Way back in 1997 I got my first mobile phone - a Nokia 3110. It was sturdy, reliable, easy to use and had a battery that would last into the next century. Just over 20 years later I now have my first heart rate and activity watch. It’s a Nokia and it too is sturdy, reliable, easy to use and like my old 3110, has a battery that will last until the next ice age.
Available with a 36mm or 40mm face in black, white and rose gold, the sleek and stylish Nokia Steel HR beautifully combines form with function. It has an analogue face, but is actually completely digital with the time set by your smartphone. The crown on the watch allows you to scroll through your heart rate, steps taken, calories burnt and battery status as well as the time and date. The battery will last an Apple shaming 25 days. It’s very light on the wrist and the silicon rubber band feels comfortable and strong.
The watch syncs with the Nokia Health Mate app on your smartphone (available for both iPhone and Android) which not only records your steps and heart rate, but also gives you an insight to your sleeping patterns and heart rate at night. It too is easy to use and collects a wealth of information on your daily activities. Notifications are also sent to your wrist from the phone for SMS and incoming calls with a gentle vibration and display on the screen.
The activity tracker records your workouts and can even detect sports you might be playing such as tennis, basketball and soccer. An additional analogue dial on the face tells you at a glance how close to 10,000 steps you are and resets back to zero automatically at midnight. No GPS though means it really is making an estimate as to how far you walk. Being water resistant up to 50m allows you to take it swimming.
Nokia have obviously been watching their competitors very closely. The Steel HR has the look and feel of an Apple product, (even the boxes they come in are white and solid with minimal text) but without the premium price tag. The smartphone app is very well designed with health information being easily accessible.
The Steel HR has nowhere near the capabilities of an Apple Watch – it’s aimed at people who want fitness data but don’t want to wear a big black piece of square glass on their wrist full of apps they seldom use. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t to keep track of your fitness whilst looking good.
- Good looks
- Easy to use
- Simple, essential fitness information
- Terrific Health Mate app
- No GPS
- No day/date display at a glance