Today, Mio announced their newest product, the dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart optical heart rate wrist band: Mio Link. This new product is about half the size of their previous product (the Alpha), and transmits across both protocols. This is notable as prior to Link the Alpha was Bluetooth Smart only (they did a special ANT+ production run for Kickstarter, but not for full production). Finally, Mio Link, costs $99US – half the cost of their previous unit which was $199US.
I’ve been playing with the product now for a few days, and thus can give you a bit of an overview of how it works – though, I can kinda just start off with the simple version: It rocks.
Why’s that? Well, it’s exactly what folks have been asking for since Mio’s first generation Alpha: Make it smaller, have it transmit both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, and oh, reduce the price.
Understanding Optical HR Monitoring
But first let’s start back at the beginning though and explain what exactly an optical heart rate (HR) monitor is. These are heart rate monitors that use optical light sensors to view down into your capillaries and then read your heart rate, which is typically transmitted to you in beats per minute (BPM). While the end metric is the same, the measurement technology is different from heart rate straps of the last 30 years, which have been worn around your chest and pickup your heart rate electromagnetically. In the photo below you can see this green light emitting from inside the band of the watch:
Mio initially introduced this technology about 18 months ago with their Kickstarted funded Mio Alpha unit, which I subsequently reviewed once they produced final units. During the Kickstarter deal, they offered both an ANT+ version as well as a Bluetooth Smart version. However, after launch and public availability, they were only able to offer a Bluetooth Smart version to non-Kickstarter folks (Kickstarter people got what they ordered). As you saw in my review, the unit did exceedingly well for sport use – producing accurate data.
Following Mio’s launch, another company – Basis, launched an optical HR device, the Basis B1 watch. However, that device wasn’t aimed at the sports crowd, but rather more at the activity monitor/tracker crowd. For example, it worked well for the 23 hours of the day you weren’t exercising, but didn’t measure HR during exercise. Ultimately, it uses slightly different technology and algorithms on the optical side.
Finally, fast forward to a few months ago, and Adidas launched their Smart Run GPS with the optical HR sensor built in. That sensor was provided by Mio. And just like the Alpha, it worked spot-on for me as well in measuring heart rate optically.
Now, we find ourselves looking at Mio’s second generation product, the Link. As you can see below more clearly, they reduced the size by nearly half, where it’s about the width of a stick of gum. The Mio Link is on the left/right, and the older Mio Alpha in the middle:
This is an impressive technical feat, because the ‘enemy’ of accurate optical HR measurement is actually light. You need to reduce/eliminate ambient daylight from clouding the sensor’s view of things from the (green) light it emits. Thus far, from what I’ve seen in extremely limited testing over the past few days, they’ve done that well.
Dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart:
Next, and probably the most important change is the addition of both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart to the unit. No more choosing between one or the other (or rather, only having one choice). The unit will concurrently broadcast on both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart your heart rate. For example, this means you could pair it to a Garmin cycling computer (via ANT+) at the same time as an iPhone app (via Bluetooth Smart):
Using ANT+, you can pair it to as many devices as you’d like concurrently. For example, I did a test run where I paired it to two ANT+ devices (an Edge 810 and a Garmin FR220). The unit acts just like any other ANT+ heart rate strap. Which means that basically every ANT+ device ever made on the planet can talk to it (any Garmin/Timex/Magellan/etc… watch/device). I often hear from cyclists, especially woman, who have been extremely interested in Mio offering the ANT+ variant. This now solves that problem, and does it in a smaller package than the Alpha.
On the Bluetooth Smart front, it can be connected to any device that supports Bluetooth 4.0 and apps that support Bluetooth Smart heart rate profiles. On iOS, that’s the iPhone 4s and higher, as well as the iPad Gen 3 and higher. On Android, that’s any Android 4.3 device and higher, along with an app that supports it. On Windows Phone, that’s WP8 and higher, with an app that supports it (Handy tip: Adidas app on WP8 supports it).
Note that in the case of Bluetooth Smart, like most all Bluetooth Smart devices on the market, you can only connect the Link to a single display device at at time (i.e. a phone, watch, etc…).
Data Accuracy Samples:
I’ve done a few test runs, along with a number of hours of generic HR monitoring with the device. First, we’ll start with a nice 40 minute run I did. In this run it was paired concurrently to an Edge 810, Garmin FR220, and an iPhone 4s with the Wahoo Fitness app – all at the same time. Below, is the HR file from that run:
Of course, a HR file by itself isn’t terribly useful. Instead, you need to compare it to a HR strap to see how things performed. Below, is a HR strap worn at the same time:
(Note: I’ve slightly cropped the above, since the battery on my FR220 ran out three minutes early. This makes it easier to compare the two graphs.)
Now, you know what’s funny above? It just happened that this shows exactly why optical HR can be so handy. In my case, on this run, my legacy chest HR strap was funky for the first portion of it. It was reading low – about 20bpm low. I know it was reading low merely because I know my paces and perceived efforts pretty well. Plus, later when I adjusted the chest strap a little bit, it then immediately matched the Mio Link optical HR:
In the above cases, the extreme dryness of the air, and 17*F (-8C) weather contributed to the legacy fabric chest HR strap being wrong. I had waited too long after wetting it (since I was taking photos), and on top of that, I wasn’t really wearing enough clothes for that weather, so it quickly dried things below my shirt.
