review

Polar Ignite FitSpark Sleep Tracking GPS Heart Rate

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

For casual athletes who want to focus on keeping up their fitness levels, Polar Ignite is the perfect fit and a convenient way to monitor exercise strain and calculate recovery, while getting personalized FitSpark workout programs based on your previous day workout and night sleep.
Compared to the M400 watch, the Polar Ignite is a massive improvement in terms of looks and functionality.
Polar Ignite has a color touch IPS TFT display with an ambient light sensor and a 240 x 204 resolution so, it's a smaller display than the Vantage M watch but brighter and clear, thanks to the dragontrail glass display. Being a tempered glass display, the Polar Ignite touch screen has a different feel to it but it's still pretty responsive.
The addition of a gesture-activation feature means the Polar Ignite display is turned off most of the time, turning on (in 2-3 seconds) when rotating the wrist to view the display. The screen display only stays on constantly during workouts but you have to enable "always-on" from settings.
In terms of battery life, Polar Ignite's 165 mAh lithium polymer battery can manage to power the watch for up to 16 hours with both heart rate and GPS turned on. If you only have heart-rate tracking enabled, battery can last 3-4 days.
Two hours of heart rate tracking translates to 2% battery usage and 2 hours of GPS (without screen on activated) translates to 20% battery usage. So, 24 hours of continuous heart rate monitoring + 4 hours of GPS translates to 96% battery usage.
The Polar Ignite watch measures 4.3cm long, 4.3cm wide, 8.5mm thick and weighs 35 grams (21 grams without the wristband). Being more lightweight and slimmer makes the Polar Ignite more comfortable to wear during the day and at night.
The Ignite glass display is housed inside a polymer case reinforced with glass fiber and a stainless steel circular bezel.
There is only one button on the side of the Ignite watch, which is multi-functional and also made of stainless steel, just like the wristband buckle.
The button functionality is mostly for cancelling, closing and backing out of menus so, navigation is done via the touchscreen, including navigating through workout menus, which isn't as convenient as using buttons.
The Polar Ignite wristband itself is made of TPU plastic so, it has a silicone rubber finish to it. The 20mm quick release strap is available in small size (130-185 mm circumference) and large (155-210 mm wrist circumference).
Speaking of the Polar Ignite wristband, wearing it tight is very important because if it's not worn very snugly on your wrist (and two fingers width from the wrist bone) heart rate monitoring won't be accurate and the touch screen functionality won't be responsive.
The Polar Ignite watch communicates with the Polar Flow application via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), as well as through a proprietary Polar USB cable, which is included for charging and data synchronization from the watch to a computer via the FlowSync desktop application.
A smartphone isn't required/ needed with Polar Ignite but it's worth keeping in mind that the new 3.0 version of FlowSync is not compatible with Windows XP, OS X v10.8 and their earlier versions.
If you're using one of these operating systems, you can download the old FlowSync for Windows and FlowSync for Mac. This version of FlowSync is no longer updated, but you can still use it to sync your activity and training data with the Polar Flow web service.
Polar Ignite is actually cheaper in price than the Vantage M watch but includes more features, which is unusual since it's usually the cheapest product having less features than the higher end product. Polar Ignite 5 extra features include:
1) Serene guided breathing exercise
2) Overnight recovery statistics (Nightly Recharge) that shows you how well you recover from exercise
3) Inactivity alert after 55 minutes of being inactive (there are no inactivity alerts during night time)
4) Virtual coach trainer (FitSpark) based on your Nightly Recharge status, current fitness level and training history from the past 28 days. FitSpark is the closest thing to Polar's STAR Training Program, which isn't available to Polar Ignite.
5) Aerobic VO2max fitness test
Curious enough, all of the above Ignite features (aside from FitSpark) won't be unique to the Polar Ignite. They will also be available to Vantage M in the upcoming Polar update 4.0 firmware upgrade, which will also include Galileo GNSS support. The update won't take place until October 2019 so, as it stands now the cheaper Ignite watch gets to have more features.
Things you cannot do with the Polar Ignite include setting up manual laps and pairing the watch with power meters like you can with the Vantage M; hence you cannot measure cadence, speed, distance and stride.
Saying this, Polar Ignite is compatible with Polar Bluetooth heart rate sensors and some third-party sensors so, you can use it in conjunction with the Scosche OHR Sensor and the Polar OH1 Plus armband, if you don't get on with chest straps.
Polar Ignite cannot broadcast heart-rate to any other device, including Polar's own GPS bike computer - the V650 but the built-in GPS in the Polar Ignite is able to track basic cycling metric data (route, speed and distance) that you are then able to sync to third-party apps like Training Peaks. But, you cannot import training results and training targets from Training Peaks or any other third party platforms).
Polar Ignite isn't able to track cycling specific metrics like cadence and power the same way cycling GPS computers can. Polar Ignite is also compatible with the Google Fit app.
Multisport training isn't supported by Polar Ignite either so, you won't be able to record multiple sports at the same time. You won't be able to measure running power either, using a 3rd party sensor.
Aside from not including muscle load analysis, Polar Ignite is able to provide training analysis via Training Benefit motivational feedback, Training Load Pro, Cardio load and Perceived load, all of which are supported via the Polar Flow app so, you can monitor the cardiovascular strain of your body during training to figure out the best recovery times.
There is no Power zones feature so, you cannot monitor the workrate of your training exercise intensity in the running sport profile, which is a neat feature you get in the Vantage M watch that lets you see how your performance and heart rate develop accordingly. The "Back to Start" and Route import aren't supported either by Polar Ignite.
What's nice about the Polar Ignite watch compared to the Vantage M is that the Polar Ignite watch can be used standalone without having to be connected to Polar Flow app, making the Ignite watch "plug and play" right out of the box.
Saying this, it's a good idea setting up the Ignite watch via the Polar Flow app as soon as you get it to benefit from Polar Flow's cloud storage since you won't be able to store much data in the Ignite watch due to its small memory capacity.
The user interface (UI) languages that are supported by the Polar Ignite include English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Indonesian, Czech, Japanese, Chinese (simplified)
Polar Ignite is water resistant up to 30 meters (WR30) and meets the four requirements of the ISO 22810 standard, which includes meeting different pressure and temperature conditions.
Overall, Polar Ignite is a nifty wrist worn GPS watch that takes the quality of your sleep to accurately analyze performance and formulate a personal training program.
When it comes to accurately tracking results for high intensity strength workouts, you can expect the same level of accuracy you get with most wrist HR watches.
Sleep tracking requires the watch to be set to continuous heart rate monitoring and you can set the amount of sleep hours, as well as tell the watch when you are awake.
The back light of the Polar Ignite display can be turned off by selecting "do not disturb" from the general settings. You can choose when the "do not disturb period" starts and when it ends. Having "do not disturb" turned on disables notifications and call alerts, as well as gesture control.

UPDATE 4th September 2019:  As of 11am today Polar will be launching two brand new colours – Rose Gold & Pink, and Black & Copper. Both colours will be available to buy online from 11am today from www.polar.com/uk

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