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Withings Steel HR vs. Fitbit Blaze

Product Comparisons, Shopping

Fitbit is arguably the dominant player in the fitness wearables arena. If you’re looking for an activity tracker, you might instinctively restrict your search to that brand. But don’t rule out other options just yet.

We’re giving you the rundown on Fitbit’s fitness tracking smartwatch, the Fitbit Blaze, and the comparable Withings Steel HR. Here’s what we found:

The fashionable Steel HR costs $20 less than the Blaze, is waterproof and has a superior battery life. The Blaze is not waterproof, but is equipped with a more engaging display and bonus capabilities like GPS tracking.

The trackers: At a glance

 Withings Steel HRFitbit Blaze
Price$179.95$199.95
ColorBlack, whiteBlack, blue, plum, slim pink/gold, black/gunmetal
DisplayAnalog dial with mini OLED screenColor LCD touchscreen
Heart rate monitoringYesYes
Sleep monitoringYesYes
Swim proofYesNo
GPSNoYes, via connected smartphone
NotificationsYesYes
Music controlsNoYes
Battery lifeUp to 25 daysUp to 5 days
CompatibilityiOS, AndroidiOS, Android, Windows
Buy on Amazon
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Design

The Withings Steel HR looks like a traditional watch. It has a black silicone band and a round, steel-framed analog face in a choice of white or black. A small, circular OLED screen within the larger face displays your stats and alerts.

The Fitbit Blaze matches the standard smartwatch description. It has a square LCD color touchscreen and a thick band. You can choose among several digital or analog clock faces to display. The Blaze offers five color options and an interchangeable band to suit a variety of styles.

The Steel HR is sold in 36 mm and 40 mm face sizes. The Blaze band comes in small, large or extra large.

» MORE: Fitbit comparison: Which Fitbit activity tracker is best for you?

Features

Withings Steel HR

The Steel HR boasts an impressive battery life of up to 25 days, and survives an extra 20 days when in power reserve mode. The device takes two hours to fully recharge.

withings-steel-hr

Withings Steel HR

The Steel HR monitors your heart rate during a variety of workouts. The smartwatch detects when you walk, run, swim and sleep, offering constant monitoring day and night. The tracker is water resistant up to 50 meters and tracks more than 10 activities — such as table tennis, volleyball and dancing — using automatic and learned recognition. This smart feature helps the tracker learn your movements and recognize specific activities.

The watch’s sleep monitor tracks your sleep cycles, how long you sleep and how often you wake up. You can also use it to set a silent, vibrating alarm. In addition to sleep, heart rate and activities, the Steel HR tracks steps, distance and calories burned. View your personalized report in the free Health Mate app after a workout to check your stats. The Steel HR displays smartphone notifications, too. It has a “personal assistant” feature that sends you call, text and event alerts.

Fitbit Blaze

The Fitbit Blaze mirrors the Steel HR in many ways. It too offers all-day activity and sleep tracking, a silent alarm and call, text and calendar alerts. The tracker monitors your daily steps, distance and calories burned, in addition to active and inactive minutes. The Blaze also tracks sports such as running, biking and weightlifting. And using its SmartTrack feature, the device automatically recognizes certain workouts as you do them. Check your stats in the free Fitbit app.

fitbit-blaze

Fitbit Blaze

The Blaze piles on a few extra features. For example, it has connected GPS, instructional on-screen workouts, workout summaries, hourly reminders to move and music controls that let you play, pause or skip songs on your connected smartphone. It’s resistant to splashes, but not suitable for swimming.

The Blaze’s battery runs for up to five days on a full charge, which is long lasting, yet still five times shorter than the Steel HR’s. The tracker takes one to two hours to charge completely.

» MORE: Apple Watch Series 2 vs. Series 1

Price

The two activity trackers fall within the same price range. The Withings Steel HR starts at $179.95 for the 36 mm version on the manufacturer’s site. The 40 mm Steel HR sells for $199.95. Each sized Fitbit Blaze costs $199.95 for the standard colors or $229.95 for the special edition black and gunmetal or slim pink and gold colors on the company’s site. We recommend comparing prices at retailers like Amazon before you buy.

The verdict

The Withings Steel HR and the Fitbit Blaze are close in cost and functionality. So which one should you pick?

The Steel HR is a stylish and subtle activity tracker with an exceptional battery life. If you’re looking for a watch you can wear at all times, including in the pool, this waterproof device is the clear-cut choice.

Those looking for an interactive display and ramped-up fitness features like connected GPS tracking and step-by-step workout instructions might find the Blaze more appealing.

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Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.