A couple of months ago Hubby and I were sent Polar Loop 2 activity trackers to try out and started a whole new fitness regime along with a generally healthier lifestyle whilst we tried them out. We’ve had great fun using them and thought it was time we shared with you how we’ve found the Polar Loop 2 so far.
The Polar Loop 2 Activity Tracker is a funky looking watch type device that is intended to track your fitness and give you daily goals. One size fits all as you manually adjust the strap to your particular wrist. Here’s the… unique part. You have to actually CUT THE STRAP yourself. Yes, that’s right. YOU cut it to size. You get a paper wrist measuring tape in the box with a guide to cutting the rubber strap. I found this slightly frustrating as there’s only one chance to get it right! The design of the Polar Loop 2 is such that the straps are part of the main body which are connected by a traditional wristwatch metal clasp. A handy tool is included to fit this part. But if you cut the straps too small, that’s it. Using the measuring tape recommended size, I found that the Polar Loop 2 was still very loose on my wrist and was forever spinning around and moving up and down my arm with normal use. I had to adjust it a further 3 times before I was happy that it was staying put.
The actual cutting of the strap was also a bit nerve wracking. With each squeeze of the scissors, I was worried that I might slip or that the rubber would catch the blade and send it the wrong way. By the third adjustment, I was a pro at it but really I would have preferred an adjustable strap where you can change the size less permanently.
Once you have created an account on the website, which includes entering personal details like height, weight and age, you synch it to your smart phone via Bluetooth and the free app that you download. From there, it tracks how many steps you have done in a twenty-four hour period, how many calories you have burned and even if you have been sat still for too long! These stats are all stored in an easy to read diary on the app and also directly onto the Polar Flow website, which is completely private. A different app is also available for when you are actively working out, running, at the gym etc. This also works in conjunction with the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor for in-depth analysis of fat burning exercise, anaerobic fitness and the like.
The Polar Loop 2 can also send the data it tracks to other compatible apps – like MyFitnessPal – so that your whole healthy lifestyle and fitness can be joined up. This is a huge part of our lifestyle now – tracking not just the activity we do but the food we eat and being able to sync the Polar Loop 2 with some of my favourite apps is a huge benefit to me – although this doesn’t work on the Android version yet.
You can even setup the Polar Loop 2 to receive notifications from your phone, for example, if you get a new email or message it will let you know or when someone phones you, it shows the contact name. You still have to use your phone to read the message though. If you have this function turned on, the Polar Loop 2 will continuously communicate with your phone and update the app with all of the tracking data. However, I have since had a few gripes with the tracker.
Firstly, to use the display, you need to press a small button to activate it. You need to press this button to cycle the display from calories, time active, steps and the actual time. In essence, you need to use both arms to tell the time. It may also take a few presses of the button to get the info you need (most commonly for me, the time of day). This isn’t exactly as discreet as just glancing at your wrist like with a standard watch so it would be nice if the time was displayed as standard.
I have worn the Polar Loop 2 on and off for a while now and when used in the ‘always on’ mode, the battery drains within a day and needs charging up. Most people would charge devices overnight, but one of the features of the Polar Loop 2 is a sleep tracker. It says that it can tell when how long you were asleep for and the quality of that sleep. You’ve got to obviously be wearing it for this to function. I would often plug it in and leave it charging, then wear it again the following day so obviously no sleep data tracked for that night! The battery does however, last for quite a few days if you manually synchronise it to your phone every now-and-then through out the day or even just once a day. If you do forget to charge up the Polar Loop 2 and it goes completely flat, you need to plug it back in to your computer. I found that I also had to restore the factory settings before it would talk to my phone again too. A bit annoying and time consuming. All of my recorded statistics were still intact on the app and website though.
I have also found that the Polar Loop 2 wasn’t all that comfortable to wear at times. Parts of the device tended to ‘dig’ in to the fleshy part of Hubby’s hand, leaving an open sore from continuous use. It turned out that this was the metal clasp digging in and the only way to stop it was to wear it with the display on the inside of his wrist. The metal clasp would also tend to open by itself randomly with minimal force on it. For example, when taking off his jacket, he would often find the Polar Loop 2 left behind in his sleeve.
We have used many fitness trackers over the last year or so and they all have their negatives – we are yet to find one that ticks every box. The comfort side of the Polar Loop 2 I think would be solved with a standard strap rather than one you cut yourself – as you could adjust the strap whenever it was uncomfortable. We have resorted to synching the Polar Loop 2 manually once a day to conserve battery life and charge it when we are being inactive – watching TV in the evening for example to make sure we still manage to track all our activity.
Overall I’m happy with my Polar Loop 2. I wear it each day and that won’t change. It tracks my activity and I now know roughly how many steps I do on different days – the school run, a day out or an inactive day at home so I know if the tracker is having an off day – that can happen when I’m wearing it pushing the pushchair for example. The app also shows how long you have spent standing, walking, running etc and we have had to disregard this aspect completely – it’s just not accurate.
The sleep part works well though and being able to track our activity, even loosely in some aspects, has really helped improve both mine and Hubby’s overall fitness and the amount we move. Our aim was to eat more of the right things and move more and we have definitely been inspired to move more with the Polar Loop 2. We walk to school more rather than getting in the car and love seeing how many steps we’ve done at the end of a day out.
The Polar Loop 2 is great for anyone wanting to increase their fitness levels. It fits pretty effortlessly into our lifestyle and being able to connect it to other apps makes it really versatile too. After a few months of use I can’t imagine not wearing my Polar Loop 2. I’ll keep you updated on how our healthy lifestyle – along with the Polar Loop 2 – is going in the coming months.
The Polar Loop 2 has an RRP of £94.50 and the H7 Heart Rate Sensor has an RRP of £67.50
Disclosure: We were sent the above products for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.