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Wearable Tech

​Polar's new Loop activity tracker adds smartphone notifications

The Polar Loop 2 can track daily activities and display notifications from your iPhone or Android device.

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Polar

It's been nearly two years since Polar entered the activity tracker market. Since the release of the Polar Loop in 2013, the wearable market has shifted towards devices that offer more than just basic activity tracking. We are now seeing trackers that can display smartphone notifications or included advanced features such as optical heart-rate sensors .

The Polar Loop 2 picks up where the original model left off, but is now tailored to the 2015 market. In addition to being able to track the steps you take, distance traveled, calories burned and your sleep at night, the Loop 2 is capable of displaying information on incoming calls, text messages and calendar alerts from your iPhone or Android device.

A carryover from the original Loop are inactivity alerts. The band will vibrate and notify you to move during extended periods of laziness, which is nice for a motivation factor. Vibration can also be used to gently wake you up in the morning. While the Loop 2 doesn't include a built-in optical heart-rate sensor, it can be be paired with Polar's H7 Bluetooth chest strap for continuous heart-rate tracking. This is nice for working out, but not ideal for all-day wear.

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Polar

The design is sleek and stylish, featuring the same traditional steel watch buckle as the original. The screen on the Loop 2 consists of 85 individually placed LED lights that are used to display activity data and notifications. This is similar to the method used in the Nike FuelBand and the same screen as the original Loop, which at times was difficult to read.

Battery life on the original Loop lasted about five days on a single charge and used a proprietary charging cable. The Loop 2 will last up to eight days when acting as a normal activity tracker. With smart notifications enabled, however, that battery life drops to around three days, which is less than the similarly featured Garmin Vivosmart .

The Polar Loop 2 is available now from the company's website for $120. International pricing and availability wasn't announced, however US pricing converts to about £77 in the UK and AU$160 in Australia. The Loop 2 will initially be available in pink and white, while a black model is expected to arrive sometime in September.

Last updated on Thursday, July 16 at 10:30 ET: Information on the Loop's battery life has been added.

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