Mio Is Bringing Heart Rate Monitoring to Your WristbandS

Mio, which was one of the first companies to make a watch that could accurately measure your heart rate without an additional chest strap, has decided to downsize. They've taken the brains of the Mio Alpha, then they shrunk it and got rid of its face. What we've got left is a pulse reading wristband called the Mio Link. Good idea! Kind of.

Fitness trackers are a dime a dozen these days. Almost all of them count steps, estimate calories burned, and monitor your sleep. The better ones, have altimeters, so they know how much elevation your climbed during a day. Fitness trackers that monitor your heart, however, are rare. Full-sized watches, like the Mio Alpha and the Basis B1 Band do it, but there are no activity trackers available yet that can do it. Yesterday we got a look at Epson's Pulsense PS-100 band, which also track heart rates, though that's not yet available.

The only problem is that the Mio Link isn't an activity monitor. Not really, in this iteration at least. It won't tell you your steps or how active you've been during the day. It just reads your heart-rate while you're exercising. At first glance you might think it's a plain old chest-strap heart rate monitor, except you wear it on your wrist instead. But the Mio Link has a few tricks up its sleeve.

For starters, it can broadcast via ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 simultaneously. In other words, you could have it going to a bike computer and to your Android phone at the same time. (It works with iPhone 4S and above, and any phone running Android 4.3 or higher—which isn't too many just yet). It's also water resistant up to 30 meters, which you don't see on a lot of heart rate monitors.

There's also a pretty slick looking app called Mio GO. It will work in tandem with the Mio Link or the original Mio Alpha. Not only will it keep track of all your runs, but if you happen to be running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, Mio Go will play through a virtual tour of courses and trails from around the word. The harder your heart pumps, the faster you'll race through the course. It's not the first time we've seen trainers do this, but it's a really nice implementation.

The Mio Link will be available in March for $100. You might want to hold off on getting it until we see if the Epson Pulsense PS-100 is any good, as it sounds a bit more versatile (on paper, anyway). [Mio]