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Withings Steel HR is the company’s smartest analogue watch yet

Withings has announced the Steel HR, its latest smart analogue watch. While it might just sound like an updated version of the Withings Activité Steel, this is far from a minor upgrade.

In terms of design, there’s still all the hallmarks here of the Activité watch family with stainless steel casing, chrome hands and a silicone strap. It’s also water-resistant (5ATM) letting you take it for a dip in water up to 50 metres deep.

Read this: The best smart analogue watches

Withings, now owned by Nokia is offering the Steel HR in two sizes: 36 and 40mm. With the 36mm version, you’ll get a 18mm strap and that will be available in black and white. The 40mm case model meanwhile, comes with a 20mm strap also available in black and white colours.

Tracking heart rate 24/7

The Steel HR is still very much about activity tracking and includes the dial that displays the percentage of your activity goal achieved. It offers automatic activity recognition for walking, running and swimming and will automatically monitor sleep analysing light and deep sleep cycles.

Now it’s adding an optical heart rate sensor that can continuously monitor heart rate during the day. So you’ll be able to see how much time you’ve spent in a specific heart rate zone. It also uses the sensor to monitor your pulse as you sleep to provide resting heart rate data.

That heart rate sensor extends to covering workouts when you press the lone physical button on the side of the watch. It will also automatically activate heart rate monitoring when you start running.

As always, all of the activity data, including setting goals is stored in the Withings Health Mate app for iOS and Android. You’ll now be able to see additional metrics including maximum heart rate, calories burned and a ‘time in zone’ graph to indicate which heart rate zones you’ve been training in the most.

Smarter screens

The other notable new feature is a second dynamic digital screen, which sits at the top of the watch face. That means you can now view health data including real time heart rate data and smartphone notifications. You can toggle between data screens including daily steps, distance, sleep duration via the physical button on the side.

When it comes to battery life, the extra sensor and screen clearly impacts on its ability to match the six month battery life offered on the Activité watches. It’s now down to 25 days, but it’ll move to a power save mode after that period to give you an additional 20 days of power. In this mode you’ll still be able to track steps and swim activity.

The Withings Steel HR is going on sale at the beginning of October from the Withings website priced at £169.95 for the 36mm model and £179.95 for the larger 40mm watch case version. You’ll be able to pick it from other places at the end of October.

It’s arguably the company’s most ambitious watch yet and it’ll be interesting to know both if the heart rate tech is up to scratch and the extra screen was worth the hit in the battery department.


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