Withings Steel HR Sport review

7.9/10 AVG.
RATING
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  • Withings Steel HR Sport

Specs / Features


Warranty (Months) 12 months
Release date 18-September-2018
Size 4 x 1 x 2 cm (1.6 x 0.4 x 0.8 in)
Weight N/A
Reviews summary section

What's good

  • 25-day battery life
  • Sleek design
  • Fast charging
  • Rugged build quality

What's bad

  • Tacky wristband
  • Hit-or-miss stat tracking

Designed and manufactured by Nokia, the Withings Steel HR Sport offers an interesting compromise between the technology-packed smartwatches on the market and a traditional analog watch. But does it offer enough smarts to be worth the upgrade from a standard watch?

Design

The watch features a stainless steel casing with a sensor on the rear to help assist with its fitness tracking features.

On the side of the casing, you'll find a button used to flip through settings and a charge port for topping off your battery.

Overall, reviewers loved the look of the design. Some reviewers wished the watch was slightly larger, but they all liked how it looked.

The 20mm quick release silicone wrist strap also drew criticism. While it's available in an assortment of color combinations, reviewers found the strap was often too long and dangled awkwardly. There were also issues with the feel of the strap.

Pocket-Lint says, "Its texture is almost sticky which – when combined with the overall floppy-nature – makes for a strap that's not especially easy to feed through the metal clasp."

Screen

Around front, you're greeted with a 40mm watch face with either a white or black rear panel. The face includes a traditional analog clock, a small OLED panel for monitoring fitness stats, and a small dial at the bottom to track your progress toward various fitness goals you can configure with your smartphone.

It's like someone took a well-designed watch and punched a hole in the face to put a tiny screen.

TechRadar says, "The whole design of the Withings Steel HR Sport makes this look like a small and feature-less watch, but it's actually quite smart on the inside."

The screen is small and only displays black and white. So you'll still need to use your phone to check the details on most notifications. But reviewers loved the simplistic approach.

Performance

As there are no major software interfaces, there's not much to say about the watc';s performance. The watch keeps time accurately. According to reviewers, there were no issues with the tiny screen freezing or features failing to work.

Connectivity & Sensors

While the watch might look basic, it hides a ton of features inside its case.

The phone includes GPS, VO2 Max tracking, heart rate monitoring, and a pedometer to help you manage your fitness. If you're looking to log a workout, track your sleep, or sync notifications, you can connect it your phone using Bluetooth.

The features work okay -- but this is far from a professional fitness tracking device.

Mobile Tech Talk notes, "... this is not a watch that's going to give you accurate measurements in terms of your running. It utilizes your smartphone's sensors to deliver a lot of that functionality and in my testing, I had a mixed response."

Phone Arena had issues as well, saying, "... readings were mostly accurate, but sometimes when we looked up our heart rate during exercise the initial number we got was not the right one, and then a few moments later the reading would adjust..."

Interestingly, they go on to note that these shifts in readings didn't appear in the data synced to the mobile app.

Battery Life

This is where the Withings Steel HR Sport blows away the competition.

Since it's not a full-featured smartwatch and doesn't have a full-color display that's always taxing the battery, it can hit 25 days or more on a single charge with intermittent workout usage.

Pocket-Lint says, "... charge-speed to battery life ratio is great. Just an hour plugged in will get it from completely empty all the way to 80 percent, which is more than a couple of weeks' worth of battery."

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Takeaway

This watch is an interesting blend of traditional watch design and new technologies. And, in the end, it appears Nokia's efforts are successful.

If you're looking for the full smartwatch or fitness tracker experience, reviews indicate this watch might disappoint. But if you're like most people and just want basic features in an attractive package, it could be exactly what you've been searching for.

Pocket-Lint sums up opinions well, saying, "You can't run apps, and can't read full notifications (let alone reply to them), so think of this more as an advanced fitness tracker with a classic analogue watch face and a battery that lasts a full month on a single charge. Perfect for some."

Phone Arena describes it as "... a smartwatch that lasts a really long time, tracks your activity, steps, heart rate, workouts and sleep patterns, while at the same time packing some serious style..."


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