I’ve been wearing the Polar Loop for the past couple of weeks, and it has been tracking my every movement… and non-movement. Polar has jumped into the fitness tracking device pool with this latest product and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one (actually two, click here if you want to win the second one) of these hot selling items.
The Loop ships in a nice simple package with the wrist device, a USB cord for charging and syncing, and a small tool for adjusting the band. The simple instructions get you started with sizing your wrist, and adjusting the strap to fit. This process was really simple – I measured my wrist with the included “tape” which told me how many segments of the rubber band to cut off. I have a pretty low risk tolerance so I didn’t cut them all off at once. I tried a few times, cutting another segment off each time until it fit. Once you cut off a piece, it doesn’t go back on!
Once I had the device sized for my little wrists, I put it on. I was really impressed with how comfortable the Loop is. I have used other “wear all day” activity monitors and found them to be stiff and uncomfortable. Most the band on the loop is flexible and it fits more like a watch.
The next step was to plug the Loop into my computer, and sync it to my Polar Flow account. This allowed me to setup my height, weight, age, and other data the Loop uses to calculate my daily requirements and calories burned estimates. Once I had entered my settings and sync’ed the Loop, it was ready to use.
The Loop has a single touch button on one side of the display. You can use this button to view the time as well as your daily steps, calories burned, and target activity achievement. These are the metrics you have access to while you’re going about your day, but the Loop is tracking much more than this.
To access all the data my Loop was recording, I sync’ed it both to the Polar Flow online service on my computer, and the Polar Flow iOS app. The online Polar Flow site and the app provide the same data. The key difference was that I had to use a cable to sync to a computer, but I could sync to the app via a bluetooth connection. Once the Polar Loop data is downloaded to the Flow application, you can access much more information. Polar Flow breaks down your day into activity intensities based on the level of action the Loop senses. Based on the intensity of activity it gave feedback on the amount of time spent sitting, sleeping, and gives inactivity alerts when I sat still for too long. The Flow application also provided feedback on the benefits of my activity each day, and tips on how to improve (ie: break up all the sitting). This was actually a very interesting way to evaluate my days activities, and especially to see where my issues are. For example, I have a desk job, so this told me if I was getting up and moving around frequently enough.
Another unique feature about the Polar Loop is that you can use it with a bluetooth enable heart rate monitor. Unfortunately my Polar H7 bluetooth monitor has been unavailable so I haven’t been able to test this feature. I do think this would be useful to give a better idea of energy burned during the day.
Finally, in terms of battery power I had no issues with the Polar Flow. It would last for days without requiring a charge, and charged quite rapidly when needed.
If you are looking to get a better sense of your overall level of activity each day, I would suggest the Polar Loop as an option. It is very unobtrusive and actually quite comfortable to wear (and can double as a watch). It provided a very interesting perspective on my daytime (and nighttime activity) and how that affected my fitness.