Polar Ignite hopes to compete with Apple Watch in health tracking

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Polar Ignite GPS fitness watch
Does Polar Ignite have the raw strength to take on Apple Watch?
Photo: Polar

Polar calls its latest wearable a GPS fitness watch, but the Ignite goes deeper into health monitoring than that description suggests. Many of the features are related to sleep tracking, including overnight heart rate measurement.

Of course, the Polar Ignite will have to take on the Apple Watch, which dominates wearables partially because of its health-tracking abilities.

The Ignite offers GPS for noting speed and distance, plus it has a heart-rate tracker. It’s designed for in-pool use, and can also notify its wearer of incoming calls, messages, emails and calendar events.

The wearable has a 240 by 204 pixel touchscreen, and its battery can go for 17 hours in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) or up to 5 days in watch mode.

Good sleep is healthy

Beyond the basics, Polar’s smart watch offers Sleep Plus Stages to follow the user’s amount and quality of sleep, with information on how they cycled through light, deep and REM sleep stages.

Next, the Polar Ignite interprets how well the wearer recovered from previous exercise while sleeping. “Nightly Recharge combines information from your sleep with the status of your autonomic nervous system (ANS),” said Mari Junttila, Segment Manager at Polar, in a statement. “ANS measurement relies on your heart rate, heart rate variability, and breathing rate showing how your body calmed down after the challenges you faced that day.”

FitSpark is a daily training guide that provides athletes with personalized guidance.

Tough competition

Going head-to-head with the extremely popular Apple Watch won‘t be easy for the Polar Ignite, as Apple’s wrist computer also offers multiple ways to track the wearer’s health. There’s a heart monitor, and the version introduced last fall has a built-in ECG to detect atrial fibrillation. There’s also a wealth of third-partly software for Watch to add to its capabilities.

As for price, Polar Ignite debuted today for $229.95 (€199.90), with a variety of wristband options. The AppleWatch Series 4 starts at $399.