After reacquiring itself, Withings is back with a sporty version of the popular Steel HR hybrid. The upgraded device comes with a new look, Connected GPS and Vo2Max.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
To refresh your memory, Nokia Health bought the Withings brand back in 2016 but ultimately the acquisition did not pay off as sales had failed to meet growth expectations. So four months ago Éric Carreel co-founder and former chairman of Withings took the company back under his wing.
The launch of Steel HR Sport marks the comeback of the original brand. Its predecessor, Steel HR, is one of the best hybrid options on the market. In our review we found it combined style and functionality in a way few other smartwatches manage.
The original device tracks steps, distance, calories, all day heart rate (resting and zone information), sleep (deep and light sleep phases, sleep interruptions) and multiple sports (30 to be exact). It also features automatic exercise recognition and comes with a water-resistant design. Steel HR is clearly not the most powerful fitness tracker out there but it strikes a balance of features, aesthetics and comfort that has appealed to many.
Along with some subtle design changes, the Sport version comes with some additional features. Perhaps the biggest upgrade is that there is now GPS Connectivity. This means the watch is able to piggyback on your smartphone’s satellite signal to track pace, distance, elevation and map of workouts. A feature that will no doubt be important to the runners and cyclists out there.
The hybrid also now offers a VO2max assessment. This measures the heart and muscles ability to convert oxygen into energy during physical exercise. Put more simply, it tells you how fit you are.
Other features are pretty much identical. The analogue face of the watch shows the time while the sub-dial that shows the percentage of daily activity goals achieved. There is a small OLED display which shows your daily fitness stats and smartphone notifications.
Battery life is still very impressive. Steel HR sport will keep going for up to 25 days in normal use which comes down to 5 days in workout mode. If you’re running out of juice the power reserve mode will keep you going for an additional 20 days (time and activity tracking only).
“With its advanced sport and health tracking capabilities, Steel HR Sport is a perfect example of how Withings is delivering against its original mission to help better manage health,” said Eric Carreel, CEO of Withings.
“The public reaction to the return of Withings is extraordinary and renews my belief that elegantly designed devices with health tracking abilities can dramatically improve individual and society’s health.”
The Steel HR Sport is available on Amazon and withings.com. It comes in a single 40mm size with either a white and black watch face. There’s also a perforated grey silicone band but you can swap this around for other options.
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