Product Review: Mio Alpha2

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Resting between sets on the leg press. HR drops to nearly RHR.

I love how technology is educing the burden of being plugged into something or having extra pieces to keep track of.  Wireless headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and of course strapless heart rate monitors. Strapless heart rate monitors (HRM) are really the way to go if you haven't converted yet, especially for women as there isn't a chest strap to faff around with in/under your sports bra).  I was a big fan of the Mio Fuse as it was stylish and kept track of my steps.  Mio Global asked me to review another product from their line, the Alpha2.

Workout log
The Alpha2 is much bigger than the Fuse but still looks fashionable as a chunky watch from far away. I, of course, like the hot pink accents on the small size to give it a little pizazz (The bigger sizes come with black or yellow accents). The watch face has a large digital display which makes it easy to read when running or cycling, even if it is just in watch mode. People do take notice of it (I have small wrists) and ask me about what it does and how it works.

There are only 2 buttons on the Alpha2. The right one turns on the HRM and starts recording your workout.  It took me a few sessions to realize once my HRM was on, I still needed to 'start' the session.  The Alpha2 beeps at you when your heart rate (HR) gets too high or too low which is a fantastic motivator but can be distracting in a yoga or Pilates class.

The left button will change the display from your HR to the timer, calorie counter, speed or pace info and allows you to set a lap.  I primarily kept mine on HR or used the timer when teaching my spin class.
Summary of a workout. See where I
got caught at a traffic light?
As with the Fuse, you can sync your workout on your phone with the Mio Global app for a more in depth look at your sustained efforts during your session and associated recovery times.  I was disappointed that the Alpha2 doesn't track my overall steps for the day as that is what I loved about the Fuse.  Adding this pedometer feature in conjunction with a social element to the app (find friends, send shout outs for a job well done) would make a more enjoyable experience for users as well as a bit of friendly competition.  Of course, you can manually enter the times/distances from the Mio Global app into Fitbit but I hope they will link it one day for ease. I already told Boints to get in touch with Mio Global as I want my extra points too!

I wear my Alpha2 when I want to push myself to run a bit faster when I am feeling lazy and to make sure I am giving it my all in spin class. It is really interesting to see how quickly my HR recovers when I get stuck at a light or between sets at the gym. Utilizing HR info is becoming more popular among casual athletes as a way to monitor the benefits of their training program and make adjustments when they start to reach a plateau.

Thanks to Mio Global for gifting me the Alpha2 to test. All opinions are honest and my own.

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