MIO Global Heart Rate Monitor

I was looking for a heart rate monitor and started research.
I consulted one of 3RingCircus’ top gadgeteers Brett Lider, a long time, high mileage bike rider/commuter.
We reviewed the products out there and decided that neither Karrie nor I wanted chest strap.
I pre-ordered the mio link [white] for Karrie as although I’m a techie by trade, she is way better with gadgets and I like to have her figure it out and then give it to me when she gets the newer model.
We got a white one. which is for ‘smaller wrists’.
It fits on my ~6.5 inch wrist with a few links to spare.

Initial perceptions were :
1. Good looking (Karrie here – I will second the good looking – for geek gear it is downright beautiful)
2. Pretty useless as a cyclist training aid without a real time remote display.
    The light flashes ~ once every 3 seconds, you would need to memorize the color/rate and hold it right up next to one eye for up to 3 seconds while also trying to watch where you are going.
    The color can be muddled by eyewear and its hard to tell between some of the colors anyway.

So then I got the Garmin 1000 (SWEEEET!)

Current opinions:
Positives:
1. Good looking (see above)
I like the white better than the grey. It never hurts to wear something more visible.
2. Works well with the Garmin 1000 and I think its pretty accurate
3. Way more comfortable & discreet than a chest strap.
4. I like that I can pop the unit out of the strap for cleaning.

Negatives:
1. Only useful realtime with a Bluetooth Smart 4.0 or Ant+ devices.
It should be able to connect to your strava app (4s or android) for historical purposes but I don’t use the historical HRM data and Im still on the iPhone4.
2. Battery life.
Known issue. Mio claims 8-10 hours in active-on mode but I definitely get closer to 8 max. It completely died on the last climb of the 2014 Death Ride.
If you leave it on after riding to work it’ll be dead by the time you go home.
3. Charging system.
It uses a proprietary charger that plugs into a USB but holds the Mio to charging pins via a magnet.
Sometimes it is hard to tell if it’s on right without checking the light and it’s pretty easy to knock off the pins.
I don’t know how long it takes to charge but I can see it being a problem for multi-day events since I try to charge it every night.
4. TechSupport – don’t bother.
You are on your own.
5. That light again… It’s not practical to rely on it during the day for anything but knowing that it hasn’t run out of battery.
At night it is distracting when riding with it pointing at you (normal position) so I make a positive out of it by flipping the strap around on my wrist so it’s pointing down.
That way it works as another random flasher on my left side without blinding me.

Overall:
A cool gadget with limitations.

Karrie again –
Despite loving the design, I was ready to send the thing back after my first few times using it. I usually wear long sleeve shirts for sun protection so if you are not interfacing with another device and you are just waiting for the 5 light settings (blue, green, yellow, orange, red) to blink every 3 seconds it is not all that effective.
Plus the mio app was impossible to install. I think they have worked the install bugs out but it was numerous back and forths with their tech support. BUT don’t bother with the Mio app – it is a battery drainer. It killed my fully charged iPhone in less than 2 hours (not that my iPhone doesn’t die after 3 hours of use anyway – that aside monitoring my heart rate is not how I would want to kill my battery on a long ride.) I think Charlie has had a lot of success with interfacing with his uber geek Garmin 1000.

As a stand alone heart monitoring device – I give it a fail.
Interfacing with an iPhone – fail here too.
I have yet to try it with a Garmin – TBD (though from Charlie’s experience – he likes it)
As something to wear around your wrist – Nice design