Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mio Alpha Performance Heart Rate Watch - Review

So I'm finally making small steps towards recovery. I went for a 4 mile run today, my second run since starting back. The ankle is still not 100% but felt a lot stronger than on Sundays run.

Second run of the week and second time to try out the new Mio Alpha heart rate watch.

The watch is the first of its kind to offer a heart rate monitor without a chest strap, and this is it's biggest pull over its competitors.

However beyond this innovation you are left with a sports watch lacking in many features of its competitors.

For one there is no software or website where you can keep a log of your progress. The watch has the memory of a goldfish and only remembers your last run each time.

Once you have ended your activity you are given your time, your average heart rate for that activity and how long you spent in the zone.

I was hoping that the watch would begin to learn your heart rate and build up a profile of your personal zones that could be stored, but you have to enter this information before the activity setting your high and lowest rate that you want to exercise in. If you drift out of these zones the watch will beep to let you know if you have gone above or below.

This is fine if you know your zones that you want to work in but if have never used a heart rate monitor before then you are a little stuck.

My biggest frustration with the watch is the buttons which are located on both sides are difficult to operate. There are four buttons in total, and to operate some functions requires you to press for a few seconds, but it's a bit hit and miss how hard the buttons need to be pressed to get them to function.

My last negative is that the watch has no back light. The screen with its large digits is OK to read during the day but at night would not be able to be read.

On the positive side, the watch looks stylish, is extremely comfortable to wear and has a good fastening system which keeps the watch snug and safe during your activity.

The Alpha has a rechargeable battery and is charged on a small docking station that has a USB connector, but I've been out for two runs and when not in use the watch sits in idle mode and displays the current time, and I have yet to charge the watch. Battery life is extremely good!

Once fastened on your wrist you can either begin your activity with timer and heart rate recording simultaneously, or if you wanted to and was not exercising, find out what your current heart rate is, this was useful and quick and simple to record resting heart rate.

You can toggle between time or heart rate when exercising but with the button difficult to press while running, I left the read out on heart rate, which was clear to read and constantly recording. The watch also picked up my heart rate very quickly before the run with the sensors that are located underneath the watch face pressed against the skin of the wrist.

The Mio Alpha is meant to be able to sync with many mobile apps, Endomondo being one of these which I have, but I was unable to get the two to sync.

Currently the watch is on sale in the US for a very steep $199 USD. When the site launches in the UK, the ALPHA will cost £169 + shipping and handling.

Find out more on the manufacturers website:  or

1 comment:

  1. Hi, this is Liz, MIO CEO. Thanks for the review. Actually, the MIO only has two buttons. So, if you press in the middle of the button for different lengths of time, you will activate different features. Good luck on your fitness journey and thanks for making ALPHA a part of it!