Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends
Withings is back! After a brief hiatus under the leadership of Nokia, Withing co-founder Eric Carreel repurchased the company from the networking and cellular giant. The first big move under the newly liberated Withings brand is the release of the Steel HR Sport hybrid smartwatch.
The Withings Steel HR Sport may look familiar to fitness enthusiasts. It is a continuation of the Steel series of hybrid sport watches that was produced by Withings before and after Nokia bought the brand. The hybrid watch features a classic analog watch face with a fitness tracker hidden underneath the surface. At the top of the watch face is a small LCD that shows the time, heart rate, notifications, and more. It’s real easy to press the side button and cycle through these metrics to track your progress throughout the day. At the bottom of the face is a dial that keeps track of your steps. A sporty silicone wristband rounds out the simple and sleek package.
The water-resistant Steel HR Sport offers all the features you would expect in a fitness tracker. It has 24/7 heart rate monitoring, multi-sport tracking including swimming, detailed sleep analysis and smartphone notifications that alert you of incoming emails, text messages, phone calls and more. Because it uses a low-power analog watch for time, the Steel HR Sport has an impressive 25-day battery life. We’ve been using the Steel HR for a week and barely noticed a drop in the battery.
Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends
The new Steel HR Sport is more than just a clone of the earlier Steel HR watches produced under Nokia. There’s now connected GPS so you can track your run, walk or ride. Connected GPS uses the GPS on your smartphone for positioning information. All you have to do is open the Healthmate app on your phone and connect it to your watch when you start your activity. When you finish your workout, the Healthmate app will contain a detailed GPS track with mileage, pace and elevation data. We’ve compared the Steel HR Sport’s track to fitness watches with integrated GPS and the final tracks are very similar.
Thanks to the integrated heart rate monitor and GPS tracking, Withings was able to add VO2 max to the suite of health metrics the watch can track. VO2 max is a measurement of your aerobic capacity and is used to assess your overall cardiovascular fitness. The watch also now has a smart wake-up feature that monitors your sleep pattern and will trigger an alarm at the optimal time so you will wake up refreshed and not sleepy.
The Withings Steel HR Sport is the perfect timepiece for those who want a watch that will go from the conference room to the race course without missing a beat. The watch retails for $200 and will be available starting September 18 on the Withings website, Amazon, and other online retailers. It is available with your choice of either a black or white face and a matching grey silicone band. Additional bands can be purchased at Withings.com.
We’ll be testing the Steel HR Sport over the next week, so stay tuned for our full review.