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Nokia Steel HR review: fitness tracker that looks like wristwatch your parents would have worn

Though you’ll be able to put on them in your wrist and they’re able to protecting time, most health trackers in the marketplace, such because the Fitbit Alta and Samsung Gear Fit, look nothing like watches.

Even some smartwatches – like Apple’s square-ish all-screen “Watch” – don’t appear to be conventional timepieces. Instead, producers appear eager on making these units look as very similar to a mini laptop as potential.

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The Nokia Steel HR does the other. It is a health tracker that doesn’t shove train numbers in your face. Instead, it really appears like an old-school wristwatch that our dad and mom used to put on.

Design and

This Steel HR is available in two sizes – 36mm or 40mm – and has the traditional timepiece aesthetic of round stainless-steel casing with a crown. In this case the crown isn’t a rotating swap however a button that activates a tiny monochrome show within the form of a sub-dial on the watch’s face. This is the place you’ll see your health stats.

There is a second analogue sub-dial that has a rotating hand monitoring progress in direction of your health targets. The watch makes use of mechanical watch fingers with no numbers on the dials. This might sound absurd to individuals above a sure age, however loads of younger individuals (who’ve solely used digital clocks their complete lives) may have bother telling the time right here.

On the again of the machine is a coronary heart price sensor, which doesn’t protrude as a lot because the sensor on Fitbit’s tracker, the Charge 2.

The Steel HR comes with two straps: rubbery silicone and real calf leather-based. The former appears a bit cheesy and is fast to draw mud, however is extra appropriate for train than the latter.

Overall, the Steel HR is thinner and lighter than most health trackers in the marketplace, and comes closest to wanting like a standard watch.

Software and options

In phrases of health monitoring the Steel HR covers all of the bases. The show reveals the usual health stats: step rely, coronary heart price, energy burned, and some others, whereas the watch will mechanically monitor runs or swims – it’s waterproof as much as 50 metres.

For a number of days, I wore the Steel HR on one arm and the Fitbit Ionic on the opposite, and I discovered the Steel HR’s measurement to be near Fitbit’s. This might be a great factor, for the reason that latter model is the king of the health tracker subject and has arguably probably the most correct monitoring algorithm.

For step counts and coronary heart price, each the Steel HR and Ionic gave related numbers. Where Nokia’s watch stumbles is in sleep monitoring.

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While the Steel HR (with the assistance of its companion app) gives the identical in-depth sleep evaluation as Fitbit, I discovered that on two out of 4 nights it incorrectly logged after I fell asleep. Fitbit’s software program is excellent at realizing the distinction between mendacity in mattress along with your eyes open or really being asleep; Nokia’s software program (which the Finnish firm inherited after buying French firm Withings) will not be as refined.

Another letdown is that, whereas the Steel HR is able to exhibiting notifications, they’re restricted to alerts for incoming calls and calendar occasions, and SMS textual content messaging, which nearly no one however Americans use any extra due to the ubiquity elsewhere of WhatsApp and WeChat. My Fitbit Ionic, in the meantime, can push Gmail and WhatsApp notifications to my wrist.

Performance and battery life

Battery life is nice for a tool of this type. I’ve been utilizing the look ahead to practically 4 full days and there’s nonetheless 18 per cent battery life left. Five days appears undoubtedly doable. Charging requires a proprietary plug, which is a bit annoying. It could be nice sooner or later if smartwatches simply use USB-C, which is a socket your entire tech trade is trending in direction of.

Otherwise, there’s not a lot to say about efficiency apart from that every little thing works.

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If you desire a health tracker with out sacrificing the traditional watch aesthetic, then the Nokia Steel HR is price a glance. If not, there are different choices on the market from Fitbit, Samsung, Apple that do far more – albeit at a better worth.

Price: US$240 (36mm solely) for the particular “Rose Gold” version; US$215 (36mm) and US$240 (40mm) for the usual silver version.

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