Next, we look at a longer run I did the next day. In this case, I ran for 90 minutes. I made an effort to quickly get out the door to keep the chest strap on-target to see a better comparison. However, the @#*$&#@ battery gods struck again, but this time on the Mio Link, dying about 8 minutes into the workout. Sigh.
For fun, I also wore the HR strap on my wrist for a few hours the previous evening – just sitting around, going to the movies, dinner and other miscellaneous activities (all, non-fitness). Since I hadn’t fully charged it, it didn’t last the full duration of the activity file. In this case, I paired it via Bluetooth Smart to the Wahoo Fitness app. Here’s the results from that:
As you can see, almost all of it looks fairly normal, and within 80-120bpm. There’s an initial ‘flat-line’ section there that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but otherwise, being up and moving around you’ll get pretty normal variation. The 145bpm or so spike also seems out of line. But then again, I don’t see unexplained spikes while doing sporting activities – so I’m not terribly concerned yet with it for non-sports activities that the unit doesn’t really target. And of course, we’re still 1-2 months away from the unit being on the market.
I’ll be doing a ton more running over the next 24-48 hours, so I’ll keep updating this section with new comparisons as I do it. And as I head back home next weekend I’ll layer in cycling too.
Unlike the original Mio Alpha, this doesn’t have a display on it. Instead, it just has a single status light. Honestly, I think this is just fine. The overwhelming feedback I got from folks is that because the original unit, Mio Alpha, didn’t actually record anything (only display of current HR), it always was being streamed somewhere else. Thus, there was more interest in that ‘somewhere else’ device and using that as the primary display (or audio feedback from a cell phone app).
The unit does however allow you to set zones on it. You can set zones in two different schemes. The first is a 3-zone scheme, and the second is a 5-zone scheme. Each scheme will use the LED on the front of the unit to indicate your exact placement within the zone. The unit does not include any audio or vibration functionality.
Sizing and Fit:
The unit comes in two sizes, a smaller one for wrists 145-187mm in size, and a longer one for wrists 162-216mm in size. The internal pod can be popped out of the rubber casing, thus allowing you to change the band color if you’d like (from white to black, or black to white). Mio says down the road they may make additional color bands if there’s interest there. The unit is waterproofed to 3ATM, which equates to roughly 30m (90ft).
You can see these two straps on my wife’s (small) wrists (she’s tiny, 5’2” tall). In her case, both straps actually did fit her. Though, the larger strap required it be placed on the absolute very last connection knob, so the smaller/shorter strap was a better fit. This is notable because the previous Mio Alpha strap was too large for her to use. Like her, I was able to wear both strap lengths without issue however.
Charging and Battery Life
To charge the unit, you’ll use the included USB adapter. The battery is currently lasting 7 hours in active-on mode (measuring HR), though, can last weeks in a standby mode (hanging out looking pretty) (Update: They’ve increased it to 10hrs). You can use any USB port on the planet to charge the device. The USB adapter in the beta version is about the only area I have complaints on (not quite secure enough), but I’m told that it’ll be fixed in the next beta iteration.
Mio Go Mobile App:
Lastly, Mio will also be releasing an App – Mio Go, to complement the Link. The app connects to the Link and has various fitness gamification scenarios designed around having you hit your target heart rate to progress through the app:
Since I just got to the app moments ago, I’ll be diving into the app more as part of the final in-depth review:
Availability wise, the Link should be available starting March, for $99US. In Europe, it’ll be 99€. Price-wise, this is fairly impressive, as most other chest-based Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps on the market aren’t too much cheaper. There’s only one other strap that does dual transmission at the exact hour I’ve published this, the 4iiii’s Viiiiva.
As usual, once the final unit is available later in February/March I’ll be doing a typical full in-depth review then on the final hardware (and any applicable software). Thus, like any other beta/pre-release product, things could change for better or worse between what I’ve written now and when the final device is released.
As always, thanks for reading – and feel free to drop any questions below!
Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:
Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.
I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Mio Link through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a 10% discount on your cart – just for DC Rainmaker readers with coupon code DCR10BTF . And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.
Mio Link Optical HR sensor (both colors, strap lengths, choose from drop-down)
Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.
I am seeing the battery being real inconsistent, that is with charging it everyday and yes reading inconsistent as well and I am in CA. I have to keep moving it or tightening it. My arms are hairy so besides that I can only think it is the Mio Link.
I was one of first to buy one of these, had the dropout issue with signal when on other hand. Always use on same hand as 910xt and all works well. I am surprised that mio haven’t upgraded it with an improved version, I’m sure a little tinkering would address the signal strength and battery issues we hear so much about.
The body is great at blocking ant signals add it’s mostly water and 2.4 Ghz signals can’t penetrate water do could be your hand position. Page 4 of the ant+ hr profile can be used to make up for dropped data but has to be implemented by mio and the 910 has to make use of the extra data which I don’t know.
Just something I realized recently: my unit never dropped connection. My unit has always stopped broadcasting HR value for a certain period of time. Here’s what I gathered from further testing:
I connect the Mio Link to the computer and I look at data received on the computer side through a basic Suunto ANT+ USB stick (I haven’t tried to look through BT, I suspect it’s going to be the same).
If I move out of range, or if block the ANT+ signal, the connection on the computer side hangs (with the last data received being displayed as the current value).
However, this is not the issue I get while exercising. When I get “dropped” during exercise, the connection is maintained, but there is no value transmitted for a random amount of time. The receiver is just getting an empty field.
How do you know the connection is maintained even you get “dropped”?
