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Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR (2022): Which Hybrid Watch Should You Get?

While smartwatches battle it out with their all-digital interface, Withings’ lineup of wearables takes a different route by adopting a hybrid design. This combination of analog and digital sets the likes of the Withings ScanWatch and Withing Steel HR apart. However, next to each other, the watches are almost identical in aesthetics. How are these wearables different, and which one should you buy? Below, we compare the two to find out the answers.

Apple Watch SE in 2022
Apple Watch SE in 2022

Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR Comparison Chart

ModelWithings ScanWatchWithings Steel HR
 
Price
Sizes38mm, 42mm36mm, 40mm
DisplayAnalog dial with a PMOLED screenAnalog dial with a PMOLED screen
Battery Life30 days; +20 additional days in power reserve mode25 days; +20 additional days in power reserve mod
Charge Time1 to 2 hours1 to 2 hours
Water RatingUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
SensorsExclusive multi-wavelength PPG heart rate/SpO2 sensor

Stainless steel electrodes

High precision MEMS 3-axis accelerometer
Heart rate infrared sensor

Day & Night motion sensor

High precision MEMS 3-axis accelerometer

Low power consumption
Activities Detected3936
Built-in GPSNoNo
Sleep TrackingYesYes
ECGYesNo
SpO2 MonitoringYesNo
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Operating Temperature-20°C to 85°C (4°F to 185°)-10°C to 45°C (14°F to 113°)

Design and Models

The Withings ScanWatch has larger models and more varied dial colors than the Withings Steel HR.

Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR Design and Models
The Withings ScanWatch (left) and Steel HR (right) come in a variety of colors and strap designs

Withings has carved a niche in the smartwatch market through the hybrid design of its wearables, including the ScanWatch and Steel HR. Both feature an analog dial with hands for hours and minutes. Inside the analog dial are two subdials. The upper subdial is a PMOLED screen that displays smartphone notifications and user metrics. Below the digital screen is an analog subdial that shows progress towards daily activity goals.

Although the watch face layout is identical, the Withings ScanWatch comes in bigger sizes — 38mm and 42mm, to be specific. Meanwhile, the Withing Steel HR is available in 36mm and 40mm models. The higher-end ScanWatch also features a scratch-resistant Sapphire Glass for screen protection, while the Steel HR uses Corning Gorilla Glass. Both devices come with fluoroelastomer wristbands as their default straps.

Models

The ScanWatch comes in six models — four for the 38mm variant and two for the 43mm option. These are labeled based on the case and dial color. For the 38mm Scanwatch, you can choose from White & Silver, White & Rose Gold, Blue & Rose Gold, and Black & Silver. With the 43mm ScanWatch, you can opt for White & Silver and Black & Silver.

Compatible straps also depend on the size you get. If you choose the 38mm model, strap options include premium sport, sporty silicone, leather, and PET bands. You have similar strap materials for the 42mm ScanWatch but with limited style or color choices.

Meanwhile, the Withings Steel HR comes in Regular and Sports editions. The Regular model is available in 36mm and 40mm sizes. In contrast, the Sports edition only comes in 40mm.

For the 36mm Steel HR Regular, users can choose between Black or White dial colors. However, the case is only available in silver stainless steel. If you choose the 40mm variant, the case is silver stainless steel, but the analog dial only comes in black. Like the ScanWatch, wristbands come in several materials and styles, with more options for the 36mm model.

With the Steel HR Sports, the case only comes in black. Nonetheless, you can choose from Black or White dial colors. Wristbands are also limited to a few leather and silicone options.

Health Features

The Withings ScanWatch offers more health monitoring tools than the Withings Steel HR.

Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR Health Features
Monitor and share heart health with the ScanWatch (left); get insights about your sleep with the Steel HR (right)

Withings is known for its premium health monitoring devices, and its watches are no different. But instead of packing the wearables with sensors, Withings focuses on accuracy. This is true for the ScanWatch, which boasts more health features than the Steel HR. The latter only monitors sleep and heart rate.

