I spent a month gadding about with the Polar A360 fitness tracker, £149.50, attached to my wrist. Here’s my review of a gadget which feels a bit like having a small, waterproof personal trainer on your person at all times.
Review: Polar A360 Fitness Tracker in daily life: The Polar A360’s design is lovely right out of the box – this is a fitness tracker you’d actually want to wear. Small, neat and with a matte black band (you can swap in other colours, too), it feels comfortable on and light on the wrist. I particularly like the big, bold digital watch face, which is the default screen. The strap is rather counterintuitive though, and can be a hassle to do up until you get the hang of it – if you don’t carefully click it into place the A360 will just slide sadly off your wrist. Once on properly, the computer sits snugly in the band and you can’t feel the tiny heart rate monitor, though it’s flush with your skin. The sceen’s display is bright without being glaring, and is simple to read and to use – you can swipe through the different screens easily, even when wet (the A360 is waterproof to 30 metres).
When you register your device Polar goes through a getting to know you quiz, and then adjusts its settings to suit what it thinks your normal activity levels are. The A360 then gently reminds you to get moving until you hit your target of 100% activity over the course of the day. It maps out everything you do, but you can also add in specific workouts which are monitored seperately and which give you a host of stats (annoyingly and oddly, distance covered when running or cycling isn’t one of them). One of my favourite features of the Polar is that it sends you gentle suggestions on how to hit your daily target – 15 minutes jogging, say, or a few hours of walking. If you’re competitive you’ll naturally want to head to bed with a happy Polar by doing its bidding and working out a little harder, or walking that bit further in order to please it. I’m starting to worry I’m attaching Tamagotchi-like affection to mine after writing that.
My only gripe with wearing a fitness tracker at all times is more to do with my own lifestyle – on days when I had to spend big chunks of time sat writing or travelling I found it frustrating to wear, a reminder that I wasn’t out on my bike in the sunshine. I also prefer not to sleep with gadgets on me, so only used mine during the day.
Working out: Cycling, running, swimming and climbing are my weekday jam, and I wore my Polar for any and all exercise over a month. It was a great insight into how different sports work your body. The A360 stays put and records your heart rate faithfully, showing your workout intensity and time. Did it make me fitter? It definitely made me more conscious of fitting in daily exercise, my running improved because I could compete with my previous times and it gave me a ton of insight into what is actually working your body hard and what isn’t. Team the Polar A360 with the Strava app to record your distances and you’ve got an effective way to track just how active you really are.
Verdict: An attractive and effective fitness tracker which is easily incorporated into daily life. Perfect if you get fit in a lot of different ways, less so if you’re a hardcore runner or cyclist who likes to clock up miles.