The Garmin Vivomove Sport and Withings Steel HR can both be had for less than $200, but what’s the best hybrid smartwatch for the price?
The Vivomove Sport launched in January 2022 and is Garmin’s cheapest hybrid smart watch. The wearable is designed for those who prefer a traditional watch design but don’t want to miss out on some smart features. However, it is not without competition. For example, there’s the similarly priced Withings Steel HR, aka the Nokia Steel HR, which launched in December 2017.
Hybrid smartwatches aren’t as popular as full-fledged smartwatches, but a few brands are investing in the category. Garmin and Withings are two of the big names, but there’s also Fossil, which is best known for its Wear OS smartwatches, like the Skagen Falster Gen 6. Although the options are somewhat limited, there are still brands that meet to this section of the wearables market.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport has a 40mm round dial enclosed in a fiber-reinforced polymer case while the Withings Steel HR comes in 36mm and 40mm versions with a stainless steel case and chrome indexes. Inside Garmin’s watch face is an OLED touchscreen that stays out of sight until you need it. On the other hand, Withings has opted for a permanently visible LED screen. The Steel HR also has a mechanical sub-dial and a button to operate the watch. Both smartwatches come with silicone straps and have a water resistance rating of 5 ATM. The Vivomove Sport can be purchased 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 the Withings Steel HR and Garmin Vivomove Sport have a heart rate sensor, only the Garmin watch can measure blood oxygen saturation. It can also track stress, female health, sleep, breathing (even while sleeping) and record fluid intake. Garmin’s Body Battery feature, which shows the user’s energy levels, is also included. The Withings Steel HR can also track sleep cycles, but does not track stress and women’s health. While the Steel HR displays app, call, and text notifications (in a scrolling format), the Vivomove Sport can display more content onscreen at the same time. Garmin also supports replying to text messages directly from the watch (on Android devices).
Withings says the Steel HR can track walking, running, cycling, and swimming workouts, with support for autodetect in some cases. The Garmin watch comes preloaded with apps for yoga, strength, cardio and swimming, and can also track running and cycling activities. With built-in incident detection, the Vivomove Sport is also able to automatically send the user’s live location when an accident occurs. Even though there is no built-in GPS on both watches, they can both connect to a phone with GPS to accurately track outdoor activities. Garmin claims the Vivomove Sport has a 5-day battery life, and a 15-minute quick charge adds an extra day of use. However, that’s nothing compared to the Withings Steel HR’s impressive 25-day battery.
Overall, the Withings Steel HR boasts better construction with its stainless steel case (resulting in a heavier design), significantly better battery life, and comes in two sizes, but it lacks some important features like a blood oxygen sensor. Not to mention that the display isn’t quite 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. In the end, which of these hybrids smart watches is the best buy will depend on which missing features are most important to the buyer.
NEXT: Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus smartwatch is all about health and style
Source: Withings, Garmin
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