The ScanWatch, on the other hand, tracks heart rate, blood oxygen level, ECG, sleep, and breathing rate. Although these are also monitored by Apple Watch and Fitbit trackers, Withings claims its wearable does things better. Developed with cardiologists and sleep experts, the ScanWatch is the first hybrid smartwatch with a clinically validated oximeter and ECG.

With the oximeter, the Withings ScanWatch can carry out a Respiratory Wellness Scan. This feature tracks oxygen saturation, heart rate, breathing frequency, and movement as you sleep. Using a proprietary algorithm, the watch detects breathing disturbances to help manage your sleep better. Meanwhile, the ECG can monitor for detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib) and send readings directly to your doctor through the HealthMate app.

Sports and Fitness Tracking

Withings’ ScanWatch has a slight edge in sports and fitness tracking over the Steel HR.

Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR Sports and Fitness Tracking
Use the ScanWatch for your daily workouts (left); connect the Steel HR to your phone’s GPS to track running routes (right)

With their stainless steel cases and water-resistant sports bands, the Withings ScanWatch and Steel HR are suited for fitness tracking. The ScanWatch detects 39 activities while the Steel HR can monitor 30. Some modes common to the two include Walking, Hiking, Cycling, Weights, Tennis, and Pilates. Both watches can also automatically detect 13 of their supported activities.

The heart rate monitoring of the watches extends to workouts. You can also get details about your fitness level through VO2 Max estimation. Both the ScanWatch and Steel HR also tracks steps and distance. However, the ScanWatch does the Steel HR better by monitoring elevation or floors climbed. For those managing their weight, the wearables monitor metabolic calories and total caloric expenditure as well.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The ScanWatch and Steel HR are tied when it comes to smart features. In terms of battery life, however, the ScanWatch wins.

Withings ScanWatch vs Steel HR Smart Features and Battery Life
Compatible apps with the HealthMate app (left); message notifications on the digital dial of the Withings Steel HR (right)

Unlike most smartwatches, Withings’ hybrid devices don’t have an app store. You also miss out on typical smartwatch features like music control, customizable watch faces, or even weather updates. Fortunately, call, text, app, and calendar alerts are available. But given the small digital subdial, these smart notifications aren’t the most legible or intuitive.

For the most part, Withings makes up for this with its compatibility. The HealthMate app allows users to sync their fitness and health data with Apple Health, Fitbit, Google Fit, and Strava.

As for battery life, the larger ScanWatch offers up to 30 days of use on a single charge. On the other hand, the Steel HR can last 25 days with normal use and 25 days in workout mode. Both devices have a power reserve mode for an additional 20 days of battery life, although features are limited to time and activity tracking only.

Verdict

The Withings ScanWatch is a better hybrid watch than the Withings Steel HR.

There is no mistaking that the Withings ScanWatch is better than the Withings Steel HR. In terms of design, it offers a larger dial and subdial, which makes readings slightly more legible. With a Sapphire Glass screen, it’s more durable, too. However, the ScanWatch takes the lead in its health features. The Steel HR is limited to heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.

Meanwhile, the ScanWatch adds ECG, SpO2 monitoring, and breathing rate. This makes it a more comprehensive health and fitness device. That also means it’s more expensive. If you can live without the added health sensors, the Steel HR is a solid, budget alternative.

FAQs

📌 What is the key difference between the Withings ScanWatch and Withing Steel HR?

The Withings ScanWatch comes in larger 38 and 42mm models than the Steel HR’s 36mm and 40mm variants. The ScanWatch also boasts an ECG sensor and an oximeter.

📌 How long is the warranty of the Withings ScanWatch?

The Withings ScanWatch comes with a two-year warranty.

📌 Does the Withings Steel HR have an alarm function?

Yes. The Withings Steel HR has an alarm function that provides a slight vibration to wake you up at the desired time.

📌 What devices can I pair with the Withings Steel HR?

The Withings Steel HR can be paired with a smartphone or tablet running on either iOS 14 or higher or Android 8.0 or higher.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.