Withings Steel HR Sport

It's hard to keep up with the Withings brand. The company made fitness trackers and other health related products like smart scales from 2008 until 2016, when the company was bought out by Nokia and its range was rebranded as Nokia Health.

Earlier in 2018, the company was bought back from Nokia by √Čric Carreel, who originally owned the company and switched it all back to the Withings name.

Now a new product is being added to the brand, and it's called the Withings Steel HR Sport. It's a reworking of the existing Nokia Steel and Nokia Steel HR products, but thanks to connected GPS and the ability to estimate VO2 max, this new watch may be the closest the company has got to an impressive running companion.

Withings Steel HR Sport price and release date

You can buy the Withings Steel HR Sport from Dubai Duty Free, Virgin Megastore, Souq.com and Sharaf DG Online in both black and white dials. We definitely prefer the white dial.

It costs AED 899 and comes with a silicone strap. You can also opt for an extra strap (in leather or silicone) but these cost extra.

Design and display

If you've seen the Nokia Steel or Nokia Steel HR before, you'll know what you're getting here with the Steel HR Sport. It's a similar design, which means it's reasonably slim and small hybrid watch that won't take up lots of space on your wrist.

The watch has a 40mm case that's made of stainless steel with a dark grey bezel around the outside and the choice of a white or black watch face in the center. It feels premium to the touch, and it doesn't look like a big, blingy smartwatch. A red dot at the 12 'o' clock position does add to the sporty factor.

The watch face has numbers around the outside, as you'd expect, but there are two smaller circles inside the watch face that provide other information. There's a small display in the top one of these circles, and this is where you'll find all your stats.

This is a small black and white screen that lets you cycle through the date and a digital clock, your heart rate, step count, distance traveled, calories burned, alarms and battery life.

To move through those features you'll press a button on the right hand edge of the watch, which is designed to look like a crown. The whole design of the wearable makes this look like a small and feature-less watch, but it's actually quite smart on the inside.

Your step count also permanently appears in a small dial at the bottom of the watch face. It works on a percentage, so if you set your daily step goal as 12,000 rather than the normal 10,000 default you'll then find it will hit the 50% mark when you reach 6,000 rather than 5,000 steps.

The strap itself is much sportier than we've seen on previous Withings (or Nokia) products as it is made of silicone and comes with breathable holes throughout. Some previous watches from the brand come with silicone straps, but not with breathable holes. 

It's comfortable to wear throughout the day and doesn't pull on your skin like the one with the Apple Watch does, but it doesn't look as premium as the straps for other watches.

You can swap this strap out easily and Withings also sells leather straps as an optional addition which look pretty good.

Features

This isn't a fully fledged smartwatch, but comes packed with some sport tech that we haven't seen on previous watches from the brand, such as connected GPS and a fitness level estimate.

But it also has the old tech. Like the Nokia Steel HR, there's a heart rate tracker on the rear of the Withings Steel HR Sport, and in our limited testing we've found that to work accurately. You can spot your exact heart rate in the screen on the watch or you can break it down further throughout the day in the app.

The watch pairs with an app called Health Mate, which we've used before, and which breaks down your data into an easy to read user interface.

It will track your steps, plus it will give you a sleep score too. We've yet to properly test out the sleep tracking features, but it should be able to give you a picture of how long you've slept for, how well your night went and even give you an alarm to wake you up with vibrations on your wrist.

That being said, we're still not onboard with wearing a watch while sleeping and prefer something that's more compact such as a band or even a ring. 

There's support for 30 different workouts including volleyball and yoga alongside your normal running and cycling activities. It's also water-resistant to depths of 50 meters, so you can also swim with the Withings Steel HR Sport, though it only tracks duration and calories in swim sessions.

As noted there's also connected GPS, which means it will be able to keep an idea of your location as long as you keep your smartphone paired with the watch.

But the biggest upgrade on the Withings Steel HR Sport is called Fitness Level, which uses a VO2 max (your maximal oxygen consumption) rating that the watch will be able to estimate from a variety of stats when you're out running. It will take stats like heart rate and pace into account to give you an overall score for a clearer picture of your fitness.

That's something we've yet to be able to test, but we'll be sure to put it through its paces when it comes to our full review.

You can also get notifications through to the small screen on the watch that will be able to let you know who's calling you or why your phone is vibrating in your pocket.

Withings has said the watch will work with 100 other apps, but we've yet to learn exactly what those are, and of course, given the tiny size of the screen you won't be able to view messages on it.

Battery life

Withings estimates the Steel HR Sport will last 25 days from a single charge, and while that may sound like a lot on paper we're inclined to believe that figure considering the company's previous watches.

We've seen month-long battery life from some of its other products, and as this is powering a small display we think it will be able to reach the whole estimated time with ease.

It also comes with an extra 20 days of battery after those 25 days with a power reserve mode that will mean the timekeeping features continue to work after the fitness tracking tech has stopped.

Recharging the watch uses a proprietary charger that you'll get in the box, and we found it only took around two hours to charge this up.

Early verdict

There isn't a big change in design or feature set over the previous Nokia Steel range of products, so it's unlikely you'll be desperate to upgrade your exisiting Steel or Steel HR for this newer watch.

But if you're after a small hybrid watch that's capable of some of the most interesting sports stats on the market, you may want to take a closer look at the Withings Steel HR Sport when our full review comes around.



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/withings-steel-hr-sport-uae