The Withings Steel HR is the most advanced smartwatch of the brand owned by Nokia. This is your first analog smart health watch which features that you would expect from a current activity watch. It is indeed a product that takes the base of its predecessors, but which adds the monitoring of heart rate and the display of notifications, while offering a large autonomy and a design that does not distort the habits of Withings .
Elegant and comfortable
The Withings Steel HR remains true to the style of its predecessors: a design that is both sober and elegant, with impeccable finishes in stainless steel. At the back of this Steel HR is a two-LED heart rate monitoring.
What surprises at first glance is its thickness. Indeed, it is a little more massive than previous watches since it is 1.3 cm where the Steel was only 1.1 cm. Despite this difference, it remains fairly discreet once hung on the wrist. Visually, it is indeed very far from most sports watches.
There are several models, one with a diameter of 36 mm, available with a black screen (which corresponds to the one tested) or white, and the other 40 mm only in black. Its strap is made of the most classic black silicone and can be changed with ease. They are available on the Withings website, if you prefer to opt for a leather bracelet at 80 euros or a simple silicone bracelet like the original, offered at 30 euros.
Analog and digital dials
The watch screen, in addition to its main dial which shows the time analogically, has a small 1.1 cm analog dial on the bottom of the watch. It is dedicated to activity, and more specifically to your progress towards your daily step goal. It’s convenient, at a glance you know where you are.
The novelty, of course, is the small digital dial on the upper part of the screen. Offering the same diameter as that described above. He is the one who displays all the data like heart rate, number of steps, etc. With the button on the right of the dial, you can scroll through your different statistics. Backlit, it is not always on, however. After about twenty seconds, you will need to press the dial button to turn the screen back on.
Steel HR has the advantage of monitoring your heart rate continuously, day and night. A feature interesting especially during your exercises. For this specific case, just hold down the button on the left of the dial, it will emit a small vibration and start the timer for your training sessions and display your heart rate. Ideal for keeping an eye on it and adjusting the intensity of your activity if necessary. But the sensor also records a curve even outside of your sports sessions to monitoring your rhythm throughout your day and thus better prevent problems.
The other big news is the possibility to receive notifications of your calls, SMS and calendar events directly from the digital screen. The watch will show you the name or phone number of your contact who is trying to reach you thanks to a horizontal scroll and two light vibrations.
The Withings Steel HR records information about your sleep and in particular the quality of it: its duration, but also the different phases of sleep, whether light or deep. The Smart Wake-Up functionality is designed to wake you up at the best time in your waking hours … That is to say, depending on your sleep cycle, the alarm will go off at the most appropriate time. Yes, because the sleep phase you are in when you wake up plays a major role in your mood … We were talking about this in more detail a little while ago.
The Withings watch is waterproof to 5 ATM, in other words 50 meters deep, but does not have a GPS chip.
The app: Health Mate
With the Health Mate app, I had fun adjusting the hands of the watch using the touchscreen on my smartphone. The two devices connect using Bluetooth technology. In your timeline, you can also find all the data collected with your watch. You will thus find information on your activity such as a sports session, but also on your sleep, through different graphs.
At the top of the main screen of the application, tabs offer quick access to the essentials. You can consult and modify your alarm, consult your objectives such as your daily number of steps with a percentage of your progress, your target weight and it can be added a new Nutrition tab, in order to count calories. All you have to do is accept the offer to download the dedicated Myfitnesspal app for free. After installing it, you link your Myfitnesspal account to the Health Mate app. It’s quick and you can create an account with Facebook.
The application has the merit of offering support for the data it collects. It gives us indications on the objectives which allows us to find what suits us best. This is the case for the number of daily steps for example, which is ideally 10,000 steps, 11,000 corresponds to a hockey game, etc. For the weight, we find the follow-up of our evolution, but also the BMI index to better locate and choose a good goal to achieve while staying in the recommended area and avoid overweight or undernutrition.
It is also possible to challenge friends every Monday and for a whole week. The goal is to take as many steps as possible. And to coach you a little more, the application offers you badges to collect when you exceed the levels like a certain number of steps.
Finally, it is through the application that the parameters of the watch are adjusted, such as the brightness or the information to scroll in the mini digital dial. It is also with her that SMS or call notifications can be activated. To do this, simply go to the My Devices section. It must be ensured that the Bluetooth of your phone is obviously activated. Personally, I have encountered difficulties with this function. The search for the watch was difficult, which asked me to try it several times and to deactivate and reactivate the Bluetooth connection.
Fluid, colorful, ergonomic and well thought out, the application offered by Withings is pleasant to use. The essential information is directly accessible, the tabs allow a good organization of the data and the few indications on the objectives to be reached are welcome. Health Mate is compatible with Android 6 Marshmallow and above and iOS.
Note that it is even possible to combine other products offered by the company.
A good smart health connected ally for activity monitoring
The Withings Steel HR is an easy-to-wear watch: rather elegant in its genre, discreet, you almost forget it on your wrist. For several days, I did not need to part with it. So I kept it without problem at night and in the shower since, remember, the watch is waterproof.
I have had some problems with measuring the heart rate. If throughout the day it seems to be working well, it sometimes happens that the sensor panics by itself, going from 85 to … 131! 131, while I was quietly lying down and rested. I even noted sometimes 45, switching to 85 … Suffice to say that the heart rate monitoring is not always very precise or accurate.
If you can no longer bear the violence of your alarm clock, the tasteless ringtones offered natively on your smartphone or that by dint of hearing your favorite music every morning you end up hating it, then the alarm clock option may interest you. With a simple silent vibration, the Withings Steel HR gently wakes you up. Afterwards, if you’re more of a type who doesn’t hear your alarm clock right away, it may not be enough to wake you up.
As for the so-called intelligent alarm clock which detects the best sleep phase to wake us up … I am not convinced. Especially since for this to be relevant it is necessary to leave a certain margin and personally, not knowing in advance if I will wake up half an hour before or after the usual time, it will not fix my organization of the morning…
An enduring watch
Good new side autonomy of the watch, no battery as in the previous model. The Steel HR incorporates a battery. It is recharged using a USB cable which includes a proprietary support where it is enough to clip the back of the watch using a magnet system. Small black point however, the association is not very easy. However, the need for the watch to be recharged is so occasional that it is not such an embarrassing detail.
The watch offers 25 days of autonomy for non-sporting use. And it is true that unlike others, the watch does not need to be recharged every other day. With a few small sports sessions, the watch lost just under 40% in the space of five days.
Date and price
The Withings Steel HR has been available since the end of 2016. Its launch price is $190 for its 36 mm version and $200 for the 40 mm version.