Watch where you're walking (Nokia Steel HR)

by - March 05, 2019

Once upon a time the FitBit Charge ruled my life. After a couple of years the rubber band crumbled and was too warped to charge so I stopped the fitness tracking thing. Then last year when I started up my walking again, I looked for a fitness tracker that did all the things I wished my Fitbit would do.

My wish list looked something like this:
  • Doesn't look like a fitness tracker.
  • Or a chunky sports watch.
  • Easy to charge.
  • Long lasting battery.
  • Replaceable wristband.
  • Progress indicator so I don't waste time pushing buttons and wasting battery to see how I am tracking.
  • Simple app.
  • Syncs with Google Fit.
  • Sleek minimalist design so it won't age poorly.
  • Small enough for my delicate (scrawny) wrists.

I'm not asking for much, right? While I was wowed and distracted by the shiny designs of Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Guess hybrid smartwatches; the tech and specs didn't meet my selection criteria. Only one watch did and I didn't even know it existed until I researched the crap out of hybrid watches: the Nokia Steel HR (same watch as the Withings Steel HR but with a different logo on the face).

Sleek design - I bought the Black/Black version because I like how the digital screen and the daily progress indicator look like regular watch dials until you look closer. I have the smaller 36mm face for my tiny wrists.

Wristband - It came with a nice matte rubber band that I thought I'd replace but instead have kept it because it looks really nice, and not cheap like other rubber bands I've seen.

Easy to charge, long lasting battery - I opted for the HR version not because I wanted heart rate monitor, though it's a bonus, but I wanted a rechargeable watch. My Steel HR lasts about 3-4 weeks depending on how much activity I track on it - ping pong, weights, walks, runs (jogs, really), dance. The battery charges super fast and it gives me plenty of warnings via light vibrations so I know it put it on charge when I get to couch at home one night. You just lay the watch on top of the charger so no issues or awkward angles to plug a chord into the back of the watch like with my old FitBit.

Simple app - The watch uses Nokia's HealthMate app, which took little configuration to set up how I wanted it. And the data usually syncs to Google Fit without an issue. It doesn't sync heart rate info however so if that's a deal-breaker for you then this watch is no-go.

Notifications - I don't use this because for a logical reason I can't fathom, the watch only alerts me when my phone is on do not disturb, and not when it's on silent. But when my phone is on do not disturb, it means I don't want to be disturbed.

Sleep tracking - it was cool for the first few days until I developed a rash and boyfriend said what's the point of sleep data anyway if I don't use it to better my sleep. So I stopped wearing it at night because the sweat rash I get is real gross, itchy and painful.

Water resistant - You can wear this in the pool to track swims but if course I moved into the one Brisbane suburb whose public pool closed down so I don't use this feature.

I love my little watch and have an epic watch tan to prove it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a reliable, easy to use hybrid watch.

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