Nokia made its foray into fitness tech when it bought French company Withings for $190m in 2016. Now, it’s rumoured, the health division of the iconic Finnish phone manufacturer has hit rough financial waters, which means there’s a real chance that the Nokia Steel HR is the last watch it will make.
Which would be a shame. One of the few fitness watches that actually look stylish when peeping out from beneath the end of a shirt sleeve, the Nokia Steel HR does its best to resemble anything other than a piece of health-tracking tech. It does this by stripping its feature set down to the essentials: a heart rate monitor, step counter, a single button and a simple, low energy notification panel.
As a side-effect of this simplicity, the battery life will last you around three weeks per charge. The Nokia Steel HR lacks the more sophisticated biometric tracking of top-end devices like the Garmin Forerunner – so no barometer, VO2 or GPS – but makes up for it by not being embarrassing to be seen wearing at a funeral.
Limited as it is to heart rate tracking and step counting, the Steel HR is most helpful in recording your running, walking and swimming activities. It can track sleep health too, but that obviously requires that you wear a watch while in bed, which is the behaviour of a psychopath. For activities such as cycling, you’ll get a neat graph of heart rate intensity over time, but with no distance or altitude information you’d have to do some guesswork to draw useful conclusions from the graphs.
The accompanying Health Mate app (reworked from the Withings app) is remarkably stylish however, presenting your health vitals in a neat and easy-to-digest dashboard, as though your body is a spaceship and you’re its captain aboard the bridge. Lovely. The Steel HR is a fitness watch for watch fans.