As you’re aware, I’ve covered a variety of fitness-specific watches, testing them out as part of my own trips to the gym. Over time, I’ve really come to like the products coming from Polar, for a combination of functionality, ease of use (including clever charging), and affordable pricing. The most recent of these I reviewed was the Polar Vantage M. If you’ve spent any time with the Polar Vantage, their newest watch – the Polar Ignite – will look familiar. There’s more here than meets the eye, though.
Let’s start with what looks the same. Obviously, the Polar Ignite carries the same glossy black face surrounded by a chromed ring, along with a rubber strap set into short lugs. And when you get into the functions (optical heart rate sensor, syncing up to Polar Flow) there are similarities as well. But that just sort of sets a baseline for what to expect. Let’s get into some of the differences, shall we?
For starters, the Polar Ignite is targeted to more of a casual fitness-minded person. While the Vantage series is targeted more for serious runners and those training for events, the Polar Ignite is intended for people, well, like me – those headed to the gym regularly and just basically trying to get into (or stay in) better shape. To that end, they’ve slimmed the case down a bit, allowing it to set lower on the wrist. To me, that also speaks to a design ethic of always looking to improve, and should result in a nicer fit on the wrist with the thinner profile and smaller diameter.
Tucked into that smaller profile of the Polar Ignite is a touch screen, something I’ve only previously seen on their Android Wear watch, the Polar M600. While I’ve gotten used to their normal button layout for functions, the touch screen will be an interesting way to interact with the watch. There is still one button on the case, and if I had to guess, that will be what you use to trigger the sync to Polar Flow. You’ll definitely be using that, as while the watch tracks a lot for you – and can give you insights – the real magic happens up on the Polar Flow portal.
With Polar Flow, you’ve got a variety of details you can get from your workouts and sleep tracking. With the Polar Ignite, there’s a new thing getting mixed in called FitSpark. What it’s doing is taking your sleep metrics, along with your prior workouts, and it comes up with workout recommendations for you. For example, you might think that you need a heavy-duty cardio session, but with the history the Polar Ignite builds up (needs at least 3 days of history, then tracks a rolling 28-day average) it can figure out what actually makes sense, and how your body will best react. This seems like a solid way to have workouts that get the results you want, as well as avoiding injury. This is something I’ll definitely be digging into more once we’ve got a review sample in.
Another interesting thing that the Polar Ignite brings into the mix is a function called Serene. What this is, basically, is guided breathing exercises right on your wrist. Day getting a little out of control? This would be one approach you could take to just step back, calm down a little, and clear some of that stress out of your life. This might sounds a little too “New Age” or “Crunchy Granola” to some folks, but again, it’s something I’m interested in exploring.
And those, friends, are just some of the highlights of the Polar Ignite, which was just released today. We’ll of course be bringing you a more in-depth look at the watch once we’ve gotten one in and can spend some time with it. However, if it lives up to what I’ve seen from prior Polar watches, this will be a solid fitness watch – and an affordable one at $229.95 – that most folks would definitely get some great use out of. www.polar.com/ignite
- Brand & Model: Polar Ignite
- $229.95 in white, yellow, and black wristband options.
- Silicon accessory bands are $24.95/€24.90/£21.50 each and available in black, white and yellow in size medium/large and in black and white in size small.
- Who we think it might be for: You’re looking for a fitness watch that is more than just a simple step counter, but not as overboard as some very sport-specific ones can be
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? I’ve been consistently impressed by what Polar is producing, and this looks like a solid alternative to the Vantage M
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be:
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: What’s grabbing my interest here – aside from the touch screen – is the combination of sleep and activity tracking to give you workout (and intensity) recommendations.
Tech Specs from Polar
- Sleep Quality Insights with Sleep Plus Stages™
- Recovery Insights with Nightly Recharge™
- Nightly Recharge takes sleep measurement analysis even further by interpreting a user’s Sleep Score and then combining it with daily recovery information from the body.
- Personalized Training with FitSpark™
- Sophisticated & Additional Features
- Smart Coaching In addition to new sleep analytics and fitness guidance, Polar Ignite provides a variety of performance features spanning multiple sports:
- Serene™ Offers new guided breathing exercises, right from the wrist. Athletes’ bodies don’t distinguish between stress from training and other parts of life, and mental well-being is an important part of recovery. Regular, daily breathing exercises with Serene can help balance body and mind, recover better, and even help with better sleep.
- Daily Activity and :* Continuous Heart Rate Intelligently combines activity and heart rate data to calculate daily calorie burn and steps outside of training, and offers a comprehensive view on everyday life, accurate calorie consumption and activity data.
- Running Index : Provides a straightforward number that scores running performance. Running Index automatically provides an estimate of a runner’s Running Vo2max score based on their submaximal or typical runs.
- Running Program : Polar’s free, personalized and adaptive training program that offers guidance on completing anything from a 5k to a marathon.
- Swim Metrics: Tracks indoor and outdoor swimming sessions with metrics such as stroke rate and distance.