Despite efforts from both Apple and Google, the smartwatch has not really taken off. Some find them a little too bulky while others don’t like the idea of charging their watches every night on top of their smartphones. That is perhaps why we have been seeing hybrid smartwatches that look more like traditional wrist watches that do not require daily charges. The Nokia Steel HR is a good example of this.
The name and look of the Nokia Steel HR may seem a little familiar. That is because it used to be known as the Withings Steel HR. Nokia had bought over the brand and now releases the same line of products under its own name. Withings is of course no stranger to the hybrid smartwatches as well as health gadgets.
Like its previous offerings, the Nokia Steel HR pairs a very handsome and classic looking timepiece with smart features. The watch won’t look out of place at a fancy dinner engagement, at the office or at the gym. Except for the round OLED notification display on the watch face, you probably can’t tell that it has smartwatch capabilities.
The OLED screen can be customized to show information ranging from the date to heart rate to calories burned to the battery level. Unlike most smartwatches, the Nokia Steel HR does not have a touch screen. All interactions are via the dial at the side of the watch. Setting up and customizing the watch functions are done via a companion app. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
Also on the watch face is a sub-dial that shows your step progress. You can customize your step goal and the sub-dial will show your progress in 1% increments. It is a neat and convenient way to get an update of your progress with just a quick glance.
Compared to smartwatch offerings from the likes of Apple and Android, the Nokia Steel HR has very limited functions. While it has notifications for calls, text messages and some 3rd party notifications, you can’t actually read the notifications on the watch. Another potential deal breaker is that it cannot be used to play or control music playback.
However, not everyone needs all the functionalities of a smartwatch. What the Nokia Steel HR lacks in functionality, it makes up for it with great battery life. If you don’t make use of the “continuous heart rate” or “work-out” mode that drains the battery considerably, you can get up to 25 days of continuous use. With the heart rate sensor turned on, it still gets a very respectable 4 days of battery life.
Last but not least, the Nokia Steel HR also has a much more affordable price tag.
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