Are You in The (Polar) Loop?

DISCLOSURE: The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar. But all of the opinions and every single step logged on my new Polar Loop are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

I like data. This is no surprise. I like to analyze Web traffic (bounce rates! inbound links!) and read the footnotes of medical studies and pore over statistics from my workouts, especially when it comes to running.

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(Every once in a while, I realize that the measuring and tracking takes the fun away and I give myself a running digital detox — I go out with no monitors or watches or GPS apps and just soak it all in. It really helps reset things.)

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I’ve long worn a GPS watch when I work out — I even reviewed the Polar Rc3 a while ago. So when Polar offered me the chance to test drive its new Polar Loop device, I jumped at it. A few bullets about the Loop:

  • It can connect with Polar Flow, a free online tracking service and iPhone app (the Android version is coming soon) that syncs via Bluetooth.
  • It’s waterproof, even for swimming (!!!!!) and can actually tell the difference between activities like sleeping, walking, running and more.
  • The Loop is designed to be worn 24 hours a day.
  • The device tracks activity goals, calories burned, steps taken and more (it also shows time of day so it replaces a watch).

One of the things that really excites me is that you can use an optional (and additional) heart rate monitor to get “credit” for exercises that the bracelet might not pick up, like cycling.

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The way I work out, I had some days where I hit my goal in an hour — half marathon training is no joke! — and others where I really struggled. On those days, I definitely changed my routine to get more steps in. For example, I walked to work when I might have driven (I work across the street from the studio where we tape our daily TV show). And I ran up to my daughter’s daycare and took a long route back.

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The Loop also gives you inactivity alerts if you’ve been sitting for too long … when I got those, I would get up and walk around my office for a few laps or do some push-ups. What’s cool is that as you get close to and then reach goal, the Loop celebrates with little fireworks and party icons.

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When you sync up the stats with the online Polar Flow program or iPhone app, you get cool graphs and wheels that show how your activity changes through the day, and you get a few paragraphs of analysis. My Yardstick meeting attendees will attest to the fact that one of my go-to sources on all things fitness/health is the World Health Organization, and Polar Loop is the only tracker that compares activity levels with guidelines from the WHO.

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Two drawbacks:

  • The setup process was a bit difficult to figure out — the instructions that come in the box are just safety and warranty details. To get the Loop up and running, you go to a website that’s printed on a small piece of paper. Well, I thought I’d lost it and tried googling to find the website…and couldn’t. Thankfully, I found the slip and was able to get going but that was confusing.
  • The charger is very specific to the Loop. It has a USB end that goes into your computer, but the end that attaches to the Loop is unlike anything else I have, so if I lose or misplace it, I’m in trouble.

I was pleasantly surprised by the battery life — it lasts several days without a charge and even when it started to give me warnings, it hung on for a good long time. I brought the Loop with me to my out-of-town 5K over the weekend and on Friday, it asked me to charge it. Well, I’d forgotten the cord, and while the lights got less and less bright as the hours went by, it actually survived through Sunday morning before dying.

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The Loop retails for $109.95 (the heart rate monitor is extra) and right now comes in black, but I’m told a pink version with white LEDs is coming early next year.

DISCLOSURE: The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar. But all of the opinions and every single step logged on my new Polar Loop are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Comments

  1. 2

    says

    I’m a total numbers nerd too. On any given day I may have my Body Media FIT band, the wii pedometer, and my GPS on at the same time, haha! I reaaaaally want to try the Polar Loop next!

  2. 5

    says

    I’ve heard rumors of this, and haven’t purchased a fitbit because I was thinking about getting this one, we’ll see if I finally bite the bullet. I wish they had better colors, I’m not much for black, and pink isn’t my style either.

  3. 6

    says

    Perfect timing for this review! I’m a total numbers geek too and love the data (like you, every once in a while I run data-free, but it’s painful!). Anyway, my 3rd garmin broke yesterday, and I’ve been thinking about changing it up. How accurate do you find this for monitoring your running? How comfortable (or not) is the heart rate strap? I’ve only worn the garmin one once!

  4. 7

    says

    OMG! This is awesome, I’m looking for an polar for a while and I think this is the one, I really like the design, now I know what to ask from “Santa” this year. ;-)

  5. 8

    Debbie Singh says

    Hi Katy, this isn’t as much a comment as it is a question. I’m having difficulties showing distance in the polar loop flow on the computer. Do you have any idea what settings I need to change for this to reflect? The computer will show me total steps walked for the past few days but will not show it for a single day. Is this something you can help me with? Thank you!

    • 9

      says

      Debbie,

      That’s not normally something I look at, so I had to dig — and you’re right that it’s not intuitive AT ALL. I was able to get some success going to the Diary link https://flow.polar.com/diary and clicking the weekly summary. From there, I clicked an individual day and scrolled down to the bottom to see how many steps I’d taken.

      Let me know if that works, and if not — I’ll ask Polar for some guidance.

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