The overall verdict
The Polar loop is the Finish companies first try in the activity tracker market. And i must say, it is a very successful first try. From it's waterproof, durable design to it's compatibility to pair it with a heart rate monitor, it has so many options to target your daily workout.
Another great thing is that the polar flow app is now available on android and itunes appstore. The good thing about polar is that they keep updating the software as well which makes the user friendliness of the product better and better. The only catch is that Polar take their time releasing new software, but they want to make sure all the apps and software work without any glitches.
Full test review
When you buy the polar loop, you find 4 items in the box:
a) The polar loop
b) The loop charger
c) A cardboard card (which doubles up as a ruler and instruction card
d) Metal tool (to remove the arm strap pins)
The first task in to cut the strap to the correct dimensions. The original strap is huge and definitely will have to be cut to size. This is a different system as most other brands which can be bought in different sizes, but the positive thing is that you can make it exactly to the right dimension of your wrist.
The cutting process has to be done carefully in order not to make it to small. Once this is complete, you can start with the initial setting up by attaching the charger to the inside of the polar loop.
The unit gives you in the following sequence information. Each time you press the button, you scroll to a different display
a) Time: It will show the time of day,just to what is set on your computer or phone. If you sync the unit, it will also sync the time. So if you travel a lot abroad, once you sync it to your phone at your new destination, it will also update the time
b) Actv: This shows you a bar which fills up slowly during the day showing your progress towards your goal. After the bar, it will show you the "TOGO" field which tells you how much effort is required to get to your goal. It will tell you how much time you have to spend by further activities. " jog" would be high activity exercise ,"walk" be medium exercise and "up" be low exercise.
c) Cals: It also tells you calories burned. This includes your baseline basic metabolic calorie burn that you’d have just for being alive.
d) Steps: speaks for itself, how many steps did you take so far.
OK, the reason why i said i have been using it with great success, it REALLY motivates you. There have been evenings where i was ready for bed and looked at my ACTV bar which was just not fully full, it would actually push me to reach my goal by exercising a bit more, even if it meant 5 minutes of jumping up and down around the bedroom.
Where it also come in handy is when you start tracking calories. If you know that for example you need to eat 1500 calories to maintain your metabolic calorie burn, anything above these 1500 calories are bonus calories.
So if you have a target of wanting to lose 1 kg a week, you can do the simple maths and calculate how many calories you need to burn additionally in a week.
And believe me, ones you start tracking this, it becomes a really easy tool to set weight loss targets or just maintaining your weight.
But the really appealing thing about the polar loop is that it can be paired with a bluetooth heart rate strap. I personally have been using the Polar H7 which links in very easy with the polar loop. There is no issue with pairing at all and it never really loses the pairing signal either.
The real benefit with the heartrate pairing is for other activities than walking/running. For example, i also use it for cycling, and where other activity trackers (fitbit, nike fuel,..) would be unaware that you are cycling, the polar loop gets the actual calorie information because it will use the HR data.
I will talk more about the software itself at a later stage
Another really positive thing is that the polar loop is 100% waterproof, so use it for swimming, surfing,...
How we tested it
We have been using the Polar Loop for 8 months now. The Polar loop has been used 24/7 from being drenched in the swimming pool to swimming in the sea.