Updated: August 29th, 2019

Here is our full review of the Polar Ignite gps running watch.

Polar has created a fitness watch that has all the data you need at a competitive price. The Ignite has 24/7 heart rate tracking, GPS, phone notifications, and new features to up your training regimen. The watch features running, cycling, and outdoor workouts — which include open water swimming.

So what else is new?

  • Nightly Recharge
  • Sleep Plus Stages
  • FitSpark
  • Serene

We’ll break these down so you can see exactly what these new features encompass.

Nightly Recharge

After three nights, the Ignite gives you a recharge score that is a combination of your breathing, heart rate, and heart rate variability. When compared to the Garmin and Suunto, the Polar Ignite is the only watch that uses breathing rate in combination with heart rate and heart rate variability to determine if you are fully recharged.

The Nightly Recharge feature shows if you recover fully or not by sleeping. Depending on how you recover, the Ignite recommends training regimens on your recharge score.

Sleep Plus Stages

Sleep Plus Stages provides detailed sleep insights. The app tracks how long you stay in each sleep stage (light, deep, and REM). The Sleep Score breaks down the quality of sleep you have each nice and puts it into one easy to read number, which it does by gathering baseline data to provide you with more detailed data later.

FitSpark

FitSpark is Polar’s virtual coach. The Ignite chooses a workout depending on your Nightly Recharge score and your sleep data. FitSpark then gives you specific steps and guidance for the workout. If you are unsure of what to do, some workouts have animations to help you along with the steps.

FitSpark ties together your training history, recovery data, and sleep data to provide you with accurate workouts for your current health state. Besides strength and aerobic workouts, The Ignite offers supportive workouts, which are stretching and recovery-focused to vary your exercise regimen. The routines are based on WHO’s recommendations, which are 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio training with resistance training twice a week.

Each day, the watch provides two to four options. One option is optimal for your health that day and the other three are alternatives. All the exercises are based on your fitness level, training history, recovery, readiness, and Nightly Recharge status.

Serene

Serene is breathing exercises to help calm your body and mind. Research has continuously shown that deep breathing helps manage stress, improve focus, and build resilience. Serene is a breathing timer with on-screen animation and vibration feedback to help you breathe deeply for three minutes. The time can be adjusted, but it starts at three minutes long with a breath in for five seconds and breathe out for five seconds.

Things that are not new but still on the watch:

  • Structured workout support
  • Tracks steps, calories, distance, etc.
  • HR 24/7 tracking
  • Tracks sleep
  • VO2max score
  • Fitness Test
  • Pool swim and open water swim tracking
  • NO triathlon mode
  • Training Load Pro
  • Timers (stopwatch and countdown timers)
  • Training Benefit
  • Distance
  • 20 sport profiles with 100 more that can be added to watch
  • Accelerometer based on distance and speed when GPS not available

Additional Features

There are some additional features that help the Ignite stand out. These include the calorie tracker, color touchscreen display, optical HR sensor, and the price and battery life.

Calorie Tracker

In addition, the calorie tracker provides a workout summary with Smart Calories, which are the number of calories burned during a training session and throughout the day. This works well for tracking your intake and expenditure. The measurement is based on your heart rate and activity as well as your personal information (weight, height, age, gender, resting HR, maximum HR, and VO2max).

Color Touchscreen Display

The color touchscreen display is not always on to save battery life. To turn it on, just move your wrist and the time shows up. A tactile button is located on the side, which works as the back button and to access some menu items. Otherwise, the color touchscreen can be navigated with your finger.

Optical HR Sensor

The optical heart rate sensor is the same as the Vantage series and works well. Polar has the most LEDs out of anyone in the industry, so the heart rate tends to be pretty accurate. The Ignite monitors your heart rate 24/7 for detailed data.

Price and Battery Life

The price starts at $199 with a rubber TPU strap. If you want the silicone strap, the price goes up to $229. This is still a competitive price for all the data the Ignite has to offer. When it comes to battery life, expect five days of general use and 18 hours in GPS mode.

It is important to note the Ignite does not have music, which is a big downside for some. It tends to be more of a fitness watch. Furthermore, the GPS does not work as well as it does on the Vantage series. Yet, overall the Ignite offers more features and data than the Vantage and Vantage Titan.

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