In a time where technology is everywhere, why shouldn’t it also be incorporated into exercise?
Nowadays, most runners and other athletes can use fitness trackers to keep track of their workout, location, calories burned, and other essential information.
However, this means that the market is now flooded with trackers manufactured by different brands and with a variety of features.
Today we break down two popular trackers - PolarA360 vs Fitbit Blaze.
If you would like to skip the history lesson and the features/benefits details, below is a comparison chart detailing the differences.
Polar A360 vs. Fitbit Blaze Comparison
Polar A360 Review:
The Polar A360 is one of many fitness trackers released by Polar Electro Oy, an equipment manufacturer in Finland which specializes in sports.
The company employs over 1,200 people worldwide and strives to remain on top of new developments in the industry.
Buyers can choose between small, medium, and large wristbands but will not be able to customize the device beyond choosing a specific color at the time of purchase.
The clasp and band are comfortable and similar to a wristwatch.
- WRIST HEART RATE MONITOR: Accurate wrist-based heart rate monitor with personalized training guidance to reach your fitness goals
- ACTIVITY TRACKER: Tracks your workouts, steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and activity 24/7
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Bright colorful touch screen with vibrating smart notifications and inactivity alerts that help you stay active
- WATERPROOF FITNESS TRACKER: Customize your A360 activity tracker to fit your style with interchangeable, waterproof wristbands
- CALORIE COUNTER CAPABILITIES: For those who want to count the calories they burn and get basic heart rate-based features to keep their fitness training simple
The A360 primarily serves as a heart rate monitor but includes numerous other beneficial features.
It can track workouts, how long and well someone sleeps, distance travelled, speed, heart rate, and calories burned which is a step up over other models including the Polar FT7.
The wristband itself is waterproof but the computer section is not
This activity tracker can be linked with Android and iOS phones so users can upload their workouts and share progress. People can also turn on activity notifications to keep them moving if they have stood still for too long.
The battery can last between 10 and 14 days while being on 24/7 and tracking a single 1 hour long exercise session per day.
I like this one way better than the Fitbit Flex which is a similar watch in style.
If you would prefer something a little less techy, check out the A300.
Fitbit Blaze Review:
The Blaze is produced by Fitbit, an American company which primarily makes wireless activity trackers. It includes a lot of additional features like a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and food log so people can keep track of how many calories they consume in a given day.
Similar to the Polar M400, It monitors distance travelled, speed, heart rate, and the number of calories burned during a workout or throughout the day.
The Fitbit Blaze is extremely popular throughout the United States and comes in a variety of colors which can be changed by swapping out wristbands.
Most people describe the band as being comfortable but a little small.
- See simplified heart rate zones for quickly checking exercise intensity during workouts with PurePulse (continuous, wrist based heart rate monitoring (no uncomfortable chest strap required)
- Use multi sport tracking to track runs, cardio, cross training, biking and more; Effortlessly and automatically record other workouts to your dashboard with SmartTrack
- Enable connected GPS to map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration on display (when your phone is nearby)
The Blaze comes with features like GPS tracking so people can record their workouts and a multi-sport tracker.
This means people can record a variety of workouts such as running, biking, cross-training, and general cardio.
Although water resistant, the Blaze is not waterproof and cannot be used for swimming.
The manufacturer claims the Blaze’s battery will last for at most 6 days, but most people find that it dies after around 48 hours no matter how often the user works out during that time.
The Fitbit Blaze also includes many of the elements of a smartwatch, such as keeping track of the time and connecting with a wearer’s phone.
Polar A360 vs. Fitbit Blaze Comparison:
So, how do these two fitness trackers compare? While the Blaze is more popular, the A360 is truly the better option.
It is more accurate when it comes to recording exercise, is less expensive, and has a longer battery life.
It also doesn’t try too hard to be a smartwatch, instead focusing on being the best activity tracker it can possibly be – which is appreciated by athletes who genuinely want the best recorder for their workouts.
The A360 additionally still allows people to connect the tracker with their phones but doesn’t force people into using a clunky app.
While the Blaze is more stylish, it all around just doesn’t seem to be worth the investment when there are simpler, more accurate trackers for cheaper.
However, the best activity tracker between the two is still going to come down to the wearer. The user needs to understand what their personal needs are and make a decision accordingly. Some people will prefer a tracker which looks stylish and can act like a smartwatch, while others might not.
Either way, be sure to blaze those trails with a new companion – a fitness tracker.
What is a Fitness Tracker
Fitness trackers are also called activity trackers and have been studied by numerous professional sources like doctors, scientists, and even college universities. They are worn around the wrist and display information digitally to their user. These trackers typically have sensors which can monitor distance travelled, time used, and information about the wearer like heart rate. The oldest one we could find is the walk-a-matic that kept track of how many steps you took
Digital fitness trackers first hit the market around the early 1990s when technology developed enough to allow individual, portable computers. The original designs were based off of the paper records kept by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during a movement in the United States to keep people fit and healthy, especially those still in school.
These early activity trackers were essentially pedometers, which are devices designed to count how many steps a person moves.
New developments have made it possible for these small wristbands to keep track of even more information, such as speed, heart rate, and an estimate of calories burned based on a person’s weight and activity levels.
Nowadays, these devices are closer to mini computers or full-blown health monitors with numerous features like clocks, the ability to measure pulse, and even keep track of an individual’s more personal information.
Unfortunately, this means that many devices aren’t without risk, as recent data breaches and increasing connections to online forums mean people’s sexual history and activity levels have been made public in the past.
As a final note, fitness or activity trackers should be worn around the non-dominant wrist to improve the accuracy of measurements. This means people who write with their right hand should wear the tracker on their left wrist, and vice versa.
To further learn the technology behind the tracker and how it works, watch this video. It’s relatively short at 4 minutes but provides a lot of information which runners might not know otherwise.
Fitness Tracker Benefits
I wrote in depth the benefits of a fitness tracker and how it can help you here. If you are looking for the reader's Digest version, here you go:
Many runners and athletes gradually transitioned from keeping records on paper or in their heads to using a fitness tracker to take accurate measurements. Part of this is for the ease of having a portable computer around one’s wrist, but people also find plenty of other benefits.
First, there is personal accountability. Without accurate records, it’s very easy for someone just starting to become involved in fitness to give up. It’s also difficult to push oneself without some way of actually knowing whether new thresholds of physical activity are reached.
A fitness tracker can record all of this information and truly let a person know what their progress is. Someone might think they are running at 8 mph, but the tracker could reveal they are still jogging at 6.5 mph. This is just one example, but the tracker also works for information like heart rate – some people should not go above a certain number, so the tracker can also preserve a person’s health and wellness.
Second, the tracker is all about the wearer and provides more accurate, detailed information than general charts designed for the entire human population. For example, maybe a runner knows what their heart rate should be when exercising, but how else could they know if they go above or below on average? It’s possible, but requires a lot of calculation and effort which is simplified by the presence of a tracker
With all of these benefits, it should be no surprise that many manufacturers now make trackers designed to suit the needs of just about everyone. The difficulty for runners and other athletes lies in determining which one will work best for them, since there are so many on the market.
Currently, two of the most popular brands in the United States are Polar and Fitbit, who manufacture a broad range of styles with lots of different features. Out of all of them, many people gravitate towards either the Polar A360 or the Fitbit Blaze.
Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API