Withings has returned as its own company after a short stint under Nokia, and it’s brought out some new fitness trackers to take on the top contenders. The $ 129 Withings Pulse HR looks and acts much like Fitbit’s Alta HR: its svelte, rectangular module tracks heart rate all day and night as well as daily activity and workouts.
Plenty of fitness trackers have debuted in the past couple of years, but the Alta HR remains our top pick for most users. Withings is hoping to dethrone it in the minds of the public by offering a device that’s even more subtle in design and promises weeks of battery life. But those things aren’t achievable without sacrifices, and the options Withings left out of the Pulse HR may deter some from choosing it.
The Pulse HR may be nondescript, but that doesn’t mean it’s not solid. Stainless steel makes up most of the module, along with a polycarbonate surface coating that makes the top part soft to the touch. The OLED display is only as big as it has to be—it doesn’t take up the entire flat surface of the modular, rather only the middle third or so.