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Withings Steel HR | Review

Overview
Reviewed

10 February 2017

Launched

September 2016

Design

Classic time-piece design
Interchangeable straps
Water resistant up to 50m
Colour: Black, white

Display

Small digital display
Monochrome display

Ease of use

Health Mate, smart notifications, Heart Rate tracker, activity companion, automatic sleep monitor, personal assistant, compatible with Withings WiFi scales

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Battery

Up to 25 days battery life

Portability

36 mm or 40 mm watch

Positives

Strong battery life
Classic time-piece design
Good Heart Rate Monitor

Negatives

Small smart display
Limited smart notifications
No GPS

Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
-Design
8.9
-Display
7.6
-Ease of use
8.2
-Connectivity
8.5
-Battery
8.9
-Portability
8.9
The Last Word

If you liked the Withings Active you are going to love the Steel HR, it's just as stylish, if not more so and now has the added benefit of a smart display and Heart Rate monitor. The Steel HR covers all the basics like step count and calories burned however with no GPS you need to bring your mobile with you to track your distance. Heart Rate readings are very accurate as are step count however if you are a serious runner you will find the distance tracking an issue as there is significant differences between the Steel HR and more premium fitness trackers with dedicated GPS. Overall the Steel HR is a very stylish fitness tracker that will suit anyone looking to track general fitness, however serious fitness buffs will find the lack of GPS an issue and miss a more detailed fitness analysis, not to mention the small display.

8.5
Our Rating
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The Review

A look at Withings Steel HR

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Design

If you are familiar with the Withings Active you won’t be surprised by the Steel HR design. Withings have gone for the classic time-piece design once again rather than a sporty look, which works really well for those who want a fitness tracker that can easily transition in to evening wear. Withings have provided two sizes to suit a wide variety of wrist sizes however, while the smaller of the two comes in either a black or white watch face, the larger of the two only comes in black. Colour difference aside the two designs are pretty much the same except for the large bezel surrounding the larger watch face which has numbers etched marking five minute intervals. Withings Steel HR base model comes with a rubber strap, if you pay a few extra Euro you will get a nice leather strap which looks fantastic and is also very comfortable, the straps are interchangeable therefore you can switch depending on your mood. Withings has made the Steel HR water resistant up to 50m so you can wear it in the shower or take it swimming, but change to the rubber strap before you do. Steel HR design is simple, classic and somewhat understated, it won’t be for everyone as some prefer their fitness trackers to look like a fitband but for those who want a tracker that can double as a normal watch this design is just for you.

Display

Unfortunately Withings has not forked out for a full coloured display like you see in most smartwatches these days, instead the Steel HR has a classic watch face, yes a standard watch face with a small circular digital display sitting just under “12 o’clock”. This combination means you have the luxury a standard watch at all times so you can easily tell the time and the small monochrome screen displays your step count, heart rate or smart notifications. The screen is small but easy to read, however the information is limited.

Ease of Use

Withings Steel HR is compatible with iOS and Android devices, just download the Health Mate app and pair with your mobile device, from then the Steel HR can sync all data to your mobile which you can read on the Health Mate app. Just like other fitness apps you can read your daily or weekly data and view your progress on easy-to-read charts, the app is good but unfortunately not as detailed or feature rich as other fitness apps available. The Steel HR is not equipped with GPS therefore it relies on your mobile to read distance, which unfortunately means the Steel HR is not as accurate with tracking distance as other fitness trackers. Where the Steel HR does quite well is as a Heart Rate tracker, readings are very accurate and will provide additional information about your health status whether you’re sitting at a desk in the office or out for a jog, the Steel HR will record your Heart Rate as long as you are wearing it. The Steel HR will also monitor your sleep, information is limited to light and deep sleep though this is typical for most fitness trackers. Like other Withings fitness trackers the Steel HR is compatible with Withings WiFi scales and other Withings devices, which combined will give you a more rounded picture of health, though you will have to pay extra for these. The Steel HR will also display smart notifications like texts and calls, while you can’t reply with the fitness tracker it will display a small image to let you know when you have missed a call. This feature is also limited at present, though Withings advise it will expand to WhatsApp and other third party apps, though this is yet to be seen.

Connectivity

Steel HR connects with your device via Bluetooth, connection is strong while syncing data however there have been issues reported with smart notifications failing to come through, though I did not experience this while testing.

Battery Life

Withings has given the Steel HR up to 25 days battery life which is actually quite accurate and a very good battery life. Withings has also equipped the Steel HR with a battery saving mode which means when the battery is low the Steel HR will conserve energy and continue to record your basic activity for an additional 20 days, which is handy if you forget your charger on holiday.

Portability

The Steel HR comes in two sizes – 36 mm or 40 mm which means it will suit most wrist sizes. The addition of a Heart Rate monitor does affect the thickness of the watch however, Withings have done  a good job, the watch does extend a little at the back but not so much that it’s noticeable or uncomfortable to wear, you will not have any issues with it catching on your sleeve like previous trackers.

Withings Steel HR black white HR steps with black strap
Withings Steel HR black white HR steps with black strap
Withings Steel HR black notification with black strap
Withings Steel HR black notification with black strap
Withings Steel HR white steps with black strap
Withings Steel HR white steps with black strap
Withings Steel HR white notification black HR angle
Withings Steel HR white notification black HR angle
Withings Steel HR black HR with black strap
Withings Steel HR black HR with black strap
Withings Steel HR black side, black background
Withings Steel HR black side, black background
Withings Steel HR black side full, black background
Withings Steel HR black side full, black background
Withings Steel HR black notification, black background
Withings Steel HR black notification, black background
Withings Steel HR black HR lying down, black background
Withings Steel HR black HR lying down, black background
Withings Steel HR black HR angle, black background
Withings Steel HR black HR angle, black background
Withings Steel HR white notification black HR angle with phone
Withings Steel HR white notification black HR angle with phone
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About The Author
Lynne Pettre
Reviewing the latest tech in Ireland and across the globe.