Saturday, June 18, 2016

Polar A360

Having had my Polar Loop for a year, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a more sophisticated activity monitor. I did a bit of research and in the end decided to stay with Polar and get the A360.

Now, if you're a runner or triathlete you will undoubtedly want something more sophisticated, but if you're just interested in getting some data about how much activity you're doing, then the A360 looks like a good choice.

The Loop was useful, but the A360 gives you more options. The basic settings for what constitutes your active day stays the same, but now you have access to heart rate data courtesy to the wrist based heart rate monitor. For a more accurate heart rate you have the option to pair, via Bluetooth, the  device to a chest strap. The Loop also did that, but I never actually tried it.

Where the A360 scores over the Loop is the ability to choose a training type and capture the associated data. The display will show you heart rate, training zone, calorie burn etc. From my point of view, the training types are limited. I have to choose "other indoor" or "other outdoor" and then change it afterwards via the 'phone app to tennis or swimming. On the plus side, it can make me look like I sprint 10K on a regular basis!

One of the other positives for me is that the screen is easier to see in bright sunlight when compared to the Loop. This means it's easy to use as a watch when I'm coaching or just wanting to know what time it is. The adjustable strap is also a plus. I can wear it a little loose and tighten it up when I want heart rate monitoring. The clasp, two t-profile stubs that simply press into the holes in the strap, can come unclipped if you catch it on something, but it hasn't come off completely yet, so I'm not overly concerned by it.

The A360 will also vibrate to let you know you have an incoming call or text message or other notification on your 'phone.

There have been some negative reviews of the A360. People have experienced issues with synchronising data and with the unit and strap separating. There have also been some issues with the USB port cover. I've only had mine for a few weeks and so far I've not experienced any problems at all. Whether the syncing issues arise from the device itself or the 'phone or tablet being used isn't clear. My iPhone 5S seems to work fine.

Overall I'm quite pleased with my new activity monitor. The watch looks smart and fits neatly on my wrist. It's comfortable to wear and easy to use. At around £140 it's neither cheap nor expensive when compared to other similar devices.

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