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

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..."


Critic Reviews


Business Insider

Combines the classic look of an analog watch with the features of a smartwatch

from Business Insider

Every hybrid watch the company has made since its first model — the Activite — has been great, and the Steel HR is the best one yet. It's ideal for people who don't like the look of smartwatches but want useful smartwatch tech like a heart rate sensor, good fitness tracking, and notifications.

Read full review

Every hybrid watch the company has made since its first model — the Activite — has been great, and the Steel HR is the best one yet. It's ideal for people who don't like the look of smartwatches but want useful smartwatch tech like a heart rate sensor, good fitness tracking, and notifications.

Read full review

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The Gadgeteer

Easy to use and long battery life

from The Gadgeteer

I don’t want a watch that I have to charge every night or one that requires me to take a special charger with me when I go on vacation. With the Withings Steel HR Sport watch, I don’t have to do that because a charge will power the watch for up to 25 days! But even more importantly, I want a...More

I don’t want a watch that I have to charge every night or one that requires me to take a special charger with me when I go on vacation. With the Withings Steel HR Sport watch, I don’t have to do that because a charge will power the watch for up to 25 days! But even more importantly, I want a watch with fitness tracking and basic notification features that just works and isn’t fiddly. The Withings Steel HR Sport is that fitness watch.

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VR-Zone

Horology meets health

from VR-Zone

It marries an excellent build – with engraved, milled steel, domed crystal, and elegant design – with a smattering of “smart” features to make sure you aren’t left behind. Sure – there’s no lift-to-wake on the display, there’s no internal GPS, and there are no e-payment options; t...More

It marries an excellent build – with engraved, milled steel, domed crystal, and elegant design – with a smattering of “smart” features to make sure you aren’t left behind. Sure – there’s no lift-to-wake on the display, there’s no internal GPS, and there are no e-payment options; the included sport strap is a tad finnicky, and there’s no luminescence for legibility in pitch-darkness. But if one thing’s for sure, it’s an eye-catcher.

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MobileTechTalk

Tweaked but still excellent

from MobileTechTalk

This still isn’t a fitness tracker for all people or a smartwatch for nerds; it’s a fusion of the two and it’s inoffensive in terms of the interaction it demands from you which is, to me, exactly what Hybrid technology in wearables is all about.

Read full review

This still isn’t a fitness tracker for all people or a smartwatch for nerds; it’s a fusion of the two and it’s inoffensive in terms of the interaction it demands from you which is, to me, exactly what Hybrid technology in wearables is all about.

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Techgoondu

Comfortable to wear to the office or the gym

from Techgoondu

The Steel HR is also cheap at S$329, though its handsome good looks, long battery life and health tracking features make a strong case for it. I just wish Withings has an option for a bigger watch face.

Read full review

The Steel HR is also cheap at S$329, though its handsome good looks, long battery life and health tracking features make a strong case for it. I just wish Withings has an option for a bigger watch face.

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Pocket-lint

Analogue and digital collide

from Pocket-lint

As hybrid watches go, the Withings Steel HR Sport solves a lot of problems and fills gaps left by many other hybrids and fully smart watches. With its really long battery life and analogue watch face, it ensures that there's not as striking a learning curve for those who don't like the "mini-smar...More

As hybrid watches go, the Withings Steel HR Sport solves a lot of problems and fills gaps left by many other hybrids and fully smart watches. With its really long battery life and analogue watch face, it ensures that there's not as striking a learning curve for those who don't like the "mini-smartphone-strapped-to-your-wrist" approach of smartwatches. Likewise, it's equipped with enough features to ensure fitness enthusiasts aren't left feeling short-changed.

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PhoneArena

Stylish design, reasonable price

from PhoneArena

The Withings Steel HR Sport is a stylish watch with incredible battery life measured in weeks rather than days, and it’s a good watch for runners, but maybe not quite the best if you want super detailed tracking for other sports and it’s not the perfect notification sidekick.

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The Withings Steel HR Sport is a stylish watch with incredible battery life measured in weeks rather than days, and it’s a good watch for runners, but maybe not quite the best if you want super detailed tracking for other sports and it’s not the perfect notification sidekick.

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TechRadar

The return of the Withings brand

from TechRadar

Much like previous Withings watches, the Steel HR Sport offers a solid fitness tracker in an attractive package. This isn't for full blown fitness fanatics, but if you want mostly the basics with a nice design you'll enjoy this latest hybrid.

Read full review

Much like previous Withings watches, the Steel HR Sport offers a solid fitness tracker in an attractive package. This isn't for full blown fitness fanatics, but if you want mostly the basics with a nice design you'll enjoy this latest hybrid.

Read full review

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Gadgets @ Wearables

Combines style and functionality

from Gadgets @ Wearables

The updates are a nice step up and make the timepiece an even better option for the average person looking for a discrete tracker. Its clearly not the most powerful fitness device out there, so hard-core runners may want to pass, but it does strike a great balance of features, aesthetics and comf...More

The updates are a nice step up and make the timepiece an even better option for the average person looking for a discrete tracker. Its clearly not the most powerful fitness device out there, so hard-core runners may want to pass, but it does strike a great balance of features, aesthetics and comfort. With a design that doesn’t shout, “I’m a smartwatch,” I am sure it will appeal to many.

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Stuff

One of the most well-rounded stylish hybrids

from Stuff

It looks like a regular watch, subtle and stylish, yet there’s so much going on inside and stuff that’s useful for everyday use and people like me, who like to keep fairly fit but aren’t beating themselves up about their Strava rankings. The sleep tracking and daily goals are everything a h...More

It looks like a regular watch, subtle and stylish, yet there’s so much going on inside and stuff that’s useful for everyday use and people like me, who like to keep fairly fit but aren’t beating themselves up about their Strava rankings. The sleep tracking and daily goals are everything a hybrid watch should be; there to give you a bit of guidance on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

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