Nokia Steel HR Review

We all know Nokia, for bringing us the most robust mobile phones back in the early 2000’s, such as the iconic 3310, and since that boom, they dropped off the radar. They have attempted to come back with new mobiles and have also expanded into the healthy lifestyle market, with a range of heart rate & activity watches. At first glance, think FitBit but more elegant. They sent over one of their newer models, the Steel HR for us to check out.

In the box you get the watch itself, a small docking station with USB cable for charging and a quick start guide. There are a number of options when purchasing the Steel HR, you can choose between 36 or 40mm face, case colour (silver or rose gold), face colour (white or black), plus a variety of straps, including leather, woven and silicon. Its very easy to customise online via the Nokia store and it’s great you get so many options to choose from.

The watch we got sent was a 40mm, silver bezel, black face, with a black silicon strap. I do like my watches, I have 6 at home, none of which are smart watches like this one, as Ive never been too keen on the ‘smart’ watch look. However, the Steel HR has converted me and I think it looks stunning. It has a chrome stainless steel casing, with a thin bezel around the face, showing minutes in 5 minute intervals. It has a single push button on the right hand size, used to control the watch and underneath the body of the watch is the activity sensor. The black face is complemented with light grey and white highlights, includes a circular digital screen, step percentage dial, plus the clock hands of course. The wrist band is made of silicon, its adjustable and secured by a traditional watch pin clasp. Its very light, feels nice on my wrist and it looks smart!

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So what can the watch do?

  • It will track you heart rate, as beats per minute
  • It will record the number of steps you make in a day. You can also set your own targets i.e. 10,000.
  • It will record the distance you move per day, in miles.
  • It can record and monitor your calories burnt over a day.
  • It automatically detects certain sporting activities and records the data, for running, cycling & swimming.
  • It will monitor your sleep patterns, timings, duration, cycles etc.
  • It will send you notifications on your watch via the display, from your phone, when you receive a call, text or calendar update.
  • Oh, it’s actually a watch too, so you can get the time.

Set up is quite simple, you just need to download the Nokia health app (free on all major OS) and then follow the on screen instructions. It will get you to pair the device with the phone, it will ask for specific user details such as height & weight, all of which will be accessed via an account, that you will need to set up with Nokia. You can also calibrate the watch hands via the app and it uses your smart device’s time to set your watch. It was very easy and took me less than five minutes to set up.

The watch is very much automated but there is a single push button on the right hand side. By pushing this, you can scrolling through the options on the small display, including digital time, date, heart rate, step counter etc, all of which are customisable via the app. Hold the button down for a second and it will activate the sport mode, telling the watch your about to start a work out and that it should record your data. Hold the button down even longer and you gain access to BIOS like options, including the reset.

I wore the watch for a few days, all day, every day and found it very interesting. It would monitor my daily amount of steps, which I could check throughout the day & set my own targets. I could also monitor the miles walked, average heart rate and calories burnt, both via the watch and within the app. When I went to sleep, it would monitor how well my sleep was, whether I hit my 8hr default target and how my sleep was. It would tell me when I fell asleep, when & if I woke up during the night and also if I was in a light or deep sleep. All very interesting stuff! I took it for a swim, as the watch is fully waterproof, held down the button to tell the watch I was about to do an activity and the results got stored onto the watch. The watch & smart device do need to be close to each other for the app to update! Overall, some cracking features.

Other pro’s include notifications on the watch, it will let you know via the display (scrolling) and vibration, when & who is calling or texting you, or if you have a calendar reminder. Your phone does need to be with you for this to work and will only work for those functions, it will not work with WhatsApp, which is a little disappointing as who uses text messages anymore?! The battery life is very good, Nokia mention 25 days worth of battery life which is very achievable as I lost only a few percentage over the couple of days.

Con’s include the silicon rubber strap, it attracts dust and specs of dirt like a hoover! You also need to ensure the watch is securely fitted to your wrist, otherwise it wont pick up your heart rate. This might be OK for some but I personally like a little give when I wear a watch.

Overall, the watch is great, in both aesthetics and performance. It’s a lot more than a watch and when bundled with the excellent app, it really can help you monitor your health, which in turn could help you push yourself harder and achieve more on a fitness level. The Steel HR starts at £169.99 but will increase with price the more you customise it! For more info and to purchase, visit the official Nokia website.

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