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Polar Ignite 3 review: Exercise in style


  • Stylish and thin
  • Packed with training aids and sensors
  • Battery lasts 3-4 days


  • Display less readable in bright sunlight
  • Wake function of display sometimes responds slowly
  • GPS not very accurate

Those looking for a smartwatch that focuses on sports should consider Polar’s Ignite series. We wore the Polar Ignite 3 on our wrist for a few weeks and checked how the smart watch performs.

With its Ignite series, Polar not only approaches avid sports enthusiasts, but also those looking for a smart watch for every day, which serves perfectly as a sports and health monitor after working hours, with the most important functions we have come to expect from Polar.

Design en display

It is striking that the Polar Ignite 3 has an elegant design and, at 9.5 mm, is thinner than the older training watches of the brand itself or competitors such as Garmin. The slim smartwatch is therefore better to wear under normal clothing, so that it also looks nice and well-groomed. For this, Polar has been inspired by other watch manufacturers and so the manufacturer combines form with functionality. The Polar logo is only clearly visible from a certain angle. The round, stainless steel watch case measures 43 mm in diameter. The screen edge remains quite large at about 4 mm (not including the outer edge of the watch case). For example, a little screen space is lost, although that is certainly not a major point of irritation.

The high-quality AMOLED display impresses with its beautiful color saturation and excellent brightness. However, if you don’t look at the perfect angle, bright sunlight can cause you to look at the watch a little longer or tilt it to read data. In daily use, the Polar Ignite 3 does not have an always-on display, because that would severely reduce the battery life. The brand does provide the option to always leave the screen active, only during sports. Outside of that, you activate the display by turning your wrist, although that doesn’t always work well. It often happened that we had to press the physical button on the left (which also functions as a back key) to activate the screen. This problem seems to occur especially if the screen has not been active for a while. The physical button got our preference. You get used to that, but the motion sensor in the watch could have reacted a bit sharper.

Time to exercise

It goes without saying that the Polar Ignite 3 has a pedometer and a GPS module that shows your distance covered, just like your calorie consumption. You can find all that data neatly in the main menus and in the accompanying Polar Flow app for your smartphone. The sport profiles are central. If you want to start an activity, press the physical back button from the start screen. There you can choose from the 14 standard profiles, including running, cycling, group lessons, strength training and swimming. Surprising for a watch in this price category is that Polar can measure your swimming behavior in great detail, ranging from your strokes and swimming style, and with the distinction between sports in swimming pools and open water. Via the Polar Flow app you can find a total of 100 sports activity profiles and you can keep up to 20 available at the same time.

So it should be clear that the Polar Ignite 3 goes a lot further than other smart watches with sports functions in this price range. The brand even offers the possibility to put together a tailor-made training program. For example, you can prepare yourself perfectly for the specific circumstances of an upcoming running race, whether it is a 10 km or a marathon. New for Polar is the Fitspark app. It uses measurements and data that have already been registered to put together a dynamic workout that supports you in your goals as best as possible. It’s a nice extra that makes the experience even more personal. Among the activities you will also find Serene with the physical button. This function makes you completely ‘serene’ with relaxing breathing exercises, ideal for the afternoon break at work.

Sensors and battery

The heart rate monitor in the Polar Ignite 3 is the same as the one in the latest Vantage models. You can therefore be proud that the registration is particularly accurate and the sensors are among the top of the market, because it is still Polar. Furthermore, the Polar Ignite 3 can also perform sleep analyses. This way you can learn more about the different phases of your sleep, their duration and the general quality of your night’s sleep. We can only applaud the fact that the manufacturer is joining that popular trend with smartwatches and trackers. The Nightly Recharge statistic is something that we have not seen before in a smartwatch. That data tells you what effect your sleep will have on your fitness during the day. Good looking. Also measured: the maximum oxygen uptake of your blood (VO2-max).

By far the least good sensor is the GPS. Although the deviations are not too drastic, those looking for exact distances and routes will be somewhat disappointed. We can talk about the battery again. It lasted about three to even five days, depending on how often we exercised and whether the GPS mode was switched on.

Final verdict

With the Ignite 3, Polar is looking harder than ever at sports enthusiasts who also want to be able to wear their Polar during the working week, without being noticed. The Polar Ignite 3 has become a stylish smartwatch that has remained very Polar at the same time. The response when activating the screen is sometimes a bit slow and the GPS is not very accurate, but that is easily overpowered by the many assets of the Ignite 3.

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