The Withings Thermo Test: A simple and accurate continuous temporal thermometer

Design and ergonomics

Withings Thermo is distinguished by its elegant design. It’s hard to tell at first glance that it’s a thermometer. All made of matte ABS plastic, the Thermo is well finished and pleasant in the hand.

It is powered by two AAA batteries (LR03) housed under a discreet, easy-to-open magnetic cover.

As easy to use as it looks

Handling has been reduced to a minimum. The Thermo is ready to use just one second after pressing its button. The temperature is then measured by swiping the forehead from its center to the temple.

There’s no need to move it across the forehead, as the HotSpot Sensor Probe’s 16 infrared sensors work up to 1cm away from the skin. The thermometer then makes 2,000 measurements per second while scanning, in order to find the hottest point in the temporal artery. The vibrating Thermo indicates that the measurement has finished. It is more discreet than whistling and can be appreciated for nocturnal use on a child, for example.

The result appears on a white LED display hidden under the plastic front panel, to the right of the button. The indicator lights up green, orange or red depending on which range the measured temperature is in. Ranges vary depending on the age of the user. For an infant under 3 months old, the light will immediately change from green to red above 38°C, while for a 3-month-old baby it will simply change to orange between 38°C and 39°C (red thereafter). For children over 3 years old, the light only turns red above 39.3°C.

memorization of measurements

Each time a temperature is taken, Withings Thermo offers to associate the result with a previously registered user profile via a smartphone app. It is selected simply by scrolling through the names by swiping your finger to the right of the screen, thanks to the invisible touch area. The thermometer keeps the last 5 in memory, which can then be transferred to the free mobile app that has no recording limit.

The username is scrolled across the screen.

The username is scrolled across the screen.

Compatible with the Withings Thermo App when it launched, the namesake thermometer is now linked to the manufacturer’s multipurpose app, for better centralization of information. Named Health Mate, it offers to enter times of medication intake, as well as comments to indicate, for example, symptoms one might notice while taking a temperature.

The Withings Health Mate app

Accuracy and speed

speed and repetition

Ready to use in just 1 second, the Withings Thermo takes only about 4 seconds to measure temporal temperature – enough time to wipe half of the forehead without going too fast. No need to wait between two consecutive measurements, registration to a user profile is optional. Good point if you want to make sure you measure correctly.

However, the Withings Thermo has good repeatability of its measurements and therefore does not require doubling of its measurements on average. The effect of differences in the position of the thermometer on the forehead during scanning is also very low, thanks to the self-operating method.

Good accuracy, with some caveats

Unlike most forehead thermometers, the Withings Thermo tends to show a higher temperature that is closer to body temperature. One way to avoid false negatives, but be careful not to panic. It should be remembered in this regard that the temperature taken at the level of the forehead is by its nature relatively unstable (see box below). However, it is more stable at the level of the temporal artery, which is why Withings chose this mode of operation. However, the risk of error remains higher than having a traditional electronic thermometer held in the rectal grip or even in the mouth. So be careful in case of doubt about the measured temperature, especially for sensitive people (infants, the elderly, etc.). Withings also points out that its thermometer is not suitable for taking the temperature of premature babies – like most non-contact thermometers.

However, in good conditions of use, the Withings Thermo shows good accuracy, in full respect of the margin of error of 0.2 ° C indicated by the manufacturer.

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