Both the Garmin Vivomove Sport and Withings Steel HR can be picked up for less than $200, but which one is the better hybrid smartwatch for the money?
The Vivomove Sport launched in January 2022 and is Garmin’s cheapest hybrid smartwatch. The wearable is designed for those who prefer a traditional watch design but don’t want to miss out on some smart features. It is not without competition, however. For example, there is the similarly priced Withings Steel HR, a.k.a. the Nokia Steel HR, that was released back in December 2017.
Hybrid smartwatches are not as popular as fully-fledged smartwatches, but there are a few brands that are invested in the category. Garmin and Withings are two of the big names but there is also Fossil, which is better known for its Wear OS smartwatches, such as the Skagen Falster Gen 6. Although the options are somewhat limited, there are still brands catering to this section of the wearables market.
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The Garmin Vivomove Sport has a 40mm round dial enclosed in a fiber-reinforced polymer case while the Withings Steel HR is available in 36mm and 40mm versions with a stainless steel case and chrome indexes. Inside the dial of Garmin’s watch is an OLED touch display that remains out of sight until needed. In contrast, Withings has gone with an LED display that is permanently visible. The Steel HR also has a mechanical subdial and a button for operating the watch. Both smartwatches come with silicone straps and have a 5 ATM water-resistant rating. The Vivomove Sport can be bought in Cool Mint, Black, Cocoa, and Ivory color options and costs $179.99. The Withings Steel HR is priced at $179.95 and can be purchased in Black or White.
Garmin Vivomove Sport Or Withings Steel HR?
While both the Withings Steel HR and Garmin Vivomove Sport feature a heart rate sensor, only the Garmin watch can measure blood oxygen saturation. It can also track stress, women’s health, sleep, respiration (even while sleeping), and can log fluid intake. Garmin’s signature Body Battery feature which shows the user’s energy levels is also included. The Withings Steel HR can track sleep cycles as well, but lacks support for stress and women’s health. Although the Steel HR displays notifications from apps, calls and text messages (in a scrolling format), the Vivomove Sport can display more content on the screen at the same time. Garmin also provides support for replying to texts directly from the watch (on Android devices).
Withings claims the Steel HR can track walking, running, cycling, and swimming exercises, with support for automatic detection in some cases. Garmin’s watch comes preloaded with apps for yoga, strength, cardio, and swimming, and can track running and cycling activities as well. Thanks to the built-in incident detection, the Vivomove Sport is also capable of automatically sending the user’s live location when an accident happens. Even though there’s no built-in GPS on either watch, they can both connect to a phone with GPS to accurately track outdoor activities. Garmin says the Vivomove Sport has a 5-day battery life and that a quick 15-minute charge adds an additional day’s usage. However, this is nothing compared to the Withings Steel HR’s impressive 25-day battery.
Overall, the Withings Steel HR boasts a better build with its stainless steel case (resulting in a heavier design), significantly better battery life, and comes in two sizes, but it is missing some important features like a blood oxygen sensor. Not to mention, the display isn’t as advanced either. The Garmin Vivomove Sport is lighter, has better smart and health features, and comes in more color options, but suffers from poor battery life. Ultimately, which of these hybrid smartwatches is the better buy will come down to which of the missing features are most important to the buyer.
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Source: Withings, Garmin
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