Polar (Sorta) Launches Whoop-like Competitor: The Polar 360

Polar has quietly rolled out a new website that showcases the Polar 360, which is a Whoop-like tracking band, including 5-day battery life, always-on optical HR sensor, Polar algorithms, and plenty more. It’ll even leverage Polar Flow as one of the potential back-end website platforms. The specs and designs on it effectively scream “Polar’s version of Whoop”.

Except, you might want to hold your (hopeful) horses.

This won’t be something you can buy from Polar. Nor is it coming anytime soon.

Instead, Polar launched this website in the wake of the industry-focused FIBO Health & Fitness Show, which is a place where fitness-focused brands can meet and discuss business-related partnerships. While we do occasionally see sports tech announcements come out of FIBO, it’s gotten more and more rare each year (of course, there still are plenty of fitness-focused industry announcements timed to FIBO, beyond consumer sports tech wearables).

In any case, I got the low-down from Polar on what this thing is, who it’s for, and when it’s gonna show up. First, though, let’s dive into the tech specs:

Tech Details:

As I alluded to above, this is literally a Whoop-like activity tracking band, which is a short-cut way of saying that it’s a full sleep/workout/activity tracking band, but doesn’t have a display. Instead, it’s just a fabric band with no display. Up till Whoop came along, virtually all activity trackers had displays of some sort, even if it was a fancy analog watch face. Whoop was really the first to have nothing viewable on the tracker itself.

Here, you can see the Polar 360 tracker from the front. Also, fun side note, this is not the first Polar 360-named device. Back some 9 years ago, there was the A360 activity tracker, seen below:

Inside the unit is a battery that can hold 5 days of “constant” activity tracking, with Polar’s “Precision Prime” optical heart rate sensor. That’s somewhat notable because it’s actually not their newest sensor (which they use in their newer Polar Vantage V3 and Polar Grit X2 Pro units), instead, it’s one of a number of variants of sensors used in both other watches and standalone activity trackers. Polar doesn’t specify in its public documents which exact variant it is (again, there are *MANY*).

The unit is water resistant to 30m, and weighs just 13g. That’s half the weight of the Whoop 4.0 band, which comes in at 28g. That said, my guess here is the 13g is actually the pod, and not the band/strap – as 13g inclusive of both would be insanely lightweight. The pod is charged via USB cable (which differs from Whoop’s semi-wireless charging backpack).

According to Polar’s site with their standardized icons (seen above), it measures (left to right):

– Nightly Recharge
– Nightly skin temperature
– Heart Rate
– Activity/Calorie Tracking
– Steps Tracking
– Breathing Rate
– Boost from Sleep (a sleep tracking metric)

It’s mildly interesting to me they didn’t write these out, but rather it required the decoder ring. But hey, if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s figuring out that the icon for “getting hit by lightning while I sleep”, is actually “how much energy I’ll have at 3PM tomorrow”.

Now, as much detail as that is, it’s also not a ton of detail. But, if you’re familiar with the Polar ecosystem, then all of these things are pretty well-known entities, tried and true software features that Polar has had around for many years in most cases (with the newest being Nightly Skin Temperature from last fall).

This would all make sense, as Polar wouldn’t want to re-invent the wheel here in terms of features, especially for a device that wasn’t a top-end or high-priced watch.

The Business Play:

But here’s the rub, Polar isn’t launching this for you. Well, not directly anyway. It is for you, as Polar says it themselves on their Polar 360 site: “Designed for individuals, but made for business: your customers, your employees, your people.”

Except, it’s not for you to buy directly. Polar confirmed this earlier this morning, when asked if we’d see a consumer variant, saying: “We have no plans to bring a consumer version to the market at this point.”

That does indeed seem to be a pretty darn firm “no”. I’d argue a bit too firm, as I think Polar would actually be a great company to make a product just like this – arguably one of the best companies to take on Whoop from an athletic standpoint. It’d really play to their workout-focused strengths and recovery aspects, especially compared to Whoop and how they calculate load and recovery.

Pauliina Sjölund went on to explain a bit further, saying:

“In a nutshell, Polar 360 provides a unique opportunity for businesses to access and benefit from Polar’s extensive scientific knowledge and features. It can be customized to match the business’s brand and offers two ways to access the data, allowing the partner to benefit from either the SDK or API interface to suit the business needs best. This also is another step to our Polar for Business strategy and offering, and is rooted from very strong demand we have seen across different industries.”

