Mio Alpha HR Monitor

We all know that HR training is probably the best way to safely improve and maintain fitness, right?  The problem for many is that the chest straps typically used to measure HR are uncomfortable especially when it gets a bit sweaty in there.

Enter the Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor. I got one for a touch under CHF 200 although I was thinking it sounded a bit too good to be true – a watch that monitors your HR. It is true though, and although individuals will vary in my case it’s accurate to within 1 heart-beat.  That’s pretty good.

mio_alpha_1So how does it work?

LED lights and an electro-optical cell “sense” the volume of blood under the skin. From there, sophisticated algorithms are applied to the pulse signal so that the heart’s true rhythm can be detected.  Clever eh?

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You need to get a good fit, even a bit tight, but the silicon strap is comfortable and is very adjustable. It takes a few seconds for the Mio to find and calculate your HR and I found it’s best to do this while at rest.

Zonal heart rate training is proven to help you train more efficiently and effectively, so you can optimize your performance and maximize your workout.  The Mio has 3 customisable heart rate zones and LED lights on the side of the watch flash to tell you which zone you’re in at any given moment, so you can stay on track with your training goals.

The watch has Bluetooth® Smart (4.0) so can connect to smart phones and apps such as Strava and Cyclemeter.  Recently I picked up a Wahoo Fitness RFLKT display and so can see my HR without having to look at the watch.  Mio also have a wrist band option (Mio Link) without the display which would fit that scenario perfectly.  The Mio Link is also quite a bit cheaper.

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The Mio comes with a USB charging unit and I’ve found the battery lasts about 3 weeks before needing a charge.

More on the range at mioglobal.com.  Summary, highly recommended.

By the way, if you want the best of both worlds with GPS and HR in a single watch then look at the TomTom Runner Cardio.  It’s a Mio Alpha with TomTom built in.

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