Polar finally has a fitness tracker that can monitor your heart

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Polar A360 Fitness Tracker Announced.

Earlier this year we weren’t exactly enamored with Polar’s A300 fitness tracking watch that gave up the M400’s GPS for a slightly cheaper price tag.Polar has announced the launch of a new fitness tracker, the Polar A360 and the device comes with a built in heart sensor, although this one is worn on your wrist, unlike the company’s signature heart rate monitors which are worn around you chest. “The key to achieving Polar’s well-known accuracy relies on how data is recorded by the sensor, and then how it is interpreted.Finland-based Polar Electro developed the first wireless heart-rate monitor in the late ’70s, and hasn’t strayed from fitness training and monitoring equipment since.

And while the new A360 doesn’t have GPS either, it makes up for it with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, a color touchscreen display, and a sleeker design. One notable holdout from this club was Polar, probably because it made a name for itself in chest-worn heart rate straps and, as such, had a little more to lose than other firms. At $200, Polar’s new A360 is priced exactly the same as the M400 was back in September of last year, and marathon runners and long-distance cyclists who still prefer a fitness tracker with GPS that can keep tabs on how far and how fast they’ve traveled might still want to consider the M400. This seemed like an odd choice for the company given that Fitbit and Jawbone and plenty of other companies have managed to incorporate heart rate sensors into their products.

The A360 offers the company’s unique Smart Coaching features such as Activity Guide and Activity Benefit, which provide practical daily activity target suggestions and explain how activities affect the user’s health. But the A360 is Polar’s first wearable that doesn’t require a separate chest strap to monitor the wearer’s heart rate, although one can still be used if you find them more accurate than the company’s proprietary optical sensor on the band itself. You can find out more details about the new Polar A360 fitness tracker at the link below, the device will launch next month and it will retail for $199.95. With a rectangular color LCD display that’s taller than it is wide, you’ll be put in mind of Huawei’s TalkBand B2 or the second-generation Microsoft Band. Like any fitness tracker worth wearing these days, the waterproof Polar A360 tracks your daily activities including steps taken, calories burned, when you’ve worked out, and even how well you’re sleeping at night.

The module is minimalistic overall—an HD color touchscreen, a small multifunction button on its side, and a microUSB port hidden on the bottom for charging. The statistics that the device can track is, perhaps surprisingly, a little limited, since it’ll only monitor your daily activity, steps, calories, workouts and sleep. Polar promises that the A360 will last for twelve days on a charge as both a general activity tracker and with an hour-long fitness session every day.

It also keeps track of how long it’s been since you’ve last been active, so if you sit at a desk for endless hours at work, it will provide occasional reminders when it’s time to get up and move around. One of the ways that it can offer two-week life is by not adding continuous heart-rate monitoring to the device, and it’ll only watch your heart during workouts. Your mileage will vary if you’ve got notifications turned on for every last social media interaction, but that’s better than the Fitbit Charge HR, and even Polar’s own Loop 2, just announced back in July, that can only muster about eight days even with its rudimentary LED pixel display. It’ll also come with the usual Polar tweaks, including access to the Flow app, smartphone notifications and the option to use a chest strap, should you want to.

Still, it’s not clear that it will stick, especially in light of the success of incredibly affordable fitness trackers like the $20 Misfit Flash Link that do more than what most gym members need. While you won’t be able to connect to a third-party chest strap, this still offers an alternative for those who aren’t a fan of wearing fitness bands bone-crushingly tight around their wrists. But if you do have dreams of one day tackling an Iron Man challenge, the A360 sounds like the perfect companion as you start to get more serious about your fitness. Then there’s the fact, as we’ve said, the unit will only check your heart rate when you’re exercising, meaning that all-day devices like the Basis Band and Sony SmartBand 2 are better for the heart-conscious amongst you.

For example, Smart Coaching personalizes workouts with “practical” guidance, suggesting activities to help you meet daily goals — i.e., “walk for 50 minutes or jog for 20 minutes” — and it rewards you when you complete your goals. If you’re training with a coach and opt into Polar’s Flow for Coach, you can get feedback on workouts and new training routines, or even share live heart-rate data. Those looking for something more colorful can wait a little longer for pink, green and blue wristbands to come on sale “shortly afterward.” Naturally, we’ll get one of these in for testing as soon as we can so that we can tell you straight if it’s better to just buy a $199 Android Wear device and deal with the shorter battery life. Polar added profiles for both outdoor activity and gym-based workouts, so you can track activities like around-the-block runs as well as weight training with the band. When you’re working out, the screen shows you the duration of the session and your real-time heart rate, along with a zone bar that tells you which heart rate zone you’re in.

Throughout workout and activity tracking, the A360 tracks steps and calories burned, lets you know when you’ve been sedentary for too long, and can receive smartphone notifications. Once smart bands pass the $199 mark—think the Fitbit Surge, Garmin vivoactive, Microsoft Band, and others—some kind of smartphone notifications are expected even if you can’t do anything with them from your wrist. The company is trying to stay true to its most loyal customers (the serious athletes among us) while incorporating smartwatch-like features to make the product more universal.

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