Polar Ignite vs Vantage M vs Vantage V: Important Differences and Comparison

Polar Vantage M or Polar Ignite? Or the Vantage V? We have been reviewing the three sports watches for some time now and know what the important differences are between them and why the Vantage models cost so much more than the Ignite. The Ignite still has some strengths that the Vantage doesn’t.

You can’t find out all the differences so quickly, not even from the manufacturer’s website. Many features are different and explain the price difference, and for one or the other will certainly be decisive for a possible purchase. We can help you if you are not sure which model to choose.

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Polar Vantage M vs Vantage V vs Ignite

Material and band

Let’s start with haptics and optics in our Polar Vantage M vs Polar Ignite vs Vantage V review. All three watches are delivered from the factory with (silicone) bands suitable for the sport. The cheaper version with a black strap comes with a TPU plastic strap that is not as supple as the yellow or white silicone strap of the more expensive Ignite models.

As expected, the Vantage V comes with the best materials, an extremely rugged stainless steel case and fiberglass-reinforced polymer rear cover. The Vantage M consists of a glass fibre reinforced polymer housing. The bezel, buttons and buckle are all stainless steel. The Ignite also features a glass fibre reinforced polymer case and a stainless steel bezel and button.

But Vantage V has a small disadvantage compared to the M and the Ignite: their bands are also interchangeable, but only with the help of the supplied tool. The M and the Ignite have so-called Quick Release Bands, which can be exchanged for almost any band (Ignite: 20mm, Vantage M: 22mm) in the twinkling of an eye. The Vantage V relies on Polar replacement wristbands.

Display and Operation

Let’s have a look at the display of Vantage and Ignite. The Vantage M features an Always-on color display made of PMMA laminated glass with hardening coating without touch support. The resolution is 240×240 pixels. The case has 5 buttons to control the watch.

The Vantage V also has an Always-on color display, which is touchable and made of scratch-resistant gorilla laminated glass with anti-fingerprint coating. The resolution is also 240×240 pixels. In addition, there are also 5 buttons on the case, so that the Vantage V can be controlled via the touch display and the buttons. This is much more pleasant, especially if you’re navigating through the menus for a longer time.

The existence of the 5 buttons on Vantage V and M are very helpful during the sport and allow always reliable operation of the watches.

Polar VantageV Test: Display
Polar VantageV Test: Display

The Ignite has an IPS TFT touch display and only one button located on the left side of the case. Regardless of whether the watch is worn on the left or right wrist, the button is usually operated with the thumb. The button is used when you want to switch to training mode, return a menu, pause/stop a workout, or synchronize the watch with the app.

More buttons would be useful for training, especially for sweaty sports. In the Ignite review we found that the display can be operated as well as in normal watch mode during training. However, it can happen during training that it is smeared with the finger because of the wiping gestures and therefore the readability is made more difficult.

Polar Ignite: Nightly Recharge
Polar Ignite: Nightly Recharge

The resolution of the Ignite’s Dragontrail glass display is 240 x 204 pixels, slightly lower than that of the Vantage models (240×240 pixels). However, differences in the displayed characters and graphics can only be recognized on closer inspection.

On the other hand, the display brightness of the Ignite, which is often criticized in the Vantage models, is higher, which is comparatively good for readability, especially in darker environments. In bright environments, the Vantage models are a step ahead, because outside the readability is almost always excellent, while the display of the Ignite can sometimes mirror and smear due to possible wiping gestures. In the Vantage models, you can always use the buttons so that the display can always be kept clean.

Battery life

The battery life also differs considerably. While the Ignite offers a training time of 17 hours with active GPS, the Vantage M 30 and the Vantage V even offer 40 hours of training with GPS and optical heart rate measurement.

Polar Ignite no longer with exclusive features

Let’s take a look at fitness features when comparing Vantage and Ignite. Initially, the Polar Ignite was equipped with some exclusive features compared to the Vantage models, although much cheaper. At least for a while. Polar has added the following features to the Vantage models via software update. These include:

  • Sleep Plus Stages
  • Nightly Recharge Recovery Analysis
  • FitSpark Training Instructions
  • Serene breathing exercises
  • Inactivity alarms

The mentioned functions are explained and illustrated in detail in the Ignite review, if you want to take a closer look at them.

Sensors and Navigation

Heart rate sensor

All models in this Vantage, Ignite and Unite comparison feature the new Precision Prime pulse sensor. Precision Prime is designed to prevent particularly inaccurate measurements from excessive movements that lead to inconsistent data.

Among other things, this is ensured by a sensor that enables skin contact measurement. If an optical heart rate sensor on the back of the housing is not close enough to the wrist, a heart rate measurement can be falsified by incident light during everyday life or sports. The built-in skin contact sensor ensures that the watch only takes a heart rate when it can be reliably measured.

Polar Ignite: Precision Prime Heart Rate Monitor
Polar Ignite: Precision Prime Heart Rate Monitor

In our individual reviews, the heart rate sensors of the devices achieve similarly good measurement results. However, these depend on a number of boundary parameters that need to be taken into account during optical heart rate measurement.


