Withings, recently acquired by Nokia, announced an addition to their fitness tracking analogue wristwatches today. Formerly, the line consisted of Activité Pop, Steel, and Sapphire. The new watch is Activité Steel HR, and it comes with some big changes for the Activité line.

Activité used to be pretty much all the same watch, whether rendered in aluminum, steel, with mineral glass, or sapphire. The price rose as you selected more premium materials, but at the heart, it was a 50M water-resistant watch intended for swimming, available in a unisex-approachable 36mm diameter. Personally, I prefer the dial choices of the Pop! and Sapphire models. Steel models are available in stark, high contrast black on white, or white on black, and the subdial activity meter is labeled 0% to 100%, which strikes me as unnecessary. The Pop! ships with a muted dial color and white hands. The  Sapphire line ships with black with black markers and a red subdial hand, or white with silver markers and a blue subdial hand.Withings-Steel-HR-4

That covers what already exists. What’s new is this: Starting today, Withings has a Steel HR model, available in both the classic 36mm size, as well as a larger, more trendy 40mm size. The 36mm case is available in chromed stainless steel, with a black or white dial. The 40mm will be available in black.  Steel HR comes on either an 18mm or 20mm strap depending on whether it’s the small or large case version.  Feature-wise, the Steel HR still tracks steps and swimming just as the old model did. It now gains a heart rate sensor on its case back, and can automatically measure continuous heart rate during workouts, average heart rate during the day, and resting heart rate while sleeping, if you choose to wear the watch to bed. In a real departure from the previous models, it gains a small LCD screen  which can display dynamic health data and smartphone notifications. In the past, there were no buttons or crown on an Activité watch. Now, there’s a side button to control the display.  In the past, battery life was almost a year. Now, it’s 25 days, after which it goes into a time-only power saving mode that can last for another 20 days. Withings-Steel-HR-2

Activité Steel HR attempts to bridge smart health tracker with smart watch, while still reading like an analogue watch. The previous models were nice to wear watches with activity tracking, if a little on the small side. Now that a screen’s been added, we’ll have to see if it adds or detracts from how nice it looks. Steel HR will be available from Withings beginning in October. withings.com 

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Withings Steel HR
  • Price:  pricing starts at $179.95 for the 36mm and $199.95 USD for the 40mm
  • Who we think it might be for: You like get notifications on your wrist, with an easy readout for heart rate and steps taken per day.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes, although I’m curious how the LCD works out.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: incorporate some of the color from the Sapphire line
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: the overall simplicity of the watch’s presentation

Tech Specs from Withings

  • Case size: 36mm or 40mm
  • Case material: steel (black or white dial)
  • Crystal: domed, mineral
  • Strap: silicone pin and buckle, with quick-release spring bars (18mm or 20mm)
  • Movement: proprietary Bluetooth low energy, set by phone’s clock.

Last Update: September 1, 2016