Runtastic Libra Bluetooth Smart Scale and Body Analyzer Review

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There’s no shortage of fitness devices these days, so much so that the burden of choice may be a bit overwhelming. Runtastic has made its entry into the category with the Libra Smart Scale ($129.99), were it will compete for your dollar against other offerings such as, Fitbit’s Aria ($129.99)

Runtastic’s Libra has a myriad of features to help keep tabs on your progress towards a healthier lifestyle, which include measuring weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, and water content. All of which will help you understand and dissect your progress better than a standard weight scale. However, the question you really want answered is how does it match the competition? And what scale is best for your needs? Read on.

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Design

The Libra is a beautiful device. It has a silver plastic underside that curves slightly over to the face of the scale, giving it a nice matte frame. The top has a glassy surface that looks nearly identical to Withings’ Wi-Fi Body Scale. The surface hardly left any foot prints or attracted too much dust. When the occasional water splash made landfall on the scale, the Libra’s glassy surface made for an easy clean up.

The scale takes three AAA batteries that are included inside the box. The digital display shines clearly in any light, but will only display weight if it hasn’t been paired with a Libra app account.

 

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Setup

On the underside of the Libra is a tab with the words “pairing” etched-in beside it. You’ll need to download the Libra app and enabled Bluetooth on your phone, then press the pairing button on the Libra so the devices will sync. Within the app, you’ll have to go through a simple process of creating your Runtastic profile and answering a few questions.

Runtastic will ask for your gender, height, and exercise habits to get a sense of who you are and to help determine BMI. It will also help you chart safe weight-loss goals based on these facts. Say you wanted to lose 10 pounds in a month, Libra may have you rethink your game plan and suggest a longer timeframe. It’s also good to note that the Libra can support up to 8 different users, so everyone in your household can have a profile.

The Libra is a bit different from other brands in that it uses Bluetooth to pair with your smartphone, whereas other scales use Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is much more of a power drain than a Wi-Fi connection, so you may be swapping out batteries a bit sooner than on other scales. However, in a week’s time the battery indicator hasn’t dropped a single notch, so the Libra will likely last around a month or more.

 

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Accuracy

In order to use the scale, you must have bare feet… It also helps to be naked, as clothes can add around 2-pounds of extra weight!

The bare feet part is key. In order to get readings on things beyond weight, like body fat, the Libra is coated with ITO electrodes. These send signals through your body to get a reading on all the other stats, like body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, and water content. However, accuracy came into question when playing around with different settings on the app.

 

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When I altered my activity level between Relatively inactive, Moderately active, and Very active, my body fat readings fluctuated significantly. I went from 28.3% to 26.3% to 23.6% body fat within a matter of minutes. This discrepancy calls into question all the other readings it provides, so buyers should be aware that these measurements are likely more an estimation than accurate readings. If you want a real body fat reading to test against the scale, ask your doctor. Weight readings, however, were accurate. I checked the Libra against two zeroed mechanical scales and both returned the same data—the Libra just included decimal points.

Also, after simply altering my activity level, the Libra asked me to recalibrate the machine, which I did and then asked me to do it again, and another time. You get the idea. Even after uninstalling and reinstalling the app, it didn’t let up on constantly asking to recalibrate. Two ways to avoid this: don’t play with the baseline data (height, gender, activity level) or ignore the recalibration.

App

The Runtastic Libra app is only available for iPhone and iPad. Sorry, Android users. The app is an integral part of the system. If you weigh yourself in the morning without your smartphone, the scale will keep the data points for when you pair with it later on. Also, the display flashes weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, and water content across the screen. The app is good for getting an overview of how far you’ve come and setting goals. It helps you stay aware and keep track of your progress.

 

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The app also lets you know in what areas you need to improve, like if you’re at the high or low end of your body fat percentage, muscle mass, BMI, and water. These reading helped cue me in that I needed to drink more fluids, as my water percentage was in the yellow caution zone.

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The Libra is a smaller part of the larger Runtastic ecosystem. Runtastic owns and operates a myriad of apps that range from running, cycling, fitness training, and so on. There’s also a GPS sports watch and Heart Rate Monitor ($59.99) you can purchase to build upon the scale’s data. If you decide to become (or already are) part of the Runtastic family you can sign into the website, where the dashboard breaks-down all stats from every device and app you use. It doesn’t look as streamlined as Fitbits’ dashboard, but Runtastic covers a wider range of fitness activities. Whereas Fitbit mainly covers running and walking with its Flex and One ($99) devices. So, if you’ve already subscribed to Runtastic’s cycling or running app, then adding data from the scale is a great way to supplement your fitness knowledge.

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Conclusion

The Runtastic Libra is a good scale. It has plenty of features and a clean app layout to read and log your progress from day-to-day. However, it has some cleaning up to do. Accuracy is questionable regarding body fat readings, which also calls into question other category readings (save for weight). It’s likely that unless it’s done by a professional, you’re not going to get a 100% correct measurement. Also, if you alter any personal profile stats within the app, it constantly asks you to recalibrate—even after uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

It’s a shame that these things are holding the Libra scale back. It’s otherwise a beautiful, well-rounded device that has an ecosystem ready for your inner runner, cycler, and fitness enthusiasts to take advantage of. Fitbit, on the other hand, only supports running and walking. But its app is an all-in-one hub for every Fitbit device (and supports iOS and Android users).

If you know you’re going to go beyond monitoring your weight every day and get into cycling, and a host of other fitness activities, then the Runtastic Libra may be the better choice. However, you’ll need to be part of the Apple family to support the scale along with Runtastic’s numerous other apps. Fitbit’s Aria, for the same price, supports iOS and Android devices along with its hardware, and the Fitbit app is ready for you to expand the minute you decide to go outside weight monitoring.

 

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Runtastic Libra Bluetooth Smart Scale and Body Analyzer
Author Rating
3
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Natalie Shoemaker

Natalie found her passion for writing about tech when she started with PCMag. She has also written for Geek, GDGT and TechnologyTell.

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