When paired up with the Wahoo Fitness app (via BT) or the Edge 800 (Ant+), if there’s an issue getting the HR from Mio, the last known HR from Mio Link will be repeated until the connection is re-established.
i bought Mio Link few weeks ago but having an Iphone 4 with ant+ I had to purchased the ant+ dongle as well.
It has just arrived, I bought the digifit ant+ dongle powered by wahoo.
I am not able to pair the HR monitor to the phone. not in the BT settings nor in apps ( I tried Mio GO and Strava apps) I am able to detect the Link.
I am not sure if it is the dongle that is not working, or not compatible with Mio devices (the seller assured me it should work)
I tried the Mio Link with Iphone 5 and it is working fine.
Any advice what I can do?
Just wondering about the state of play with the Mio Link now. I bought one and have had a bit of a play with it on a couple of runs to find my sweet spot and then one run where I just set it up and hit the road. The data seemed to be fairly close to what I have been seeing from my chest strap with no real dips or spikes in HR where I would not expect them. So far so good.
Based on what you see now in terms of newer stock, should I return it to Amazon and get myself a Rythym+?
I have got a new colour(electric) but I guess that the sensor inside could well be one of the older versions but in a new cloak so I am considering changing to the scosche as you seem to imply it is a lot better day to day. Is that correct?
In general, if you’re happy with the Link, then I’d stay there and keep cooking on that. It sounds like you’re good there. By the same token, I have virtually zero problems with the Scosche. For the Link, the problems people have relate specifically to ANT+ transmission if worn on a different wrist than your watch – it’s just not strong enough transmission due to the antenna in it. But, if you’re not seeing that problem for your circumstance, then I’d save the hassle of returning/swapping.
Cheers for the response Ray- I will be looking at my data over the next few weeks and if to have to send back the Linkni shall buy the Rythym via one of your links. Thanks again.
This might be a bit off topic but I was just wondering if your wife has had any troubles/discomfort with the heart rate strap? I’m looking at getting a running watch with a hrm and was wondering if I should pair it with one of these heart rate sensors (assuming heart rate chest straps are uncomfortable for ladies). Also, would she have any idea if those heart rate monitor integrated sports bra actually do work?
I have run with a chest strap and find it slips down my torso unless I wedge it under my sports bra, which gets uncomfortable on long runs!
I’ve just ordered a Mio Link…
I have run with a chest strap and find it slips down my torso unless I wedge it under my sports bra, which gets uncomfortable on long runs!
I’ve just ordered a Mio Link…
I have run with a chest strap and find it slips down my torso unless I wedge it under my sports bra, which gets uncomfortable on long runs! I’ve just ordered a Mio Link!
Just got a Mio Link and have worn it for 5 **INDOOR** workouts (4 runs, and a bike). The first run I wore it super tight (too tight, my hand got cold) and it worked fine. The next 2 runs and a bike I wore it comfortably tight and it also worked great.
Today, the 5th workout, I wore it comfortably tight again, 2 inches up from my wrist, no movement… UNDER a long sleeved shirt and long sleeved running jacket for my run in 36F weather. At the beginning of the run it was perfect but suddenly at around 0.75 mi in it began dropping to a lower and lower HR (over the course of a minute or two) taking me from around 150 bpm down to 70ish bpm where it stayed for several more miles before INSTANTLY jumping to an accurate HR of about 165-170 for the last mile of my run. Needless to say I am very disappointed, removing my running clothes I looked for evidence of movement of the band but there was none… you could see the clear “imprint” of the band and the camera area on my skin and it hadn’t moved at all and remained tight to my skin.
Does this have something to do with temperature? That my veins in the cold got further from the skin or something? Anyone have this experience because one of the main reasons I bought the Mio is to GET accurate HR in very cold and dry weather without fiddling with gel on a strap etc.
Yeah I have the same issue, and in fact in the MioLink manual it says about it too.
Operating Temperature: 5°C to 45°C (41°F to 113°F)
It figures that in the cold less blood will go to the skin area of your extremities, and thus an optical system won’t work so well, and also condensation on the sensors will also start to play its part. Great piece of kit in summer, but in winter my measurements are all over the place, often sky high at 190, when I know i’m around 130/140ish.
well I’ll try some different setups, including wearing the sensor on the inside of my arm… but wow, I missed that issue since many folks love these things in the winter season because of the issues with regular strap heart rates drying out, or needing time to work as you get sweaty etc. i’ll see what happens next time, my run tomorrow should be in similar conditions.
Definitely try a few places. One thing to keep in mind is that I don’t remember hearing/seeing anyone with temp related issues on the Mio sensors in previous years. So it might be a one-off.
I did some winter running with it last winter (including this very post actually), where it was well below freezing.
I got given a Mio Link for Christmas, and after 2 weeks I’m looking at returning it. Seeing many of the issues reported here:
– Erratic readings, particularly running outdoors
– Unit is really slow to respond, so interval data is pretty meaningless
– Mio Link won’t communicate with Garmin 910XT on a different arm
Have tried different arms, different tightness. Works better if its uncomfortably tight…but at that point I would rather wear a chest strap. May be just me, but I am really uncomfortable with having the Mio Link and the Garmin on same arm…just to get round a design flaw.
I suspect that part of the problem is that I have hairy arms – can’t be ideal for an optical sensor I guess?
All in all, disappointed.
Back to the sweaty strap….
I have the exact same experience, under a long sleeve on a 32 F degrees outdoor run. link to strava.com
Very well could be Ray, hopefully it isn’t just “my” body type. I am also fairly light skinned and without a ton of arm hair so I thought like you I would be in good shape. Perhaps wearing it upside down will be better, I’ll report back if it happens again.