If you look at Polar’s site, it’s all about outlining various business focus areas, with both direct fitness realms, but also fitness-adjacent industries. The site starts off with outlining how Polar has been the engine of a 3rd party device (e.g. another company leveraging their tech in a wearable):

“- Imagine if a wearable could enhance individual well-being and performance; and drive product innovation and customer satisfaction.

– Imagine a wearable backed by five decades of scientific discovery and powered by the most trusted tech and algorithms on the market.

– Imagine an opportunity came along where you could not only get your hands on that wearable, but you could make it your own.

– Meet Polar 360…”

Much of this builds on what they announced earlier this year, and we saw Sennheiser take advantage of. That includes licensing Polar algorithms across virtually everything they currently make (e.g., if you want a recovery algorithm, or training load bits, or sleep scores, or skin temperature algorithms). It also includes integration of Polar Flow (their backend web platform).

But this time, they go even further. They’re making the actual hardware sensor, and including full sensor SDK access, saying “Read and interpret live RAW data from Polar 360, including PPG, acceleration and heart rate to build your own branded apps and experiences.”

In other words, a company can buy the Polar 360, then re-brand it as whatever they want, and either leverage the Polar Flow platform (like Sennheiser did), or build their own apps/platform. Or some blend thereof. Further, they can take that hardware and then access the raw data to expand upon the features Polar provided.

Meaning, you could see someone take the Polar 360 exactly as seen above and call it the “Tropic 360”, and otherwise look like a Polar product end to end. Or, you could see someone re-do everything, and it’d be virtually unrecognizable as the app/platform would be something totally different, with only the pod being kept the same.

Either way, whatever it is, we’ll likely start to see variants of it this fall. Polar confirmed the timing of the Polar 360, saying “The sensor itself will be available to our business partners later this year, and we are more than happy to provide more details soon, once we have more content ready.” The reason they have the site up now, again, was tied to FIBO, saying “We had a soft launch for Polar 360 in FIBO for selected business partners and created the Polar.com page to be able to explain Polar 360 for potential commercial partners during the event.”

Going Forward:

Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see what Polar does here. Frankly, I’d love to see them launch a consumer version of this. It’s something a lot of people have wanted (from a number of endurance-sports-focused companies), and an area that I think Polar could actually execute really well and not have to deal with many of the competitive pressures they currently have to deal with, as directly as they do today.

In much the same way that ‘everyone’ has to compete with the likes of Apple, Google, Garmin, Samsung, etc… no matter what device they make, it’s also true that you don’t have to compete as directly when you make a Whoop-like band. As Whoop itself has demonstrated. Plenty of people wear an Apple Watch on one wrist, and a Whoop on the other. Whereas very few people wear an Apple Watch on one wrist, and a full Polar watch on another.

Thus, while I see the appeal for Polar to try and wrangle business sales here – this is one area I think they’d actually do super strongly themselves, with exactly what they’ve already shown as a basic spec-sheet above.

But, that’s just my two cents.

With that, thanks for reading!


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  1. Eli

    Wonder if this will be used by link to makevisible.com. The activity tracker that’s not really for activities and they use the polar arm band now

    • Kevin

      This was my first thought when I heard about the new Polar strap.

    • Chuck

      I am quite sure companies such as makevisible and others will jump on board the 360 program. I for one am interested to see where they hit on pricing.

