Polar Ignite full review

Polar is a Finnish brand specializing in smartwatches. The Ignite comes with both GPS and heart rate monitor at an affordable price. Here's our full review.

Price & Availability

In the UK, the Polar Ignite is £174.50 from the official store, regardless of what size you choose. You can also get it from the likes of Amazon and Halfords.

Over in Europe, it's 199 € from Polar France as well as places like Decathlon.

It is much cheaper than most watches of the same category of its biggest competitors. For example, the Fitbit Ionic is £249 and the Apple Watch Series 3 is now £199 despite being two generations old. At Garmin, the product that comes closest to the Ignite could be the Forerunner 35 at £129.

Given its price, the Polar Ignite can be considered as a mid-range connected watch. But, what about its capabilities and features, can it compete with Premium models?

Design & Build

The Polar Ignite is a watch with a very simple design and no frills. The version we tested has a simple black strap and steel edges, while the main body is very resistant due to TPU plastic. There are various other colours available, although more choices if you choose the medium/large size. Note that there is no black model with silicone strap, which is a shame.

Polar Ignite design

The Ignite is equipped with a glass tempered Dragontrail (main competitor of Gorilla Glass) that can be found on some smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

On his left flank is the only physical button as on the Vivoactive 3 Music from Garmin. It can turn on the clock, synchronize, go back, etc. However, some controls such as selecting activities operate from the touchscreen.

On the back you'll see four sensors to measure your heart rate. We tested the small model and you'll need to wear it in the correct position to measure your heart rate properly. This might be tricky if one of notches on the strap isn't the right size for your wrist.

Polar Ignite smartwatch

On the whole, the Polar Ignite is discreet and nicely balances sporty and elegant styling. Its design is not as advanced as the Fitbit Ionic but Polar does not claim to be making a fashion accessory. But you will appreciate its finesse and lightness at just 35g.

Screen

The Ignite takes advantage of a 1.2in IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 240 x 240 and is activated with the movement of your wrist. It's not fully circular due to the Polar logo at the bottom.

The info is clearly displayed and thanks to its ambient light sensor the display adapts automatically. In full sun or not, you will read the time or notifications without issue.

On the other hand, we were disappointed by the lack of responsiveness. This is an issue because you'll need the touchscreen for the vast majority of control.

Polar Ignite screen

Also, we regret that it is not possible to adjust the brightness and that the standby is automatic and not manual. However, this has the advantage of consuming less energy.

Specs & Features

The design of the Ignite is simple, but that does not mean that it has few features or insufficient tech specs. It's quite the opposite.

The Polar Ignite is a sports watch designed to help you achieve your goals and train yourself on a daily basis, as opposed to an activity tracker that tells you how many steps you've made, how many floors you've built, and how many calories you've lost.

To take full advantage of the Polar Ignite, or any other brand product, download the free Polar Flow tool (Mac / Windows) or its Android / iOS version. This is an excellent platform that allows you to do a complete and detailed monitoring of your workouts (day after day, week after week via the calendar), as well as your goals.

Polar Ignite heart rate

Also, before each workout, it is important that you do not forget to activate the activity, otherwise it will not be recorded. it doesn't support automatic detection.

The synchronization is also done manually unfortunately.  You must press the button for a few seconds and activate the Bluetooth and the GPS of your phone. Once paired, you also receive all the notifications (indicated by a small red dot on the screen). However, if you're not a fan, turn on Do Not Disturb or simply disable notifications.

The Polar Ignite contains 12 sports profiles but you can add more from the Polar Flow interface where there are hundreds of them. You get information specific to each sport, including swimming since it is waterproof up to 30m.

Nevertheless, be aware that it does not include the Triathlon and is not equipped with a barometric altimeter, but it is able to display the altitude and the cumulative elevation thanks via GPS.

In terms of heart measurement, the Polar Ignite is a watch that can be worn day and night. It tracks during activities but also recovery (after your exercises and during your sleep). We found this a little inconsistent, our pulse was sometimes strangely high while we were resting.

With the Polar Ignite, four new and very practical features make their arrival. FitSpark is a recommendation tool, it suggests exercises based on things like your body weight.

Polar Ignite Nightly Recharge

Nightly Recharge analyzes your sleep. It measures the time taken by the nervous system to regain calm.  Sleep Stages Plus which provides a detailed report of your different sleep phases. Finally, Serene assesses your stress level in three minutes, a lively breathing exercise helps you relax to start a sporting session.

In our opinion, the Ignite is a connected watch that suits both beginners and more regular sportsmen. 

Battery Life

According to Polar, the Ignite has a battery life of fice days and 17 hours with the GPS but in fact it is slightly below. During our test, it held out for four days despite the fact that the screen goes into sleep quickly.

In this field, Garmin shows better results. The Polar Ignite does recharge very quickly when connected to its magnetic charger.

Verdict

The Polar Ignite is a fitness oriented smartwatch that has the features that any sportsperson (novice and accomplished) would expect. It will be able to give you the motivation that you may miss, coach yourself personally but also offer a complete analysis of your recovery and sleep.

We regret that the touchscreen of the Ignite isn't very responsive which is the biggest drawback. Although it is not compatible with Spotify or Deezer and it does not integrate the NFC, it's a real wrist coach that will appeal to the amateur and fitness enthusiasts of various sports.

With the Ignite, Polar offers a very good smartwatch at a remarkably attractive price that will make you forget the Fitbit.