Polar has had something to take in the smart watch class, since Fitbit, Garmin and Apple are constantly improving and launching new products. Polar has always had solid portable options for serious athletes, but now the new Ignite smartwatch wants to reach a wider group of users.
For $ 229, the Polar Ignite is less expensive than the Vantage M or V smartwatches, but it has more capabilities as a GPS watch than something like the Polar A370 training band. It is also more attractive and versatile thanks to a round, lightweight case and interchangeable straps. It does seem to provide a good balance between style and fitness prowess that Garmin's Vivoactive 3 or Fitbit's Versa does, but spending a week on Ignite has proven that Polar should have been more mindful of small, yet crucial details that can make or break a $ 229 smartwatch.
|Specifications at a glance: Polar Ignite|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, heart rate monitor, GPS, GLONASS ] Nav buttons||One|
|Water resistance||Up to 30 meters|
|Battery life||Minimum five days|
Ignite is less daunting than Vantage M and V smart watches because it strips away most of the side buttons and selects a thinner and lighter case. The round smart watch has a metal ring around the case and just a side button that navigates back on the touch screen. Both parts of the bracelet are removable, so you can replace them for other styles in your spare time.
Ignite has an inoffensive design in general, but there are problems when you start using the touch screen. First, the active part of the screen is smaller than the case itself – it has a thick black frame around it and a small notch at the bottom where the Polar logo resides. Second and more importantly, the touch screen is not as responsive as it should be. I often tapped the screen to wake it from its dark sleep mode just to make it ignore my actions. Swiping to different computer screens from the main clock surface can only be done by hitting the touch screen in the right place – not too close to that frame, otherwise your sweeps will get you nowhere.
The screen also does not have the most reliable raise-to-wake function either. Since the monitor is in sleep mode most of the time, which helps conserve battery power, you need to raise your wrist to see the time. However, it only worked for me half the time, and when it worked, it took a whole second or two after I lifted my wrist for the screen to wake up. I asked Polar about this and my prickly touch screen, and a representative just asked me to make sure the watch had updated firmware (it did) and to clean the screen (I did, to no improvement).
You also have only one alternate face on Ignite, giving you a total of two faces to choose from: digital and analog. I kept the digital watch most of the time and it shows the time in large numbers along with the data in smaller numbers and letters below it. When you swipe left or right on the screen, you get activity statistics such as daily goal percentage, current heart rate, and sleep data along the screen's perimeter. But time always remains in place.
This is good when it comes to storytelling, which is arguably the most important function of the smartwatch. But it is frustrating to spend more than $ 200 on a smart watch and then find out that you only have two ways to customize the look and feel of the screen.
Music and battery
Polar also missed an opportunity to add music onboard storage to Ignite. None of the Polar laptops have this feature, but leaving it outside of the laptop that costs more than $ 200 in 2019 seems strange. Apple, Garmin and Fitbit have included onboard music storage and the ability for subscribers to download music from streaming services like Spotify to the wrists for easier phone-free workouts – that's the direction the industry is moving right now, and Polar's reluctance to follow suit is confusing. Asked about this, a Polar representative said that the company does not focus on falling in line with competitors, but rather serves the "fitness and performance community" by developing new fitness technologies that other entities do not have (we will discuss some of these in upcoming sections.]
Ignite has such a great battery life – it's good when compared to devices like Apple Watch, but only average when compared to devices like Garmin & # 39; s Vivoactive 3. Ignite lasted four full days and nights for me, with at least three hours of exercise during that time.
However, I was disappointed to find that when Ignite's battery runs very low (lower than 10%), most of the activity features are useless. , sleep, or workouts. When close to dying, Ignite is reduced to a "mute" clock that simply tells the time. While recording a workout when the device is at 10% will undoubtedly sore the battery faster, there should still be an option to do so.
Polar has put more emphasis on sleep tracking as of late, and Ignite presents some new metrics to help users understand the quality of the rest they get each night. Using the motion sensors and heart rate monitor, Ignite estimates how much time you spend in light, deep and REM sleep – as many recent wear and tear – and gives you a sleep point each night based on the data. Polar's "sleep charge" metric compares your current night's sleep score with the previous to let you know how "normal" your current night's sleep is compared to how you normally sleep.
Most people will get more use of sleep points than sleep charging. Almost every modern laptop that tracks sleep gives users a sleep point in the morning, and the singular that makes it easy to understand how well you slept the previous night. I think a sleep point graph over time will provide similar insights to sleep loading results for most users – instead of assigning another arbitrary score to a piece of data, just show users a graph that illustrates the change in a piece of data they already know and understand .
But sleep charge, along with the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) charge score, flows into Polar's "nightly charge" score. First, let's define ANS charge: it looks at your heart rate, heart rate variable, and breathing rate during the first four hours of sleep, and judges how quickly your body calms when you hit the bag. If your body calms down quickly, the ANS charge will be high – but you will have a low ANS charge score if you throw and turn or are unable to turn your brain off while trying to fall asleep.
The Nightly Charge Score considers both the ANS charge and the sleep charge for the previous night and gives you another score (although not in numbers, but rather in "compromised" sentences). This score lets you know how to treat your current day in terms of exercise and strenuous activity. If you have a good nightly charge score, Polar's personal recommendations will probably let you know that you can work out as you normally would without worrying about injury. But if your nightly recharge score is poor, you may want to take the day off or go easy on yourself when exercising.
Many users can gain informative insight from the nightly charging feature. Unlike sleep charge, it is a little more complicated by a calculation that analyzes more than just how you slept the night before. Combined with Polar's personal training and lifestyle suggestions, it can help users tailor their workouts to what their body can handle on any given day.
Nightly charging is similar to Garmin's "body battery" function which now becomes a standard feature on most of its advanced wearables. However, charging at night only takes into account the state of the body during sleep, while Garmin's body battery also considers periods of "rest" during the day in addition to nightly sleep. If you took a dinner nap or meditated for 15 minutes during your lunch break, body battery includes those periods of rest in their score calculations, giving you a somewhat more comprehensive score overall.