look at scales. Pretty much all bathroom scales I've come across are plastic. Over time, plastic will get scuffed up and will lose the quality look quickly. This is not the case with the LifeCHARGE Smart Scale. It is a full solid glass panel with four metal plates fitted perfectly in there. The metal plates provide the necessary conduction to analyze your body composition. I think another reason why plastic is often favored is because you don't feel cold when stepping on it. While the glass and metal combination definitely feels incredibly premium and durable, I get the initial shudder whenever I step on this scale as my feet come in contact with the cold surface.
The LifeCHARGE logo is situated under the glass instead of having a frosted finish, which I like a lot. This way, I don't have to worry about the logo scuffing up and scratching off over time with wear and tear.
The back of the scale is understandably plastic. The four rubber feet provides quite a bit of grip so there is nothing to worry about here. The plastic construction also feels really nice. It feels very durable and has that quality feel.
I was surprised to see that four AAA batteries were provided. These are some no name brands so I wouldn't be surprised if they don't last nearly as long as expected especially with Bluetooth connectivity as well.
Using the Scale
Like I said before, you can most definitely use this scale with socks on. It is just a matter of how accurate you wish to keep track of your weight for. When using the scale, the display can show your weight in either kilograms or pounds.
Out of the box or by default, it is set to kilograms. For me, I simply cannot interpret kilograms so I had to change it to pounds through the smartphone app. I wish there was a way to toggle between kilograms and pounds without the need for the smartphone app. It would be nice to see some physical button that allows a quick change between the two settings.
Setting Up the FeelFit Application
Before you can begin using this application, you have to set it up. After you installed this application, you need to create an account and enter in your information. These are pretty basic information such as your name (to track different users), height, age, etc. This provides the app some parameters to guide it in calculating the various body composition factors. For example, you need to enter in your height in order for it to factor in your weight to calculate your Body Mass Index. After you setup your account, let's take a look at the user interface.
Inside the Application
These two screenshots is what I like to consider as the "overview" screen. This provides an at a glance look at the various stats and figures in relation to your latest weigh in. Having done a bit of research, it has been said that scales tend to either over-estimate or under-estimate body composition such as body fat. For example, it will over-estimate the amount of body fat for heavier people without little consideration if the weight is contributed from fat or muscles.
For me, I have no clue how accurate most of these figures are. However, I do not see a huge deviation by them. Looking at the body fat percentage alone, I feel this is fairly accurate. As a cyclist, I can say my thighs and legs contribute to a lot of the weight while I remain fairly toned with a bit of belly fat. On a slightly off-topic note, my Fitbit on first setup assumes the average 20% body fat unless manually changed. I left it as 20% since I didn't have an accurate measure of my body fat at that time.
I'd say definitely take these figures with a grain of salt since the electrical impedance measurement can only be so accurate.
Another beauty of this app is that it can track changes over time. Look at my measurement for a month apart. I somehow gained 3% more in body fat, which I personally think is kind of unlikely given that I maintained my diet and workouts relatively consistent.
Like I said earlier, definitely take these figures with a grain of salt. I tend to mainly look at my weight progress over time and how it affects my BMI calculation. This is something directly observable from the scale's more accurate sensors.
This app definitely has more room for improvement. It ties into the scale a bit more than overall lifestyle aspects. It's very limited in terms of being able to track your calories intake, hydration, sleep, etc. Everything it is capable of doing is tied into the scale.
However, it does the core features well. If the scale takes measurements in rapid successions where different users hop on the scale one after the other, the app is actually designed to prompt you which weight profile was yours. It won't automatically just sync or add the latest weight and body composition figures it measured into your app profile. I really like how thought out this is since this was a potential issue I was concerned with that could affect the usability of this app.
Connectivity with Fitbit
The connected apps is overrated and I do not recommend relying on this. I do not have the Apple Healthkit and I am not a fan of using Google Fit given its quirky software setup. However, I have did some testing with my Fitbit Charge 2. After giving permissions to my Fibit, it appears the FeelFit app siphons data from my Fitbit and doesn't provide any in return. This means that I still have to manually enter in my weight into the Fitbit app to track it and then the FeelFit app will take that weight data from the Fitbit. This sounds really counter-intuitive since I could just record the data automatically when I weigh myself from the scale. It doesn't seem like the FeelFit app will send the weight data to my Fitbit app to automatically record the weight.
For these reasons, I actually ended up revoking the access to my Fitbit since I didn't really know how FeelFit is using the data from my Fitbit without giving any in return.
the LifeCHARGE Smart Scale and Body Composition Analyzer is definitely an useful addition to understanding your body and monitoring your weight. The design and feel is very premium with a glass panel and sturdy base.
The FeelFit application offers fairly advanced trend based tracking and analysis to record all your data and see how you progress over time. The app connectivity with Fibit was not a positive experience for me and did not see intuitive. Overall, I am most definitely eager to see if LifeCHARGe will bring a second generation to this scale.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.