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Entries in Mio Alpha (4)

Monday
Mar102014

MIO Alpha Strapless Continuous Heart Rate Watch Table Top Review

I want to start this table top review by giving you a basic understanding of what the MIO Alpha Continuous Heart Rate Watch is used for: It 's very similar to a heart rate chest strap but it's worn on your wrist like a watch. Both types of devices read your heart rate continuously, both a heart rate chest strap and the MIO Alpha Watch Strap use Bluetooth wireless technologies to send your heart rate info to another device like a smart phone where that information is stored and can be recalled and examined at a later time. Neither device stores your heart rate info or can be used on its own. The MIO Alpha Continuous Heart Rate Watch does have the advantage of being able to see your heart rate in real time on the watch screen as you workout.

Who is this MIO Alpha made for?

The MIO Alpha is made for athletes that want to know very detailed information about how their heart rate is effected by physical activities. This information can be used to determine information like:

  • How many calories a person is burning during a workout.
  • If they are attaining a peek heart state during an activity.
  • If they are allowing appropriate rest times while training.

This information is very accurate as it is not based on "how you feel" but rather the scientific data that is collected by the heart rate sensor.

Disclaimer 1: I did give my MIO Alpha a fair try but for me I just could not get it to work correctly when I was doing intense high level activities. In most situations when I got my heart rate in to the higher thresholds, I would get irregular results from the MIO Alpha, especially when I was up and over 140-150 beats per minute. The MIO Alpha would record much lower heart rate readings than was actually occurring. I know this to be true as I was using my Polar Loop paired with Polar H7 heart rate chest strap at the same time and getting much more accurate heart rate readings. 

Because of these false readings, I am not getting my true peek heart rate readings when most of the really hard work is being done and so I am not getting my true caloric readings, usually way under. So in essence, I'm getting ripped off by the MIO Alpha!

Graphs examples for your reference:

Example 1:

Example 1:

Example 1 of MIO Alpha taking advantage of my iPhone 5s GPS for location and speed:

I even tried using alternate hands with my MIO Alpha and wearing it in an over and under wrist positions, this did not help with the high heart rate accuracy sensing.

Disclaimer 2: I do have  a heart murmur which may effect readings when using a wrist based heart rate sensor, but my heart murmur does not seem to effect a heart rate chest strap like the Polar H7.

I also tried to pair the MIO Alpha to my Polar Loop but did not have any success, this may be because I already had my Polar H7 heart rate strap paired to the Polar Loop? I was not about to monkey around with my Polar setup since this is my personal fitness tracking setup of choice.

So instead I paired the MIO Alpha to my iPhone 5s using the Polar Beats App, this allowed me to use my Polar Loop / H7 heart rate setup at the same time as my MIO Alpha which gave me good side by side comparison results.

I was able to use my Motorola BT headphones at the same time as being connected to my Polar Beats App and I was able to get really good distance away from my iPhone while being paired. For instance I would place my iPhone in the center of my CrossFit Gym and had no problems with the MIO Alpha sending its signal to the Polar Beats App that was running on my iPhone 5s. I would say I easily got a good 40 plus feet away from the phone at times.

Let's quickly go over the main feature of the MIO Alpha Strapless Continuous Heart Rate Watch:

  • The MIO Alpha uses Smart BlueTooth for wireless communication.
  • The MIO Alpha is marketed as being easier to wear than a chest based heart rate monitor and can be worn at all times, "ready when you are".
  • The MIO Alpha is marketed as being highly accurate even when very active?
  • The MIO Alpha can use the Zone feature to maximize your workouts. (User-settable heart rate zones with visual and audible alerts).
  • The MIO Alpha uses Advanced Technology, LED lights & an electro-optical cell “sense” the volume of blood under your skin.
  • The MIO Alpha is designed with simplicity in mind. (Two button navigation, Continuous heart rate display, Activity timer, Clock, Data review)
  • The MIO Alpha connects to compatible smartphones using Bluetooth® Smart (4.0) technology

Pros:

  • The MIO Alpha is a watch that when you need it to to be can track your fitness level using your heart rate with a high level of detail.
  • The MIO Alpha has great battery life, can go weeks, perhaps months while not being used to read your heart rate much and if need be can go all day while tracking your heart rate.
  • The MIO Alpha looks good, has nice rounded edges that do not catch on anything and it is fairly comfortable to wear.
  • If you find a chest strap uncomfortable to wear than this could be a good option for you.