Is there any way to purchase replacement bands? I’d like to toy with a DIY solution to my next suggestion…
…which is a housing for the sensor that will just attach to the inside of an existing watch band. I know it would make it “fatter” at some spot on your arm (probably inside the wrist), but I like the idea of that more than I like the idea of two bands on one arm. And yeah, I’m seeing drop-outs if I put it on my other arm (with a Garmin 920XT).
I’ve checked the Mio website and Amazon and don’t see a way to order a replacement band. Maybe I’m missing it.
There has been a Lot of Discussions about missing HRV Data when using the Mio link with an polar V800.
If using the V800 with the MIO link at the Same wrist for Swimming workout….isn’t it Better to habe the Mio sensor than Having no Heart rate sensor? I got banned from our indoor Pool with a triathlon tank top and a Heart rate strap. W/o tri-Tank top the strap Slips down….its Not usable without any Mechanical fixation , which i did with an 2XU compression top……which works very well, until the Pool attendant noticed it.
So, is it Better to have MIO link + V800 than Having no heartrate signal??
Dominik, does v800 collect heart signal from mio link in the pool (water) when is worn on same wrist? Thanks!
Appears to be available here: link to m.cyclestore.co.uk
Velo looks to be interesting, it retransmit ant+ to BTLE equipped smart phones.
Appears to be available at cycle store.
Velo looks to be interesting, it retransmit ant+ to BTLE equipped smart phones.
HUGE number of comments here – so not sure if this has been covered. Looks like the new Alpha 2 has been announced. Onboard memory probably the biggest thing for people wanting to sync workouts after a swim.
link to mioglobal.com
I’m thinking of getting one of these to use with my Garmin Forerunner 305 while swimming.
I get that I would have to put them next to each other for the ANT+ to work in water.
Has anyone gotten this combination to work?
I’ve only done a couple of swims with the FR305 and it was somewhat spotty for the track under my cap. I imagine it would be worse on the wrist.
I don’t care about any swimming metrics, I just want a GPS track and some HR data to go along with it.
I think many of us have been waiting for the solution to this.
Technically yes if next on wrist (others have done with other watches). However, not on cap.
And, with the FR305 on your wrist swimming it’s somewhat asking for trouble. It’s not waterproofed for that and many of people have killed their FR305’s trying. :-/
Considering the poor tracking and possible FR305icide of my possible solution.
Is there yet a good viable GPS tracking and HR solution for open water swimming?
Or is this Mio Link and a better swim watch the best going now?
Is the Mio Link compatible with nordictrack. I’m looking for a better alternative to the chest strap.
No, it doesn’t broadcast analog, and i’m not aware of any treadmills/gym units picking up BLE (a handful pick up ANT+, but it’s very rare).
I just bought a Mio Link and have two long rides on it. It seems to work perfectly and I’m very happy to discard my constraining chest strap. Two minor drawbacks to the Mio: 1) the constantly blinking LED – used to indicate HR zone in the absence of a screen – is, to me, really annoying and distracting. 2) one more thing to keep charged up. One question: can I charge it with my Garmin 500 USB wall plug?
I received answers to my questions (above) from Mio today. Nope, annoying blinking LED cannot be turned off when in use and a USB wall socket can be used as long as it doesn’t put more than 5v to the USB. They were pretty speedy in answering.
i bought mine last year during thanksgiving on clever training website. lately i have trouble charging the unit. upon close inspection i see the 4 pin on the charger is broken. i’m missing the very left pin on the left hand side and contact mio website. they said i had to purchase a new one but i never drop the charger. i think their manufacture QC is not so good
Have you tested this with the Nike+ iPhone app or the original TomTom Runner ? I have a TomTom Runner without the chest strap(I hate them). I’m hoping to connect the Link to the watch and the Nike app. Thanks in advance.
I’ve bought mine back in December and have logged more than 60 activities in the Mio app (the IOS version). So far so good and more than a month worth of data is stored on the phone (someone asked about this).
The other day I tried to pair a bluetooth headset and the Mio Fuse at the same time. That led to 2 of my Strava sessions missing the heart rate (although everything was recording on the Fuse and the music was rocking my ears). In addition the Fuse appeared twice in my bluetooth settings and in the Mio app and a weird upload was made to the Mio app with completely bizarre data.
I eventually had to kill the Mio app, remove the paired device from the settings (one couldn’t be removed oddly!), and restart the phone. After this, the device I could not unpair from the setting disappeared. I then had to re-pair the band. It was recognized as mine and, thank goodness, I haven’t lost any data on the Mio app…
I tried again the double-pairing (Fuse + headset) and again did mess up the HR recording (HR is being recorded on the band but nothing is sent to Strava; the music works fine) and the bluetooth settings (double Fuse entry that needs to be removed by restarting the phone).
I therefore wondered whether anyone had had any success at double pairing?
You wouldn’t/shouldn’t need to pair the Mio Fuse through the BT control panel. It should just be through the app. Your BT headphones would be on the Bluetooth Control panel.
However, I think you’re issue is actually that you had both the Mio app and the Strava app open. Bluetooth Smart devices can be used only by a single device/app at once. So I suspect the Mio app was then blocking Strava.
Thanks for answering that fast (and good to be on the same time zone!).
I only use the Mio app to ‘offload’ the data that is in the Fuse, so I don’t think this was the issue. That said, since I was listening some music, the music app could have been blocking the HR data flux. Could that be?
