Polar quietly makes some of the best fitness watches on the market but its products are not as well known in the UK as the more casually inclined Fitbit. The new Polar Ignite watch is looking to change that with a full feature set centred around getting good sleep for considerably less than the high-end Fitbit Ionic.
It costs £174.50 / $199.95 from Polar with white, yellow or black strap compared to the £249.99 / $249.99 Ionic. It has new Polar branded features Sleep Stages Plus, Nightly Recharge and training software FitSpark to better track sleep and provide more personalised training guidance than before.
FitSpark claims to take tracked fitness levels, training history and sleep data to give you specific exercise suggestions and realistic targets for workouts. This information is delivered via Polar apps on your phone and via the round colour touchscreen of the Ignite itself.
The watch features most things you could want from a fitness watch with a focus on sleep analysis and prompts that use the data to better help you rest and recharge after exercise. It has continuous heart rate monitoring, tracking for 100 sport types and five days quoted battery life.
It’s fully waterproofed for swim tracking of stroke rate and distance, features sometimes hard to find on a watch of this price. Despite its relative affordability it is aimed at those who are more serious about fitness tracking than the average Fitbit or Apple Watch user.
Polar’s suite of apps, in our experience, is great if a little fragmented. Linked with a watch the Polar Flow app allows you to drill into a granular view of your exercise data, but its trademarked branded features are a little confusing at first. Once you get into the flow (pun intended) they provide an excellent step up from the accessible but comparatively shallow data sets that Fitbit provides.
Polar has struggled to match the market might of Garmin in the mid-to-pro fitness watch market till now. Perhaps that will change as the Ignite looks like a fully featured but less intimidating product than some of Polar’s more expensive watches.