By Matt Evans
Polar is a line of fitness watches that have impressed in the past – the Polar M340 made it onto our list of the best running watch models, after all – but it could never manage to elbow its way to the front of the pack, alongside the Fitbit Sense and Apple Watch Series 6.
That might be about to change with the unveiling of the Polar Ignite 2 and the Polar Vantage M2, two new best fitness watch competitors said to be designed to "help people come back stronger" after lockdown. Let's break down the features of both watches:
Polar Ignite 2: An overview
The Polar Ignite 2 is Polar's everyday fitness watch. At just 35g, it's slimmer and more lightweight than the Vantage M2, and over 10g lighter than the Apple Watch Series 6, while still holding a stainless steel bezel around the edge. Other light watches such as the Oppo Watch don't incorporate any metal, which leaves the watch feeling a bit like a children's toy. Keeping things light while still incorporating the classic stainless steel is a nice touch.
The real meat and potatoes of any fitness watch isn't the design, it's the functionality, and the Polar Ignite 2 has got all the usual stuff you'd expect, but the ante has been upped. Continuous heart rate monitoring via three different kinds of sensors is used to get a pinpoint-accurate reading, while sleep tracking functionalities go beyond standard "deep sleep" and "light sleep" readings to give you a "nightly recharge score", to illustrate how well your body has recovered after a workout.
GPS has also been overhauled, as the watch now connects to a variety of satellite systems. The watch has five days' battery life in "normal mode" and 20 hours in continuous "training mode", so no need to recharge the watch every day.
The watch also arrives with all the features one of the best smartwatches needs, including music control, notifications, weather forecast, third-party apps and more. It comes in a variety of different colors (including a gaudy Swarovski crystal studded option for the strap) and will be on sale 21 April priced at $229.99. Stay tuned for our full review.
Polar Vantage M2: An overview
The Polar Vantage M2 is basically a premium version of the Ignite 2, tailored for serious athletes. It's been beefed-up in weight, weighing in at 45g. The two-tone colour is a bit different from the solid straps of the Ignite 2, while the buttons, not just the bezel, are in stainless steel here.
The Vantage is said to be for "serious athletes", and its features reflect that. It's got the Nightly Recharge function and improved continuous Precision prime heart rate tracking as the ignite 2, but it's also got additional features such as Fuelwise. Fuelwise is designed to tell you when you're running low on energy during a race, looking at your vital metrics and alerting you that you need to take on more fluids or sugar. It's perfect for hardcore runners or triathletes.
It also boasts Training Load Pro, which tells you how stressed your body is and recommends you exercise in the Polar Flow app. If the watch detects you reaching your limits, it will recommend gentler, cooldown exercises, and vice versa. The Training Load Pro, improved GPS, Fuelwise, Nightly Recharge and water resistance makes it a perfect package for triathlons.
Priced at $299.99, the Vantage M2 will also be released on 21 April.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website.
Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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