French fitness tech company Withings makes a line of Activité activity trackers that look like classic analog watches. I’m a big fan, particularly of the Steel version, which ties in the Withings Health Mate dashboard on your phone and the Withings Bluetooth scale for surprisingly high-tech overview of your health.
Withings is bumping up the prowess of its analog activity trackers with the launch of the Steel HR smartwatch. Like the Activité lineup, the Steel HR looks like an analog watch with a small subdial that shows how close you are to reaching your daily step count goal. But Withings packed a heart rate sensor into its new tracker for continous heart rate monitoring during workouts, resting heart rate during sleep, and a daily overview of your heart health. The sensor will automatically kick in when you go running. To continuously track your heart rate during other workouts, just tap the side button.
Unlike the Activité Steel, the Steel HR has a digital display at the top of the watch face that makes it smarter. Using the side button, you can tap through information like daily steps, sleep, calories burned, and miles walked, and see notifications from your phone when you receive calls, texts, emails, or calendar reminders.
The new watch also has incredible battery life for a heart rate-monitoring device, at 25 days. If you don’t charge its battery after that point, the Steel HR will shift into a power save mode for 20 more days. You won’t get the benefits of the heart rate sensor, but the watch will still track your steps and swims.
The Steel HR will also come in two sizes, a 36mm option (slightly tinier than the small Apple Watch) in black or white with an 18mm strap, and 40mm case with a 20mm strap. The larger model will only be available in black.
The new watch goes on sale in early October. The 36mm is $180 and the 40mm is $200. The Activité Steel retails for $150, so the addition of the heart rate sensor could make the Steel HR worth the extra $30-$50. Stay tuned for the full Macworld review of the Steel HR coming soon.