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Polar Ignite, with GPS and smart training

And new features for the Polar Vantage

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Polar has just presented its new model, the Polar IgniteDespite being a GPS watch its focus is not on runners, but rather on fitness in general, which is not to say that if you are a runner this is not a watch for you; on the contrary it can be the perfect solution you were looking for.

In the end it all depends on what you're looking for in your training partner, because it's clear that there are many very different profiles and not all of us are looking for the same thing, or need the same thing.

With the Ignite, Polar returns to its origins: the science of sport. It is a watch that does not stand out much in terms of what it offers in the technical section, in fact it brings nothing that we have not seen so far. In fact almost everything reminds us of its brothers, the Polar Vantage.

But it is in science and in everything behind it that there is news, with up to four new functions to which Polar has given very flashy names.

Of course, some of these things are more interesting than others, but before we get into those new things, let's take a look at the clock itself, because there are some things that are different from the Vantage.

Ignite Polar details

The Ignite Polar is neither an activity bracelet nor a GPS watch. Polar has tried to make it both.

There are a lot of things that remind us of Vantage, which is normal because it is based on them. But it doesn't mean that they are the same. For a start, the display is different because this time Polar has chosen a full-colour LCD that is normally off.

Logically, the screen is much more vivid, but it can't always be on because otherwise the battery would fly. Outside in the sun it's more difficult to see details (although the Polar Ignite has a light sensor), and since it's not always on, we have to wait for the screen to decide to show the information when we raise our arm. As for operating the watch, it's done through a touch screen and only has one button.

And that's pretty much where the differences end. There are a lot of things in the Vantage range that are in the Ignite Polar:

  • Same optical pulse sensor as Vantage, the Polar Precision Prime
  • Same Sony GNSS chipset
  • Support for external Bluetooth sensors
  • Swimming support, both pool and open water
  • Offers Training Load Pro information
  • Create advanced workouts in Polar Flow and download them to your watch
  • Running Index, Fitness Test, Training Benefit, etc.

We could say that we are looking at a smaller Polar Vantage M with an LCD screen, although we must not forget that there are some things it is not so capable of:

  • No potentiometers can be used, neither running nor cycling
  • There are no multi-sport modes (duathlon, triathlon, etc.)
  • The maximum range is 17 hours, which is good enough... but it's not as good as the Vantage

However, there are new features in the Polar Ignite that are not (at the moment) in the Vantage, and as I said, all with very flashy names:

  • Sleep Plus Stages
  • Nightly Recharge
  • Serene
  • FitSpark

I was saying that these are things that are not yet in the Vantages... although they will come. In particular the first three functions are already confirmed for the next update of the Vantages in October. FitSpark, for the moment, is out.

But... what's the point of every one of those functions? Don't worry, that's why you're here, to find out everything.

New features of the Polar Ignite

I had promised some interesting things with the Polar Ignite and so far it's all pretty normal, right? Now begins the good thing that, as I said at the beginning, is what Polar has always excelled at: science applied to sport.

The Ignite has four new functions. They are not only interesting for what they offer by themselves, but the most outstanding part is that at least three of them are related to each other. Therefore, the data provided by Nightly Recharge will be reflected in the recommendations of FitSpark.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me explain what each function is for.

Sleep Plus Stages

This is a second step to the sleep analysis that was present until now. It now offers information on how your sleep has been by following the different phases of sleep (REM, light and deep), interruptions, cycles, etc.

Putting all of this together, it offers a score to assess the quality of the rest you've had that night. It helps to be able to see trends about habits you have before going to sleep (eating late, training, watching TV...) that may be causing you not to get as much rest as you should.

Polar Sleep Plus

At the moment there is nothing interesting in itself in this function. What is interesting is how all the functions are linked to the next one, so read on.