This is where the Vantage V comes in, being the only one in the Ignite/Vantage comparison to offer a barometric altimeter. The other two get their altitude data from their GPS receivers, so they can get inaccuracies.

External Sensors

The Vantage models are better equipped on the hardware side. It should be emphasized that they can integrate more external sensors via Bluetooth Smart. These include cadence, speed or running sensors and HR chest straps, thus, the Vantage models enable a much more data-rich and precise workout, especially for runners and cyclists.

The Ignite can only integrate an HR chest strap into the training via Bluetooth Smart.

GPS und Navigation

The positioning functions are similar, all three sports watches offer GPS+GLONASS receivers. However, there are no route features available on the Ignite or Vantage M, such as route guidance or route imports. A Back-to-Start option is available on the V and the M.

Acoustic Alarms

If acoustic alarms during training are important to you: they can only be found on the Vantage V. The Ignite and Vantage M only have vibration alarms.

Manual lap times

A real faux pas is included with the Ignite. If it is important for you to mark lap times manually, you will be disappointed with the Ignite, unlike the Vantage models. Polar has omitted this option from the Ignite. The Polar Ignite only marks laps automatically. Only the manufacturer themselves will know why they omitted this elementary and for many athletes important function, but the Ignite is not aimed at runners specifically, but is a fitness watch with all-round qualities.

Because of the lack of inclusion from Polar you might want to grab the higher priced Vantage M. One can only hope that the function will still be available via software update.

Polar Vantage M vs Vantage V vs Ignite: Sporting opportunities

For a fitness watch for the slightly smaller wallet, the Polar Ignite has lots of features. So where did Polar save compared to the Vantage?

Professional functions such as Recovery Pro (in combination with a Polar H10 HR chest strap), the orthostatic test, performance zones or the innovative Running Power feature, which is only available on the Vantage V directly via the wrist. Running Power provides real-time data on training effectiveness to improve mileage. See the Polar Vantage V review for more information.

Polar Ignite vs Vantage M vs Vantage V
Polar Ignite vs Vantage M vs Vantage V

Nor is multi-sport training possible with the Ignite, which is stored as a uniform recording of a combination of several sports. This mode is very popular with triathletes, for example, and is only available on the Vantage V and M.

As far as the available sports profiles are concerned, all three models are very well positioned. In addition to running, cycling and swimming, numerous other sports such as treadmills, yoga, steppers, cardio, badminton, boxes, LES MILLS variants, football and many more can be transferred to the trackers from the app.

Polar Vantage Ignite or Vantage M or Vantage V: Direct Comparison

Finally we compare the Polar Vantage Ignite, Vantage M and Vantage V directly and compare the most important differences in a table (green: better):

Polar Vantage M vs Vantage V vs Ignite
Keys55 high-quality keys1 Key
MaterialsGlass fibre reinforced polymer housing, stainless steel bezel, buttons and buckleExtremely robust stainless steel housing, fiberglass-reinforced polymer rear coverGlass fibre reinforced polymer housing, stainless steel bezel and button
WaterproofWR30 (suitable for swimming)WR50 (suitable for swimming)WR30 (suitable for swimming)
Battery (up to, in hours, training mode)304017
  • Always-on
  • Colour-Display
  • Not touch-capable
  • PMMA laminated glass with hardened coating
  • harder to read in darker environments without backlighting
  • Better readability in brighter environments
  • Resolution: 240×240 pixels
  • Always-on
  • Colour-Display
  • Touch-capable
  • Gorilla laminated glass with anti-fingerprint coating
  • harder to read in darker environments without backlighting
  • Better readability in brighter environments
  • Resolution: 240×240 pixels
  • Not always on
  • Colour-Display (IPS TFT)
  • Touch-capable
  • Dragontrail glass lens
  • Ambient light sensor (ALS)
  • easily reflects in bright environments
  • better in darker environments
  • Resolution: 240×204 pixels
  • Quick Release Bands
  • Can be exchanged without tools for any other watch strap with 22 mm spring bars
Interchangeable by means of supplied tool
  • Quick Release Bands
  • Exchangeable without tools against any other watch strap with 20 mm spring bar
Weight (gram)456635
Manual lapsYesYesNo
Acoustic AlarmsNoYesNo
Nightly Recharge™ Recovery analysisYesYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYesYes
FitSpark Training InstructionsYesYesYes
Serene breathing exerciseYesYesYes
Running Training ProgramYesYesYes
Multi-sport TrainingYesYesNo
Running Power on the wristthird-party sensorsYesNo
Recovery ProNoYesNo
Training Load ProYesYesNo
Route importNoYesNo
Route guidanceNoYesNo
Power zonesYesYesNo
Strava Live SegmentNoComes via updateNo
Orthostatic testNoYesNo
External Sensors (Bluetooth Smart)
  • Cadence sensor
  • Speed sensor
  • Running sensor
  • HR chest strap
  • Cadence sensor
  • Speed sensor
  • Running sensor
  • HR chest strap
  • HR chest strap
Barometric altimeterNoYesNo

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