For the pairing, all indeed goes through the Mio app, but somehow the double-device pairing managed to get a double FUSE entry in both, the settings and the Mio app…
Cheers for your valuable work!
Music uses legacy Bluetooth, not Bluetooth Smart. And HR uses Bluetooth Smart, not Bluetooth. iOS devices allow you to use numerous sensors and Bluetooth music devices concurrently.
I’m not quite sure though why it’s double-showing up though. That’s odd.
For the last few days I have tried to make a MIO Link work. I really want it to work, but I have tried every position and even right next to my Ambit2 (thanks for all the reviews that helped to make my choice!) it just seems to be a glorified random number generator that sometimes gives a heart rate. I read your review and realized it might not work as well as the Scosche, but right now it just seems completely useless. I really want the wrist monitor to work out, what else can I try?
I have found it needs to be tightened firmly on my arm next to the Suunto (not so tight it stops circulation, but quite firm). I have had consistent results when compared to chest strap, and now just use the Mio for all activities. The best part is that after 2 months working with them, the Suunto team have agreed to open up the HR Belt/pod detection in swimming modes for the Ambit2, so that you can now use the Mio Link with your Ambit2 while swimming. It isn’t being advertised, so you have to activate it via Movescount by double-clicking the actual word “HR Belt”, and then it opens the box for selection. A great and sensible outcome – thanks Suunto. I hope it sorts out for you soon, as I am very happy with the combination.
That is fantastic news! Do you know whether that applies to the Ambit 3 as well or just the 2S?
Is the mio waterproof? Can you wear it swimming?
Is it possible to connect the Mio to a windows pc or lets say a windows surface tab to get the data?
Yes, with an ANT+ USB stick you can.
Thanks for the quick reply. Another issue is what application to use on the PC to collect the data.
That’s where it gets a bit trickier. However, check out my 2015 winter trainer recommendations post, because most of those apps that are desktop focused actually collect ANT+ data perfectly that way (i.e. Peripedal, PerfPro, etc…).
What data? The MIO-link does not store the data, it just transmit the hart beat without saving it.
The heart beat data
Thank you. Will check out the post
What got me interested in the purchase of the Mio Link was you swam with it in open water. Is it not capable of going in the water for a swim? Also does it have to be worn on the same arm as my Garmin 920xt?
Will this work with a garmin edge 500?
I just want to know if it is compatible with the Tomtom multi sport watches?
In theory, yes, though I don’t think I’ve tried it recently.
Is MIO strap works with Polar M400?
I’ve had my Link for just about a year now and use it exclusively for Cycling. I’ve been very pleased with the accuracy and comfort of the band. However, the unit has started to switch itself off from time to time during a ride. I thought at first it was caused by a tight cuff on my jacket that was switching it off but it has happened again on uncovered wrists.
The unit will power up again when pressed and continue ok for the rest of the ride.
I fully charge the unit and regularly clean the charger contacts with Isopropyl alcohol so I’m wondering if any other early adopters are experiencing similar?
I just bought one of these to pair with my new Garmin Edge 810 (both bought, by the way, thanks to your really great, in depth reviews!)
Overall I’m really pleased, but I have noticed that it is sometimes under-recording my HR. I know when I’m doing hill intervals and I can hardly breathe that my HR is higher than 119….
I have the strap on as tight as I can comfortably handle, so definitely don’t think its too loose. I use it for road biking and Mountain biking – and have tried to have it in the normal position as well as underneath my wrist.
I have also noticed when mountain biking that on rocky descents when I’m flexing my wrist muscles more, it does cause some discomfort when in the cycling recommended position. Anything that could be done on a next-gen version to smooth out the sensor area would be a big plus.
Sorry if this question has been asked already – I’ve skimmed through the comments and can’t see it. I’ve just received one of these units, but haven’t had the chance to test it yet. It connects fine to my Garmin 310XT. Has anyone had any issues wearing this unit on the opposite wrist to their watch while running? I’ve bought his unit in an effort to ditch the chest strap – I’ve had to remove the chest strap mid race on more than one occasion because I found it so uncomfortable and this unit seemed like the perfect option.
It’ll depend. For some (most?) people it’ll work fine on opposite wrists. For others, not so much. A lot of it will likely depend on your running style. If you swing your arms more (such that they go further away), it might be an issue depending on body type/arm length/etc…
I tested the unit today on an easy run lasting about 1 hour. First of all, i was getting a really high resting heart rate with the sensor on the top of my arm so I positioned it on the underside of my wrist and the reading dropped to what I would have expected. I had to tie the strap quite tightly too, but to be honest while it felt a bit uncomfortable to begin with, I didn’t notice it after a while. When I transferred the data to Garmin connect there were quite a few drop outs where the reading dropped to zero mostly between 10 and 15 seconds but one big long drop out of 30 seconds. So I’m not 100% convinced yet. I’m going to try wearing it on the same arm as the watch tomorrow, but a bit higher up. It was a lot more comfortable than the chest strap. I beginning to think I should have shelled out the extra few Euro for the Sosche unit. Although – its my birthday in July, and a few well placed hints might see me in possession of the Garmin FR225.
I’ve been using the 310XT (and FR60) with the Mio Link for about 2 months now for swimming, cycling and running. I’ve always worn it on the underside of my wrist and on the same wrist as the watch. My experience has largely been very good with the following issues
1) All sports; the positioning has to be just right (for me about 5-10cm from my wrist joint and avoiding veins) for it to react quickly (several seconds) to rapid changes in HR. This is particularly noticeable swimming as I swim with ‘swimmers’ and not ‘triathletes’, so end up with lots of interval sets!
