The Mio Alpha strapless heart rate monitor is Mio's first fitness tracker, and it is aimed at those who desire comfort over advanced functionality.
The Alpha was one of the first fitness trackers to include an embedded optical heart rate sensor, which is supposed to replace the bulky chest strap+ accelerometer combo that is common with other manufacturers.
The Mio Alpha heart rate monitor has the appearance of a small watch. The band is a rubber like and fits very well without any discomfort. The watch face has only 2 colors available: black or white and the bands only come in black. The watch face has 2 buttons above and blow it for scrolling through the different settings. It comes with a magnetic charging station similar to something you might see on an apple product.
The Alpha has a few basic features, such as a stopwatch and the ability to set your heart rate “zone”, which is indicted by the green led on the front of the unit. If you go below your set zone during a workout the Alpha will emit flashing blue LED signal. The Alpha also contains a basic stopwatch/timer for keeping track of your exercises routines.
The Mio comes in 2 different varieties: Bluetooth and ANT+. There are pros and cons to both technologies but it mostly comes down to user preference. If you are using your device with just a smart phone or tablet, than it is probably better to opt for the Bluetooth variant. If you have other standalone devices such as a bike computer or smart watch, ANT+ will probably suit you better. Many fitness trackers are starting to come out that utilize both technologies, and it would have been nice to see this on the Alpha as well.
Mio states that the device is waterproof up to 5 ATM. This means it can be used for swimming. Mio warns that the heart rate tracking is not as accurate in colder waters, and we noticed this as well during our tests.
The battery life is very good, clocking in about 48 hours between recharges. If you have to utilize the heart rate function often during your workouts expect to see about 12-13 hours in between recharges.
The heart rate monitor is not on continuously and must be activated by holding the right button for 2 seconds. Presumably, this is done to prolong the battery life.
In our tests we found that the Alpha was compatible with a great deal of fitness Apps and did not give us any trouble. We tested quite a few variants: micoach, mapmyride, strava, cyclometer, and fitstar.
Additionally, Mio actually makes its own app, called MIO Go. You will be able to set heart rate zone and the rate at which the led warning start to kick in. we felt the app was a little limited. It did not allow us to track steps taken or distance. This is probably more due to the actual device limitation itself rather than an app issue. As Mio updates their app we hope to see a little more customization in the future.
The Mio alpha heart rate monitor is solid device that is great for those who only need a heart rate monitor and very basic fitness tracking. The app support is solid and Mio’s own app works flawlessly. The device is comfortable to wear and has a minimalistic design that actually works in its favor, thanks in part to its exclusion of a chest strap.
We would have liked to see the inclusion of an accelerometer for basic step and distance counting.
That said, the Alphas tracking functions are a little limited. For instance, the HUD will only give you a heart rate reading. It would have been nice to see the standard steps/calories/distance that most other fitness trackers utilize. However it will display these in the Mio app, but this is a rather cumbersome way to view your stats. The Mio is also an ideal weight lifting tracker due to its built in heart rate monitor.
Overall, this device is probably better for someone who already has a basic fitness tracker and is looking for a heart rate monitor that isn’t bulky or uncomfortable.
Hopefully you have found this alpha watch review informative. If you are looking for more in depth reviews, check out the links below.