A fitness tracker that records and tracks heart rate is an important feature for many runners. However, this often means wearing an uncomfortable chest strap monitor for a highly accurate reading, which can interfere with a natural-feeling run. Besides this, these straps still have to be used in conjunction with a separate mobile device. When the original Mio Alpha was released, its highly accurate built-in heart monitor was a groundbreaking feature, and now the Mio Alpha 2 updates this feature with compatibility with other fitness apps.
Although since its first release the market for mobile activity trackers has filled out considerably, the Mio Alpha 2 still features one of the most accurate built-in heart rate monitors on a wearable tracker. It’s EKG-accurate monitoring minus a cumbersome chest strap connects to your smartphone and other devices to enhance your workout tracking and at a price that beats out similar activity trackers. Besides its built-in heart rate monitor, other important stats such as pace, speed, laps, calories burned, and distance are also recorded.
But of course, the headline feature with the Mio Alpha 2 is its heart rate monitor. Featuring a bright and easily readable LCD display, the Mio Alpha 2 also allows the runner to customize their target heart zone rates via the Mio GO app, which is then tracked and displayed on-screen during a workout with a color-coded indicator light that lets the runner know at a glance their current heart rate zone. Unfortunately, the Alpha 2 does not have a built-in GPS, but for runners who already know where they’re going and desire a highly accurate heart monitor to track their performance, this sports watch will deliver. With an internal memory that stores up to 24 hours of workout data so you can sync the data at your convenience, this water-resistant fitness tracker is for the athlete that demands accurate heart rate stats in order to track and maximize their workout routine.
The Mio Alpha 2 is a fitness tracking watch
optimized with the runner in mind, tracking pace
, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate. Cyclists and swimmers also looking for an accurate recording and tracking of their heart rate will also find good use from this fitness tracker.
This activity tracker’s built-in accelerometer tracks distance, speed, pace, and calories burned. Of course, the highlight feature of the Mio Alpha 2 is its optical heart rate monitor
, which provides EKG-accurate heart rate readouts. In addition, repeat timers, a chronograph, and a countdown feature are all included in its basic features, along with the option of tracking laps.
With a first-rate built-in optical heart rate monitor, the most advanced features on the Alpha 2 have to do with said monitor. After setting up your target heart rate zones, a small LED light below the screen flashes a different color as a reminder of which zone
you’re currently in. Vibrating alerts also remind you of when you drop out of a target zone, allowing for a seamless training session. Besides the Mio GO app, the Alpha 2 also syncs to other popular third-party workout apps
like Strava, MapMyRun, and Wahoo, among others.
Like the original Alpha
, the Alpha 2’s built-in heart rate monitor is EKG-accurate, picking up the wearer’s heart rate within 10 seconds and recording the runner’s heart rate performance throughout a run or workout. Besides this, its accelerometer records pace, distance, calories burned, and speed with a fair amount of accuracy.
Using Bluetooth Smart 4.0, the Mio Alpha 2 syncs wirelessly with both Android
and Apple iOS devices. In addition, it also connects to a variety of popular fitness apps and the Mio GO app for up-to-date data syncing.
The main app for the Alpha 2 is the Mio GO mobile app, which you install on your smartphone. This app collects and tracks your data to produce metrics about your overall pace, calories burned, distance, and speed. For the heart rate monitor, average and maximum heart rate and overall heart rate performance is recorded. One particular feature the serious runner will appreciate is how it charts your average heart rate zone for each run. In addition, the runner can customize their target heart rate zones through the Mio GO app, which then syncs to the Alpha 2 to maximize your training. In addition, the Alpha 2 can be paired with other apps such as MapMyRun, Strava, Wahoo, and other popular fitness apps.
With a silicone band perforated with holes throughout to allow for air to keep the wrist cool, this material is also comfortable on the skin, allowing for the user to wear the watch for long periods without experiencing noticeable discomfort. The Alpha 2 weighs in at 1.87 ounces/53 grams and while slightly chunkier than some activity watches, this is a lightweight and comfortable wearable fitness tracker.
