Review: Mio Velo wrist-based heart rate band

The common complaint I hear from anyone new to heart rate monitors is the discomfort of the chest strap. Although I have found that with time and moving to higher-end devices the chest straps have become more comfortable, they are still a bit of a pain.

 

The Mio Velo is a wrist-based heart rate band which uses an optical sensor to read your heart rate and packs in some handy Bluetooth-ANT+ features to boot.

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The Mio Velo is not just a chest-strap replacement, it also acts as a bridge to ANT+ devices allowing you to connect your ANT+ sensors (e.g. speed, cadence and power) to a Bluetooth-only device (e.g. your smartphone) all via the Mio Velo.

 

The device features Mio's patented Continuous Heart Rate Technology developed together with Phillips. Using green LEDs and an optical sensor it measures your heart rate in real time and, according to Mio, this provides an EKG-accurate measurement.

 

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Specifications


  • MaterialSoft silicone
  • BatteryRechargeable li-poly battery with USB charger
  • Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
  • Water Resistant30m (3 ATM)
  • Dimensions265 x 440 x 300 mm (lxwxh)
  • Weight33.7g
  • SensorsOptical heart rate
  • Sync methodBluetooth Smart (4.0) and ANT+
  • MeasuresEKG-accurate heart rate
  • PriceR 2,232.00

 

The band has a good quality feel that's super comfy thanks to the soft silicon construction. The strap has a good range of adjustment points which secure the band firmly to your wrist. The battery life at 8 hours means to do have to charge it fairly regularly. Charging is easy though. The "brain" of the unit easily pops out of the back of the strap and connects onto the USB charging adapter. The unit snaps in place with the help of some magnets which means no fiddling to line up the charging pins.

 

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Once on the band feels very secure, but doesn't require a restrictively tight fit in order to measure. The LED indicator intuitively lets you know once your heart rate has been picked up. From there you can either connect it to a compatible watch or head unit or to your smartphone.

 

Smartphone connectivity and Apps


The Mio Velo will connect to most IOS and Android smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth. Mio's own Mio GO app is used to connect to the device and configure your bike profiles. This is useful if you're planning to use the device to bridge to ANT+ sensors. It allows you to configure up to four bike profiles each paired to different ANT+ devices. You can also configure your heart rate zones which assigns an LED colour to each zone for a quick indicator of just how hard you're working.

 

If you don't already use a smartphone based activity tracker the Mio Go app provides built in GPS-based activity tracking. If you're on STRAVA or still using Endomondo then you can use either of those apps in conjunction with the Mio Velo.

 

It was pretty nifty to be able to pair my Garmin ANT+ sensors to pick up speed, cadence and heart rate on the Strava App. This could be very useful if you don't have a GPS computer or just left it behind.

 

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Using with an existing GPS unit


If you've already got a compatible fitness watch or GPS unit you can pair the Mio Velo much like you'd pair your existing heart rate strap or other sensors. I paired it with a Garmin 510 and Garmin Fenix with no trouble and once set up it interfaced as any other sensors would. On the first outing I compared the heart rate measurement with my standard chest strap and found they were very similar.

 

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Verdict


The Mio Velo comes at a premium price compared to most chest straps, however it does offer more functionality in the ANT+ - Bluetooth bridge. The short battery life can be an issue, but the USB charger is small enough to carry in your car / bag in case. For those who despise chest straps or smartphone owners looking to create a "cheaper" cycling computer this might just be your answer.

 






7 Comments

Paolo55, Oct 13 2015 08:45

It;s too expensive in my opinion.  For less than half the price you can get the Schoshe Rythm, also does ANT+ & BT, but no ANT bridge.

Better battery life and you can wear it on your upper arm as well.

SwissVan, Oct 13 2015 09:13

Interesting...like the concept of no chest strap.

How long before the main player watches offer this...

 

Battery life is the bug bear imo... like everything small and neat these days battery life / technology is holding things back 

IceCreamMan, Oct 13 2015 10:34

TomTom cardio already has this in place. Can be had for 4 clip including all the gps functionality...

Wez-O, Oct 13 2015 11:33

I've thoroughly tested this device and although I have no doubt that this technology will replace HR chest straps in the future, they still have some way to go.

Firstly, it is NOT as accurate as a chest strap and the battery is significantly less than 8 hours. And secondly, the new Apple Watch as well as the Tom Tom have the same laser technology and would therefore most probably prove to be more feasible options.

 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that if you have a weak pulse, "laser HR monitors" will experience far more inaccurate low readings than a chest straps and I've also heard rumours that wrist tattoos affect the accuracy of readings.

OTHERWISE, its a convenient and nifty little device that will prove useful to more casual cyclists. and the Bluetooth to ANT+ bridging feature is great if you looking to sync a cadence sensor to your phone etc.

Cptmayhem, Oct 13 2015 11:37

TomTom cardio already has this in place. Can be had for 4 clip including all the gps functionality...

As does one of the Garmin ForeRunners. 

PoiZoNouZ, Oct 14 2015 06:57

I've been using the Apple watch for over a month, also has the green lights on the bottom.

 

Works like a bomb.

 

Haven't used it with Strava, mainly use it on indoor training, dont feel like smashing the watch if I fall on the trail.

IceCreamMan, Oct 14 2015 09:01

 

Firstly, it is NOT as accurate as a chest strap 

 

 

 

I have found my Tomtom HR monitor to be extremely accurate, as accurate as a chest strap over the course of an event as I have tried both. What I have found is that the wrist HR monitor is a little delayed so when my heart spikes the chest strap indicates this almost instantly while the wrist reader is delayed but does give the same reading. My average HR over the course of a 3 hour cycle was the same for both.