Buscador de chollos

> Information at Polar

Nightly Recharge

With the data from Sleep Plus, Nightly Recharge interprets the data provided by the Sleep Score by combining the score obtained with recovery data from the body. To obtain this recovery data, the watch takes three things into account:

  • Heart rate
  • Heart rate variability
  • Breathing rate

Polar calls this the ANS (autonomic nervous system) - it is recorded by the watch directly through the wrist pulse sensor, and does so during nighttime rest periods (so no naps or breaks that you can take during the day are included).

Nightly Recharge mainly analyses the first three hours of sleep to determine how easily your body recovers in those first moments of sleep.

Polar Nightly Recharge

So we continue to accumulate data to inform more options...

> Information at Polar

FitSpark

We're going up steps and we're already on the third. We already have combined data and now comes the best part, FitSpark.

What's behind the pretentious name (fitness spark)? A smart virtual trainer who, based on the rest data he gets from the two previous functions, your recent training history and the current fitness level, determines which exercises are recommended to be done that day.

In other words, there is no objective here with a specific date in mind (for example, running a half-marathon in three months), but rather the aim is to stay in good shape.

With all the above mentioned data the Polar Ignite offers three types of training: cardio, strength or core and mobility exercises. And the proposals are smart, so if you haven't had a good night's rest, it won't offer you too much of a workout. Or if your activity history doesn't show you doing long runs, it won't offer you an hour and a half of running.

You will see these recommendations directly on the clock screen, as well as recommended exercises for strength and core training.

Without a doubt, this is the most interesting option that the Ignite Polar has. Finally a training platform whose exercises are not written in blood or are immovable. It is not a 3-month training plan that you have to follow to the letter, or a fixed proposal regardless of whether you get up like a rose or are knocked out after a night in which you haven't slept a wink.

Both Garmin and Suunto offer virtual training systems, but neither is as open as this one from Polar, which proposes to have many more values in mind when it comes to telling you what exercises to do.

That doesn't mean you can't have a targeted workout. The Running Program option is still available, but it's not as smart as what FitSpark offers.

> Information at Polar

Serene

Finally we have Serene, something far less interesting than the options you've seen before. It's simply guided breathing exercises, focused on helping you relax.

Polar Serene

> Information at Polar

Polar Ignite, price and availability

Polar Ignite is available for purchase almost immediately, and you can have one in a week's time.

In terms of colour there are three possibilities: white, black and yellow. Both the black and white have a silver bezel, while the yellow strap has a black bezel.

Polar Ignite - Colors Polar Ignite - Colors

However, any of them allows you to change the strap for any standard one, it does not have to be a Polar accessory.

The watch with a black strap is priced at £199 with a slightly harder rubber strap. Both the white and yellow watches have a different strap, made of silicone, which brings the price up to £229.

What's new in the Polar Vantage

Polar has taken advantage of the launch of the Polar Ignite to update the update schedule of the Polar Vantage. As I said before, some of the features that are released with the Ignite will be coming soon to the Vantage.

Unfortunately the function that doesn't come in is FitSpark. Polar understands that this function is designed for a different profile of audience than the one who buys a Vantage. They want to focus the Ignite on those who simply want to be fit, while Vantages are aimed at the more sporty or more structured target group.

This is the new plan for the next two updates:

Update 4.0

October 2019

  • Satellite support Galileo/QZSS/BeiDu, along with GPS and GLONASS enhancements
  • Fitness Test
  • Zone Lockout
  • Lap details in the training file: time, distance, average pace, etc.
  • Possibility of manual calibration of footpod
  • Sleep Plus Stages
  • Nightly Recharge
  • Serene
  • Possibility to leave the lighting active during training
  • Inactivity alert
  • Other improvements

Update 5.0

December 2019

  • Strava segments (only Polar Vantage V)
  • Running rhythm

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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for the article. Since this morning I have been looking for information and knowing if you were going to appear in the Polar Vantage and you are the only one who has explained it. You are fast and the best!

