As the trend of tracking all of our activities with GPS devices and heart rate monitors continues, just as many cyclists long for more classically designed trackers like the Omata One cycling computer. Now a sleek update to the Withings Steel HR Sport smartwatch will pair with your smartphone to deliver multi-sport heart rate and basic GPS tracking capabilities behind a sleekly styled analog watch face.
Withings Steel HR Sport multi-sport activity tracking smartwatch
The technical capabilities of the Withings Steel HR Sport smartwatch aren’t exactly revolutionary, in that it combines built-in optical heart rate tracking with Bluetooth LE connectivity to pair with a a smartphone for GPS tracking. In fact, much of the Steel HR Sport tech has been on the market for a couple years as Withings’ first Activité smartwatch had been bought up by Nokia, then earlier this year set out on its own once again.
Now the resulting Steel HR Sport gets some tech updates to carry out its tracking without shouting about the technology hidden inside the relatively slim case, and behind an analog watch face that looks as good at the office as it does on the bike or on the run.
Steel HR Sport – Tech Details
The Steel HR Sport smartwatch keeps it simple when you want to track an activity – simply long press the single watch button to pick your activity type, long press again to start in workout mode, and GPS & fitness tracking starts together with your connected smartphone. Keep an eye on your heart rate through the upper digital display, while the lower Activity Hand tracks fitness progress towards daily goals set in the app, as well as tracked VO2 Max estimates.
Remember, this is a simple device – you are not going to connect your power meter to it, or even an external heart rate strap. Its goal is to provide an easy activity tracking option that you will wear all the time, without looking like you have cycling computer strapped to your wrist.
As a multi-sport tracker and smartwatch, the Steel HR Sport keeps the internal technology to a minimum to ensure a along battery life and a thin case.
Overall thickness of the stainless steel case is just 12mm at it widest point behind the 40mm bezel. Inside a rechargeable battery delivers up to 5 days of intense use in workout mode or 25 days of more normal use with the occasional exercise activity tracking. Recharge time is just two hours to full charge, or 80% charge in one hour. The smartwatch charges with a proprietary magnetic USB charging cable.
The smart watch uses optical photoplethysmography to monitor heart rate with a series of green LEDs in the back of the case. The device checks heart rate regularly throughout the day (& night) to log your fitness and general activity level, then checks continuously when you enter workout mode to track a ride, run, or swim (waterproof to 50m/5ATM).
Of course since it is a connected smartwatch, the Steel HR Sport also uses that small upper screen to display smart notifications too. See incoming call, text messages, emails, and calendar events when you set them up with the accompanying Withings Health Mate app. The smart watch requires at least an iOS 8 or Android 6 connected smartphone or tablet for setup and full functionality.
Steel HR Sport Pricing & Options
The Withings Steel HR Sport smartwatch sells for $200 / 200€ including a single black 20mm silicone band, with more colorful and leather band options available separately. It features a brushed 316L stainless steel case, and is available with either a white or black analog watch face.