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.

Home Theater

Phiaton’s active lifestyle headphones do noise canceling on a budget

Looking for a set of active noise-canceling earbuds that can keep up with your active lifestyle, without breaking the bank? Phiaton's new Curve BT 120 NC could be just the ticket.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Deals

You don't want to sleep on these red-hot bedding deals

We've rounded up some of the best discounts and sales happening right now, so you can buy yourself (or your loved ones) new bedding without breaking your budget. Trust us when we say these are deals worth losing sleep over.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Mobile

Best app deals of the day! Eight paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

Everyone likes free apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App…
Emerging Tech

This wearable boosts health & productivity by extending your restorative deep sleep phase

Rythm's Dreem headset improves daily performance by extending the restorative deep sleep phase. It is the world's first active sleep improvement wearable, since it uses auditory stimulation to improve deep sleep in addition to basic sleep…
Mobile

Boost Mobile offers up to 50 percent off if you ditch AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon

Is your monthly wireless bill out of control? Give Boost Mobile a look. Its knocking down rates and including 10GB of high speed data if you switch from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless.
Mobile

U.S. launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge upgrade program remains a mystery

Taking a page out of Apple's book, Samsung has unveiled a smartphone leasing program. It's already available in the U.K. and could be launching in South Korea on March 11, but no word on the U.S. just yet.
Photography

Walled garden: Instagram blocking profile links to Snapchat and Telegram

Instagram is blocking its users from linking to rivals Snapchat and Telegram from within their profiles. The discrete move has prompted accusations of unfair bias as other social networks, such as Twitter, and websites have not been…
Photography

Selfie fail: Five tourists tumble off a cliff in self-portrait screw-up

Five friends in India recently fell off a cliff as they tried to take a picture of themselves on a smartphone. It's the latest in a string of similar accidents in the country. Really, snapping a selfie really shouldn't be this dangerous.
Mobile

And this is why you always set a passcode on your phone: Teacher fired over nude pic leak

A teacher has lost her job after a student discovered a risqué photo on her unlocked smartphone, and then shared it with friends and on social networks. It highlights the need for securing our phones.
Mobile

Nook no more: B&N will shutdown U.K. digital content store on March 15

Barnes & Noble has announced it's to close the U.K. branch of its Nook digital content store, but has signed a deal with Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand so owners can still read their books. Well, most of their books.
Gaming

Sign-ups for Pokemon Go ‘field test’ kick off in Japan, other countries coming later

After Niantic cancelled its GDC presentation for Pokemon Go, it looked like the game might be delayed, but sign-ups for a "field test" of the game have kicked off in Japan, with other countries to come later.
Mobile

Best app deals of the day! 10 paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

Everyone likes free apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App…