Polar A360 Review – One of the best Activity Trackers?

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

85%

Fitness / Sport Features

80%

Ease of Use

90%

Battery Life

90%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into Polar A360

The Polar A360 is a competent and easy to use activity band with BUILT-IN optical heart rate sensor. This review is the result of a long term product test using the A360 as my daily watch, activity tracker and training tool. It’s one of the best activity trackers currently on the market being both motivational and of a high quality (sometimes neglected by other brands). The A360 features a crystal clear multi-colour LED display that can be seen in all light conditions. This review of the Polar A360has been written and prepared by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic.

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

The Polar A360 is for the person who has decided to take their fitness seriously. They have a desire to improve their general fitness level and they may have an interest one or more sports, anything from jogging to cycling or rowing to hockey. It’s an activity tracking bracelet with OFF THE WRIST strapless heart rate monitoring that also happens to support smartphone notifications, alerting to to incoming calls, messages and diary events. It doesn’t have GPS, but it does give accurate speed and distance feedback by way of clever accelerometers in the band (tested by us to be 90-95% accurate). Polar started selling heart rate monitors in 1976. CardioCritic have tested the majority of Polar heart rate monitors & fitness trackers – using them for the first time in 1996

With the A360 on your wrist you’ll be motivated throughout the day by activity alerts, a gentle vibrate/audio alert if you remain stationary for over an hour. With the A360 you get feedback on daily steps, distance walked, calories burnt and the quality and duration of your sleep. It comes in THREE sizes so make sure you check your wrist circumference before taking the plunge. I will cover that in more detail when we do the full review.

Main Features and Functions

Off the Wrist heart rate – is it accurate?

The best part of writing this review of the Polar A360 was the ability to record heart rate WITHOUT having to put on a chest strap. The A360 uses Polar’s own optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch to detect your pulse under the skin. As you can see from the graph above it produces clean and accurate heart rate data. We have tested the A360’s optical sensor at the same time as wearing a Polar H7 HRM belt. Yes… there are times that the A360 has been a little bit erratic.

However, this is normally only when flying down a hill on a mountain bike with a lot of vibration at the wrist. Without get hung up on statistics, we’d say that for 95% of the time it is 95% accurate. At the end of the day, if it means >> No more chest straps! we say “Hurray”. The A360 makes training at the optimal intensity and maintaining your time training in the desired heart rate training zone easy.

H7 Compatability – wear a chest strap for the Fitness Test.

The A360 can be used in conjunction with the Polar H7 heart rate belt. Why you may ask would you want to do that? The A360 has a clever FITNESS TEST built in to the firmware. For this to work it needs to see the FULL ECG heart rate graph, not just the average beats per minute. The Fitness Test is a reliable and consistent measure of your VO2 Max. To benefit from this test you MUST use a Bluetooth HRM belt like the Polar H7. Also, if you are partaking in a sport with a lot of wrist vibration eg. motorcross or downhill mountain biking, you may find that the off the wrist readings are a bit erratic, in which case an H7 belt can be worn.

>>Searching for a running watch with heart rate monitor? Check out the Polar m200, read it here!<<

24/7 activity tracking

Track your activity 24/7 and get practical support to help you achieve your individual daily activity goal. The daily goal is set based on which one of 3 levels of activity you choose when setting up the A360 as shown below.

At anytime in the day you can see your progress to achieving the goal from the bar under the time of day view (default). If you would like more details you can enter the “My Day” view to see precisely what you’ve done….

And another tap will show you what more you need to do to achieve your daily goal from either standing, walking or jogging, as shown below

Other Features

Heart Rate Monitoring WITHOUT a chest strap

Vibrating smart notifications

Steps and distance

Smart calories

Sleep Duration & Quality

Connectivity

Visibility

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

If the NO CHEST STRAP option brought you to the A360, then the other product with wrist based heart rate are the Polar M200 and the ​Polar Watch M600. The M200 is a GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate and 24/7 activity tracker. 

Next Model DOWN

That’s an easier question. The next model down is the Polar Loop 2. Fairly similar in activity tracking functions like steps, calories and inactivity alert, but without the built-in heart rate sensor. The Loop 2 is an attractive and discrete activity band for those looking to increase daily activity

Similar Alternative Fitness Bands

The products from competitors with the closest functionality to the Polar A360 activity tracker would be the FitBit Charge 2 and the Garmin Vivosmart HR. The Vivosmart HR & Charge 2 feature a barometric pressure sensor that provides stairs climbed feedback. Both provide OFF the WRIST heart rate monitoring and 24/7 activity tracking. They are ALL very good activity trackers, they all record heart rate to a reliable and accurate level (not quite as good as an HRM belt), they all give an indication of sleep duration & quality and they all motivate you to move throughout the day. 

  • Garmin Vivosmart 3 review – new in April 2017. Top of the range fitness tracker with VO2 Max, Fitness Age, Stress score and more
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR review – replaced by the Vivosmart 3 (above) but still a highly recommended fitness tracker
  • Fitbit Charge 2 reviewed here – the most popular fitness tracker of 2017 & 2018

Also very popular is the polar a370 fitness tracker.

>>Know something who likes fitness tracking watches? Check out the Polar M400, read it here!<<

REVIEW SUMMARY

I have given this Polar A360 a rating of 4.5/5 stars considering it to be one of the best activity trackers on the market. It’s certainly one of the most stylish, simplest to use and easiest to read in all lighting conditions. Little features like having the option of PERMANENT ON for the display when exercising all add up to take the Polar A360 to the top of the class. Since the A360 was released other brands have added extra functionality to their fitbands like “floors climbed” and “24/7 heart rate recording” and I have to agree it would be nice if the A360 had those features, however, it doesn’t and I’m not going to mark it down for that. I’m very excited to see what the next 12 months bring from Polar as they’ve really upped their game in the last couple of years.

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt from Texas has been the best-selling author in 2014. He was the most appreciated writer in 2015. Different organizations have honored him with different awards and memberships as well. He is a tech shop owner and completed graduation in Electrical Engineering.

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