While France-based connected health device specialist Withings has been producing classically handsome activity-tracking watches for several years now, it’s only a few months back that a high-profile Nokia acquisition truly put the 2008-founded company on the smart wearable map.
But if you perhaps feared the slowly recovering sleeping Finnish giant would mess with its newest subsidiary’s winning design DNA to enter the Apple-dominated premium smartwatch arena, the IFA 2016-unveiled Withings Steel HR will put you at ease.
Extremely similar to stylish yet rudimentary members of the Activité family on the surface, the $180 and up analog watch brings “continuous” heart rate monitoring to the table, as well as a new “dynamic digital screen.”
You still get traditional hand dials to tell time and a sub-dial to follow your personal daily activity goal progress, whereas a separate secondary display at the top of the watch face can show more detailed health data and smartphone notifications, with a multifunctional button on the side controlling the info in the limelight.
This all helps the Withings Steel HR walk the thin line between classic wristwatch and intelligent gadget while retaining an “unsurpassed” battery life of up to 25 days. All in all, it never intends to directly compete against the Apple Watch, but simply add more brains to a timeless “French design.” At $180 in a 36mm case size with black or white 18mm straps, or $200 for 40mm models with black 20mm bands, starting October.