Test: Withings Steel HR Sport, The Watch Connected To Exceptional Autonomy

Steel HR Sport marks the return of Withings in the world of connected health. Separated from Nokia, the French brand improves its watch with classic design and endowed with excellent autonomy, with some functions for athletes.

Two years after being sold to Nokia, Withings wants to turn the page. The brand, bought by its co-founder Eric Carreel, recovers its identity of the past and is gradually returning to the front of the stage. With the Steel HR Sport, Withings renews the formula that made its success, namely a real needle watch with a tiny screen. Hybrid product between traditional watchmaking and smartwatch, the Steel HR Sport has a GPS support (smartphone) and a refined design. Marketed 199 euros, this knockout can seduce lovers of sobriety?

Design: Between Swiss Watchmaking And Made In China

At first sight, the Withings Steel HR Sport is not a connected watch. Round dial, hands, crown on the side … You might think it’s a classic watch. It is necessary to press on the lateral crown to discover its specificity: the small black circle on the dial reveals a tiny OLED screen, able to display information. It’s meticulously well thought out and well integrated.

On this screen you may see various practical information, starting with the time or date of the day. You can also see the number of steps or kilometers traveled, or see your heart rate in real time with a sensor on the back of the watch. Connected to a smartphone, the watch also displays the notifications you want and vibrates, but it is obviously far from the visual comfort of watches with a large screen. The alerts scroll here at the rate of nine characters at a time and require a little effort of concentration. We also regret that a wrist lift is not enough to wake up on the screen. It must indeed press the button each time.

At the bottom of the screen, a second dial displays your progress in your daily goal. You did 4,000 steps on your goal of 8,000? The needle will be positioned halfway. The Steel HR Sport is a little thinner than the previous model and offers a light and modern design, which should suit both men and women. Only one 40 mm format is proposed, proof that Withings considers its product as universal enough not to have to decline it in different versions.

Difficult Twinning

Easy to use, the Withings watch is painful to configure. When we paired the Steel HR Sport with our test iPhone, we had to start again at … four times. The fault is connection errors or update problems. A beautiful hell that, hopefully, will disappear in future versions of the companion app.

Finally A GPS … But On Smartphone

The main complaint with previous Withings watches the impossibility to follow his jogging or his bike route on a map. Without GPS, the Withings watches offered no physical follow-up worthy of the name, which had something to repel the sportsmen. With the Steel HR Sport, we finally move up a gear … as long as you have your smartphone on you.

Withings still does not integrate GPS to his watch, but uses that of your smartphone to feed information its companion application “Health Mate”. It offers a lot of data on your physical activity, starting with your trips or distance, but also the different speeds reached or the heart rate in real time, as well as an estimate of your VO2 Max. It is quite well done and ergonomic. Just a pity that the GPS is not directly integrated into the watch, which is not 100% independent. It will be for next time!

To start a sports session, it’s simple: Just press and holds the button on the device. Who will then propose to initiate a session of race, swimming, cycling or walking? Note also that the Withings Steel HR is waterproof up to 50 meters. The OLED screen of the watch will then display a stopwatch and will launch an accurate follow-up of your activity.

Ideal For Monitoring Your Sleep

The Withings Steel HR Sport also offers a sleep tracking feature. If you keep the wrist watch at night, she will give you an activity report in the morning, indicating your periods of deep and light sleep, without you having to trigger anything. You will also get a “sleep score” every day, depending on the length of your rest, its regularity, its depth and any interruptions. It works very well, and it is possible, if you use an iPhone, to export this data to Apple Health (but not Google Fit, its equivalent on Android).

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