Polar Loop Review
Long before Garmin got into the fitness tracker game and Fitbit made them a stylish new trend, Polar was already in the fitness tracking business. Their company was built on producing heart rate monitors for athletes and their governing bodies since the 1970s. It is only natural that they would eventually make the jump from providing high end heart rate monitors to providing wearables for even novice athletes to enjoy. The Polar Loop presented their first attempt at this as Polar’s very first wearable fitness tracker, and those familiar with Polar had extremely high hope for it. However, every first attempt must have room for improvement as we have seen from every single other brand, but how does Polar stand up with their Polar Loop? Find out in our Polar Loop Review
You can tell at just a glance that the Polar Loop borrows a lot for its aesthetic from fitness trackers that were already on the market. The hard rubber wristband sits innocuously on the wrist displaying an array of red LEDs that make up the display. With the touch of a button, it can activate the display and toggle which screen you are seeing. However, that button is occasionally difficult to find with just your fingers and even then so flat that it can almost be difficult to press. This makes switching or turning on the display while doing for intensive activities, like jogging, a bit more difficult than it should be since it will likely require you to stop or slow down in order to try to find and push the singular, but well hidden button on your wrist.
As for how the band clasps the wrist, it uses the old school metal buckle that folds in and out so that you can secure and remove the band as needed. While the design is nothing particularly stunning, that’s okay. For many who use fitness trackers seriously, the aesthetics of the design usually isn’t such a big deal. However, how the band secures and how snugly it fits can make or break whether the tracker gets used, this is why that old school metal clasp is such an odd choice.
What likely was a huge shock to buyers who don’t read a review first is the sheer size of the Polar Loop band. It is probably the perfect fit for a ham-fisted yeti, but no one else. It is not even a case of the band being designed for primarily men either, you could fit two adult-sized thick male wrists in the default fitting. However, while you can resize the band, you will pretty much be performing surgery on it by removing the clasp and actually cutting off a portion of band before reattaching the clasp. Unfortunately, athletes need to be careful to measure their wrist precisely because if you cut off too much, there is no going back. One nice feature is that Polar does replace the bands for free if that does happen, though.
If you have used other first time fitness trackers from other brands, then you should be pretty impressed with Polar’s first attempt. They packed a lot into the Loop that has only recently been figured out by other models. Waterproofing is the first notable example since even Fitbit only recently got that down in their products. Whether the Polar Loop is waterproof or water resistant, we may never know since the company uses the terms interchangeably, but the Loop is safe to wear in the shower as well as the pool.
For the actual display on the tracker, you have a few modes to choose from. The modes include the time of day, amount of time you have been active that day, number of calories burned, and the number of steps taken. While there are other features, you will have to visit the app or website to see those stats, which is nothing unusual for the LED display fitness tracker models since you can only fit so many LED lights on one wristband.
As for the app, it started off as iOS only, but has since gained an Android version, which is one great benefit of getting an older model. The interface of the app is nice and clean, but it isn’t really a show-stopper. However, one of the best bits of this particular app is that you can set daily goals and the tracker doesn’t just track them, but the app gives you updated suggestions of what you can do to reach those daily goals from any point in your day. It also gives you inactivity alerts, but since the wristband itself doesn’t vibrate or anything this means you have to actually look at your phone.
As well as fitness goal-reaching tips, the app gives you the added function of monitoring your sleep, but you know what is strangely missing from a product made by Polar? A heart rate monitor. They make wearable heart rate monitors for athletes, but they didn’t include it in their first fitness tracker. They did provide the ability to connect with a heart monitor chest strap, but that pretty much doubles the price of the product.
The final feature to mention is the battery life. While the Polar Loop fails in other areas, its battery remains pretty standard with it holding around a five day charge. The less you use the display, the longer the battery will last. However, with the battery life of screened models getting longer these days, how long will it be before five days is paltry?
For a first stab into the world of fitness trackers, the Polar Loop did an admirable job. However, it feels like the brand, one that is already well known for its athletic wearables, was really just testing the waters here. The fact that a company that makes heart rate monitors didn’t include one in their first fitness tracker, but still made it able to sync to one looks a lot like they were just sticking a toe in.
However, if a heart rate monitor isn’t among your basic needs of a fitness tracker or you already have a chest strap laying around, since the Polar Loop is older in the life cycle, it has become extremely affordable. If you are new to fitness trackers or even just want some basic functionality with a really nice app to look over your stats, then the Polar Loop makes for an affordable choice.