If you picture a fitness tracker the likelihood is that you’ll imagine a watch that looks like something that wouldn’t go amiss in a movie about a dystopian future. This is true of most fitness trackers available these days but the Withings Steel HR dismisses the futuristic look and instead opts for an analog aesthetic that undoubtedly fills a gap in the market.
When it was announced for release back in September, it was clear that the Steel HR would bridge the gap between digital and analog to provide a fitness tracker that would serve more than one single purpose. With the Steel HR, you don’t just get a watch that will count your steps and monitor your heart rate. It does these, as well as analysing your sleep, letting you know when someone calls or texts you and pairs with an easy-to-use reliable app, something that a lot of trackers tend to lack. Arguably, though, the defining feature of the Steel HR is the way that it looks.
If we’re comparing this device to other fitness trackers or smart watches such as the Samsung Gear S3 or even the Garmin fenix 3, the Steel HR provides for a much daintier fit thus making it a great option for those looking for a fitness tracker with a professional image. Withings have taken their classic analog watch design with black and silver casing and added two small LED display screens for viewing notifications (although it does light up and vibrate meaning you’ll never miss a text), activity, the date and your wake up alarms. The watches come in varying sizes, the smaller (1.4 inch) of which is available in a black or a white screen. On the underside of each Steel HR there is a built-in heart rate sensor, giving accurate readings and the watch is water resistant up to 50 metres meaning it can also track your swimming!
So, when it comes to tracking fitness let’s consider how the watch fares. It can track up to 10 activities including walking, running, biking and, as we’ve said, swimming and lets you log 30 more activities manually depending on how action-packed you plan to be. During the activities you’ve manually added, let’s say you’re a black belt in Karate for example, the watch won’t track your heart rate levels unless you press the crown. To some, this could be considered an inconvenience. Regardless, the HR’s step counter tends to be consistently accurate.
The accompanying app has been praised by reviewers for it’s easy-to-use interface whereby users can clearly decipher one activity from another. Activities can be clicked on to see a closer analysis and bold graphics make it an attractive app to use. User’s are also able to sync other health and fitness apps such as Apple Health, Nike+ and MyFitnessPal if you’re looking to keep track of your calories too. Another gold star comes from the impressive battery life of the watch. It soldiers on for days regardless of the 30-minute workouts and constant text notifications before switching to ‘low battery mode’ whereby it shuts down all functions minus the alarm, steps and watch.
All in all, many have compared the Withings Steel HR to the Fitbit Charge 2 minus the added guided breathing exercises. It’s definitely a fitness tracker that we can hold in high regard thanks to both it’s impressive functionality and uniquely charming design.