Top critical review
285 people found this helpful
The Loop device itself rocks. The data availability is horrible - I mean REALLY bad.
on March 29, 2014
I wanted to love the Polar Loop more than any other fitness band I've tried so far. I really tried to love it. However, the software and data availability of this device has crippled an otherwise fantastic fitness band. The Loop in itself is a great design. It fits comfortably, is discreet, shower/hand-washing proof, and is generally well designed. The screen (LED dot matrix) on it is fantastic. It isn't a crisp, high resolution readout, but when not looking at data on the Loop, the fitness band looks like a bracelet. The design of a "hidden" interface type is very cool - it has gotten me many compliments when going through information on the Loop.
** You can look at the bottom for a list of pros and cons **
Important things to note as far as design of the band itself:
1) YOU HAVE TO CUT THIS THING TO SIZE. The Loop goes on the wrist like a nice watch - you cut the ends of the wrist band and reinstall the clasp. Polar includes the tools necessary to do this (except scissors). If you want to try the Loop but aren't sure if you want to keep it, you can cut a paperclip and bend it almost like a bobby-pin (a very tall "U" shape). Just make sure the paperclip is short enough not to poke through the other side. Then, using the holes on the SIDES of the wrist band, you can hold them together by inserting the paper-clip in each end...or use rubber bands, etc. The necessity of this depends on the return policy.
2) The button is capacitive. FURTHERMORE, there must be skin contact with the back of the loop (specifically, with the charging port) in order for the button to work. This likely explains any "button" issues reported by other users. The capacitive button may activate and scroll through menus while in the shower, but this wasn't a big deal for me.
The major, MAJOR downfall of this device is the software and Polar website. I have an Android, and as of this time there is no Android app. I'm ignoring this fact for the sake of the review, as I tried the app on my girlfriend's iPhone. Data is primarily reported using a dial design (basically, it's an analog 24 hour clock). As you move throughout the day, different colors appear around the clock for different activity levels. This feature is pretty cool, however it is the ONLY way to view your data. There is NO graph or other breakdown of your data. You cannot see your step count at certain points of the day. You cannot see calories burned at certain points of the day. You cannot see movement during sleep (aside from a very, very rough estimate by looking at the dial graph).
The website's front page is a map of Europe with a list of people who are running. There are four tabs at the top (this view counts as one). The 2nd tab, "Feed", is another list of people running. The 3rd tab actually shows you data, and the 4th tab is only relevant if you have the heart-rate monitor. Thus, by buying the Loop without a HRM, you are automatically limited to 1/4 of the website. The "Diary" page is a calendar of the month with how far to goal you were each day. Clicking on a specific day brings you to an exhaustive, hour-by-hour planner type view which essentially shows you nothing. Scrolling all the way down to the bottom shows total calories, steps, sleep, etc. Note it shows TOTALS, and not actual graphed data. Next to it is the familiar Dial from the app, as well as a breakdown (breakdown meaning how much total time was spent) of activity throughout the day (time sitting, resting, strolling, running sort of thing).
That's about it for the website. Without the heart rate monitor, you really, REALLY can't see much. If all you care about is the end result (total steps, etc.), this may suffice. If you are training for an Iron Man and have the heart-rate monitor, this could probably serve decently well to track your workouts (if you have a ton of them). I feel the site is better suited for VERY active people who need to track large amounts of workouts.
- Great design, comfortable fit
- Dot-matrix readout is very slick and earns many compliments
- When not looking at data on the watch, there's no display so the Loop is very discreet
- Mostly accurate step count (within 10% of other trackers)
- Relatively accurate calorie count (I have a very, very exhaustive study on this)
- Automatically detects when you are sleeping. This feature is amazing! NO "enabling sleep mode" for this watch
- Shower friendly (the display may go through menus, but it's not a big deal)
- Very nice charger (it magnetically "snaps" into place on the back of the band)
- Dial readout of data is pretty cool, as is the tracking of time spent at different activity levels
- Shows the time, so it can double as a "normal" watch
- Compatible with a heart-rate monitor. This is huge for workouts. This is one of very few fitness bands that have this ability.
- The website. Seriously, almost all of it. It's 50% social, 25% useless without the heart rate monitor, and has virtually no way to see your data in any detail aside from a total amount. Look at screenshots on Google images to see what I mean.
- Battery life. I've had to recharge mine every 3 days or so, although I've admittedly been scrolling through the menus a lot since it just looks so cool.
- The app does not show any more data than the website does. Syncing was fairly painless. While there is currently no Android app, I'm not listing that as a separate con since it is due out soon.
- No silent alarm. This is a vibration feature on the FitBit which can wake you at a certain time. This is more a "missing feature I wish it had" than a con of the existing device.
- The website again.