Polar Ignite 3 : GPS Accuracy is Very Good, But it Does Have Issues.

Is the Polar Ignite 3 accurate when it comes to GPS tracking?, well after conducting three different test’s it’s come to the conclusion that the GPS accuracy is reasonable with a final score of 10 out of 15.

The final score isn’t exactly flattering but it does tell you that the technology cant always be trusted, so that’s something for you to be aware of. When ever I do a GPS test for each device, I do three different test, and the whole point of these test’s is to expose the device’s vulnerabilities, here is a summary of my final results.

GPS DifficultyRatingComments
Easy Level5/5Excellent precision
Hard Level1/5Not good
Very Hard Level4/5Very good precision

In the end the Polar Ignite 3 performed exceptionally well in the easy and very hard level tests. But the Polar Ignite 3 didn’t perform as well in the hard test, so I will show you what you need to avoid when doing any GPS tracking. In this article I will also show you how I go about measuring GPS accuracy for each device, and how the Polar Ignite 3 rates in the market for GPS accuracy.

GPS Sensors

It is said that the more GPS sensors that a device has, the greater chance of accurate results. To be fair, this is definelty true and I do have the evidence to back that later in this article.

The Polar Ignite 3 is very well equipped when it comes to GPS tracking. Not many devices in the market has dual band or assisted GPS built in, especially when it comes to assisted GPS. Most devices in the market have only one assisted GPS connection whereas the Polar ignite 3 has four.

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If you are not familiar with the term assisted GPS, it basically means the device can connect to a satellite by other means, such as a near by cell phone tower, or a nearby server, so the device is very reliable in area’s with a strong cell service. The Polar Ignite 3 can also call upon dual band frequency if you are in very remote areas.

Please note that in this GPS test, I will only be using GPS, GNOASS, Galileo, including assisted connections and dual band frequency. Here in New Zealand, I cannot connect to BeiDou (Chinese satellites) or QZSS (Japanese satellites) as they only navigate in their own territories, which means New Zealand is out of range.

Dual Band GNSSYes

How Do I Rate a Device

Before I present my final results, I think it’s important that I give a brief explanation on how I rate a device, and the table below is a testing criteria that I have created myself. It’s a very crude way of testing, but when I review my results I would go through it again to get a measure of how far off the device is from the planned route.

  • Zero mis alignment : Is where the device reading is exact or within 2 meters (10FT or less) variance.
  • Minor mis alignment : Is where the device is reading with a slight error that’s greater than 2 meters (10 FT) and no more than 3.5 meters (11.5 FT)
  • Major mis alignment : Is where the device is reading with a very large error that’s greater than 3.5m (11.5 FT)

GPS Accuracy Rating System

No of StarsDescriptionComments
5Zero mis alignments, no errorsExcellent precision, no errors, tracks correctly
4Up to 3 minor mis alignmentsVery good precision, some minor errors
34 – 5 minor mis alignmentsAverage precision
26 or more minor mis alignmentsBelow average precision
11 Major mis alignmentNot good,
0More than 1 major mis alignmentWay off

Basic Level Test : 5 out of 5

The basic test, is where I plan my route in a open area. The route I have chosen is no different to your neighbourhood area, so my expectation of the Polar Ignite 3 is very high and should get a five star rating for the easy level test.

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In the end the Polar Ignite 3 performed exceptionally well, with zero minor or major mis alignments. I have provided a photo of what my planned route looks like at ground level. If you plan your routes the same way, you will achieve the same results as I did.

Black line is the Polar Ignite 3, Red dotted line is the planned route. Very good alignment in easy level test.
Ground level shot : if you plan your routes like this, you will get accurate results. Not many obstructions above

Hard Level Test: 1 out of 5

In the hard test, I plan my route where 80% of it is nearby tall buildings and the end result was not very good at all. Since the Polar Ignite 3 has assisted GPS, I did the same planned route twice, when the town was not busy versus peak time to see if there was any difference in terms of digital interference. In the end the results was the same so that eliminated that type of scenario. Every device that I have tested, have failed this test.

So what does all this mean? best to plan your GPS tracking route away from the townships. Just be aware that if you do decide to go through it, there is a risk that the results will not be very accurate.

I have added a photo of the ground level (problem area). I stayed away from walking directly under the awning and moved closer towards the road. As a rule of thumb, if you cant see the sky above you, the device will not be able to pinpoint your location. I will do another test where I move at least 2m (10FT) away from the awnings and see if the GPS accuracy improves in another article.

On a positive note, the device pinpointed my location very quickly when I moved awa from the township (area with tall buildings).

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ObstructionsTall buildings
Major mis alignment in the blue area indicated
Closer look : red dotted line (planned route) black line is Polar Ignite 3 tracking
Ground level : Red dotted line is my planned route, to avoid overhead obstructions like the Pizza awning

Very Hard Level Test : 4 out of 5

This test is my favourite test and I get to plan a route through our native forest track. The main obstruction is dense vegetation above, that can block your location from the sky.

After conducting the test, the Polar Ignite 3, performed extremely well, so if you are someone that likes to take a walk through a native forest track, the device is very reliable.

Please note : The only concern is the minor mis alignment, every device that I have tested has a error in the same spot. There is no dense vegetation above, so it should pinpoint my location accurately, however it’s the sharp rise in elevation that’s causing the error. This is called multipath effect, where the satellite will take a little longer to reach the device (receiver).

ObstructionsDense Vegetation
Final result : The Polar Ignite 3 tracked the planned route very well except one small area, see next image.
Blue Area : Only mis alignment in this test. This is where the multipath error occurred. It gets very steep at this point very quickly, hence the error.
My local mountain track range, Mt Te Aroha Walking Tracks

How Does The Polar Ignite 3 Rank in The Market

I have tested a lot of devices in the past, and here is a record of those devices so far. I mentioned earlier that the higher the number of GPS sensors built in, the greater the accuracy. As you can see a lot of the best devices in the market, have gained a similar score to the Polar Ignite 3. It’s competitor, Huawei GT3 Pro, Huawei Watch Fit 2 and the Garmin Forerunner 55 have have got the same score as the Polar Ignite 3.

RankBrandSeriesNo of GPS SensorsRating
1Samsung Galaxy 4, 5, 5Pro5, Assisted GPS10
2Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic5, Assisted GPS10
3HuaweiGT35, Dual band10
4Huawei GT3 PRO5, Dual Band10
5XiaomiS1 Active5, Dual band10
6AppleWatch 7510
7PolarIgnite 35, Assisted GPS10
8Huawei Watch Fit 2510
9Garmin Forerunner 5559
10Fitbit Versa 413
11Fitbit Charge 512

Final Conclusion

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have learnt a lot about the Polar Ignite 3 GPS accuracy. In the end the Polar Ignite 3 score a 10 out of 15 in my GPS accuracy testing, which isn’t a bad score, however it does tell you that the device does have some flaws.

I think if you plan your GPS route similar to how I have chosen the Easy level and Very Hard level test, you should be able to get very reliable results. Please note that these results were using the the default watch mode, which is where GPS tracking settings is set to receive a signal every second.

I will be doing a future article to test the GPS tracking signal for every 1 minute and 2 minutes. My early prediction is that the device will sacrifice battery life for accuracy, but I will present those results to you in due course. In my opinion, you dont need to sacrifice accuracy for battery life, because the Polar Ignite 3 performs extremely well when it comes to GPS battery consumption, and is ranked one of the best devices in the market. Check out my battery life article to see my test results. Thank you