2) All sports; even positioned just right there is a noticeable lag when my HR jumps (in interval sets) of 5-10 seconds.
3) Swimming; the signal is marginal if I where the Link on the underside of the wrist and the watch on top, if I wear both underneath it seems totally reliable (swimming 3+ hours per week).
4) All sports; once every 2-3 weeks (using it 15-20 hours per week) – I’ll get a random ‘more than max HR’ spike, this can last a minute or two if I don’t notice it, but generally goes away if I tweak the position slightly.
For the amount I swim, being able to get an hrTSS value makes it a better option than the Scosche, and there is no way I’d go back to fighting with HR spikes and slipping / uncomfy chest straps!
I’m not getting good HR accuracy pairing it with Garmin 620. When I wear mio on same wrist above watch, it reads low by 20 – 30 bpm. When I wear it on opposite wrist, it seems to be accurate but it doesn’t continuoisly display on 620. Maybe it’s to far. Anyone experiencing this?
The Mio needs to be worn on the same wrist. There is a flaw in the antennae design that means its got a very poor range. This is a well recognised issue with many posts above describing the problem.
Are you wearing it above or below the wrist ? Maybe try moving it around, and putting it against more fleshy areas of the wrist. I found the best for me was with the sensor on the top, but turned slightly towards the inside so that it sat more on the side.
I’ve given up on my Mio now though, mainly due to antennae issues and problems when weight training. Gone for a Scocshe instead, and so far happy.
Bought my FR220 from this site (clever training – Good People), but hate the strap. Saw this as a alternative while reading your review of the FR225. I love the strapless idea, but cant justify the cost of the 225. Can I use the Link with the HR zones created on the Garmin Connect or do I have to use the MIO Go settings? Is the calorie calculations on the Garmin going to be off because of the Link?
You need to install MIO Go to setup HR Zones, but later you can delete it completely and forget about it. This is what I did. I use it with fenix 3 and it looks fine. but I bought it recently and use it mostly for swimming, not for running. I am going to compare HR data from MIO Link and strap maybe next week. If you are interesting I can share it later. I have Garmin Fenix 3 and callories calculation looks fine for me, at least during the training (swimming or running). I am not sure if garmin is taking into account HE data when they calculate the calories. During the day I do not use MIO Link and callories and steps are calculated by garmin itself.
Also I forgot to mentioned. You need to setup HR Zones on MIO Link only to see the indicator color. Garmin will use it’s own HR zones I think. If indicator color on mio link does not matter for you, you can forget about mio go app completely and use only your garmin app.
Hi to all.
I recently bought MIO Link and I like it. It works even with swimming for me.
I only have problem with garmin. My Fenix 3 does not support heart rate recording in swimming mode. I can use other mode, but in this case I lost stroke/SWOLF information. If you have the same problem and some time, could you please submit this to garmin as idea (I mean record heart rate data in swimming mode) here link to www8.garmin.com
I think if they will have many submission like this, they will fix it.
Good news! Now Garmin Fenix 3 record heart rate, at least in open water activity. Yesterday I got an update v 4.0 where they claim that heart rate data will be recorded for swimming. I can see the hr field for indoor pool swimming, but I cannot see hr data, when I upload my activity to connect.garmin.com.
– open water swim activity displays and record HR data.
– indoor pool swim activity displays but not record HR data.
hey I just got a question as I’m new to running and using this stuff..
I got myself a Garmin Vivosmart (love it BTW, has everything I want)
and I got a MIO Link to pair with it (also love it and works better than I thought possible, and easy to use.)
my problem is this.
Garmin connect records HR data, distance, pace, and basically everything. except it doesn’t for some reason record GPS. I took my phone with me so it could and it didn’t.. my phone has GPS… the app should have GPS!
MIO Link’s MIO GO app record GPS and it looks great and works awesome.
why won’t Garmin’s moble app?
my other question.
if you can’t record GPS data from the phone to connect, then can you import GPS data from the MIO Go app to Connect somehow?
As I understand Vivosmart is not for running, it is activity tracker for steps and calories per day. For running you can try to use smartphone with GPS and MIO Link. For example you can install Runkeeper program, Runkeeper will get heart rate data from MIO Link and distance, pace and etc from GPS. But you do not need vivosmart in this case 🙂
Another option try to export GPS data from MIL Go application. Normally they have something like export to GPX or TCX file, which contains GPS track information. But it will be difficult technical task to combine together vivosmart data like pace and etc with gps track.
I would like to share my experience with MIO Link for swimming. It is here.
link to youtube.com
Some video recording and tracks for open water swimming with Garmin Fenix 3 and MIO Link.
I’ve been very happy with my Mio link, wearing it on the same wrist as my garmin forerunner 405, and , since that was replaced, my Fenix3.
No issues with signal drop out, and all good until today.
After 1hr 45, of perfectly normal performance, suddenly the HR stuck at 142, and the light became constant cyan- like when it’s charging. I’ve tried to switch it in and off a good few times, and lathough I can get the cyan light to go off, the green HR sensor lights are still shining.I got in from my run more than 2 hours ago, and they are stilll shining away. any suggestions as to how to switch off? I am guessing that the device is not going to work again, and the only way it will stop shining is when the battery loses charge. Any ideas?
