I’m late to the game on this review. I’ve had this watch for a while, like two months now, and I’ve had a lot of experience with it. There are some things I really like about Polar Ignite 3 and others I don’t.
However, I’ve just been so busy I have yet to write this review, and that’s what I’m doing today. So this review is going to be in a different format. In most of my reviews, I go deep through all the menu systems and every little setting. I’m not going to do that here because this watch is very similar to many other Polar watches, like the Polar Vantage V2 and the Polar Grid X I have.
They’re all similar, so I’ll be wasting your time going through all the settings, menus, and things like that in this review. Instead, I will focus on things I like about this watch and some glaring issues with Polar Ignite 3.
Pricing and Options for Polar Ignite 3
The first topic I want to discuss on the Polar Ignite 3 is pricing and options. The watch comes at $329 in the USA and has four colors. You’ve got beige, purple, black, and brown copper. So there’s a color for everybody with pricing and options out of the way.
Polar Ignite 3 Compared to Polar Ignite 2
I’m briefly going through what’s the same on the Polar Ignite 3 compared to the Polar Ignite 2 or something like the Polar Vantage V2. The Polar Ignite 3 has the same user interface as all older Polar watches. This is something I wish they would change. It is the same as the previous version, which is good if you’re used to Polar watches, but it could be bad if you’re looking for an update or a refresh.
Another detail that’s the same on the Polar Ignite 3 is that it’s got a single button on the left-hand side to dive through the menu systems and things like that. But most of your interactions with this watch will be through the touchscreen, just like on the Polar Ignite 2, and the user interface is the same.
There are a lot of the same features on the Polar Ignite 3. Features like Fuel Wise for fueling while you’re training or racing, Fit Spark for suggested workouts, fitness tests on board, VO2 max Estimation, and Training Load Pro that’s built into the Polar flow ecosystem.
What I Like on Polar Ignite 3
With all the similarities, let’s dive into the first thing I like about the Polar Ignite 3: the size and weight form factor. The Polar Ignite 3 is a sleek-looking watch. The entire thing is plastic, but that’s not necessarily bad.
It still feels robust in hand and durable enough to withstand everyday abuse, and I generally like how Polar Ignite 3 looks. The watch comes in a 43-millimeter diameter, about nine and a half millimeters thick, which is extremely thin for a watch with these capabilities.
This watch is thin and extremely light, coming in at just 35 grams with the included band or 21 grams without the band, which is crazy light for a GPS watch. For a quick size comparison of the Polar Ignite 3 (from left) with the Polar Vantage V2, Apple Watch Ultra, Garmin Fenix 7X, which is easily the most oversized watch on the table, and then we do have the Polar Grit X Pro. As shown in the picture below, Polar Ignite 3 is the smallest watch.
And for reference, this is what the Polar Ignite three looks like on my 165 millimeters circumference wrists.
You can see that it is extremely thin in its low profile. It just gets out of the way, even on my small wrist.
Now that we’ve talked about form factors in size and weight, I want to talk about comfort because that goes hand in hand. This watch is incredibly comfortable to wear.
The watch is extremely light, and you forget it’s on your wrist. It’s also extremely thin, and one feature about it is the optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch is flush with the surface of the back of the watch, which is unlike a lot of competing brands.
Suppose you compare Polar Ignite 3 to Garmin Fenix 7; the heart rate sensor sticks out of the back of the watch, which makes it uncomfortable in some situations. For some users, I’ve heard this complaint a lot that people are getting rashes and things like that, whereas the Polar Ignite 3 has a nice flush surface on the back of it.
I found that it leads to incredibly comfortable wear throughout the day, and I have no complaints about wearing this for extended periods. This watch looks aesthetically lovely. I like that it’s got this curved glass on the front of it, and if I flip the watch on its side, it’s also got this sort of like, etching or thin lines engraved into the bezel of the Polar Ignite 3, which I do think makes it look a little bit classier.
Moving right along onto the second thing I really like about this watch is going to be the display. Polar Ignite 3 features a 1.28 AMOLED touch-enabled display with 416 by 416 resolution, which is crazy high resolution. It’s very bright and vibrant, so it looks great in just about any lighting condition on top of the improved display of the Polar Ignite 3.
Another thing I really like about Polar Ignite 3 is the improved user interface. Previously on Polar watches, there was little customization that you could do in the user interface or the watch face of the watch. Now, on the Polar Ignite 3, they’ve improved that, whereas the watch face has many little data fields that are fully customizable.
