Polar unveils the Loop 2, an entry-level wearable for everyday fitness tracking

Polar promised a lot with the Loop. Too much, perhaps, for its own good — the company’s first wearable was met with lukewarm reviews, many by users who lamented its flimsy build quality. Still, the Loop managed strike a chord with the fitness crowd, selling briskly in a sea of Jawbones and Fitbits. But that was two years ago. The competition’s now a lot fiercer, but Polar believes it can recapture the magic of the Loop by honing in on its most appealing characteristic — simplicity — for the Loop 2, its new wearable.

The Loop 2 is very much fashioned in its predecessor’s image. It’s about as bare bones as fitness trackers come — you won’t any distinguishing marks other than the LEDs that comprise the dot-matrix display, the embossed “Polar” logo that runs around the edge, and two metal contacts for heart rate monitoring — but packs important improvements in a few areas.

Polar’s moved to soft silicon and polyurethane material for the Loop 2’s outer band, but the new band retains the original’s steel buckle. A vibration engine’s in tow for inactivity alerts (couch potatoes be wary), alarms, and notifications from a paired phone. And a sensor array handles activity tracking — the Loop 2 will plot out basic metrics like step count, distance, calories, and your sleep activity.

loop2_BLK_WHI_PNK

In a welcome change, fitness data won’t be walled behind Polar’s own software, unlike the previous Loop. The new band will happily sync with third-party platforms such as Google Fit, Apple Health, and MyFitnessPal.

The Polar Loop 2 will launch in two new colors, white, and pink when it goes on sale in July at $120 ($10 more than the original Loop). Note that the aforementioned variants are silicon — the black PU band won’t be available until September, Polar says.