Thanks for the great review. I’m sorry if I missed this in any previous comments. Do you know if the Mio Link will connect to Bluetooth smart enabled gym equipment. I’m wanting to use it on a Nordictrack C320i which is compatible with most Bluetooth smart chest straps.
Yup, it transmits standard Bluetooth Smart, so it should no problem.
Thanks Ray, No worries connecting with the Treadmill, it automatically connected within 30sec of turning on. Also works really well with my iPhone 5S and Forerunner 220.
an update of the mio app (on ios) come today with a software update for the link
it should be the 1.17, but I can only update to the 1.12 (I get the 1.00 before and nether find any update)
don’t know what is new with this update
Ditto. The Mio blog doesn’t say what has been improved. And also it only updates to 1.12 reportedly, which means you can endlessly update.
My hope is that they have increased battery, like they managed to do with the Fuse. They seem to have increased the HR averaging as when you turn it on it starts at a low number and then drifts up to the real number.
I have left some questions on the blog, but I’ve almost given up waiting for previous comments to be moderated, let alone answered.
Same on my side. Was able to update from firmware 1.00 to 1.12 and firmware 1.04 to 1.12 ( I own two Mio LINK). Getting the notification of Firmware 1.17, but I am stuck at 1.12
finally they answered your question this time
1.12 for link, 1.17 for alpha 2
I think they have increase the bluetooth power
I am now using the link in my glove, a motoactv on the stem with ant+, and a iphone in my back pocket with bluetooth
I had few to lot of drop on my iphone
I try today and have no drop
Any words for update from android device? Or from PC?
in the official blog they said the Android app will come soon
link to blog.mioglobal.com
Can anyone tell me if the mio link (or any other HR monitor) can be worth by itself during a workout (say playing football) and then paired to a device later for the results?
I currently have a vivoactive and want to pair up with a HR monitor for running – would also like to get HR stats after playing football/soccer but would not be wearing the watch while playing.
the mio link, velo and alpha have no memory, only direct data
so they won’t work as you wish
the mio fuse, alpha 2 have memory
they should work as you wish : link to mioglobal.com
don’t know for other products
So- to answer my own question ( since no one else did!), my Mio was stuck with the green light on, and impossible to switch off- I just left it until it ran out of charge, then recharged it, ans it seems mostly to be OK, except on a run 2 days ago where it seemed OK ( showing appropriate colour light, and switching on/ off as per usual), but didn’t seem to be picked up by the Garmin. Don’t know why, but seems OK again now. Perhaps just a one- off problem each time……….anyone else had simialr troubles?
don’t see your previous question
I had some bugs in hot and sweaty conditions
in my case the mio link shut down with no reason
the HR reading depend of app or watch (0, the last number, s/o, –)
now it’s not so hot in Brittany so there’s much less problems, and during riding I put the link sensor in my gloves where my skin is less sweaty and there’s more fresh air
I think there’s problems with sweat on connectors (in your case it seems to go on recharge mode)
you could try to protect the connectors ?
Hi Ray, great articles but for this one, the Mio Global website gives different sizes than you quote :
Comes in two sizes (wrist sizes: S/M – 121-175mm / 4.8”-6.9”, L: 149-208mm / 5.9”-8.2”)
I’ve tried the Mio Link for a week, and it’s probably going back. My max HR is about 185. The Mio Link spiked to over 200 while riding on washboard dirt roads on my road bike. In the middle of a 5K, it jumped from 160bpm to 190 about half way in, and stayed between 190 and 195 the whole last half. Today, running on trails, it again jumped from from 160 to 190 again and stayed there during a hard push. It’s picking up on my cadence not my heart rate. My heart never revved that high. My cadence is 190 – 195 when I’m flowing.
I’m wearing the Mio tight enough to be uncomfortable, with the sensor on the underside of my wrist. It’s possible that my distal volar plate on that wrist from an old accident is somehow causing interference, so the next run I’m going to swap wrists and see how that goes.
For reference I’m male, 52, 5′ 8″ and 130 lbs, so scrawny as heck. My wrist is definitely boney.
Tried it on the other wrist next to my FR 210 for a run. It seemed to track OK but I didn’t push the pace high enough to see if it would cross over to my cadence. Tried it on the left wrist riding my bike, and I got some strange twinges from it compressing a tendon on the top of my wrist. Also the readings seemed a little low. It’s less comfortable than a chest strap, so it’s going back
If somebody interesting what is the maximum distance to send data via bluetooth/ANT+ under the water it is shown here link to youtu.be
Just an FYI if you have a Mio Link and haven’t updated the firmware, I’d strongly recommend against it. I was on 1.10 (Android, so the app only recently got the ability to do a firmware update) and 1.22 has broken the device. It IMMEDIATELY locks onto cadence rather than heart rate now. I’m having a go with their support folks, providing Garmin logs of runs before/after the firmware update, but so far I’m pretty unimpressed with their understanding of the issue. I’ll post back if/when I know more.
Thanks for the heads up! Mine died the day I got it and just got replaced a month later. Dealing with Mip support isn’t something I want to have to do again.
Funny you two guys above are having such problems with Mio’s support.
My Mio’s band ripped two weeks ago, when I asked if there was a way to get a replacement band they sent me a replacement Mio Link (including the pod!) immediately. The only reason I waited one week for my replacement was because I had to send it across Europe to the UK.
