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The new Polar Loop 2 and also new $19 Misfit Flash Link Activity Tracker

I just wanted to very briefly cover two new products that have been announced in the last 24 hours.  Neither one really warrants a standalone post – especially since neither company has samples available on-hand (or rather, in my hands).  But combining both together works just fine for this Thursday afternoon, and also gives y’all a place to discuss both products.

The New Polar Loop 2

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First up we’ve got Polar with the new Loop 2.  It’s been almost two years since the original Loop hit the streets, so a slightly updated variant does seem logical.  You’ll remember then when the original Loop was first announced, it was essentially the first activity tracker to connect to a heart rate strap.  Since then that’s become somewhat common – with Garmin and others following in Polar’s footsteps.

However, over those two years other companies have added features such as smartphone notifications, inactivity alerts, and vibration functionality (for wake-up alarms and alerts).  The sum total of which are what differentiates between the original Loop and the Loop 2.

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The smartphone notifications will allow you to get vibration alerts for incoming calls, text messages, and calendar reminders.  This is essentially how the notifications work on the Polar V800, so this is likely an easy-win for Polar in porting over that logic to other products (as they’ve been doing with other watches lately).  On the downside, some were hoping Polar might add that to the existing Loop with a software update.

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All of the past features remain, including connecting to a Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap for workouts, as well as the roughly one-week long battery.

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The price rises by $10 to $119, from $109USD.  It’ll be available this month in white, pink, and then black in November.  Actually, sorry, officially the colors are ‘Powder White’, ‘Sorbet Pink’, and ‘Smoky Black’.  Not sure about you, but I’d love me some sorbet about now.

Here’s a quick comparison chart of the differences between the two units:

Function/FeaturePolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 27th, 2016 @ 5:04 amNew Window
Price$99$55
Body PlacementWristWrist
Data Transfer TypeBluetooth Smart & USBBluetooth Smart & USB
Bluetooth to PhoneYesYes
Has GPS built-inNoNo
Waterproofing20 meters20 meters
Battery Life8 days5-7 days
Battery TypeUSB RechargeableUSB Rechargeable
WatchPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Displays timeYesYes
Has time alarmsYesNo
NotificationsPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Smartphone NotificationsYesNo
WorkoutsPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Workout guidance/coachingNoNo
DataPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Step CounterYesYes
Stairs ClimbedNoNo
Distance WalkedYesApp Only (Added in update)
Calories BurnedYesYes
Sleep MetricsYesYes
SensorsPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Skin TemperatureNoNo
Heart RateYes (with HR Strap)Yes (with HR Strap)
Can re-broadcast Heart Rate dataNoNo
Skin PerspirationNoNo
Cycling SensorsNoNo
Action Camera ControlNoNo
SoftwarePolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Web ApplicationYesYes
PC ApplicationYesYes
Mac ApplicationYEsYes
Phone AppsiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to export/sync settings from computer/phoneYesYes
PlatformPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
3rd parties can access data via APIYesYes
Ability to export your data out of platformYesYes
PurchasePolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Amazon LinkLinkLink
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLink
Clever Training EuropeLink
DCRainmakerPolar Loop 2Polar Loop
Review LinkLinkLink

Ultimately, I put the Loop 2 in the same category as the Vivofit2: Shrug. They are handy additions to what were already very solid products.  Nothing earth-shattering, but just small upgrades that keep them fairly competitive for the price points they’re at.  My general advice is that when choosing between those two specific products – select whichever brand you’ve already got a relationship with.  There are of course minor differences (i.e. battery life, and notifications), but it’s really going to come down to personal preferences there on specific features, and if you already have a device in one camp or the other.

Update: You can now order the Polar Loop 2 via Clever Training.  In doing so you’ll save 10% with DCR Coupon Code DCR10BTF, plus get free US shipping.  You’ll also make puppies happy and support the site here.

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Not to be outdone, wearables company Misfit has announced both a new hardware device as well as a new interesting software app.  The new hardware is the Misfit Flash Link, which is a $19 activity tracker.  Yes, that’s like less than two days’ worth of Starbucks drinks (with cookies of course).

The Flash Link is a fairly simple looking device that can be worn in a variety of locations depending on which accessory band/clip you use.  The unit will count your steps, and track your sleep.  It shouldn’t however be used in the pool to track swimming as the other Misfit products can, as the device lacks any waterproofing at all. A compromise the company said had to be made due to hitting the lower price point.

