PROS / The battery can last for two full weeks, which is much longer than the typical five days of other heart rate watches.
CONS / This monitor only works with the Polar app; it isn’t compatible with any third-party fitness apps.
VERDICT / The Polar A360 has a great interface, is easy to use and produces accurate readings, everything you need and want in a heart rate monitor watch.
The Polar A360 heart rate monitor watch tracks your heart rate right from your wrist so you can train smarter. This strapless heart rate monitor earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award because of its accuracy, incredible touchscreen and long 14-day battery life. The Polar A360 not only tracks your beats per minute, but also your activity level, steps taken, how well you sleep and more for a well-rounded view of your health.
Heart Rate Monitoring
The best heart rate monitors are both accurate and comfortable. While chest strap sensors are generally more accurate, they are less comfortable than wrist monitors. On the other hand, heart rate monitor watches are generally less accurate and more comfortable, so it is a difficult balance. In the case of the Polar A360, you get both a comfortable and accurate watch. During testing, we found this watch to be about 96 percent accurate. Like most other monitors, it more accurately tracked resting heart rates than cardio heart rates. It was about 5 to 10 beats per minutes (BPM) off in higher heart rate zones and 1 to 2 BPM off in lower heart rate zones.
Since this is a continuous heart rate monitor watch, you don’t need a chest strap monitor to track your heart rate, as you can do it right from your wrist. You can either enter into a training mode to track an exercise session or tap on My Heart Rate to make your heart rate appear on the screen at all times.
One the Polar A360’s best attributes is its 14-day battery life. Fourteen days is more than twice as long as the standard five days most other heart rate monitors last. Keep in mind that battery life is dependent on how your use your device. If you work out more than an hour a day, turn on smart notifications, and check the screen or your heart rate often, you’ll drain the battery much sooner. It’s still an impressive lifespan though, considering how large the full-color screen is.
It’s good for your health to train with heart rate information, but it’s also important to keep tabs on other fitness metrics. In addition to tracking your heart rate, the Polar A360 records metrics for your daily life and targeted fitness sessions. This heart rate watch tracks how many steps you take a day, the distance you travel, and the calories you burn all day and during specific workouts. It even analyzes your sleep quality and displays your active minutes for the day.
The Polar A360 also functions as a regular watch with a clock and date screen. This wrist heart rate monitor doesn’t have an altimeter, so it doesn’t track elevation or how many stairs you climb, but it still gives you key information about your heart and fitness.
Connectivity & Design
This Bluetooth heart rate monitor automatically syncs with the Polar app so you have easy access to data to help you stay fit and healthy. The app homepage shows the intensity of your activity for the day around an analog clock; for example, if you went on a run from 6 to 7 a.m., the part of the ring around the clock during that hour will show in darker blue; if you walked around the block from 10 to 11 a.m., it’ll be light blue during that time; and If you took a nap from 1 to 2 p.m., it’ll show in white. You can also set a daily goal, and a bar in the app and a progress circle on the device display how close you are to meeting your fitness goal for the day.
The My Day icon on the device also displays steps taken, miles traveled, calories burned and more. The app shows a much more in-depth view of your day, week and month, including sleep quality, active time and inactivity stamps. The app is easy enough to use but doesn’t let you manually add exercise or customize the experience. The Polar app is also the only app compatible with the A360, so if you want to save or view data, you need to switch over from Endomondo or MapMyRun.
The Polar A360 is great at motivating you, especially when you haven’t moved in a while. If you’ve been sitting on the couch for too long, the watch vibrates to let you know it’s probably time to take a walk or do some yoga. A stamp in the app also forever commemorates your inactivity. Nothing is move motivating than your watch telling you you’re lazy.
When the watch vibrates, it could also indicate you are receiving a smartwatch notification, as the Polar A360 can display your texts, phone calls, weather, Google Now alerts and more. The screen is large and wonderful for viewing your stats and alerts.
When you head out on a bike ride or an evening run, you do have to remember to tap the Training icon on the device to record an exercise session. It still tracks your exercise if you don’t, but you get more heart rate information while in Training mode. The My Heart Rate icon puts the watch in heart rate mode, which puts your heart rate information front and center on the display. It’s a great way to see at a glance what intensity zone you’re training in. You do have to leave the heart rate mode to view other stats.
Like the best heart rate monitor watches, the Polar is low profile and comfortable enough to wear all day. The soft silicone straps don’t irritate your skin and mold and adjust perfectly to your wrist size. It also sticks to your arm better than hard plastic. However, we did find that the screen made the back of the device too square, so it feels like it sits on your wrist instead of wrapping around it. The side button that turns the screen on and off is a little hard to find quickly and push during an intense training session, especially if you’re covered in sweat.
While we found that the Polar A360 charges quickly, the plug location is very inconvenient. The back of the watch has a covered micro USB port, but the cover is attached to the watch by a small plastic loop, and it can be difficult to pop it up just enough to get the cord plugged in. However, it is nice that you just need a micro USB to USB cable to charge this watch, as most other chargers are proprietary. If you lose or break the included cable, you might already have another, or you can easily purchase an inexpensive replacement.
This watch also features a swimming training option, so by all accounts, the Polar A360 is a waterproof heart rate monitor. Still, we did find that its 3 ATM rating might not be enough to support sustained underwater submersion.
Help & Support
This top heart rate monitor has the best help and support of those we reviewed. The two-year warranty is much longer than the standard one year offered on other monitors. Polar also offers email support and phone support, and there is a manual and a live chat contact option on its website. We found that Polar quickly responds to inquiries for support.
The Polar A360 is a top notch heart rate monitor with many other great features to help you train smarter. Your heart rate, goal progress and stats are just a touch away on the easy-to-use touchscreen or app. Since it’s extremely convenient, highly accurate and stylish, the Polar A360 is great for any workout or for 24/7 use.