And keep in mind I bought my original Link when they became available, so now I have a new Link, with a new battery and all! Also they seemed to have changed their design quite a lot (Both the pod’s and the band’s). It looks slightly different, stray light doesn’t affect it as much, the broadcasting range is better and I don’t have issues with it sometimes locking onto cadence or a certain number (for my old Link, it sometimes got stuck at 128, no idea why).
Anyway, just wanted to let y’all know that the Mio support has been absolutely fabulous to me and I hope the same for you as well!
Interesting. I ripped mine to week ago and support told me that i can have replace for 15 bucks… And i bought two mios right after they enter the market… I am worse customer or smth?
Hey, sorry to hear that! I remember Ray mentioning that different countries/continients get different qualities in customer service for some companies, maybe this is such a case?
Maybe. I am from Poland and support is i think in UK.
Be careful purchasing this product. I have been very unsatisfied by the accuracy of the heart rate measurement with the mio link. It will work fine for a while and then the readings will be all over the place. I am not sure if it is a bad unit or not, but when I reached out to customer service they would not work with me to resolve the situation. In my opinion your money may be better spent elsewhere.
Just as an update, their service folks have gotten in touch and we are now at the point of potentially initiating a return (a “special case” is what they called it). They offered an exchange, but I can’t see how that would fix the problem given that this device was pretty much perfect until their newest firmware broke it, so I declined. I think it’s pretty obvious that the software isn’t right…
In other news, I grabbed a Scosche Rhythm+ and it seems to be great! I just wish the “pod” was nice and small like the Mio, but if it works, I won’t complain.
Ray, wonder if you might do an update to this review? I’ve given it a couple bike rides but the accuracy and stability of the device are quite poor. Firmware upgrades don’t seem to be doing much. It cuts out randomly and I constantly have to power off / power on during a ride to get HRM data back. Quite a trick when riding with winter gloves and you’re trying to keep your eyes on the road!
Another update – Mio said that they couldn’t offer a return/refund (that’s a 30-day thing and this device is over a year old) but that they would ship me a new one. They told me NOT to update the firmware on the one they ship me (presumably it’s coming with something prior to 1.22) and wait until the next firmware update where they hope to resolve issues.
In other news, the Scosche Rhythm+ I got is fantastic (as Ray alludes to quite often). Seriously, if you’re trying to decide between these two stand-alone optical HRMs there is no question the Scosche is the better device.
Hey DC, do you think we can use mio link as a hr tracker during sleep?
Sorta, but not really. You can pair it to another device, but it won’t tell you sleep – just HR. And then it’s really just going to look like an indoor workout. Still, you can certainly do that to see what you HR is.
Is it still worth getting a Mio Link in 2017? I’m thinking of getting one to monitor hr during my runs. I have a vivoactive and a fenix 3. The plan is to sell the F3 and replace it with a forerunner 230/235 or with the next forerunner iteration provided the price isn’t too steep.
Another great review, DCR; you do amazing work. I’m stuck on this, though. If I go out for a run in shorts, shoes, and this Mio Link device, what does it do to tell me what my HR is? You mentioned a status light (3-stage or 5-stage). So if I tell the Mio that I want to stay between 120-130 on today’s run, how does the light tell me what my HR is or whether I’m in that range or not? And what do I do tomorrow if I want to stay between 130 – 140? All I’m really interested in is current HR…and I guess a line graph I could look at later. Thank you very much.
I have just bought one of these units..
The app for this HR monitor does not work on my iPhone 6 with the latest IOS …it sees the Mio Link as a connected nit but when I click on it the app freezes…completely useless unless they do an update.
When I connect the Mio Link to my iPhone 6 on bluetooth and use it with the Cyclemeter app the readings are very erratic, often jumping into the 200 or more region before jumping back again. I have tried wearing it in different positions on my wrist….no difference.
Mio have not replied to my query sent to customer support…don’t waste your money
Update…Mio answered my query and is sending me a replacement unit….thank you Mio and I hope the new one works…will report back
I love my Mio Link and use it for indoor cycling, spin sessions etc, however I’m having difficulty using the data generated by exporting the CSV file with TrainingPeaks – I get an error message saying I cannot upload multiple workouts at once, even when I’m trying to upload a single workout.
Is there something I need to do to edit the CSV file so that TrainingPeaks can read it or another workaround? It would be great to find a solution as there seems to be no compatibility between the app and other health apps, that would allow me to export the data any other way.
I bought the mio link years ago because of one of your video’s as it was at the time a good option yo have that wristband heart monitor linked to my garmin 920XT. My miolink is getting tired i think and i am probably in need to replace it. Are there any other wristband options by now?? That will send the heartrate to my garmin during exercise (running cycling etcetera)?
Any tips would be welcome ??
Thank you for all your videos!!
It was a good ride. My Mio Link gave out today. Only stayed charged six minutes. Maybe seven years. Pretty good for a tech product these days.
Wow! That was impressing!
So i wanted to measure heartrate while in the sauna (65 degrees). Did not want to sacrifice the fr745, and did not want to wear a chest strap. but i found my good old mio link! Had to search for the charger dongle but eventually found it, so it could be charged.
Unfortunately, the mio go app is not available anymore on ios, but the mio seems to work without it. The garmin fr745 found both the ant+ and the ble signal. So i kept the watch outside, and went into the sauna with the mio on the wrist. It kept working!, for the full 30 min session, despite the heat and sweat. On the watch I was able to record a sauna session as cardio activity. Not bad for a 8 year old hr sensor. The values were consistent as well.
Next step is to run an android emulator on win10, so i could run the android mio go app (still available)