How much you like Nokia’s new Steel depends on one question: How smart do you like your watches?
It is technically a smartwatch — it’s a watch, and it connects to your phone for basic fitness tracking. But you won’t be able to answer calls from it, get messages or emails. It doesn’t even have a screen, as you’ve probably noticed. Those are actual physical watch arms in those pictures. If you want those features in a wearable, this is a no go.
But maybe you don’t like the looks of theand the of the world. Or maybe you find them too pesky to charge and only want bare-bones fitness tracking from a stylish accessory that doesn’t garner too much attention. If so, Nokia’s Steel may be what you’re after.
It looks like a regular — but nice — wristwatch, one that’s flexible enough for a day at the beach or a night at a restaurant. It comes in both black and white, retailing for $130, AU$229 or £119. It’s not exactly new, being a rebrand of the. That’s kind of the problem though: The Activite Pop was released in 2015, and there’s not much new to Nokia’s version.
The Steel’s fitness tracking isn’t as fully featured as most wearables. It’ll track your steps and distance travelled and it can estimate the calories you burn during exercise, plus your total energy expenditure for the day. It’s only a useful exercise tracker for walking, running and, being water-resistant to 50 metres, swimming. That means those of you who prefer to do cardio on a cycle or elliptical machine are out of luck.
Unlike other trackers, little of that information is displayed on the device itself. There’s a dial that tells you the percentage of your step goal you’ve walked so far, but everything else is in Nokia’s Health Mate app. Health Mate lets you compare your activity with friends, so long as they also use Nokia or Withings devices. It’ll also award you with Badges for reaching certain milestones, such as walking 42 kilometres, which the app informs me is “the distance of a marathon.”
Health Mate works with Google Fit for data tracking, MyFitnessPal for calorie counting plus RunKeeper and Nike+ for more running tracking. You’ll want to link to those running apps, since the Steel and Health Mate app can’t track your run times. The app is also home to Nokia’s whole ecosystem of products, as it’s also used with.
Nokia is also keen to help you keep a record of your sleep, with a tracker that’ll tell you how long you sleep, a total time of how long you were in bed for, how long it took you to actually get to sleep and how many times you woke up. Like calorie expenditure, it’s really more of an estimate, as I’ve woken up without the watch registering it — I remember because the nightmare that woke me up was wild — and I feel like it takes me longer to get to sleep than the app indicates.