​Withings Steel HR combines analog watch and heart rate for under $200

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There are fitness trackers galore that track heart rate, but none I can think of that do it with an analog watch. Withings says the new Steel HR is the first of its kind. I believe it.

The Withings Steel HR arrives at the beginning of October for $180 (38mm), equivalent to £137/AU$239, or $200 (42mm), equivalent to £152/AU$266.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Withings Activite was an analog-type watch with a digital inside, tracking steps and sleep automatically and syncing via Bluetooth, too. A stainless-steel version, much like what you see here, was released last year. Steel HR takes another step forward by adding an optical heart-rate monitor to the back of the newly redesigned watch, as well as a digital display within the watch face to show heart rate, activity and notification data.

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Heart rate on display.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

So, it's analog, but digital. Its design is certainly sharp as hell.

Withings, now a part of Nokia, hasn't incorporated heart rate into any of its current fitness trackers. A newly updated Withings Health app will fold in the data, much like other fitness apps have already done.

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Not too thick.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Withings Steel HR comes in two versions: 38mm in black or white, and 42mm in black. Unlike the older Activite watches, which used a replaceable battery that lasted for over six months, the Steel HR is rechargeable via an included and lasts up to 25 days when tracking heart rate -- and another 20 days after that in a "low power mode" that still shows time and tracks steps and sleep. Heart rate tracking continues at night to get resting heart rate while sleeping. The Steel HR is 5ATM water resistant for swimming, too.

Hands-on impressions are coming shortly, but this already looks promising. Of course, how well it tracks heart rate is also important, and we don't know that yet.

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  • Product type Hybrid smartwatch