Monday, 2 June 2014

[Review] Polar Loop

Wearables come in all shapes and sizes nowadays.
Some are revolutionary , bringing forth a whole new way of perceiving the world we live in , others bring attention to our everyday doings and un-doings.

Polar loop fits in the later category but with an edge of their own.
The loop can be categorized as a "activity tracker", worn on the wrist of your choice .
(and yes , you can get it in different colours)
Once charged via the unique USB cable , downloading the app (Now available for Android), pairing via bluetooth and  activated by creating a Polar Account you are all set to go .
Now let's open this box of pandoras.
For interaction the loop has one button on the face-side , just next to the display which is used to check time, steps taken, calories burned and progress toward your daily activity goals.
This button is also used when syncing the loop with your smartwatch with the Polar Flow app.
More of these features later on.
In the box you get the loop itself, a measuring band for the wristband  (helps a lot cutting it to the right lenght), USB charging/sync cable and a tool to put together the wristband with the spring-pins.

Being a child of the '80s assembling the loop made me feel quite nostalgic.
Pusing the spring-pins until they bolted uncontrollably through the air reminded me of many a lost pin in my childhood.
The build quality of the loop is very good.
A combination of rubberized plastic and a clip as seen in wristwatches makes this one easy to get used to on your wrist.
Fits secure and nicely once strap is adjusted to the right lenght.
The Polar Flow app setup is pretty straighforward : age , lenght and weight are fed into the app as is your excercise rate.



Your daily movement goals are then set from these criterias.
The app itself then keeps track of your progress, alerts when you have been 'inactive' for an unhealthy amount of time and it eveb gathers stats of your sleeping hours.
The animations on the display of the loop are nice , kind of like billboard dotted letters and numbers and a little surprise for when you reach your set goal for the day.

Now it doesn't stop here, there's more.
Online we got the web-version of Polar Flow .

Here you get your daily stats and there's also the possibility to use the Polar H7 heartsensor which we reviewed earlier to gather your workout data into the same place.
There is also the possibility to follow other people , taking part in their workouts, routes and see how they do it.
Privacy options are available for your personal account, so you do have the possibility to opt-out of all the social interactivity bits and pieces online if you like.

Pretty cool features if you ask me.
During this review the Polar Loop was worn as much as possible during 4 days combining regular it-worker-parent days and a weekend .
I discovered playing with the kids on the lawn actually has more benefits than just having fun, it really boosted my stats on the activity bar.
I also quite frequently started looking at my daily progress on the loop itself via the display which might be why the battery lasted 3 days on the first charge.
According to the manual up to 6 days of battery time is promised.

The Polar loop is a good piece of activity tracker.
Nicely designed and good quality .
Polar is a company contending for the top spot in training accessories no doubt and with the pace they are keeping i believe the competitors need to really step up their game to catch up.
So the verdict then :
Pros:
- Sleek design, low weight and discreet display.
- Accuracy seems good on step counter and sleep tracker.
- Sync works good on Android devices, no force closes or other strangeness.
- Waterproof, no worries bringing this one into the shower or while swimming.
Cons:
- None really, future versions will maybe add more features as the likes of Polar V800 ?

Big Sunshinefilled thanks to the Polar team for having Androidistica review the Polar Loop.