Is the Nokia Steel HR Smart Watch an Apple Watch Killer?

Apr 03, 2018

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Around 2 weeks ago, I saw an advertisement on a train station for the Nokia Steel HR smart watch and on the bottom it said “holds 25 days of battery charge”. It looked good, so I bought it to test it out. I immediately thought, that can’t be good. 2 days later the watch was on the mail and I immediately put it on. Then I realized the battery was dead. The watch comes with a USB charger adapter and uses 2 pins to charge the watch instead of induction charging. It took about an hour and the battery was at 100%. I put it on and frankly, I only took it off my wrist during shower times since.

The watch technology has been bought by Nokia from a company called Withings which also had a smart watch called Activité. I am guessing this new model is a somewhat successor of the same technology. The HR in the name stands for heart rate. The watch periodically measures your pulse and you can also operate it in a continuous heart rate mode during workouts. It also tracks your steps, your daily mileage, your calories burned, the current date and it offers a smart alarm feature that uses the integrated sleep tracking to wake you up when you’re not in a phase of deep sleep. And the best part is, that it shows the time… every time, because it features actual analog handles. The watch is connected to your iPhone or Android smartphone via bluetooth and once you open the “Health Mate” app, it synchronizes the health data to the phone. On the iPhone the app is also integrated with HealthKit.

I am really impressed. Not only does the watch look good with its circular watch face, it also works well. I couldn’t find any bug or issue with it so far. And the battery really holds a long time. After around one and a half weeks of 24 hour use, the watch still has 50% charge left. This small fact really frees you from bringing an extra charger on a trip. My only wish was, that the watch would display a second timezone. This would really help during travel or when working with oversees colleges.

Do I think it’s an Apple Watch killer? No, of course not, but I think it’s a contender to be worth checking out. The Apple Watch still has a lot more features and apps, although the usefulness is arguable. For sports and workouts the Apple Watch is and will remain the best watch, but for daily and casual use, I think I prefer the Nokia Steel HR. It offers a lot of the same benefits of the Apple Watch, but has a much higher convenience factor and is much more fashionable at least to my taste.

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