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Mio Link hands-on: wristband heart rate monitor that connects to your phone and watches

Chest strap heart rate monitors are uncomfortable and tend to move around. The Mio Link is comfortable and effective.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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Mio Link retail package

Summer is a great time to get out and exercise and with a half marathon and Tough Mudder events on my schedule I am in active training mode. Many of the devices I own and have tested use chest heart rate straps, but with my chest I experience constant chafing while the straps tend to slide down as I run.

Thankfully, the folks at Mio saw some of my fitness posts and asked if I wanted to check out either their Mio Link or Mio Alpha wrist mounted heart rate monitors. One major difference between the two is that the Mio Link supports ANT+ and with some older fitness devices I needed ANT+ and not just Bluetooth.

The Mio Alpha is a Bluetooth Smart device that also has a full display. The Mio Link supports both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ and is priced $100 less than the Mio Alpha. I figured I would be pairing it with devices with displays so didn't think having a display was worth twice the price.

The Mio Link retail package include the heart rate wrist strap, charging attachment, and user manuals. The Mio Link rests on the charging attachment top while a USB cable and connection pops down from the bottom. I've taken it on four runs, about 40 minutes each, and the battery still appears to be going strong.

The rubber material is very soft and flexible with a fairly standard clasp and two pegs to hold it in place. The heart rate monitor module itself can be removed from the wrist strap and is waterproof. On the bottom of the monitor you will find the heart rate sensor that rest on your wrist. A green light comes out of the monitor and is part of the mechanism that captures your heart rate.

The Mio Link captured my heart rate even during fairly intense exercise and was extremely comfortable. I was able to easily pair the Mio Link with a MOTOACTV, Garmin Forerunner 220, TomTom MultiSport GPS watch, and Samsung Galaxy S5. I was very pleased to see it pair up directly with the Galaxy S5 smartphone that also let me use the Mio Link with Runkeeper and Samsung Health.

The fitness watches capture heart rate data on a frequent basis and looking at the data and comparing to older data I see the Mio Link captures data accurately.

If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone then you can get the Mio Go app and use it to setup heart rate zones for training. This connection is made via Bluetooth. Simply press and hold the single button to initiate pairing mode. There is a LED that lights up in various colors to show what heart rate zone you are in as you exercise.

Friends tell me that you should train with a heart rate monitor as it helps you reach optimal condition. However, the chest strap ones I have used bother me more than help so I stopped using them. I am extremely pleased with how comfortable the Mio Link is plan to pick one up for myself since it really is the way to go if you want to train with a heart rate monitor.

Further reading

*Mobile technology is helping make me stronger, faster, and healthier

*TomTom announces new GPS sport watches free from Nike ecosystem

*Monitor your run and get motivated with the Nike+ SportWatch GPS (review)

*Nike and Adidas announce new non-competing wearable devices

*Capability and ease of use earned MOTOACTV a place on my wrist (review & gallery)

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Retail package contents

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Charging adapter with integrated USB cable

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Mio Link on the charging adapter

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Back of the heart rate monitor

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Top of the heart rate monitor on my wrist

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Bottom clasp of the Mio Linki

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Connected to the Galaxy S5 via Runkeeper

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Mio Go app on Android, heart rate zones

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Mio Go app on Android, main page

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