The Withings Steel HR Sport Watch: Smarts + Style

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If you’re a gearhead who loves sports and fitness, you’re no doubt familiar with Withings, a wifi-connected health tracking-device company that produces at-home monitoring devices such as scales, blood-pressure cuffs, thermometers, sleep trackers, and most famously, watches known for their innovative technology, clean designs and impressive battery life.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in France, Withings was bought out by tech industry leader Nokia in 2016 resulting in a re-branding of its product line as Nokia Health. Early this year, in a whiplash-inducing move, Éric Carreel, one of the original Withings owners, bought the firm back and reinstated the Withings name.

Trying to stay abreast of all of the changes Withings has gone through since its inception takes some pretty fancy footwork. But the good news is, you can track that footwork, along with 30 other sports, using the brand’s newest and most advanced fitness tracker yet: The Withings Steel HR Sport Watch, its multi-sport hybrid smart watch.

AESTHETIC

Slimness and a small, sleek size have been the hallmarks of Withings watches beginning with its first fitness tracker, the Activité, a handsome bluetooth-paired analog, with neither a crown to wind it, or a touchscreen. The HR Sport stays true to its heritage, with a 40mm face measurement, and a thickness of only 13mm (barely thicker than a dress watch, despite the embedded heart monitor), looking more like a classic timepiece than an unsightly chunk of black rubber and plastic or a futuristic hospital monitor as many sports watches do.

You can customize the Steel HR Sport to your style preferences, too. Of the two choices of face color, the black version coordinates better with the black OLED display circle than the white, cunningly downplaying its high-tech function. Conversely, the white face showcases it. Still, with the right band choice, both versions can transition seamlessly from the pool to the boardroom. Both faces feature unassuming red accents on the very tips of the minute and hour hand, and a fully red hand on the sub-dial that shows the percentage you’ve achieved toward your daily steps goal. The red motif is reflected in the two most basic band choices: 20mm silicone bands in red-on-black or black-on-red, perforated for breathability. Withings also sells leather straps as an add-on, in black and brown, enabling you to elevate your sports device to suit-worthy elegance.

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How It Works/What It Does

The big picture is that the Steel HR Sport tracks your distance, steps and calories burned when running or walking, your heart rate at beats per minute, gives a personalized fitness assessment via its proprietary VO2 Max estimation, keeps track of session duration and calories burned when swimming, and monitors your sleep with data on sleep phases (light and deep), sleep duration, and sleep interruptions.

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This smart watch can recognize and support 30 different workouts in total, and allows you to customize five of these directly from the watch. Also customizable is the delivery of smartphone notifications, delivered to you with the same vibrating signal delivered by the alarm.

This Steel HR Sport pairs with an app called Health Mate, allowing you to collect your health date in one place enabling you to spot trends, join wellness programs, set goals for yourself. If you’re all in with Withings, you can also track your weight and blood pressure with their other connected devices, and even share stats with friends to support and challenge.

A major draw of this device is its battery life. Lasting up to 25 days while functioning as a sports watch, the battery can deliver an additional 20 days of battery life employing a reserve mode that continues to power the timekeeping features even as the tracking features are shut down to await recharging. Withings includes a proprietary charger, and charging takes about two hours.

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The Pros

Good-Looking Analogue Style Distinguishes It Among Sports Watches

Bluetooth-Connected GPS Featuring Stored Location Data

Among The Lightest and Most Comfortable of Available Sports Watches

Durable, With A Stainless Steel Case

Water-Resistant To 50 Meters

Unparalleled Battery Life

Rechargeable Battery

Tracks Multiple Workouts Ranging from Zumba to Ping-Pong to Biking

The Cons

Small Display For Notifications

OLED Screen Hard To Read In Bright Light

Notification Flow Not Ideal For Those In Need Of Constant Connectivity

GPS Relies On Presence Of Smartphone

OUR CONCLUSION

Is the Withings Steel HR Sport Watch perfect? Not completely. But it comes closer than any other if you’re in the market for a small, polished-looking timepiece/tracker hybrid with some of the freshest sports stats and longest battery life of any in its class. And at under $200, its affordable.

The Withings Steel HR Sport Watch can be purchased directly from the Withings website for about $200, including shipping.