What is this gizmo

The Withings Steel HR is a combination watch and fitness tracker. Since I made my purchase, the company has changed hands. It is now owned by Nokia. You can find it on Amazon using the link below.

What caught my eye

You may have read my review of the Samsung Gear S2 in 2016. I was not a fan. After I returned the S2, I bought a FitBit Charge HR.  As a fitness tracker, I really liked it. However, there were three problems. First, it wouldn’t allow me to change bands.  (The second generation Fitbit Charge 2 HR does allow a band change.) Second, after a year, one end of the band was pulling apart from the watch face and then the device just died. Third, it was not waterproof. I took up paddleboarding in the last 18 months and I really wanted something that could survive if I took a spill.

What I found

  • I like the Withings (Nokia) Steel HR because it’s simple yet does what I need. It’s has a basic watch face with the time and a dial that shows what percentage of your daily step goal you have achieved, without having to touch a single button.
  • With the touch of the one button, I see the day and date followed by the digital time. This is helpful if you happen to check your watch in the dark. The second push of the button gives me my heart rate. The third touch gives me my exact steps of the day. A fourth touch gives me my steps in miles. And a final fifth touch shows the battery life.
  • It’s water resistant to 50 meters, which is about 40 meters more than I need for paddleboarding spills. I also like the idea that I don’t have to be as concerned about sticking my hands under water while forgetting I have it on.
  • I can use any standard watchband that is 18mm in width.
  • You can use this to track your sleep. Since the face doesn’t light up unless you push a button, it means it doesn’t throw off light to keep you awake.
  • Maybe one of the best things is the battery life. I charge it about once every 3 or 4 weeks. Seriously!
  • The app that connects to the watch is good too. The watch picks up on the fact that you are doing some kind of exercise and prompts you with a card that allows you to keep it, delete it or modify it. It’s very easy to use. It has a large number of types of exercises you can track.
  • It allows you to see alerts from your phone such as an incoming text or call. You can’t see the message, just that you are receiving one. It’s helpful at times when you might have your phone silenced. I’ve used this feature when I’m at exercise class and my phone is in my bag. I can look at my watch and decide if the call is important enough for an interruption. I have also found it helpful in a movie theater. My phone stays in my purse but my watch can tell me if something important is coming in.
  • My purpose here isn’t to do a full review of the Nokia Health Mate app. But it is an important part of a fitness tracker. One feature of the Nokia app is a set of wellness programs such as the pregnancy tracker and sleep smarter program. I’ll point you to the Nokia webpage for more details on the app. For my purposes it does fine. If you have specific requirements, check here to see if the app will work.

What are the uses

  • Track your steps.
  • Track your other fitness workouts.
  • Track your sleep.
  • Your watch.
  • Alert you to incoming calls and texts.

What I like

  • Battery life.
  • Water resistant
  • Super Simple!
  • Nice looking face.
  • Can change bands.
  • Seems pretty accurate on step count.
  • Monitors heart rate and sleep.
  • Lots of different exercise activities available to track in the app.
  • I did have to reset the watch once. I reached out to Nokia for support. They were great! They were responsive, gave me all the information I needed and followed up. In fact, they not only gave me one way to do what I needed, but also gave me an alternative right off the bat. No needing to go back and forth if it hadn’t worked. I’m not sure from where support is provided, but there were no language issues.
  • The Nokia app interfaces with other apps and web services such as MyFitnessPal.
Screenshot of the Nokia Health Mate dashboard from their website.

What I would change

  • I would love to see paddleboarding added to the supported fitness monitoring options!  Are you listening Nokia? 🙂
  • It would be nice to have some options for changing the watch face. I realize that’s more of a smartwatch feature. But I have to admit that I (surprisingly) found that to be a lot of fun on the S2. And it would potentially create some extra revenue for Nokia. I know I’d pay a dollar or two for a cool watch face that allowed me to express myself more.
  • The charging cable is specific to the watch. I’m never a fan of non-standard USB type chargers. I worry I may lose or break mine at some point and then I’ll have to replace it with a very specific type that may be hard to find down the road.

Final Comments

For me, this is a great gizmo for tracking fitness. If you just want something reliable and fairly simple to use, it’s a great option. That said, if you want to do GPS tracking or more sophisticated smart watch features, this isn’t for you.


#fitnesstrackers #Nokia

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