Withings adds heart rate sensor and notifications to fitness watches

imageWithings has unveiled their new “connected health watch”, the Steel HR at IDA 2016, being held in Berlin. The new range adds heart rate monitoring and a new digital screen embedded into the watch face for displaying health data and smartphone notifications.

Mimicking Apple’s two-sizes-fits-all approach, the Steel HR comes in 36mm and 40mm variants. The 36mm case sports will be available in black and white with an 18mm strap. Ale larger model adds a couple of millimeters to the straps width and comes in any Colour you like – as long as it’s black.

The watches connect to iPhones or Android device via Bluetooth through the Health Mate app.

Unlike Withings previous forays into the highly congested fitness watch market, the Steel HR, Withings brings optical heart rate monitoring into the mix. Green LEDs on the watchface’s underside can detect variations in your blood level beneath the skin. This is the same technology employed by several other fitness and smart watch makers..

Perhaps Withings’ boldest claim for the Steel HR is battery life.

Withings says it’s figured out how to make the Steel HR last up to 25 days on a single charge and then for another 20 days in “power save mode”. Given the Apple Watch can barely make it through a day and Fitbit’s five day life has been leading the pack this is a significant stride forward.

At first glance, the Steel HR looks like almost any other fashionable analog watch. But a small e-ink display embedded in the watch face delivers health data and smartphone notifications. You can toggle between notifications using a button located on the side of the Steel HR.

Withings says the Steel HR will be available on Withings.com from early October. Prices will start at US$179.95 for the 36mm design and US$199.95 for the 40mm.

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