Withings Steel HR Sport review: It’s time to go hybrid

Have you been looking to get a smartwatch but don’t want the hassle of charging one more device on a daily basis or thought they’re too bulky or felt like they’re made with only fitness enthusiasts in mind? In this case, the Withings Steel HR Sport might just be for you.

Withings Steel HR Sport: Body and design

The stainless-steel case of the watch houses a 40mm dial with a dark grey bezel. The dial we have is the black one but there is a white one too. There are little red bits (like the top above twelve o’clock and on the tips of the clock hands) on the watch that I think are meant to give the watch a sporty look.

The dial has two smaller ones inside it. One is a small display and the second is a dial to tell you how active (step count) you’re being as the day goes by. The display is black and white and, using the button on the right side of the watch, you can dial through various functions of the hybrid smartwatch. You can check your digital clock, steps, distance covered, calories, alarms and remaining battery. On the bottom is a heart rate sensor that can work continuously as needed.

Adding to the Sport in the name of the watch is the strap. It’s a silicon strop with breathable holes. Like most smartwatches, you can get other straps to give the watch a different look, but you obviously have to buy these.

Overall, the body is super sleek and great to look at. The watch was very comfortable to wear and definitely didn’t have the bulk that most smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy watch come with. One grudge I have with Steel HR Sport body is that the black dial is extremely difficult to read in many low-light scenarios.

Withings Steel HR Sport: Daily use and functionality

Hardware

First and foremost comes the button on the right and its functionality. The button controls the menu and is multifunctional. One click to switch from one part of the menu to another, five clicks to move to pre-selected workouts, hold to choose a workout, hold again to end the workout.
Based on the way the device looks and the number of features mentioned on the packaging, I thought there was something amiss here. To the contrary, I was very wrong.

Heart rate Monitor

The heart rate sensor is quite accurate and considering the Fitness Level estimation, you get a pretty good idea of your body throughout the day. You also track your footsteps and sleep, get notifications from various apps and can track a workout with connected GPS.

In the time I was using the watch, I ended up using it during three main workouts. Running, Yoga and Cycling. During most runs, the watch would detect activity pretty quickly and all you have to do is assign the workout later in the app. For situations like yoga, I found that I needed to activate the workout mode myself but that isn’t really too much of an issue. Cycling was a bit of a hit and miss.

Sleep tracking on the Steel HR is also great. Not only do you get regular tracking information such a time slept or how deep you slept but also a score that gives you quick idea of where you stand after the night’s sleep. The watch is really comfortable and doesn’t feel like a weight to wear all night either.

Health Mate

The Steel HR Sport connects to the Health Mate app available on Android and iOS. The app is actually quite simple and doesn’t really take time to get used to. Five main pages give you access to your activity timeline, dashboard, programs, devices and your profile.
I liked the Timeline page most during my usage. It’s a quick way to see your steps, average heart rate, exercise (if there was or if activity was detected) and sleep. The Dashboard gives you an overview of your current day while Devices and Profile give you a look at the devices used and your own details respectively. There is also a Programs page that can let you use the social side of the app but this is only for other people with Withings products.

Like on most other fitness apps, you get badges for various achievements unlocked. You even have the ability to sync your data with other apps such as My Fitness Pal or Samsung Health, but in my experience with the device I couldn’t really see the data reflected in either apps.

Battery life

Now the Withings Steel HR Sport comes with a claim of 25 day battery life on the box. I was extremely skeptical about this. But on day 15 of using the watch, which was fully charged before I started using it, my battery is at 53 per cent. That’s fantastic.

Withings Steel HR Sport: Should you get one?

The Withings Steel HR Sport comes with a whole load of benefits but also needs you to make some sacrifices. You get a sleek-looking device that is featured-filled and has amazing battery life. You lose out on a big fancy AMOLED display, in-built GPS and instant notifications you can reply to. I don’t really mind these sacrifices.

During my days with the device, I got notified about my calls or messages, tracked all my information to keep myself fit and never worried about the battery. The one thing I would have liked to see on this smartwatch is built-in GPS. Even if it brought the battery life to seven days, I think this would have been a great sacrifice for Withings to make.

Compared to its competitor fitness trackers, it looks decent enough to wear even to work or a evening out with friends. Compared to other smartwatches such as the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch, it comes down to personal preference.

Priced at Dh899 and available at major retailers in the UAE, I think the Withings Steel HR Sport makes a great hybrid smartwatch and you should definitely consider it if you’re looking to start tracking your workouts or even just your daily life.

What do you think of the Withings Steel HR Sport? Let us know in the comments below.