Monday, May 12, 2014

MioGlobal MioLink Review: Wristband Heart Rate Monitoring. Finally no Chest Strap!

I have had a number of chest strap type heart rate monitoring sensors and have never used them consistently due to their discomfort and the strap fussing.

I recently purchased the $99 MioLink, a wristband that monitors heart rate. The MioLink is small and unobtrusive. It comes in 2  rubber size straps. I picked the large for my very small wrist and can't imagine very many people needing the smaller size. The sensor slips out of the back of the band so the band is replaceable, washable.

Mio monitors heart rate  as follows: "Integrated into the back plate of a wristband or watch, the LEDs shine light into the skin, which enables the electro-optical cell to detect your pulsing volume of blood flow."  So far seems to work fine and at long last the nasty strap is gone!

The MioLink can give you heart rate information in 2 ways:

  • a blinking LED light with different colors indicating what heart rate zone you are in. 5 zones can be set in the Mio iPhone (4S and newer) app and on Android devices with Bluetooth 4.0. See compatibility list here. I have not found the blinking mode particularly useful on the run as the blink interval is about 4 seconds and who wants to stare at your wrist that long. For more stationary exercises fine. The second mode below
  • as the MioLink has Bluetooth Smart 4.0 as well as an ANT+  it can communicate with phone run apps (iSmoothRun, Strava, etc...)  which capture data such as heart rate using these communications protocols. I actually use iSmoothRun on an iPhone 5s and have the Mio data as well as my run statistics coming through that app to my Magellan Echo watch (review here), itself a Bluetooth Smart controller and display. It should also be able to send data to any ANT+ communicating device such as many of the Garmin watches and bike computers which used ANT+, etc...
MioLink(left) Magellan Echo displaying iSmoothRun (right) Note heart rate displayed

MioLink Heart Rate on iSmoothRun
MioLink heart rate data on Strava Run App

I have now run 4 times with the MioLink. I have noticed a bit of inconsistency (fast heart rate reading) the first 5 or so minutes of runs something I have also seen on occasion with my Wahoo Bluetooth Smart chest strap. Otherwise the MioLink seems very accurate and useful. Suggestions: my sense is the accuracy is more consistent if you keep your iPhone and its recording app out of a back pocket. Keep phone on the front of your body somewhere. I have noticed that if you synch MioLink to your app and then wait for more than 15 minutes or so to start the app, connections may be lost. I am not sure this is to the iSmoothrun app I use or to the Magellan Echo .

Battery life is claimed to be 8-10 hours. Charging is via USB dongle. Water resistant to 30 meters.
DC Rainmaker has a very complete review here of a pre production version of MioLink.

You can help support my blog by purchasing the MioLink at REI via the link below

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