  2. Marcio

    I used to be a Polar customer, back many years ago, with S210, S410, S610, etc. Then when Garmin came up with Forerunner GPS and HRM, the Forerunner 301, I moved to Garmin and never looked back – dating myself here. Recently I have been wearing a Fitbit for daily activity tracking, health, and wellness, and Garmin F955 for running, and an Edge 1000 for cycling since I normally wear regular watches and Garmin just does not integrate well among devices, my Vivosmart, and Edge, and Forerunner just don’t work with each other and the health and performance data is terrible – the issue of having to choose a priority device for daily data, and the Forerunner training status does not get the Edge input, and I also sometimes wear an Instint for training, that mess up the Readiness, VO2, etc, even more – this is a whole another conversation. My life got easier just wearing a Fitbit 24/7 and Garmin for activities. I understand many others do the same with Garmin for run/ride/swimming, upload to Strava, and Whoop band or one of the many rings out there for sleep tracking and health like HRV tracking.
    So, why all that, I agree with you that Polar would have a home run with such a product, I would consider Polar Band, mainly if they had a subscription-free option, the hefty price tag for the subscription keeps me away from a Whoop Band.
    Just a correction, this is the best idea that Polar did not have yet, maybe the best product for this idea, but looks like the Polar Marketing team still does not understand this market, coming from their current other product positioning and how much ground they left to the competition to gain over the years, even with market head start. Hopefully, someone from Polar will listen to you or Garmin comes up with a band and flawless integration with othee products, eliminating this device priority annoyance in Garmin Connect. Cheers

  3. Fit Gear Hunter

    Duuuuuuude – I SO agree with you here. Literally I have slightly unfinished content about how competitive polar’s two main tenants are in the training and recovery space, still to this day even after they’ve been doing the same thing for five years. This would be such a huge victory for them to give an alternative to the WHOOP device. And fantastic summary.

  4. Mat Luebbers

    Bad autocorrect? should this be “by lightning”?

    hit my lighting while I sleep

  5. Pavel Vishniakov

    Hot take – a tracker designed to be worn on your wrist should have a display of some sort. An “inconspicuous” tracker shouldn’t be worn on your wrist at all.

    • kokoon

      Strongly disagree. I just want a wristband without display. I’ve been wanting it for years, but without subscription model.

    • Dan

      Yeah I disagree on this as well. I would love something like this in the Garmin ecosystem. I want the data, but I don’t always want to see it right there and want to be able to both collect the data and wear some of my nice watches sometimes. Honestly if Garmin had one of these it would mean I was buying two devices from them rather than one.

  6. Matthew

    I wonder if it’s only b2b so that Polar or partners can leverage the ability to charge a subscription for the product? Polar products don’t have a sub and this would be a big change.

    Otherwise- this is just what I would buy from polar. I don’t want to wear a big sports watch 24/7, but want to know stats, so currently use a Fitbit inspire but resent paying the monthly fee for the sleep data I want.

    I live my verity sense and have wondered for a while if this would make a good 24/7 tracker and it seems it would!

    Make this consumer Polar and I will buy it!

  7. Martin

    I’d love to see something like this come from Garmin.
    There are lots of days where I’d like to wear my dress watch, but also track heart rate, recovery etc. all day.
    Now I end up wearing my Garmin watch if I want those metrics tracked…
    Not interested in wearing two watches!

    • Lasker

      Meanwhile, I use mechanical dress watch on left and vivosmart 4 (display turned off) on the right.
      I switch to Garmin FR255 for swimming and mtb.
      Hopes Vivosmart 6 will be more elegant and minimalist.

    • Alex


      I mostly stopped wearing dress watches in favor of the Garmin watch but would love a small Garmin device to track all of my relevant data and go back to dress watches and the Garmin watch for outdoor activities only.

    • I tried doing this with the VS4 & 5. I preferred the 4 but I gave up on both because if I want accurate Body Battery stats…I can’t switch off devices. So that means even when I’m out for a run, and wearing a garmin, I have to keep my VS device on my wrist.

    • Gabriel

      I agree 100%, and I’m waiting for the same. A VivoSmart 6 small, invisible but powerful with their thing figured out about the “primary device”. I want to wear my dress watches.

  8. My first running watch was an RS300X and I loved that thing. At the time (mid/late-2000s), I thought Polar was the epitome of running technology. I eventually got an RC3 as I moved to GPS which I also found to be a great watch. But they fell behind in multisport and as I took up triathlon I moved over to the Garmin ecosystem and haven’t really seen a reason to ever go back to Polar, even though I have always kinda wanted to for some reason. Maybe nostalgia?

    But I prefer wearing “real” watches so I’ve been using a Whoop for the past year. I love that I can hide it so easily. But if Polar or Garmin would come out with their own competitor, I’d drop it in a heartbeat (get it?) and move over immediately. And if Polar came out with this, I would seriously consider getting one of their Vantage watches and maybe even one of their bike computers.

    I can’t be the only one.