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The Misfit lineup gets a claimed battery life of about 6 months on a simple coin cell battery that you replace.  They’ve also got apps available for iOS, Android and Windows.  Note however that it does not have any vibration alerts, mostly given the tiny size of the device just doesn’t allow for a vibration motor.  But it can use its ringed light array though to display progress status and a clock.

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Also interesting is a new app they’re releasing that allows you to use the button on the Misfit trackers to trigger tasks or functions on your phone.  For example, you can control your music (including Spotify and Pandora), take proper phone propped up against a book naked selfies with Snapchat, and even trigger Rube Goldberg IFTTT workflow from the device.

The iOS version of the app is available now (called Misfit Link), and the Android version is coming next month (August).  This is a pretty cool idea – one I’d love to see others adopt as well.  We’re seeing more of this type of expanded wearable to phone control with some of the more expensive smart watches, but it’s awesome seeing it at the sub-$20 level now too.  Heck, it’s awesome having connected wearables at the sub-$20 level (yes, I know there are some in China already at that level).

screen322x572 (1) screen322x572 (2) screen322x572

Finally, in addition the company is tweaking their pricing bringing the Misfit Shine unit to $69, and the Flash to $29. The only difference between the Flash at $29 and the Flash Link at $19 is the waterproofing at 30-meters for the $29 Flash.  Additionally, the main difference between the $29 Flash and the $69 Shine is again the waterproofing – improving to 50-meters for the Shine.

I don’t know if I’ll do a full review of any or all of these products – perhaps just a shorter hands-on post once they become available.  In the meantime, feel free to drop any questions below.  Thanks for reading!

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35 Comments

  1. H M

    “take proper phone propped up against a book naked selfies with Snapchat,”

    If you are wearing the activity tracker, are you really naked ?? ;-P

  2. Dr_LHA

    I have little interest in counting my steps, but had me sold at “naked selfie”.

  3. Robert Juric

    Wow, $19. Before I used to say I wouldn’t pay that much for a fitness tracker, now I have to decide if I would actually use a wearable fitness tracker.

  4. Alfie Karman

    how did you take the photos if they didn’t send you a device? Who’s Joanna? Are they any good? Lots of unanswered questions :-0

    • They didn’t send me a device…just a pile of blah PR photos…all of which were non-useful. Instead, I grabbed screenshots from one of the videos.

      I don’t know Joanna, or if she is any good.

  5. Mike St Louis

    Hi Ray,

    Just a note to say that the Polar M400 also has smart phone notifications from an update a few weeks ago. Not sure if it’s complete feature parity with the Polar V800, but it works quite well.

  6. Conor - Brisbane AU

    In the spirit of light looks at new bits on the market, any thoughts on the ‘Moov Now’, claims to be able to tell you if your run stride is too ‘hard’ and other interesting bits of data aswell..

  7. ampestijn

    So the same hardware for the Loop 2? Great fun in the shower, that water sensitive button.

  8. Niffy

    The $29 one also comes with the bracelet, which would cost you the other $!0.

  9. morten reippuert knudsen

    come on polar give me sync to phone from my V650 and smartphone notifications as well, now – (or in august when you add openstreetmaps – perferably before Agust 4. when i ride i’m to ride Munich – Venice for two weeks)

    • robert

      I hope they come through for you in time. In my view, timescales do slide with Polar but they have delivered everything I need from the m400, but when smartphone notifications come android way I hope its easy to disable the damn things. Horses for courses

  10. Mike in Everwet

    could this replace the polar stride sensor (if shoe mounted)? (would it pair as such with M400?)

  11. Joe

    THANK YOU for this article! I have spent the last 30 minutes navigating the inter webs looking for someone to tell me what the difference is between the Flash and The Flask Link and could not find it explained – even on the misfit site. Best I could tell it was exactly the same thing but with different prices which made no sense.

    However “The only difference between the Flash at $29 and the Flash Link at $19 is the waterproofing at 30-meters for the $29 Flash” makes it very clear.

    I like to swim sometimes so I will get the Flash.

    Thanks!

    • Robert Juric

      That and the flash link doesn’t come with the wrist band from what I could tell of the Misfit website.

