“ Brand: Homedics „
When embarking on a weight loss mission I decided that I really needed a decent pair of scales to measure that weight loss (or gain as it was some weeks!) accurately. At the time I had an "old fashioned" pair with the needle. I'd been looking around and saw that digital scales were quite expensive, so I was a bit put off. Then when I went into Argos one day I saw these ones on special offer, so I thought I'd give them a go. These ones have several functions, they weigh in stones or kilograms (handy for weighing those holiday suitcases!), they measure BMI, water percentage, muscle percentage and fat percentage. You have to enter your gender, age and height. Once you've put these in for the first time though it remembers you for the next time so that you don't have to put them in every time you want to weight yourself. I think they worked ok to start with, they seemed to give an accurate reading of my weight loss. But just recently, I had a hunch they weren't working properly. For example, I would get on and take a reading, and then my husband would get on and it would read out EXACTLY the same (to the 10th of the pound) as what it said for me. Yet if we wait for five minutes and he gets on first, it will say something different. The scale always sits on a hard wooden floor, not sure if this has an effect on it. I put my old scales right next to the digital ones (on the same floor and everything) and took readings on both. My old scales said I was two pounds lighter! So the digital ones have gone in the cupboard and I am going back to the good old fashioned scales that are more reliable. Don't waste your money on these ones.
For the past decade, I'd been putting up with an old mechanical bathroom scale to weigh myself. Cheap at the time of purchase, and no doubt of dubious accuracy, I decided it was time I invested in a brand new set.
As luck would have it, I'd caught the market at a good time. The inevitable 'post-New-Year' sale on bathroom scales was in full swing, as shops sought to "burn off" their old stock.
From the range on offer, it was the Argos-exclusive 'Homedics Family Body Scale 9105' that caught my eye.
The 'Family Body Scale' is so-named due to its suitability with all body types. Men, women and children can use it, and there's even a special pre-set mode for athletic body types just in case you're in super-fit shape!
This all-in-one health station will reveal not just your body weight, but also your body fat percentage, your body water percentage, your BMI (Body Mass Index), your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate - an estimation of the bare number of calories you need to stay alive) and your overall muscle mass.
It does all this complex jiggery-pokery using 'Bio Impedance Analysis' technology. Put simply, BIA passes a very low level electrical pulse through your body and uses the measured resistance to work out your body's complete composition. Though, be warned that this feature makes the scales an unsuitable purchase for those who are pregnant and have pacemakers.
DESIGN & SETUP
In terms of looks, the 'Homedics 9105' is both stylish and elegant. Coated with layers of metal, it should blend in well with modern homes. While not quite as indiscrete as, say, a tempered glass model, it certainly seems as chic as a square-shaped bathroom scale is ever likely to get.
After inserting four (included) "AAA" batteries, you'll need to spend a couple of minutes entering your personal statistics into the machine, specifically your gender, height and age. This is then stored into one of the twelve presets, ensuring that each member of the family gets their own slot.
This is a one-time procedure, but much like a cheap alarm clock, it's unnecessarily fiddly and will demand an occasional tune up. The instructions explain the intricacies involved in the process, but a more intuitive system would have been nice.
USING THE HEALTH STATION
There are two ways you can operate the health station. You can either go for a simple weight measurement, or opt for the whole shebang. The later requires you to remove any footwear and select your preset, whilst the former requires nothing more than a quick 'tap and go'.
The LCD quickly displays your result in pounds, kilograms or stone depending on your metric/imperial alliances. Details about your BMI, BMR, Fat, Water, Muscles, et cetera, are revealed shortly thereafter.
Now, I have two minor gripes with the display system:
Firstly, it can be a little difficult to read the display in shadowy, inadequately lit areas; a simple backlight could have easily sorted this problem and been a real help for those with poor or aging eyesight.
Secondly, the extra health data blinks by in the flash of an eye; a dieter or health nut will have to be prepared to write down the readings quick smart, as after two speedy passes the unit turns itself off automatically.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE HEALTH STATION
My favourite element of the 'Family Body Scale 9105' is, unsurprisingly, its thoroughness and statistical analysis. In a confused 'body-conscious' era where the enemy is "weight", it's great to examine a detailed compositional breakdown of your true self - now there's no hiding for those "skinny fat" body types!
The tailored results are far more useful than anything an old mechanical spring scale could provide, as well as being ideal for those with special dieting needs, who want to keep regular track of simple health information without any fuss.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE ABOUT THE HEALTH STATION
I've mentioned a few foibles so far (arduous setup, confusing LCD display), but my only true objection to these scales are their lack of precision and consistency. No two readings on the machine were ever the same!
Okay, this wasn't a huge surprise - no home appliance is ever going to be wholly accurate at keeping score; but the differences between readings were often fairly substantial.
On performing two, side-by-side, weigh-ins for this review, the scale gave a mightily impressive 0.5kg (1.1lbs) difference. This isn't a problem for a casual consumer like me that just wants to keep an eye on things. But a semi-pro athlete or fastidious weight-watcher could easily find that their daily, weekly or bi-monthly readings are not dependable enough.
I have to say that, in general, I'm very happy with my 'Family Body Scale 9105'. It does what it claims with a fair degree of accuracy, and (after its initial setup) it's easy to use. Those wanting ultra-reliance from their measurements may be inclined to try elsewhere; but those just wanting to keep an eye on their stats should be more than pleased with the results on offer.