MIO Link Design
If you’ve ever worn a classic chest strap HRM, you know the only benefit of its design is being able to thump that hard lump of plastic at your breastbone and pretend you’re Tony Stark. You have to wear them quite snug, and they don’t give you any information about your heart rate in the moment. If you’re not sweaty enough, you have to lick or spit on them to get the heart rate to conduct. It’s gross. I know.
The MIO Link£63.26 at Amazon, on the other hand, is all around better. It’s a comfortable and sleek wristband with a single LED light that flashes different colors as your heart rate reaches different zones. You do have to strap it on tightly enough that it doesn’t slide around, and it helps to wear it slightly higher on your arm than around your wrist bones. It’s still way more comfortable.
The strap comes in two colors, gray and whitet, and two sizes: S/M (4.8 inches to 6.9 inches) and L (5.9 inches to 8.2 inches). The hardware component pops out of the strap, so you can change the bands if you want. The strap itself is one of the best designs I’ve seen for a wearable sports device. It stretches, feels soft, and has clasp holes along the whole length of it so you can customize exactly how tight or loosely it fits. The loose end has two prongs that securely connect into the back to the band; this way it never flaps around when you’re being active.
The MIO Link is the half-priced little sister to the MIO Alpha ($199)$164.99 at Amazon, which looks more chunky and funky thanks to a full watch-face display. The Link, on the other hand, looks like nothing more than a pliable band. It’s thinner and lighter, and the battery life is great—running seven to ten hours in active mode with the ability to last for weeks when in standby.
One of the key differences between the Alpha and the Link is the Alpha shows your exact heart rate and works as a stopwatch. The Link, on the other hand, has no display other than the one indicator light that changes color with your heart rate zones. To see the history of your exact heart rate with the Link, you’ll need a compatible app.
Mio LINK Heart Rate Monitor Wrist Band
BT4.0 and ANT transmission to mobile apps and sport devices; Works with Mio GO fitness app (to be released in conjunction with Mio LINK); One button "Start/Stop" and "Sync" activation; Tri-Color LED ...Made by: Mio,
Testing the MIO Link
The MIO Link really does work like any other HRM, so there isn’t any setup required. You simply pair the device with any supported app, such as Strava (shown below), Map My Run, Endomondo, Runtastic, Wahoo Fitness, or any otherapp for fitness that supports Bluetooth Smart (4.0) or ANT+ devices.
As you work out, the LED indicator will flash from time to time in different colors as your heart rate increases: blue (50 percent of maximum heart rate), green (60 percent), yellow (70 percent), magenta (80 percent), and red (90 percent).
If you want to customize the heart rate zones, you’ll need the MIO Go app (available for iOS and Android). The app has a calibration activity, as well as some neat videos you can watch while working out on a treadmill or stationary bike. The videos take you on a first-person perspective journey up mountains or along coastal bike pathways, and the speed of the video interactively changes based on your heart rate. For example, if the video is of a hiker’s perspective climbing a mountain, the footage slows down if your heart rate is low and speeds up as it increases.
To activate the MIO Link, you press on the top of it. There’s a button beneath the strap, on the hardware component, but it doesn’t require any precise way to engage it, which is ideal for runners in motion. I’ve seen plenty of other activity devices, including the Samsung Gear Fit$119.00 at Dell, with buttons or touch screens that are impossible to use accurately when you’re moving at a good pace or are wearing runner’s gloves. The MIO Link gets it right. The TomTom Multi-Sport watch$179.99 at Amazon also gets it right, with one giant button for all functions you’d need while running, cycling, and swimming.
Speaking of swimming, the MIO Link is water-resistant to 30 meters (98 feet), but the company says it doesn’t conduct heart rate reliably underwater. In other words, you don’t have to remove the Link to swim, but you won’t get any benefit by leaving it on. In comparison, the TomTom Multi-Sport has some advanced features for swimmers, but it doesn’t track your heart rate. A lower cost activity tracker (with way fewer features than the TomTom watch) that supports swimming is theMisfit Shine£64.67 at Amazon, which also doesn’t record heart rate.
I wore the MIO Link for a few days, mostly while bicycling. I had no trouble getting it to pair with apps, and the heart rate collection worked great, even when I was pedaling at full speed. I kept the MIO Link on my wrist throughout the day, dropping it into Standby mode by pressing the top of the band once until the LED glowed a steady blue and then went off. I like the simplicity of the interaction.
Ditch the Chest Strap
If you’re very specifically in the market for a new heart rate monitor for high-endurance activities, and you don’t want to wear a chest strap, the MIO Link is a solid device. It works very well, wears comfortably, is simple to use, and includes both Bluetooth and ANT+ functionality. The MIO Link is a comfortable and reasonably priced HRM. Don’t mistake it for a full-blown activity tracker, stop watch, runner’s watch, or device that does anything more than read and record your heart rate. But among HRMs, it’s fairly advanced and reasonably priced.
Comfortable wrist-worn heart rate monitor. Works with many apps. Indicator light changes color with heart rate zone. Button-less design ideal for runners, cyclists, and sports enthusiasts. Water resistant. Has both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+.
- CONSMust wear high on wrist. No readouts; indicator lights for heart rate zones only. Proprietary USB charging dock. Doesn’t conduct heart rate well underwater.
- BOTTOM LINE
If you’re in the market for a new heart rate monitor and are sick of wearing a chest strap, the MIO Link is a reasonably priced wristband that will meet your needs rather precisely, and that’s all you should expect from it.
BT4.0 and ANT transmission to mobile apps and sport devices; Works with Mio GO fitness app (to be released in conjunction with Mio LINK); One button "Start/Stop" and "Sync" activation; Tri-Color LED ...