Withings Activité Steel Review: High on Style, Low on Substance

Withings Activité Steel follows on the footsteps of original Activité paired with the price of Activité Pop.

Written by Karthekayan Iyer | Published:September 9, 2016 4:24 pm
Withings Activité Steel, Withings Activité Steel review, Withings Activité Steel watch, Withings Activité Steel fitness watch, Withings Activité fitness watch, Withings Activité Steel price India, Withings Activité Steel specs Withings Activité Steel review: It is trying to sell a smartwatch that emphasises on design and fitness. (Source: Karthekayan Iyer)

Withings is the latest to enter India’s growing fitness tracker market. Right from Fitbit to Jawbone, every other big name now has its products in India. From those specialising in fitness trackers to ones focused on sports fitness devices, there is something for everyone out there.

Withings, which specialises in tracking health vitals, doesn’t want to be left behind. Withings surprised the whole world when it announced a fitness smartwatch with “Swiss Made” branding on it. Withings proved that for any watch to succeed, it has to visit a Swiss factory at least once.

Since the debut of Activité Sapphire, Withings has expanded the product line to include Activité Steel and the low cost Activité Pop. However, Withings Activité Steel with its mid-range pricing and near identical design like Sapphire, is the top product from the company right now.

Withings Activité Steel

Withings Activité Steel follows on the footsteps of original Activité paired with the price of Activité Pop (which itself has turned significantly cheaper now). With Activité lineup, Withings is trying to sell a smartwatch that emphasises on design and fitness.

However, Withings is not the only one selling an analog smartwatch with fitness features. It faces a challenge from the likes of analog watchmakers Titan and Timex, which command significant brand value among watch buyers. So how does it fare as a watch and fitness tracker in real life? Let’s break it down in our review

Price: Rs 17,999

Withings Activité Steel, Withings Activité Steel review, Withings Activité Steel watch, Withings Activité Steel fitness watch, Withings Activité fitness watch, Withings Activité Steel price India, Withings Activité Steel specs The Activité Steel, as the name implies, features stainless steel and design similar to the original Activité. (Source: Karthekayan Iyer)

What is good?

Withings nails the design of a perfect analog smartwatch. The original Activité featured a domed sapphire glass, and was made from stainless steel. The Activité Steel, as the name implies has stainless steel, and a design similar to the original Activité. Another difference between original Activité and Activité Steel is the use of silicone strap, instead of a leather one on the former. Our review unit came with a white watch face, and chrome watch hands.

Activité Steel can also be bought with a black watch face, but I doubt it would look as nice. Activité Steel with its black strap and electronics hidden inside makes it extremely stylish, and yes, very watch like.

The unique prospect about Withings is its coin battery. In fact, its retail package doesn’t ship with a charger, which means, you won’t be charging it every night; Withings is promising six months battery life on this one. Only Timex Metropolitan+ offers a similar battery life. This one will appeal to anyone who doesn’t care for a LCD or OLED display. Considering the limited scope of smartwatches with display, it makes sense to do away with the display than compromise on battery.

Withings Activité Steel, Withings Activité Steel review, Withings Activité Steel watch, Withings Activité Steel fitness watch, Withings Activité fitness watch, Withings Activité Steel price India, Withings Activité Steel specs The Withings fitness app shows data in a very easy to understand manner. (Source: Karthekayan Iyer)

Let’s talk about tracking. I’ve been using Activité Steel for well over two weeks now and I am amazed at the way it displays the fitness data. Withings Activité Steel tracks steps, distance, calories burnt and sleep (something we’ve come to expect from every fitness tracker), but it displays that data on a secondary dial in the form of percentage.

Withings Activité Steel, Withings Activité Steel review, Withings Activité Steel watch, Withings Activité Steel fitness watch, Withings Activité fitness watch, Withings Activité Steel price India, Withings Activité Steel specs The tracking is still done with the help of accelerometer like every other fitness tracker out there, and there is scope for error.

I found the step-tracking very much accurate, and the readings always came closer to one recorded by my smartwatch. Certainly, it records steps more precisely than the accelerometer packed into your smartphone, but it is definitely not perfect. The tracking is still done with the help of accelerometer like every other fitness tracker out there, and there is scope for error.

Withings also offers one of the finest finest tracking app. It represents data like you would do with a set of financial charts. The data can be read simply by scrolling fingers on those bar charts. Data is the key with any fitness tracker, and Withings represents the data most effectively. That’s not all, Withings also connects to several third-party services like MyFitnessPal, Fitbit to name a few.

Withings Activité Steel, Withings Activité Steel review, Withings Activité Steel watch, Withings Activité Steel fitness watch, Withings Activité fitness watch, Withings Activité Steel price India, Withings Activité Steel specs Withings, like other smartwatch makers, offers options to select wide array of strap.

Withings, like other smartwatch makers, offers the option to select from a wide array of straps for your Activité Steel. Since it is an 18mm strap, you can pair the watch with all sorts of other options available in the watch market.

What is not good?

I found the sleep tracking on Activité Steel somewhat lacking. It got my time-to-bed spot on, but was mostly wrong with my wake-up time. The sleep tracker does work automatically which is good, but it fails to register the time you wake-up during the sleep cycle. On the positive side, the data shown on the app detailing light sleep and deep sleep is very much in depth, and if you are someone curious about your sleep cycles, this metric will really come handy.

Another issue with Activité Steel was the sync time. Since I use another fitness tracker, my device’s bluetooth is always ON, and I found Activité took just too long to sync and asked for location every often to sync with Android Marshmallow.

Should you buy?

If you want a great looking watch that also does a little bit of fitness tracking, I think Withings Activité is a great option. It has that appeal to make your friends wonder what you are wearing on your wrist. If you haven’t worn a watch lately, this would be the most obvious place to start again.