Smartwatches are rarely praised for their appearance. While brands try their best to create sleeker models, most of them still have chunky designs but the Nokia Smartwatch makes a difference.
Formerly known as Nokia Steel HR and now called Withings Steel HR, the Nokia smartwatch impresses with a gorgeous design that looks like a stylish, classy timepiece rather than a massive fitness tracker.
But don’t be fooled by its looks. The Steel HR certainly packs a punch and comes with all smart functions you’d expect from a modern smartwatch.
The Nokia Steel HR is a timepiece that focuses on smarts and functionality without compromising the design. Developed by the Nokia Health division, the wearable was rebranded in 2018, when Nokia Health was acquired by Withings.
What strikes you right from first glance is the classic timepiece look with physical hands encased in glass rather than a digital display. In its slim casing, the wearable looks just like a regular watch and pairs perfectly with either casual, business, or formal wear.
A tiny OLED screen in the middle of the watch displays notifications and cycles through the wearable’s menu.
Furthermore, it’s made to stay on your wrist 24/7, and tracks your sleep and heart rate plus is waterproof to 5 ATM. It doesn’t have all the functions offered by peers such as Garmin or Fitbit, but provides a different approach.
Nokia Steel HR offers nothing special at first glance, but a closer look reveals a wealth of smart features. Like all modern smartwatches, it delivers text notifications on the wrist, alerts you of incoming phone calls, and buzzes when you receive any calendar notifications.
The small OLED screen shows the type of notification as an icon. A short line of text also reveals more information about the alert, such as a contact name or phone number.
While you can’t answer calls or read texts from your wrist, at least the Steel HR delivers sufficient information to help you decide if it’s worth pulling your phone out.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is that you don’t get any social media notifications, and this is where Nokia is stuck in the past. In a world revolving around social media, you’ll have to check your phone for any email, Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp notifications.
You can download third-party apps to solve the issue, but that may paying out more on top of the watch’s already expensive price tag. Hopefully, Withings will decide to rectify this lack of functionality in future with some native solutions.
But if you don’t mind living without email and social media notifications on the wrist, the Steel HR offers good value for money. Not only will you get all the basic functions, but you’ll also get amazing battery life measured in weeks rather than days.
Nokia have gone with a minimalist wristwatch look for its Steel HR. Two sizes – either 36 or 40 mm – make it easy to choose the model that best fits your wrist, while the stainless steel case and curved glass add elegance to the package.
A button on the left-hand side of the dial looks like a crown, but it actually lets you access the menu and cycle through the various metrics. To save the battery life, the small OLED screen turns itself off when there is nothing to display, disappearing on the black dial and contrasting with the white one.
A second dial of the same size as the OLED screen tracks your steps. The traditional, physical hands indicate the hour, but you’ll have to estimate the exact time due to the lack of marks and numbers.
A standard 18mm or 20mm watch strap – depending on the case size – makes it easy to replace the factory rubber strap and customise the watch’s look to your liking.
Nokia Steel HR doesn’t come with multi-sport profiles or advanced fitness tracking features. It monitors your heart rate and sleep cycles and has a step counter that’s easy to customise with a distance tracker and calories burned counter.
We particularly like the percentage counter that slowly fills as you reach your daily goals rather than showing an abstract number – we find this more motivating.
Waterproof construction and resistance up to 5 ATM also make it possible to wear the Steel HR when swimming. However, the watch doesn’t come with a swim tracker.
- Sleek, stylish design inspired by classic watches
- Outstanding battery life
- Accurate heart rate monitoring
- Easily customisable features
- Expensive considering its limitations
- Poor app support
|Nokia/Withings Steel HR||Diesel On Axial||Puma Smartwatch||Kate Spade Scallop 2|
|Resolution||–||328 x 328 pixels||328 x 328 pixels||–|
|Size||36 x 36 mm||44 x 44 x 12 mm||44 x 44 x 11 mm||41 x 41 x 16 mm|
|Band material||Rubber||Leather / Fabric / Metal||Silicone||Silicone / Leather / Metal|
|Water resistance||5 ATM||3 ATM||3 ATM||3 ATM|
|Heart rate monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Smart notifications||Yes. Texts, calls, and calendar only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Battery life||Up to 25 days||Up to 24 hours||Up to 24 hours||Up to 48 hours|
Nokia Steel HR is not your standard smartwatch, but it is a noteworthy wearable. It’s perfect for ladies and gents aiming for a classy look with some smart and fitness tracking functionality.
You won’t get the whole range of smart notifications nor the ultimate in fitness tracking profiles, but what you do get is accurate metrics and outstanding battery life.
If you want an elegant hybrid watch and don’t mind a slightly higher price point, the Nokia smartwatch undoubtedly offers amazing value for money.