review

Review on my Withings Steel HR

Wow! Second article of the year and within days from the first, This time in English. This will be a good year for this blog 🙂

After summer 2016 I was actively looking for activity trackers and smart watches. I was kind of interested, but not sure which to buy – quite soon I saw first articles about Withings Steel HR. As heart rate monitoring was one of the ”must-have” features for me and the price point for this was rather attractive I did some more research. Rather quickly I decided that this watch is optimal for me:

– The design is classic, even if I do want activity tracker / smart watch, I do not want it to look like one, for example the design of Apple Watch is something I do not like and same goes for more traditional activity trackers (e.g. Fitbit that my wife has..)

– The features, e.g. caller alert, long lasting battery, heart rate monitoring were balanced really well with the price tag.

I did pre-order mine from Withings.com on November (23.11. to be exact), after pre-registering to the waiting list earlier. At the time the estimated timeline was 1-4 weeks. Well it took around 8 weeks, they confirmed the shipment on 17.1.2017 and did send the watch on 19th. In 4 weeks time they did send notification of the delay on 19th of December.

Setting up the watch, as it had arrived, was easy (I’m using iPhone 7 btw.). Did try most of the features and decided which I would keep on (alarm for incoming calls and messages) and turn off (calender and alarm).

On daily usage I’m rather happy with the watch. The time is constantly there, without pressing any buttons. The ”one button” UI works well, you can see date & time, heart rate, steps count and distance as well as battery level by pressing the button (as said, I have turned alarm off – otherwise it would be there in the carousel.) It is also really simple to turn on the exercise tracking, i.e. when the tracker is constantly reading your heart rate, not just once in a while as it is doing normally.

I’m a bit disappointed about the step count and accuracy of that. It seems that the small steps that you take indoors as you walk around the house are often not counted. I did speak about this to the support of Withings, the solution they suggested was to reset the watch – which I have not done, as otherwise the it is working well – I’m a bit afraid that this is just general solution, not specific cure to the problem.

On the other hand I do think that the accuracy is rather good, compared to some other activity trackers, e.g. steps are counted when pushing prams.

Otherwise the clock has worked mostly without problems. About a week ago I have some problems as the watch and app in the phone were not communicating. Or I could see that the step count was pushed to the phone, but then – for some reason – zeroed for that day, but got a ”few” notifications on the success on the previous day:

notifications

4-5 notifications in a minute 🙂 I manage to solve the problem by re-installing the app in the phone.

On general level I’m also happy with the design. The watch could be a bit larger, at least to me, as I’m used to large watches. But this is not a huge issue.

Biggest problem with the watch is charging, it is really problematic to place the watch correctly to the pad. Luckily the biggest plus is the battery life (2-3 weeks in my use), so you don’t have to do it too often.

the important question is, would I choose this one again if I would be on the market for activity trackers / smart watches now? Most likely yes, I was looking new Samsung Gear S3 on the other day. It looked good, really good I have to say – and big enough for me 🙂

On the other hand – it costs twice as much (~200 vs ~400 euro) and I’m not 100% sure the added features are so useful to me that I would be ready to double the money spend. It would be tough call, but most likely would continue with this selection…

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