First off, I want to clarify that this is my personal and unbiased review of the Polar Loop. What you are about to read are the ESSENTIAL facts you need to know before you grab Polar’s new activity tracker for yourself.
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I should let you know that I’ve been looking for the perfect activity tracker for about six months now. My old running watch is a bit of a dinosaur, and so I’ve been on the lookout for one of the new breed of fitness and activity trackers.
After doing tons of research, I was all set to buy the Nike+ Fuelband. Then a friend of mine, who writes for a Sports Magazine, got hold of a test copy of the soon-to-be-released Polar Loop. He let me check it out for a few days, and I’ve scratched the Nike off my list and I’m getting a Polar Loop the moment it comes out. It’s really that good.
The Loop comes as a smart black rubber bracelet, with a stainless steel clasp buckle and a stylish inset LED display. It arrives in an XXXXL size, and there’s a neat wrist tape measure included which you use to find the exact size of your wrist. You undo the clasp, cut the Polar Loop to the correct size with a pair of scissors, reassemble – and you’re all set to go. It’s very easy and took less than 2 minutes to do, including checking my wrist and the correct length of the Loop twice, just to make sure I’d got it right.
The Polar Loop performs beautifully out of the box and is super-easy to understand and use. It has a single button on the front, next to the LED display, which you tap lightly to navigate through the different features.
Time: Easy to do, you set your local time via your mobile or Smartphone.
Steps: This monitors the number of steps you take in any period you determine and also throughout the day.
Actv: This shows you how long you’ve been awake, and then displays how much activity time and exercise time you’ve accumulated since you woke up, with the ability to tell the difference between five different types of exercise, ranging from gentle walking to running. Because the Loop is waterproof up to a depth of 20 meters, it also monitors exercise you do in the water as well. Perfect for me, as I’m an avid swimmer and surfer.
Goal: You set your own goals for each day, and the Loop gives instant motivational feedback, letting you know what you’ve achieved and what you should do in order to reach your goal, such as run for 30 minutes, walk for an hour, or even do some cleaning or cooking! When you achieve a goal, the screen gives a little fireworks display and flashes the word ‘Goal’.
Cals: Pretty straightforward this one, showing you how many calories you’ve burnt off throughout the day.
Sleep: The Polar Loop monitors the time you slept, and even wishes you ‘Sweet Dreams’ before you fall asleep – a bit cutesy for my taste, but some may like it.
Heart: Polar have come up with a unique system which allows you to pair the Loop to any Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate device you own. You simply put the two together, push the Loop’s button, and it adds the Heart metric to its features. That means that as well as showing your heart rate any time you want, the Loop also tracks heart activity throughout the day and adds activities such as cycling to your daily exercise tally – something no other tracker can do. This feature also allows for personalized feedback on exercise routines, based on your heart capacity, age and performance level. Pretty neat.
Polar Flow Website and App
As well as the Loop, Polar are releasing a new website and app, called Polar Flow. All you need to do is sync your Loop via Bluetooth Smart; however at first, there will only be an iPhone app, so you’ll need an iPhone 4s or newer to use this feature. Polar will be making this available for other Androids, however, in a few months’ time.
With your Polar Loop all synced up, the app and website give you a cool-looking and comprehensive daily overview chart. This gives a breakdown of your different activity periods, Sleeping, Sitting, Standing, Walking, and Running, as well as information on your Goal status and what you need to do to achieve your next Goal.
You can also check your monthly overview, which looks exactly like a calendar page, and shows you each day’s total activity time, and how much of each daily goal you achieved as a percentage. It also gives you end-of-the-week totals for sleep, calories burnt and goal achievement, and it displays how much time you spent that month on the five major activities, all displayed in a neat bar chart.
My one gripe with the Polar Loop is that it only comes in black – although there will be a pink version coming out in the New Year. I know my wife would love one of these, but she’s not a big fan of black, so it would have been nice to have another choice from the get-go.
All in all, though, the Polar Loop is a great piece of equipment, competitively priced, and one I think is well worth the cost. The look, the design and the new features make it feel really cutting-edge, and an exciting addition to my exercise routines.