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Hands-on Gear Review
Polar A360 ReviewPrice: $200 List | $144.03 at Amazon
Pros: Great display, tons of other trackable activities, accurate heart rate monitoring
Cons: Not water resistant, difficult to put on, poor sleep tracking
Bottom line: While great at tracking heart rate, it fell short in other important aspects
The Polar A360 is an average fitness tracker with an above average price. Performing alright in our tests, this tracker scored in the middle of the pack. While it did have one of the nicest displays we had seen, it was not enough to offset its average performance in health and fitness impact.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Only scoring exceptionally high when we evaluated the display, the Polar A360 seems disproportionately expensive to its performance. While this tracker did do the best in our heart rate testing, it was bogged down by its average performance across the rest of our test, cementing its position in the middle of the rankings.
The most important rating metric, fitness impact is the quintessential reason for purchasing one of these products. The A360 scored a 5 out of 10 in this category, though it is great at tracking other activities besides walking and cycling.
We were a little bummed that you can't connect with you friends through Facebook, instead requiring you to manually enter in names to see if they have a Polar device. However, you can generate and share an image with your daily statistics to social media.
This tracker did well at step counting, only straying from our manual count by 21 steps over a mile walk. For tracking cycling or other workouts, the A360 will log duration and heart rate, as well as estimating calories burned. It was a great feature that this device has a ton of training profiles pre-programmed into it, and while it doesn't change how it tracks the activity, it is nice that it organized how much and how often you were doing each activity.
The Polar scored a little higher in health impact — 25% of the score — earning a 6 out of 10. This model actually did an excellent job of tracking heart rate, averaging only 6 beats per minute (bpm) off of the chest strap monitor, usually ranging from being dead on to 15 bpm off. However, the heart rate measurement was extremely erratic and inaccurate when in a push-up position. While somewhat of an idiosyncrasy to the A360, it is definitely something to consider if that is applicable to your primary reason for purchasing one of these.
Similar to all non-Fitbit models, it is necessary to track calorie intake in a third party app, rather than the Polar one. This model does not have reminders to get up and be active, but does have a progress bar on the main screen. The A360 has a vibration alarm to ease you awake and has automatic sleep tracking.
The sleep data only consists of an overview of how long you slept, and what percentage was restless.
Ease of Use
The Polar is about average to use, earning a 5 out of 10 in this metric. It is resistant to accidental splashes, such as those from rain or sweat, but should be taken off before swimming or showering. We did struggle a little to put it on, with those with smaller hands preferring to clasp it and then stretch it over their wrist.
The battery can last for up to 14 days, and recharges through a micro USB cable. It takes around a minute to sync a day's worth of data with the app, initiated with you manually holding down a button. The app has some nice features to visualize your data, with color-coded graph of your progress each day.
The A360 got docked a little in this category, ending up near the bottom of the heap. It did about average in aesthetics and comfort, but had a profile that was a little obtrusive on one's wrist. This higher profile caused it to get slightly stuck when performing tasks, such as putting on a light jacket.
The Polar has a fantastic display, earning a 9 out of 10. It was extremely visible even in brighter lighting and both the buttons and touch screen were very responsive. You can customize the home screen based on your time and date preferences, as well as receive text and call notifications.
You can also see your current step count, distance traveled and estimated calories burned in further menus.
The Polar A360 isn't a great value pick, being what we felt was incommensurately expensive to its performance in our tests.
While the A360 stood out in some categories and sub-metrics, it fell short in aspects that made up the highest weightings in our scores. We wouldn't recommend this one unless you are solely interested in tracking heart rate and nothing else, and in that case, you may be better off looking at a dedicated heart rate monitor.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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