You can have your battery life, current weather forecast, the time of day, the date, and how many steps you have for the day, which is helpful for monitoring. The cool thing about this watch face is that I can dive into any of these widgets if I tap on them right from the watch face.
So they’re shortcuts to various areas of the watch. So if I want to see my step count in a breakdown, I can tap right on the steps and go right to my steps widget, where I get even more information about my step count. And again, if I go back to the watch face and tap on something like the weather, I can go right into the weather widget, where I can get a full breakdown of the current weather, the wind speed, the humidity, and an upcoming forecast for hours and days.
The widgets are fully customizable, and there are various watch faces in the settings, from an analog-looking one with hands, one with three data fields, and one with four data fields. There’s one with two data fields and bigger numbers for the time of day. You can choose what information you want to see on each of the little panes within your watch phase.
The next thing I like about the Polar Ignite three is going to have to be the battery life. The battery life will not wow you, and it’s not super impressive, but because this is an AMOLED touch-enabled display, this kind of watch would typically only get a couple of days of battery life.
It is interesting that Polar improved battery life on the Polar Ignite 3, which gets up to five days in standard default settings out of the box. Keep in mind this is with default settings out of the box, which means that the always-on display is turned off. If you decide to see the time of day all the time and turn on the always-on display, it will cripple the battery life down to around a couple of days of use.
That’s a sacrifice you must make if you like constantly having on display on top of pretty decent standby battery life. You’re also getting really good GPS battery life with this watch, considering the GPS chip update. So the Polar Ignite 3 will get up to around 30 hours in a GPS activity, which should be long enough for most people to run a 50 miler up to a hundred-mile ultramarathon or just multiple times a week if you’re doing a run or a ride.
On top of the standard GPS on battery life, there’s also power saver mode, which can get you up to a hundred hours of use in a GPS activity. That’s with some sacrifices to accuracy, so I don’t bank on it for super accurate GPS and heart rate tracks, but it’ll get you longer battery life if you really need it.
The next thing I like about the Polar Ignite 3 is the heart rate accuracy of the optical heart rate sensor. The Polar Ignite 3 has Polar’s latest Precision Prime heart rate sensor, which is the latest and greatest from them, and so far, in my testing, I’m getting pretty solid results.
I’ve taken this watch out on several different runs over the past month or so. I actually ran an ultramarathon with it previously, and in that time, I’ve got a whole bunch of data. For the sake of comparison and verification, I also wear an ECG sensor on my chest for the best accuracy as a baseline of comparison.
For the most part, the Polar Ignite 3 delivers solid optical heart rate accuracy from the sensor on the back of the watch. I don’t have any significant issues with it, even with minor deviations. Like many Polar watches, some random high spikes occur occasionally, but they don’t throw off all the data.
It’s a random thing that will happen in some activities, and with that, we’ve reached the end of the list of my likes with the Polar Ignite 3. Those are the things that I like about it.
What I Don’t Like on Polar Ignite 3
Now let’s focus on what I don’t like about it. First, we’ve already discussed form factors and comfort in my like segment. However, there’s also something I don’t like about this, which will be the band. For some reason, this band is incredibly uncomfortable. This is by far the worst band I’ve ever tested.
For some reason, it’s just tough to get on. I will explain why I struggle to put the watch on so much. If I put the clasp together, I have to take the slack end of the band and fish it through the little hole to stow away the slack material, which is a nice feature. So it’s not in the way, and it’s streamlined and things like that.
But because of the texture outside of the band, it’s almost grippy. It’s got like an outsole of a shoe, maybe a sandpaper feeling to it, and as I put that through the little hole, It grips itself. It grips the band and on my skin, so when I try to pull it through, it’s challenging to get the extra material through that hole. I need to shove some of the slack material to the side to grab the little piece and pull it.
Then I have to tuck it underneath and push it down flat, and finally, the watch is secured on my wrist. Let me tell you, I’ve had this for like a month, and I don’t like that because every time I take it off to charge it or take it off when I get out of the shower or something like that, it’s just a headache to get on and off.
Even when it’s already on my wrist, I don’t find this band’s material to be super comfortable. The good news about this band is that it’s easily replaceable, so you can go on Amazon or buy different colors from Polar and get all kinds of other materials.
So not a huge deal, just something worth noting. The next thing I do not like about the Polar Ignite three is the lag. I’ve already talked about the touchscreen’s responsiveness, which is good. However, certain parts of this watch are incredibly laggy, and I am trying to figure out why.
