Smartwatches are a dime a dozen these days, but the Withings ScanWatch, unveiled at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, stands out among the pack for a number of reasons. First is its sleek and minimalist design, and second is its ability to detect risks relating to Afib and sleep apnea in addition to everything else a typical smartwatch can do.

The watch, which was developed by cardiologists and sleep experts, employs an analog design so it looks more like a standard wristwatch then a high-tech device. But it also has a small screen at the centre of top of the face that displays useful data, including health readings, incoming call and text message notifications (also indicated with a slight vibration), and more. You can also track details, and even download readings as a PDF for your doctor, from the mobile app. Scroll through screens on the watch using the digital crown on the side.

withings scanwatch

On the underside of the face are two sensors that can track not only basic sleep data and heart rate but also heart arrhythmia Afib (i.e. irregular heart rhythm) as well as sleep apnea. It detects Afib through taking a medical grade electrocardiogram (ECG): press and hold the two side buttons simultaneously if you feel palpitations and, in 30 seconds, the three built-in electrodes will identify if your heart rhythm is slow, high, or normal. The reading will display on the watch as well as in the Health Mate app. It can also proactively track for symptoms through continuous monitoring of your heart rate via a PPG sensor. If anything seems amiss, the watch will notify you to take action.

While the ScanWatch tracks your sleep, including the length, depth, and quality, it also has an SpO2 sensor that emits and absorbs a light wave that passes through your blood vessels to detect sleep apnea episodes. These are then reported to you graphically in the app so you can analyze it once you wake up. Through the night, it measures your oxygen saturation levels to see when they are inadequate. This, in turn, indicates breathing disturbances caused by things like sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea, Withings notes, can lead to major cardiovascular issues, and most people who suffer from it aren’t even aware that they do! A smart wake-up feature will also vibrate when it’s the best time in your sleep cycle for you to get up.

As with other Withings devices, and many other smartwatches, you can set goals, connect many third-party apps like Apple Health, Strava, and MyFitnessPal, track calories, elevation, workout routes (using connected GPS), and specific activities like walking, swimming and cycle. You’ll also get Fitness Level assessments using the VO2 Max, which measures your heart and muscles ability to convert oxygen into energy during physical exercises.

Beyond its features, the ScanWatch also looks really cool. It has a waterproof stainless steel case and sapphire glass watch face that includes the aforementioned tiny digital screen, an analog clock, and a sub-dial that shows your daily step count in a way that encourages you to complete the circle and reach your goal. You can also view these in the app.

The Withings ScanWatch is currently pending CE and FDA clearance in the U.S. and will be available in Europe and the U.S. in the second quarter of this year with a 38mm or 42mm band and black or white face with a variety of band colour choices. There’s no word yet on when it will be in Canada.

Keep an eye out for the latest on CES 2020 right here on Best Buy’s blog.

I am a tech expert and journalist with 17+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism. I write for a number of technology, business, parenting, family, and lifestyle Websites, blogs, and magazines. A self-professed lover of tech, I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV junkie, and proud mother to an 8-year-old son.