  9. Matthew

    Long time follower of DCR, this is the first time I needed to comment, in hopes to talk to the company directly. Hopefully Polar reads the comment sections like the other companies!

    Like many already extant comments, when I read the title for this article, I dropped everything to read further and desperately find out where I could buy this (as a consumer.) As Ray talked talked about Polar’s consumer plans I did become more disappointed. – I realise that this “to business” thing is almost definitely geared towards the big boys like Nike and Ad, and obviously those licensing fees can be quite fun given those brand recognitions allowing them to push higher pricing power; but I don’t think Polar coming out with their own version, even as they license it out to the other boys and girls, will interfere with this. Brands will continue to brand.

    Secondly, I also agree with Ray that the current Whoop is not really a direct competition to sports watches. In fact, I am currently using my Apple Watch Ultra on the bicep because I want to keep my wrists clear, and if Polar gave me this option, I would in a heart beat. (True fact, I once went on a deep dive into the idea of just wearing a Polar-OH1 for this exact purpose… didn’t work out, but still.)

    If Polar made this direct to consumer, I would purchase this immediately.

  10. Simon

    Why isnt Garmin designing such a 24/7-sensor? this is such a good idea for peaple loving metrics but dont love a big sports watch on the wrist at work or while sleeping.

    • Matthew B.

      I would imagine it’s a few challenges:

      1) They couldn’t justify charging a monthly fee like whoop.
      2) They’d have to make it more affordable than their watches (why are you charging more for the same data with no screen?)
      3) It could potentially cannibalize their premium new watch sales. If you could get most of your day to day metrics from a $200-300 device, why upgrade your Fenix 5/6/7? Just use it for runs and the Garmin band for everything else.

      Take number 3 with the points 1&2 and it’s a recipe for disaster for Garmin. Only way to get around that is to make something compelling about the “not-whoop” device that differentiates it from their watches and could justify it having a monthly fee. They must have done the modeling and thought that stealing Whoops share doesn’t justify the risk. Maybe Whoop customers already use a Garmin for run tracking. Not really sure. But it’s not as slam dunk of a move as it seems at first blush.

    • Michael

      I do really second that. I would be happy to see such a device from Garmin soon.

    • Simon

      Maybe i am the alien here, but my this is my point of view and i don’t really think that a big part of garmin users would think the same. Even i would have my fantastic Garmin strap 24/7, I would never want to miss my garmin sport watch for running, checking heart rate and power while my training, navigating and so on. But i would definitely by the Strap for sleeping, for work, where i am not allowed to wear a watch at my wrist, and maybe for a theatre visit, where i would like to wear a classic watch. So, in my case and in many others i would by this strap additionally to my Garmin watch because i want to have all my data in Garmin connect. Garmin can make extra money with this product!

  11. King Bradley

    I don’t understand it.
    I have no idea how many users Whoop has, but when I look at their monthly prices…

    If Polar brought this band to end customers for e.g. 69€ and then 9.99€ per month, Whoop would have a problem.

  12. Lorne

    I really wish Garmin would do something like this. I love the garmin sports experience, but the smartwatch experience isn’t as good as it could be. Apple watch is completely the opposite, I have swapped between the two in the past but I like the all day training and stress data and I’m not prepared to wear an apple watch and an Epix. Something like this though would be great.

  13. Anza

    You make a funny face! 😂

  14. Jeff

    Imho, this is a huge own goal for Polar. I’m a long-term fan-boy…. I’ve been championing Polar all the way from their early attempts at HRM in the late 90’s, through the attempts at titanium watches in the early 2000’s, then through to the mass produced (but massively reliable) M430 plastic things, then the fated and widely ridiculed ‘Loop’, and to my final port of call, my trusty Grit X Pro Titanium. I then finally (and reluctantly) ditched that for a Whoop and subscription. Why? I have a collection of dress-watches which I don’t wear often (enough) – and Whoop gave me the daily data I craved, whilst allowing me to indulge my passion for actual timepieces. Thing is, I miss Polar’s ecosystem, and I’ll be honest, their heart-rate accuracy. So a ‘Whoop-style’ Polar band? Hell, I’m all in……this is the answer to all my fitness-tracking dreams. Except they aren’t making it for punters like me. Damn you Polar.