Withings Steel HR Sport is firm's first release opposing Apple Watch after Nokia sale

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Withings has returned to the wearable device market with its first new product since being sold by Nokia, launching the Steel HR Sport, a revival of an earlier smartwatch that discretely hides its fitness-related features behind an analog watch face.

An update to the timepiece line the company launched in 2014, one that updates the Steel HR sold under Nokia's ownership of the company, the Steel HR Sport is a "multisport hybrid smartwatch" that performs many of the workout-related functions of fitness trackers. Unlike most fitness trackers or smartwatches, the Steel HR Sport offers few external clues to its functionality, giving the appearance of an analog watch to most viewers.

Within the watch face are two smaller circular sections, including a dial at the bottom used to show the percentage completion to a specified fitness goal. Above is a compact OLED display, which provides more detailed information for the wearer, about their current workout or alerts and notifications from a smartphone, connected over Bluetooth.

Using the accompanying Health Mate app, users can set daily activity goals for the watch to manage, as well as to look at their workout progress over time.

The Steel HR Sport is able to track 30 different fitness activities, ranging from running to more unusual activities including rowing and ice hockey. During workout sessions, the watch continuously tracks and displays the heart rate and duration of the session on the display, with further data offered after a workout featuring heart rate zones and calorie expenditure based on the specific activity.

It is the first device in the Steel HR range to include GPS connectivity, once paired with a smartphone. Users can track pace, distance, elevation, heart rate, and map where their walking, running, and cycling sessions take them, with some data presented on the wearable device's display as well as via the app.

The watch is also the first Withings product to provide "Fitness Level Assessments" of the user, using VO2 max. Following a running session, the user's personal fitness level is calculated using pace, heart rate, age, weight, gender, and other data, with the metric intended to assist in optimizing training.

A sleep tracking function can issue a Sleep Score to a user in the Health Mate app, with the watch detecting length and quality of sleep, depth regularity, and interruptions. A Smart Wake-up scheme will use vibration alarms at optimal times during the sleep cycle to wake the user, and a Sleep Smarter Program will help the user improve their sleep patterns over eight weeks.

Potentially the biggest feature for the Steel HR Sport is its battery life, which is claimed to last for up to 25 days under normal use, extended by 20 more days under its power reserve mode. Even in the reserve mode, the watch will still perform fitness, activity, and sleep tracking duties.

Compatible with Apple Health and offered in both white and black face variants, the Steel HR Sport is priced at $199.95.

The Steel HR Sport marks a return to form for Withings following its relatively brief ownership by Nokia, when the company was acquired by the phone producer for $192 million in April 2016. In May 2018, Nokia sold off the unit to Withings co-founder Eric Carreel.


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