Review: Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch – The Modern Classic
As a big fan and avid user of smartwatches, it was a fun novelty to try out Withing’s hybrid smartwatch: the stylish Steel HR.
It is nothing like the classic wearables from tech giants such as Apple or Fitbit. Withings puts a timeless spin on the standard health tracker by making it far more fashion-friendly and devastatingly simple to use.
The $300 Steel HR stands out from the sea of other trackers thanks to its hybrid functionality.
The elegant watch is well designed with a main clock face, a smaller secondary clock, and a tiny digital screen.
There’s a lot of reasons why a fitness fiend or digital native might prefer a full-display smartwatch, but there are plenty of benefits to Withings’ bare-bones design.
I reviewed the Steel HR white model with a rose gold finish and silicone grey band.
It was a nice sea-change to wear a smartwatch which looked like an everyday timepiece to the untrained eye.
You could wear it with a wedding dress, it’s that stylish. Forget clunky smartwatches that make you look like a spy kid!
The watch face is minimalistic and easy to navigate, although I did miss the ease of touchscreens.
You can navigate the different functions of the digital screen using the side button and it is quite basic – just the time, date, heartrate, step count, kms walked, alarm and battery percentage.
The face is made with a mineral glass dome and stainless-steel body. The silicone wristband is quality enough that it doesn’t take away from the classy watch face – plus it’s waterproof, which is a plus for swimmers tracking laps.
The device can also withstand 50m depth in water.
If you are looking for an in-depth, stat-heavy smartwatch then the Steel HR isn’t quite what you need.
But it performs the basics of health tracking without a hitch. I enjoyed the automatic fitness tracking, which turns on when the watch senses you are running or swimming.
You can manually start a workout by long-pressing the side button and flicking through five home screen workout options. There are 30 trackable activities on the Health Mate app.
If you wear Steel HR to bed it will also automatically track light and deep sleep cycles, duration, and sleep quality via the Sleep Score app.
Everything can be tracked easily via Withings’ app. Again, it’s not as detailed as the Fitbit app but it has key elements such as food and blood pressure logging and sleep data.
There is no raise-to-wake option which has become stock standard in smartwatches. This is a feature I definitely missed, but there is an upside. It means the Steel HR’s battery life is extraordinary, lasting around a month on each charge.
I charged my device up to 100% and played with it for two days. I checked the battery on day two and it was still fully charged. And charging is as simple as latching the Steel HR onto the USB dock.
You can easily track how close you are to your daily fitness goal with the smaller clock at the bottom of the watch face. It has ‘100%’ at 12o’clock and if the hand has reached it, you have completed your goal for the day.
If you connect the Steel HR to your phone via Bluetooth, it also has the option of text/incoming call notifications.
On the downside, the watch has no in-built voice assistant or NFC.
Withings’ Steel HR is an elegant, unique watch for entry-level users or those wanting a break from information-heavy smartwatches.
I loved the hybrid function and the fashion-friendly design but I craved some of the extra statistics on the watch face.
Easy to use
Small display screen
No NFC/voice assistant
Lack of statistics on watch face