Running is the world’s oldest, cheapest, and most common sport. Hyperbole aside, a lot of people run, and the market is huge for any fitness oriented company to penetrate. The fine folks at Mio have a solid corner on the intense athletes who want constant information about their heart. I first learned about Mio at CES 2014 when I visited their booth in the FitnessTech zone in South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. On display was their latest fitness product, the Mio Alpha, a heart rate monitor sport watch. Team Mio was gracious enough to send me a review unit to demo right after the show. It’s been a rough winter here in Philadelphia, but there have been enough glimpses of sunlight and warmth in between the blizzards for me review the Alpha during my normal running routine.
The Mio Alpha is a fantastic sports watch for the serious health nut that wants to track heart rate during workouts. The Alpha is the first sport watch to pair continuous heart rate monitoring without the discomfort of a chest strap. This is truly a game changer, as chest straps are a nuisance to deal with while doing your exercises. The Alpha definitely lives up to its comfort billing, as during my 3.5 mile runs I almost forgot that I had it on! Don’t let that fool you into thinking the Alpha is a passive device; if your heart rate drops below the minimum of your target workout range, it will angrily beep at you to pick up the pace! That is real-time monitoring in action. You can set your range ideal work out range and leave all the progress tracking to the Alpha. Mio boasts 99% accuracy of heart rate monitoring, even while running at speeds of almost 15 mph.
The watch comes with a neat little charging dock that plugs into a normal USB port. I charged mine once when I got it a month ago and haven’t needed to charge it again since, owing much to the long 8-10 hour active use battery life. The Alpha’s strap is rubber with a three pronged clasp, so it will definitely not fall off even if your routine includes back flips. Neither sweat nor sudden acrobatics will knock this watch off (though do make sure you clean your Mio Alpha periodically according to instructions included).
A major selling point of the Mio Alpha is that it can sync to a number of different fitness smart phone apps. The Alpha is Bluetooth Smart capable, giving it great versatility to connect to a number of fitness-specific electronics or your standard smartphone. The Adidas MiCoach, Digifit, Endomondo, Runtastic, Strava Ride, and Wahoo Fitness iOS7 apps sync nicely with the Alpha via Bluetooth. Pairing the Alpha to an fitness app will let you get the most out of its long term tracking capabilities, allowing you to identify trends and improve workout performance.
The Mio Alpha is selling for $199.00 with free shipping. Compared to Fitbit Force ($129) it may seem a bit out of your budget. But then again, do you really want the Fitbit Force after reports of horrible rashes and blisters on your arm (recall slam!)? No way. So do yourself a favor and get the Mio Alpha, which is the premier heart rate sport watch on the market. If you really don’t wnt to part with $199, the Mio Link (available in April 2014) seems like a good alternative at $99, if the Mio Alpha is too rich for your blood.
Mio Alpha Heart Rate Sport Watch – $182.99