I used a smart blood pressure monitor — and it blew me away 1
The Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

After getting a health check in April, I was told my blood pressure was slightly elevated and that I should get a monitor and keep a record of results for the next four weeks — after which time it would be assessed again and decided if I needed medication to control it. Not the best thing to hear, but not the worst either. Time to get the right equipment and get started.

I had access to a normal blood pressure cuff, but that was a bit, well, boring. Plus, the manual process of logging results and keeping records put me off. I’m used to health tech like the Apple Watch and the Oura Ring, where an app collates and presents the data, and everything is laid out for me. Could consumer tech come to my aid here and give my doctor all the required information after the month was up?

Step forward, Withings

The Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor's cuff.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

At the time of my health check, I didn’t even know connected blood pressure monitors existed — and it would later turn out I was not the only one. Coincidentally, the month of May falls into a period of increased awareness around hypertension, and Withings happened to get in touch to see if I would like to test the BPM Connect electronic blood pressure monitoring cuff. It was fortuitous timing, plus I’ve always been impressed with Withings products, from the Sleep Analyzer to the ScanWatch smartwatch. The BPM Connect synced with an app on my phone to collate results, so it was exactly what I wanted.

It’s an expensive piece of kit at $130, though (especially compared to non-connected or basic cuff-type blood pressure monitors), so it needed to not only be easy to use and reliable, but also not introduce barriers or different problems that you wouldn’t get with a monitor that wasn’t so tech-heavy. This was also an entirely new procedure for me, so I wanted the device I used to be friendly and simple. Plus, the less the design reminded me of a hospital, the better.

After a rocky start, it turned out the Withings BPM Connect would surpass my expectations, make my eventual check-in with the doctor stress-free and much smoother than it could have been, and it even added another dimension to the Apple Watch’s already comprehensive heart- and health-monitoring capabilities — all without looking like a “normal” blood pressure monitor hardly at all.

Off to a rocky start …

The Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor's charging port.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

Withings BPM Connect has a white, six-inch-long, rounded main section attached to a gray fabric cuff that’s secured using hook-and-loop fastenings. The fabric cuff is looped through a sturdy metal bar, and the main unit has a single button. It’s all very well-made and compact enough to be easily portable. The basic information display is hidden until you turn the unit on, and operation couldn’t be much simpler — just press the button to start a measurement, and that’s it.

It looks and feels modern and surprisingly stylish, but it’s a shame about the MicroUSB port for charging. The BPM Connect is efficient, and despite using the cuff for four weeks now, the app states the battery is still at 86%, so you won’t need to charge it very often. I’d have also liked the lock control that stops any unwanted activations, as this may upset the device’s calibration. To use the BPM Connect, you need to install the Withings Health Mate app, and I’ve been using it on an iPhone 14 Pro.

However, right at the very start, I feared everything was about to go wrong. The app walks you through the setup process, and part of this requires you to connect the BPM Connect to Wi-Fi. I tried repeatedly, but it refuses to link to my home Wi-Fi, and it was a real stumbling block at the beginning. The troubleshooting section says the BPM Connect only works with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, but it still won’t connect to my dual 2.4GHz/5GHz router.

In the end, I managed to skip the Wi-Fi step and rely on its Bluetooth connection. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference, although I wonder if the way the app collects data from the cuff would be faster with Wi-Fi. It wasn’t the best introduction to the BPM Connect, and I wonder how off-putting it would be for anyone less familiar with tech who is also using it for the first time.

… but so, so simple to use

The screen activated on the Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

After getting past this stage, the BPM Connect has worked flawlessly. The instructions don’t say anything about having to calibrate the cuff with a non-digital version, and the results I’ve had are consistent with the ones I had at the doctor’s office. There are clear instructions on how to take measurements in an included instruction manual and in the app, which I really appreciated as some people do prefer to have a physical instruction manual too.

Putting it on is simple, and because it only takes one press of the button to operate, it really is impossible to go wrong. The only thing is, as with all devices that are medical in nature, when a trained professional isn’t positioning it correctly or telling you how to sit, it can be easy to slip into bad habits or get things wrong, so concentration is still needed. The app isn’t required to actually take a blood pressure measurement, so you don’t need your phone at hand, but this also means there are no visual reminders on what to do and how to sit properly.

The Withings Health Mate app.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

After the cuff has tightened and released, the screen on the BPM Connect shows the systolic (the big number) and diastolic (the smaller number) rates along with your heart rate. It also has an LED indicator that glows green when all is well, amber when it sees your blood pressure is at a high-normal level, or red when it detects hypertension. You know exactly what your measurement is — and what it means — immediately after it has been taken.

An informative app experience

Screenshots taken from the Withings Health Mate app, showing BPM Connect's data.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

I used the BPM Connect on my own, but you can set up different profiles for multiple users, and it’s easy to swap between them on the device. The Health Mate app is clear and easy to interpret. It shows all your individual test results, but puts the average of all your results at the forefront — giving you an accurate, helpful view of your blood pressure over time. It also shows the highest and lowest results. The BPM Connect’s data is ported over to the Apple Health app, and because the BPM Connect and Health Mate use Apple’s HealthKit, the app also shows data collected from your Apple Watch, I really liked this.

An odd feature of the BPM Connect is the variation in the time it takes to sync results with the Health Mate app, as sometimes it can happen instantly, and other times the new data doesn’t arrive until much later. This may be caused by the Wi-Fi connection issue, but it’s worth noting if you expect data to instantly appear in the app itself, as it may not always happen.

Used all together, the Apple Watch, BPM Connect, and the Withings Health app provide a great overview of your heart health. It shows your average heart rate when awake and asleep, information on your daily average, electrocardiogram (ECG) results, step count, and exercise — and it estimates fitness using V02 Max. There’s even a handy conversational bot that takes you through achievements and how you can build on them.

Just what the doctor ordered

The Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor with the Health Mate app.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

I diligently used the BPM Connect for four weeks, as initially recommended, before getting back in touch with the doctor’s office to talk about my results. The paramedic who spoke to me over the phone wasn’t aware you could get connected blood pressure monitors and said how helpful it was to get immediately get an accurate average — this is shown at the top of Health Mate’s main page, remember — so easily. They also commented on the way you can set up three measurements automatically in one sitting (which is recommended), as it made the diagnosis and any recommendations easier and faster.

The ability to share results was less helpful, but this will vary depending on your own situation and location. I  live in the U.K., and as a generally healthy person, I don’t have a personal physician checking my results. This meant I didn’t have anyone specific to send the PDF report to, but I could send it to the surgery’s main email address, where it could be added to my personal record. This is going to be different for everyone, but generating the report takes just a few moments, and you can email it directly from the app.

The hardest thing I’ve had to do throughout is just to remember to take my blood pressure.

The fast, easy access to my average, high, and low blood pressure figures made it easy for the paramedic, and the doctor consulted to recommend the next course of action. I didn’t need to do any calculations, work out averages, or keep a note of any data — speeding up the entire process from beginning to end. It took one follow-up call to say all I needed to do was continue with periodic checks. The BPM Connect’s simplicity gave me peace of mind, and I think its clarity helped me get advice so fast.

I strongly recommend the Withings BPM Connect blood pressure monitor. It has certainly opened my eyes to the convenience of dedicated health and medical tech, helped me manage a situation I had no experience with prior to this point, and worked seamlessly with both iOS and the Apple Watch to provide an informative and comprehensive view of my heart health. The hardest thing I’ve had to do throughout is just to remember to take my blood pressure.

Editors’ Recommendations