WEARABLES

Withings Activité Steel

By Stephanie Watson @WatsonWriter
 | 
November 21, 2016

This elegant wristwatch hides sophisticated tracking software for steps, calories, sleep, and more.


Overview

The Withings Activité Steel is a fitness tracker disguised as an elegant wristwatch. Looking at the sophisticated black (or white) stainless steel face, chrome hands, and domed glass face, you’d probably never guess that this watch is able to track your daily steps, calories, sleep, and more. But it can … and it does.

The watch itself reveals little about your daily activity, other than how close you are to meeting your goals. To access its full functionality, you need to pair it with the Withings Health Mate app. Once the app is synced up, you can leave your phone at home or in your gym locker, and your watch will send fitness data to it automatically.

 

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Design

The Activité Steel captures a lot of functionality in a relatively slim body. The analog watch face is deceptively simple — thin chrome lines representing the hours and minutes surround the face (which can be hard to read, especially for anyone who needs reading glasses). A smaller sub-dial tracks your daily activity progress — from 0 to 100 percent. If your goal is 10,000 daily steps and the hand on the dial is at the halfway mark, you know you have 5,000 more steps to go.

The face comes in two color choices — black or white. Unlike its previous incarnation, which featured a leather strap, the Activité Steel has a silicone strap. From a distance, the band still looks sleek and elegant, but the silicone keeps the price more reasonable ($149.95) and adds to the comfort and wearability — especially if you’re sweating heavily or wearing your watch in the pool.

 

Comfort and wearability

The soft band is comfortable enough to make you forget you’re wearing it. That’s an asset, considering it’s meant to be kept on your wrist 24/7 — even in the shower and pool (it’s water resistant down to 165 feet). Because the battery lasts for up to eight months, you can keep it on all day and night without needing a recharge.

You’ll also barely notice the Activité Steel when you wear it to bed. Keep it on all night and it will track your sleep, letting you know automatically not only how many hours you were in bed but also how many of those hours you spent awake, in REM, light, and restorative deep sleep. In the morning, the Activité will wake you up with a gently vibrating alarm that won’t rouse your bed partner.

Fashion

This watch goes straight from gym to office to high-end restaurant. The stainless steel case and chrome hands give it an elegance that fits well in the boardroom, yet the soft, comfortable strap also makes it look right at home with workout wear. The strap comes in eight color choices, most of which are neutral — evergreen, khaki, mineral (a bluish-grey), raspberry, mocha, black, and white. If you want a bigger splash of color, a bright-yellow strap is also available.

 

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Apps

Withings Activité Steel syncs up with its own Health Mate app, which is available for both Android and iPhone. The app displays your activity, sleep, calories burned, and other measures in a series of easy-to-read numbers and graphs.

Health Mate tracks your:

  • Weight. You input this manually.
  • Activity. It includes tracking for 35 different activities, including fitness, swimming, walking, hiking, cycling, weights, yoga, baseball, football, and Zumba. You input the activity duration.
  • Heart rate. Put your finger in front of your phone’s camera to track your beats per minute.
  • Blood pressure. You input this manually.

The app automatically tracks your steps each day, calculating the percentage of your goal achieved. It also estimates the total distance you’ve walked and how many calories you’ve burned based on your age, height, and weight. You can set reminders if you need a nudge to monitor your calorie intake, check your blood pressure, or go for a run.

The Activité will also track your food choices, but for this you’ll need to download the My Fitness Pal app. Inputting each meal item and its respective calories can be labor intensive, but including your daily food intake will give you a more accurate representation of how your diet is contributing to your weight goals.

For an added fee ($4.99), the app will also provide you with a personalized report of your blood pressure over a five-day period. You can share this information with your doctor.

Social sharing

The Activité adds a social component to motivate you to achieve your fitness goals. Add friends and family to your leaderboard with an email, text message, or social media invitation (they don’t need the watch — only the Withings Health Mate app). Then, compete to see who takes the most steps each week. To give yourself a pat on the back, the app also offers badges, which you unlock by walking a specified number of steps each day, or reaching a certain distance.

Battery life

Unlike most activity trackers, which need to be recharged every few hours or days, the Withings Activité has a coin cell battery that lasts for up to eight months without any recharging. When the battery does die, you change it much like you would with any watch, by visiting a watchmaker for a replacement.

 

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Updated:

November 21, 2016

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