AH, HELLO old friend, we've missed you.
After a spectacular fall from grace when Nokia realised that its purchase of Withings might mean it had to try, the company is now back with its original owner, original name, a new owner, and a new watch.
The first product under the re-re-branded Withings is called the Steel HR Sport. It's essentially an upgraded version of the Steel HR, the last smartwatch released with the original logo, just after the takeover, but packs a lot more into the same design language.
First and foremost, there's GPS, so you can record your route, even if you don't have your phone with you. There's also oxygen intake monitoring.
The stalwarts of Withings past - the analogue face, the heart rate monitoring from the original HR, notifications on the embedded digital screen, and the increasingly ubiquitous sleep monitoring - are all present and correct, but it all smells a bit of fudge.
The straps are sporty, but the watch itself is woefully inadequate for most athletes who need far more than a tiny display. Of course, the data is all synced with the Health Mate app, but a real athlete is likely to want to see that info in just that - real time.
Then there are the notifications - both the Steel HR (via an update) and the Steel HR Sport can now display information for around a hundred apps, but the scrolling message is something you won't be able to focus on when running unless you hook your entire arm to a Gimbel.
We're yet to see the watch in the flesh and so are reluctant to be too hasty, but we're not sure who this is actually for, beyond people that want to be able to sit in the pub and tell their mates how ‘well into sports they are'.
Nevertheless, it's nice to have Withings back and we really hope they can recapture their former glory. Whether it's with this, we're less convinced. If you want to take a deep dive, it's out now from £189.99 with a choice of straps (which will nudge that figure up depending on your taste).
Who knows, maybe now we'll finally see that smart hairbrush no one was waiting for. μ
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