In their marketing materials, Polar says that they put a new computer or CPU inside of this watch, a new CPU that’s supposed to be faster and more responsive, and in many ways, it does feel that way. So if I swipe horizontally through the menu system, it’s smooth and responsive.
No complaints here, but as soon as you do something very specific task, like pulling up your notifications, which means swiping up from the bottom of the screen. I have experienced this many times where the screen froze and was not responsive. It’s very laggy, and the screen hangs when you swipe it away.
It’s stuck, and these little moments will sometimes last like a second or half a second. Another situation where I found this an annoyance to be incredibly frustrating is when you’re in an activity or starting a workout and say you want to return to your watch face.
It took almost five seconds to go from that activity page to the watch face. I don’t know what the deal is here, and hopefully, they can fix this in a firmware update. I’m not a software developer or somebody who works for Polar, but that issue has bothered me with this watch, and I hope they can fix it soon.
Moving right through my do not like list. Even though I like the form factor in the user interface of this watch, I wish it had more buttons. Why do some watch manufacturers still make sports watches with a single button? It drives me nuts if you have wet hands, or you’re doing a swimming activity, or it’s raining or snowing. This watch is difficult to use because it’s only got a single button and everything has to be done on the screen.
And now we’ve reached the last topic on my do not like list, which will be a big but confusing one: GPS accuracy. I have not been getting stellar GPS performance from the Polar Ignite 3, which has me scratching my head. Polar updated the GPS chipset inside of the Polar Ignite 3 and added a multi-band GPS chipset, which is the gold standard by today’s standards.
Every expensive watch on the market does the same thing, like Garmin Fenix 7X, Garmin Forerunner 955, Chorus Vertex II, and Chorus Apex II. These watches have been updated to have a multi-band, multi-GPS positioning system, which is great because they all get pretty good GPS accuracy, and I expected the same thing from the Polar Ignite 3. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I’ve taken this watch on a bunch of different runs, including running a 32-mile-long ultra-marathon with it last week. During that ultra-marathon, I also wore the Garmin Forerunner 955, a multi-band enabled watch with outstanding accuracy. The ultra-marathon that I ran was an eight-mile loop.
It was the same loop repeatedly, four times to get you to 32 miles. It’s an excellent way to compare GPS tracks because, ideally, you would see all these tracks right on top of each other since the same route four times over. But it is not the case for Polar Ignite 3, and Garmin Forerunner 955 performed really well.
The tracks are stacked right on each other, indicating good GPS accuracy. Unfortunately, the Polar Ignite 3 looks a lot different. The tracks have drifted quite a bit. They’re not right on top of each other, and in some cases, there’s a pretty big distance, a significant discrepancy between each one of the tracks.
This drawback is unfortunate because the Polar Ignite 3, at $329, is one of the most affordable watches on the market with a multi-GPS chipset. The other watch that comes to mind in that price range is the Garmin Forerunner 255, which is more expensive than this watch.
But unfortunately, even though it says multi-GPS on the spec sheet, I’m still not getting good results from Polar Ignite 3. I really hope Polar can solve that in a firmware update, but I’m not getting the best performance I could imagine from a multi-GPS chipset.
My Verdict on Polar Ignite 3
So at the end of the day, who is the Polar Ignite 3 suitable for? And is it worth getting? Well, yes and no. If you’re generally a fitness person to monitor your sleep, track your steps, and daily calories burned, Polar Ignite 3 is a good option.
You can have a nice-looking watch on your wrist with an excellent display. You can also check the weather and text messages and things like that, and you want to go to the gym and have a way to track your heart rate and occasionally go for a run with your watch.
However, you are more of a dedicated runner, a cyclist, a triathlete, a swimmer, or somebody doing a lot of GPS activity. In that case, there might be better options in light of that less stellar GPS accuracy performance. This assumes that Polar will fix that lag behavior with a firmer update.
I’m assuming they can, and I hope they do. For anyone from Polar, if you’re reading, please address that issue because the firmware on this does not feel rock solid. With all that lag and random hangups I’m experiencing with this unit at $329, the Polar Ignite 3 has a lot going for it.
Unfortunately, that price point is very competitive, and there are many options out there that could do many things. The Polar Ignite 3 does a little bit better, in great display, beautiful design, and the feature set in some of the sleep tracking features.
I want you to be aware of some of the shortcomings that I’ve found while using this watch. If you’re planning on getting the Polar Ignite 3 or any of the watches I’ve shown in this review, check out the links below because they help support me and cost nothing extra to you, so you might as well use them. And with that, I’ll see you next time!