We Like The Look Of The New Withings Steel HR Fitness Tracker

Steel HR Fitness Tracker
(Image credit: Unknown)

It isn’t easy to stand out in the jam-packed world of fitness tracking, but it’s a trick Withings have always managed to pull off by making the smartest-looking trackers on the market.

Their Activité line prides itself on looking like an analogue watch and making fitness tracking easy. Battery life is measured in months not minutes, and sports and sleep are recorded automatically, with all the results beamed to an easy-to-use app.

Steel HR Fitness Tracker

(Image credit: Unknown)

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All of which is great, but as a result there were some limitations to the Activité trackers for more serious fitness fans. No screen to display stats like steps meant less info available at a glance and the focus on battery life led to juice-sucking features like heart-rate tracking being ignored.

These limitations have been tackled head on with the new Steel HR, available in the next few weeks.

The Steel HR has the same sleek design as the Activité watches but adds in a small, inconspicuous screen to the watchface that displays fitness metrics. It also, as you might have guessed from the name, tracks your heart rate.

The heart-rate tracking will take a reading every few minutes, but becomes continuous when the Steel detects that you are taking part in an activity, when you are likely to be most concerned with your heart rate. Impressively, Withings claim to have managed to pull off the trick of creating a heart-rate tracker that doesn’t exhaust the battery within a week, which is a not inconsiderable feat.

The Steel HR should last a chunky 25 days between charges, and if it’s left to run down it will enter a low-power mode. This disables heart-rate tracking and notifications, but still tracks activity and sleep for a further 20 days.

Even with the addition of heart-rate tracking, the Steel HR is waterproof and logs swimming automatically. In fact over ten sports are tracked automatically including standard fare like running, but also more exotic pastimes like ping pong and dancing. Plus, more than 30 different activities can be manually logged.

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Withings have also taken advantage of the new screen to add in some smartwatch capabilities. The Steel HR will alert you for calls, messages and calendar appointments.

Check back for our full review when we get our hands on it.

£169.95-£179.95, pre-order on withings.com/uk, ships in 2-4 weeks at time of writing (5th January)

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.