  2. Eduardo, as always thank you very much for the post. They are always tremendously useful to approach the new "bugs" that are coming out. In your post you talk about the FitSpark feature (which I find incredible) and I think I understand that you indicate that there is something similar in Garmin, what does Garmin have in that line? I have the Fenix 5 but I am not aware of anything that resembles this FitSpark thing.
    Thank you very much, Segor.

    1. There is Garmin CoachYou can access it from the Garmin Connect application on your phone.

      As for Suunto, they offer guided trainings in Suunto 3 and Suunto 5.

  3. Good afternoon Eduardo. First of all thank you very much for your work, it's very interesting with what detail you describe each watch, I don't know if it's something good or bad because I have more and more doubts haha.
    I wanted to ask you what watch you would recommend and if this is the model that best suits my needs, as I don't need anything very special. I am a personal trainer and my field is more fitness than triathlon and these long-distance events.
    I'd like to know what watch I can use to measure my heart rate more or less accurately, sleep analysis, "performance", general health, that has a more or less decent battery so that I don't have to charge it continuously, and that quality price is good. It's true that from time to time I do some running or go for a run but it's not routine.
    I've been looking at several, this is the last one and it can be interesting too. I've also read about the suunto 3 fitness, the vivo active 3, the forerunner 235 and some more... What could you recommend? Thank you very much.

    1. If you value sleep logging right now, it's this Ignite Polar that does it best, along with the Training Load option that allows you to keep track of your training load. It's clear that being a trainer you'll know better than the watch what kind of training you should do each day, so FitSpark won't take advantage of it; but in all other aspects of monitoring I think it fits what you're looking for.

      As for calories and steps you don't have to worry about, that's basic in any of the models and it's included.

  4. In relation to this comment I would also like you to include if possible the caloric expenditure and the steps taken during the day/week.
    Maybe it's a lot of things and none of them have all, or there's some other model you haven't read about.

    Thank you very much again.

  5. Thank you, Eduardo, for the post,
    You can recommend the best one to measure the moving heart rate.
    Thank you.

  6. Hi, Eduardo.

    First of all, congratulations on the blog. Super constructive, detailed and simple at the same time. Perfect for laymen like me.

    I'm looking for a watch, budget 200 ?, basically for fitness (4-5 days a week), sporadic running and HIIT sessions (this is important). I especially value the autonomy, simple usability and the quality of the display.

    I'm in the Garmin Vivoactive 3, waiting for this Pilar Ignite or someone who's off my radar.

    How do you see it?

    Thank you!

    1. Well, if you're going to do more fitness than running, I think the Polar will fit you better. The Vivoactive 3 is a great watch, but it has nothing compared to Training Load or any of the advanced features of the Polar (which you can buy from the link below) in terms of rest and training algorithms.

      Let's say that the Vivoactive 3 is a good all-rounder, but the Ignite Polar is a better choice as a watch more focused on fitness.

  7. Hi, Eduardo:
    Me encanta el trabajo que llevas a cabo en este blog y te doy las gracias por ello. Soy una “corredora” que sale tres días a la semana y hago seis kilómetros y medio. Poco comparado con lo que leo por aquí. Siempre he tenido pulsómetros polar (desde el vantage de finales de los 90 hasta el rcx3 de la actualidad). Polar va a dejar de dar servicio a este último. Debido al poco tamaño de mi muñeca, los nuevos vantage me echan para atrás. He visto el nuevo ignite (algo más pequeño y fino), pero dice que está más enfocado al fitness. Mi duda es si serviría para mi perfil. La verdad que con me mida la distancia, ritmo y pulso, así como descargarme algún entrenamiento me valdría. Quiero atraverme con los 10k. Espero haberbe explicado bien.
    A big salute,
    Marta

    1. Yes, despite being more fitness oriented being a GPS watch you will have no problem for your type of activity.

  8. Hi Eduardo, thank you very much for the article, it's a pleasure...hehe

    I wanted to consult you... currently I have a 400M polar fleece with which I am quite satisfied, not to say 100% satisfied but, I am curious about these new polar models, both the vantage m and the ignite.

