Smartwatches are, in a word, nifty. They are incredibly convenient and even capable devices that can bring many of the functions of a smartphone straight to a user's wrist. Certain models can even stand in for a smartphone, if a user doesn't mind giving up a few of the main features, like media and productivity. Some smartwatches are made to look a lot like their analog counterparts, like the Samsung Gear S3 Classic or the ASUS ZenWatch 3. There will always be those, of course, who prefer the craftsmanship and reliability that a traditional smartwatch just can't match. For that crowd, a number of analog smartwatches have been coming out lately, packing a few smart features here and there, such as alarms and notifications, into a traditional watch. Withings takes this idea, for the purposes of today's technology, to its logical extreme with the upcoming Steel HR.
Analog smartwatches and activity trackers are not new ground for Withings, with their fairly successful Activite Steel making them one of the stronger players in the segment at the moment. The Activite Steel had a host of features, such as heart rate monitoring and notification vibration, that put it as close as possible to being a smartwatch without sacrificing the analog watch aesthetic and function. The most smartwatch-looking thing on it was the analog goal meter, separate from the main watch face and meant to show how close you were to achieving activity goals for the day. The Steel HR has that, but adds in something that takes it up a notch, and essentially represents the smartest that an analog watch can likely be with current tech; a small LCD screen embedded in the watch face.
The screen on the Withings Steel HR serves up your notifications in a fairly unique way, along with other data. The watch also functions as an activity tracker, and the screen can show you your heart rate and steps taken, among other data. The watch also syncs up with a compatible smartphone via a companion app to feed in data and provide a more comprehensive overview, along with enabling extra functions on the watch like setting up alarms. Like its predecessor, the Steel HR is water-resistant up to 50 meters, which means that while swimming with it is a bad idea, just about any accidental exposure to water should be no cause for concern. The battery is touted as lasting up to 25 days, despite the addition of the screen. The watch comes in a 40mm black variant, along with black and white 36mm versions. When they all go on sale in October, the 36mm versions will run £169.95, while the 40mm one will be £179.95.