Created to be worn during active workout
, the Alpha 2 features a curved screen that’s seamlessly integrated with its silicone strap, giving it a natural appearance on the wrist. With two buttons placed on the left and right of the screen (this is an analog fitness tracker, so these are your navigation buttons), it has the retro look of a digital watch with the functionality of an activity tracker. Sleek and stylish with a sense of purpose to its ergonomic design, the Alpha 2’s face comes in a variety of colors for the runner who likes a bit of flash on their sports watch.
With a battery that can run for 20-24 hours of continuous use, a durable but comfortable silicone band, and a scratch-resistant face, the Alpha 2 will perform for long periods and can take some abuse without wearing out or breaking down. In addition, it is waterproof up to 30 meters.
The face of the Alpha 2 is a large, easy-to-read LCD digital display that’s backlit for extra visibility. Although it is not as graphically complex as many activity trackers are, once the user gets used to its analog button navigation (also included on the face) they may appreciate this “no-frills” approach to providing stats and information.
With its wide silicone band, the Alpha 2 has created an easily adjustable band designed to fit a variety of wrist sizes. Perforated to allow the skin underneath to breathe during a heavy workout, the band comes in two different sizes: 5.3 inches and 7.5 inches/135 to 190 millimeters in diameter and 5.2 to 6.5 inches/133 to 165 millimeters in diameter.
The Alpha 2 comes in two different sizes and two different designs: the yellow and black Alpha 2’s fit wrists between 135 to 190 mm/5.3 to 7.5 inches while the “punch pink” fits wrists between 133 to 165 mm/5.2 to 6.5 inches. Both the strap and the face are rather wide so those with smaller wrists may find the Alpha 2 a little bulky.
Ease of Use
While the Alpha 2’s large LCD display is simple and easy to read, some may find navigation tricky in the beginning. Since we’re getting more used to touch screens and the relatively intuitive navigation and menu layout these products have, using analog buttons once again may seem somewhat clunky. After referring to the Alpha 2’s manual, however, the user will find navigating through its simple menus and selecting activities via analog buttons relatively straightforward. Considering the Alpha 2 is itself a pared-down version of a fitness watch, there are only so many functions to choose from, so having to select from complex menus and setting variables are not an issue--especially since you’ll be using the Mio GO app for these functions.
Unfortunately, the Mio Alpha 2 has gone the way many wearable fitness trackers have and have included a unique stand-alone charging unit instead of a more convenient USB option. Another frustrating feature of this charging dock is that the cable that runs from the Alpha 2 to the charging station is only 2 centimeters long, which makes finding a convenient power source location frustrating.
For a pared-down activity tracker with an excellent optical heart rate monitor, the Mio Alpha 2 is priced quite reasonably--especially since standard prices have dropped by more than half since its release. And for its exceedingly reasonable price, the Alpha 2 is a great wearable for those who desire an accurate heart rate monitor or for those who seek only the bare essentials in their fitness tracker.
It seems the accessories for the Alpha 2 are to mitigate some of the more problematic features of this fitness tracker. An extender cable for charging, for example, is available, which will make finding a convenient place for your watch to charge easier than the standard 2-centimeter charging cable. A car charger is also available, as are arm warmers designed with the Alpha 2 in mind.
- EKG-accurate built-in optical heart rate monitor
- Accurate recordings of pace, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate
- Easy-to-read, backlit LCD screen
- Very affordable price for an accurate fitness tracker
- Stylish, comfortable design
Many runners are concerned with their heart rate: how it fluctuates throughout a run, keeping a steady BPM throughout a cycle, and overall performance. With this in mind, the Mio Alpha 2 features a first-rate EKG-accurate heart rate monitor that can be calibrated via the Mio Go app to custom target heart rate zones that the Alpha 2 will keep track of and notify the runner throughout a run. Other standard metrics are also recorded, such as pace, distance, and time
, and its pared-down menu allows the runner to follow their progress at a glance. Although not loaded with options as so many other fitness trackers on the market, for a straightforward and accurate activity tracker that’s exceedingly affordable, the Mio Alpha 2 may just be your next favorite sports watch.