    To say that I don't do triathlon but that I change sport between walking and running so I think that the multi-exercise that has the avantage m is a point in favor.

    On the other hand, I think the ignite doesn't have a go back or something like that, come on what if it has the m400 with the arrow indicating the starting point... this I see very useful and I usually use it in my mountain trekking sessions... it's not a map, but it helps a lot (at least to me)

    more things, I have polar balance and I think the ignite or the vantage is compatible with the scale...? which I don't understand...

    In the m400 I can not swim properly because I do not measure the pulse with the band h7 ... with the vantage or ignite if I could ... I was told in decathlon that NO watch with pulse on the wrist reads pulses correctly under water (this person has a fenix5 ...) this is true ... well in the manual I see that if you can ...

    The ignition, inexplicably too, lacks a manual... which I use even though I don't make a circular track...

    in short, which one do you recommend, although I've been answering myself.

    I see also that polar is for the work of implementing in future updates those new functions that if they have incorporated into the ignite... point in favor of polar

    what I wanted to ask more directly:

    With the new watch, whether it's vangage or ignite, I'll be able to keep using the same session on polarflow and keep the records I've been generating with the m400?

    There is something I miss in one of the two models with respect to what I have now in the 400? I will be able to continue using the h7 band in certain occasions (I think it is more reliable than the pulse in the wrist) not?independently of the scale...

    what are the important differences between the ignite and the vantage m... at this point, the 20 euros more that the vantage costs in amazon would not be a decisive point

    Sorry about the billet, but even if they are watches of the same brand... I have many doubts...

    thanks for the help

    1. If you stay with Polar, you'll still be using the same platform and you'll be able to keep up with previous training sessions without any problems.

      Neither is compatible with the scale, you'll have to use it with the phone's app.

      I think the key to solving all your questions is whether you're going to use FitSpark training. If it's going to be the main reason for the change, then the Ignite. If it's not, the rest of the features are going to come to the Vantage M which is a model that might work better for you because you do a lot of activities.

      As for swimming, the optical sensor will give you approximate data, enough for calculating calories and intensity, but little more.

    2. Thank you, Eduardo, for the answer. I finally decided on the Vantage M

      Let's see how it goes.

      Greetings

  9. good evening i've always been a polar user actually polar m400 but with desire to change 52 years and mainly running without considering myself a runner in all the extension, i run 4 times a week in total approx 30 35 km andh I managed to run 5 half marathons actually I left weight gym and I have done hiit but I'm exploring the functional training, all my training programs are recommended polar in polar flow and although I do not follow 100 my percentage has always been between 85 and 90 percent of the program times not enviable 10 km in 1 hr 05 and 21 km in 2 hrs 25 I'm between garmin forerunner 245 and this polar ignite but I have also considered the forerunner 45, what do you recommend ? although I read that the vivoactive 4 will arrive and another called venu that you recommend me ?

    1. The Ignite is a watch that is more for the fitness user than for the runner, it is not the model that will fit your type of use. The same is true for the Vivoactive and Venu.

      Since your main use is running, I recommend you choose between Polar Vantage M, Garmin FR245 or Garmin FR45.

  10. Hi, I read that you can't do manual laps with this watch?. It would be a pity that rare although it will be to avoid stepping on the Vintage M. Thanks a greeting

  11. hola muy buenos dias, que reloj me recomiendas si practico crossfit de lunes a viernes y dejo los fines de semana para running, senderismo y ciclismo.
    El vantage M admite sensores de cadencia, potencia y velocidad??

    Greetings

    1. Si vas a correr creo que el Vantage va a ser mejor opción. La diferencia entre el Ignite y el Vantage es el tipo de pantalla que utilizan (y el material del que están fabricados). La del Ignite es más vistosa, pero para utilizar en exterior la del Vantage es mejor. Además, para practicar carrera es mejor opción porque permite marcar vueltas.

      Sí, el Vantage permite usar todo tipo de sensores externos, incluído potencia.

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