  12. Janyne Kizer

    I have a general questions/comment (not specific to this entry), can readers still subscribe to a thread without having to post to it? I don’t see that option but I know that I’ve done it before.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    • Not quite at the moment. It was offered, and then a few weeks ago the site basically reached maximum capacity on the commenting system and things started breaking.

      So we swapped to a new system, but that didn’t have that subscribe without commenting feature in it. So the devs have it on the list to add shortly, but they prioritized stabilizing the base functionality first.

      Soon, sorry!

  13. Marco

    My gf is on the market for a new band (currently has a Nike Fuelband SE) and she’s been looking at the Vivosmart… would that be a good idea? I feel like it is due an upgrade very soon.

  14. Dennis

    The black will be a higher contrast and contrast between the band and LED’s much better, so the Sorbet and White I don’t think is a good idea. So, wait for a the black device and see if folks like it. If the Fuelband is still working and alerts are not need… I would keep the Fuelband and wait ’till the black PL2 is available. If the smaller Vivosmart is to her liking then give it a spin. I like to stay with bluetooth stuff although Garmin proprietary (owned) ANT standard has excellent dependability… their bluetooth, not so much, and the bluetooth is what connects the Vivosmart to your phone. The ANT connects the band to the ANT heart rate band. Me and my wife use the Fitbit Flex and both of us are on the second warrantied device. Don’t spend to much unless very dependable… My vote because of dependability is with the PL2 in black. Now if they had a Windows Phone app and connected to UHC I might think leaving the Flex before this one breaks.

  15. Ray

    As a Loop v1 user I was most let down with the press release stating that it still has the same old crappy led array for a display which is totally unreadable outside in daylight (not even bright sunlight will render it useless).

    Another major irritation is the lack of on-wrist HR tracking on both this and the V800. =(

  16. Caroline

    When you say you can export the data from the Loop/Loop 2, could you be more specific about what data one can export, for example to SportTracks? Is it just activities with the HRM, or is it the number of steps for the day, or the hour?
    How does exportability of data from Loop 2 compare with Vivofit2?
    Also, I really would prefer a belt activity monitor, and ideally one that noticed stairs. Is there one of those that would allow for data to be exported to SportTracks?
    I have done online searches, but have not found the answers to these questions. Thanks for your help.

  17. Jeroen

    Your update on the Polar Loop seems to mis a -tag…. the rest of the blog is rendered in Italics….

  18. Alex

    Can this be used as a BT stride sensor for iPhone / Android?
    In apps such as iSmoothRun, etc. Instead of Adidas Speed_Cell / Wahoo Fitness Stride / Polar etc.

  19. John Branum

    According to the misfit site the only difference in the flash and flash link is that the flash comes with the sport band. Both say they are “durable and water resistant to 30 meters”

  20. Mikey

    I recently purchased the Polar Loop 2 and I’m trying to figure out how accurate the activity tracking / goal info is. I haven’t done any extensive tests, but in the few that I’ve done, it doesn’t seem to compute. For example, if it says I have an hour of walking left to meet my goal, then I walk for ten minutes, I would expect it to update the goal to now say 50 minutes left. I read your review on the Polar Loop and it seems like you’ve done some testing on the step counter. Have you done any testing related to the goal progress?

    I wear my loop fairly loose around my wrist… and I’ve wondered if that’s part of the problem. Based on the Flow app though, it seems to know that I have it on (it’s not registering as unworn). Thoughts?

  21. Minh

    There is a new version of Flash – Flash Cyclist Edition link to misfit.com
    Have you tried it? Seems like no need to tie to the pedan like Garmin or Wahoo.
    Thanks.
    Minh

  22. mikkoesrunning

    Hi! I’m reading your articles once in a while and I am really amazed how much effort you put in these reviews. That’s really great! I’ve been using Polar Loop 2 for almost a year now and I was pretty pissed because I thought there was no way to start and stop training sessions accurately when using a heart rate belt. After a while I noticed that it is possible to use “flight mode” as a start/stop function. Once you put “flight mode” on the Loop cuts of bluetooth. You can dress up and get out. Then just deactivate “flight mode” and wait for a HR belt to pair the Loop and start running or riding or whatever. Stop monitoring HR belt by activating “flight mode”. Here’s how you get pretty accurate training data to analyze your performance. I think this is something they should add to user manual.