You might recall back in 2016 Nokia acquired Withings, makers of the excellent Activité smartwatch. Following two years of poor growth, Withings bought itself back from Nokia in May and they’re finally back with a new device.
The new Withings Steel HR Sport is a hybrid smartwatch that takes fitness seriously. It’s got the (now) obligatory heart-rate sensor but goes further with oxygen intake sensors for greater cardiovascular health metrics. It’s also got GPS connectivity, making it a legit option for outdoor running and route tracking.
In some ways, the Withings Steel HR Sport is similar to the Steel HR released under Nokia in 2016, but there are some key differences.
First of all, the new Withings Steel HR Sport has GPS while Nokia’s Steel HR smartwatch doesn’t, and it’s got a much-improved dial, so it looks like a completely different smartwatch. The digital heart-rate display is still at 12 o’clock and the analogue step meter at 6 o’clock, but the hands and markers are much more interesting. They’re sportier and the new Withings logo (with a red ‘t’) looks superb.
Oh, and those oxygen intake sensors? They’re a big deal because they let you measure a new set of variables. The sensors aim to provide greater insight into cardiovascular health by letting you measure VO2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake. This is a test to assess aerobic endurance, used by athletes and sportspeople.
Battery life, as you’d expect, is solid. However, the Steel HR Sport does need charging (unlike the Activité, which has a coin cell battery). You’ll get 25-days of battery with normal use, or 5 days with GPS switched on all the time.
You’ll be able to buy your Steel HR Sport with a silicone or leather band. We recommend the silicone versions. There’s two black ones (with grey or red vent holes) and a red one with black vent holes. We like the red strap. You can also grab the Steel HR Sport with a white or black dial. The size is 40mm, so we’d say it’s unisex.
Pricing and availability
We think Withings have knocked the ball out of the park with this one. The icing on the cake is an accessible starting price of around $199.95. You can grab yours now from the Withings website or Amazon.
Editor’s note: As standard, the Steel HR Sport comes with a black silicone strap. You’ve to pay extra for additional straps. Prices are around $49.95 for leather and $29.95 for silicone.