Cons:

  • The MIO Alpha has no backlight? Whaaaaat?
  • The MIO Alpha was not accurate for me in the higher heart rate zones. (Perhaps my heart murmur interfered with the sensor?)
  • The MIO Alpha only does one thing, heart rate, no other types of data tracking like motion?
  • The MIO Alpha does not have any internal memory so it must be paired with a device at all times when using it.
  • The MIO Alpha is more money than a stand alone chest strap by at least double the price.
  • The MIO Alpha could get a bit in the way when doing weight lifting type exercises since it is more bulky than other fitness trackers worn on the wrist.

Conclusion:

In theory the MIO Alpha looks to be a worthy alternative to using a heart rate chest strap, especially if you find the chest straps uncomfortable or awkward to wear. But for me it was just not reliable enough, especially when my heart rate got into the higher beats per minute levels. Perhaps this was due to my heart murmur? For the steep price of around $200, all the MIO Alpha does is read your heart rate, it does not track motion, record any real data or even have a backlight? And to be honest, I think using a heart rate chest strap is the more reliable and economical way to go.

Now keep in mind, you do need to plan your workouts around making sure to wear a heart rate chest strap, so this is kind of where the MIO Alpha has the advantage as it can be worm all the time and is ready to go when you are. With that said, I know when I am going to do my workouts and I like the fact that my Polar Loop is very discreet and low profile yet tracks my data all day long, while still allowing me to throw my H7 chest strap on for my high intensity workouts. So at least for me at this point in time, I am going to continue using my Polar Loop / H7 setup.

Saturday
Feb152014

Basis 2014 Carbon Steel Health Tracker Watch Unboxing

My Basis 2014 Carbon Steel Health Tracker Watch (Basis Websitefinally arrived and of course the first thing I did as soon as I got it home was shoot my unboxing video so I could charge it up and get it on my wrist :)

For those unaware of what the Basis Health Tracker is, the Basis Health Tracker Watch like the MIO Alpha has a heart rate sensor built into the back of the watch, unlike the MIO Alpha, the Basis has an added motion sensor similar to other fitness bands, a perspiration sensor and even body and outside temperature sensors. The Basis Health Tracker Watch also stores this data on the watch until synced with a device like an iOS or Android device, PC or Mac.


In this unboxing video I obviously show you the packaging and the contents inside the box, and I go into a bit more detail explaining just exactly what the Basis Health Tracker Watch actually does and how it compares to other similar devices.

Tuesday
Feb112014

Basis Health Tracker Watch On Its Way!

I recently picked up the MIO Alpha Wrist Watch Heart Rate Sensor and mentioned I had planned to get the Basis Health Tracker Watch (Basis Website) at some time, well the time is here! I am still testing the MIO Alpha and once that is done I will move on to the Basis Health Tracker Watch.

The Basis Health Tracker Watch like the MIO Alpha has a heart rate sensor built into the back of the watch, but the Basis also has the added features of tracking motion, perspiration and even body and outside temperatures. the Basis Health Tracker Watch also stores this data on the watch until synced with a device.

Look forward to my Unboxing and full Review Videos of my Basis Carbon Steel Edition when they are available.

Thursday
Feb062014

MIO Alpha Strapless Continuous Heart Rate Watch Unboxing

I got another tech based fitness device I will be sharing with everyone. This one is a stand alone Continuous Heart Rate Watch that does not require a chest strap to be used and it is made by MIO, the name of this product is the MIO Alpha. This video is the unboxing video where I show you around the MIO Alpha and give you my initial thoughts on the presentation and packaging.

To give you a basic understanding of what the MIO Alpha is used for, it can be compared to a heart rate chest strap as there are many similarities. Both devices read your heart rate very accurately and continuously, both a chest strap and the MIO Alpha use Bluetooth wireless technologies to send your heart rate info to another device like a smart phone where that information is stored and can be recalled and examined. Neither device stores your heart rate info or can be used on their own.

The advantage to the MIO Alpha is that it is worn on your wrist like a watch so you don't have to wear a chest strap. The MIO Alpha also has a screen that shows you your heart rate in real time along with a timer and of course a clock.