When the first smart watches were introduced in the market, those were the pretty basic bare bones models as compared to latest models. None can argue the fact that earlier models were pretty much surprising for the users due to the availability of the new technology. Amidst those times, Mio can be easily recalled as one of the very few brands to have introduced heart rate sensors in its models. Much has changed since then and the new model Mio Alpha 2 is going to face a lot of heat from its competitors Garmin, Misfit and basis. This Mio Alpha 2 review will let you get an insight whether it is sharp enough to give a challenge to the rivals or will it simply vain away in obscurity.
Since the early predecessor was rightly successful in delivering heart rate monitoring, Mio Alpha 2 employs a very accurate heart rate monitor. It can be termed as a heart rate monitor watch. However, is it enough to guide it through the sales of success as simply having a good heart rate reading is not going to be enough in the current market trends, especially in comparison to all sorts of latest features provided by Fitbit, Garmin, Apple and Samsung much more?
Mio Alpha 2 Review
Mio Alpha 2: Design and Build
There are classic watches and then there are sports watches, and Mio Alpha 2 falls into the latter category. Ergonomically, you’ve got a pretty looking smart watch on your wrist that is clearly designed for the fitness tracking. The slight curve fits well on the wrist and perfectly embeds with the silicon strap. Normally, silicon straps, as seen in other brands like Pebble Time are a huge disappointment, but not with Alpha 2. It is made from a quality material and feels like you are wearing a premium product.
However, we feel that the straps were too wide over the wrist. Hence, if you are a bit skinnier or doesn’t have a good mass on your wrist, it will feel too big, even bulky. The front face of the watch has two buttons on each side of the display. These buttons are perfectly integrated into the display, which gives it a minimalistic and clean-looking design. However, the same quality makes for its annoyance too. Hovering around the menu using the buttons is a bit of a drag and you will often struggle to search out for the desired app on the display screen.
Mio Alpha 2: Display
The Mio alpha 2 has an LCD display, which is good enough for the job, but the display gives a very limited info. You can only access basic information like battery display, operational mode, and heart beats during a session. It was a bit of a letdown since the overall design of the watch was splendid for sporting requirements.
Another attractive feature is an LED light at the base of the screen. It is extremely useful during workout sessions, where it gives you a reminder on the type of heart rate zone you are working on. The overall design of the gadget was attractive and comforting as not for a single moment did we face any discomfort with the straps or the watch itself.
Mio Alpha 2: Heart Rate Monitor
We have laid enough emphasis right from the start that Mio was one of the first brands to introduce heart rate monitoring in the smart watch category. Not only does it offer the feature, but has functioned flawlessly in its earlier models. There is no arguing to the fact that Mio Alpha 2 has the best heart rate monitor even in competition with the best brands like Fitbit and Samsung. What’s more engaging is that you have a strapless heart rate monitor right on your wrist unlike other models like Polar M400, where you have to use the chest straps to get accurate readings. In terms of accuracy, both were equal.
As soon as you begin working out, the heart rate will start displaying and will continue displaying with accurate results. Whichever workout you choose, it gives you the flexibility of continuous reading. The LED light will illuminate with changes in the heart rate zones. Using the app, you can set up your peak heart rate and choose from the options of five different zones. Each zone is represented by the amount of workout. For instance, the Zone-1 will measure three different parameters such as above target, within the target and below target. Moreover, the rate chart will clearly define the intensity of your sessions.
Essential Reading: What Is A Good Heart Rate?
To be precise, there are six zones, with resting heart rate being the very first zone. Each Zone displays the intensity of your workout using the Beats per Minute or Maximum Heart Rate readings. To top it off, each of the zones has a dedicated color setting to display the level of intensity. Never have we seen, so efficient and effective use of heart rate monitor in any other smart watch. If there is one quality that strictly qualifies this watch as a killer product, it has got to be the heart rate monitoring feature. It may take some time to adjust yourself with the features and color settings of the intensity workouts, but once you are familiar with it, the LED lights will be your workout companion. It even rivals the best in market bands like Microsoft Band, which are highly known for heart rate monitoring.
Mio Alpha 2: Activity Tracker
With the great impression on Mio Heart rate monitor feature, we shifted our focus to some of its other features, there is not much to talk about. The biggest loss comes from a lack of an inbuilt GPS. Normally, such type of fitness watch should have GPS feature by default. That is the very reason for many fitness enthusiasts to buy this watch and they strip away the sole purpose of buying the watch. Not that it is a complete failure as you can still count the steps taken or distance covered with an inbuilt accelerometer, but it limits the range of the users. It is certainly a disappointing quality for the cyclists and runners, who rely heavily on GPS.
While, it may have saddened the cyclists; but has certainly cheered the swimmers with its waterproofing feature. Mio Alpha 2 comes as a waterproof watch up to 30m.
Apart from that, it offers some basic fitness features like steps taken, total calories burned, timer, etc. which are already available in almost every tracker in the market. The clear lack of features is very disappointing as it feels more like a heart rate sensor and less of a fitness tracker.
Mio Alpha 2: Battery
Mio Alpha 2 has a lithium-ion battery and the company boasts of providing 3 months of battery life on simple usage. We checked on the stats and got the results of 20 hours of battery life on constant tracking mode of heart rates. Whichever way you look, it is a very impressive feat. While we went ahead to charge the battery, we were frustrated with the fact of a weird way of charging the battery. The charging dock has just 2cm cable extension; now you just do the remaining math of charging.
Mio Alpha 2: Mio GO App
We also checked the software part of the watch, and it assures 24*7 of data collection on Mio Alpha-2. It can be irritating as you will constantly have to sync your device with the phone to transfer the data. Moreover, the data storage space is very less, comparing to other models. The Mio GO smartphone app allows the users to sync the device with a smartphone, both on iOS and Android.
The app doesn’t have any extraordinary feature and provides the only basic amount of information. It doesn’t have any classification based on your activity so, you will have to make manually an entry with the type of workout session you are performing. The core activities like steps, calories burned, pace, distance covered and heart rate zone are all present. The automatic sync mode is not smooth and quite often you will have to transfer the data manually. What’s more irritating is the lack of monthly tabs of the stats. Hence, you will have no idea on how you are progressing with your favorite workout. The overall experience of the app was dull and uninteresting.
Mio alpha 2 comes in three different color options (Black, Yellow and Pink) with only change in the bezel. The basic price of the model is set at $148, which is expensive considering the lack of features it offers. The device clearly inclines towards heart rate tracking so, if you are a fan of such, then go ahead with the device. The price is clearly a huge issue here since you are left with only one distinguishable feature and that is pretty much it. The watch does have a great design and fits in comfortably; still it is not much of competition in the market.
Also read this: Garmin Vivofit Review: Simple Looking Activity Tracker For All