Review: Mio Link Wrist Heart Rate Monitor. Ditch the Bra Strap!

Disclaimer: You won’t be able to ditch bra straps if you intend to wear bras, which I certainly do. My figure needs all the help it can get. But you can ditch the bra strap simulacrum that is old school heart rate monitors if you go out and snag yourself a Mio Link wrist heart rate monitor.

Here’s what it looks like next to a miniature ISS for scale:
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In ye olden dayes–a year ago–it used to be that the only way to measure heart rate was by detecting the electrical signal that the brain sends to the heart telling it to contract. That’s why old school heart rate monitors needed to be around your chest like a bra strap.

If you need any proof that the former heart rate detection straps were electrical, put one on and then plug in your electric guitar and hold it near your chest. You’ll hear a chirp in time with your heart rate, and also the sound of clothes being removed as people attempt to fornicate with you because you’re an electric guitar player.

Thanks to the thrusting progress of Science, the Mio wrist strap can detect your heart rate by shining a light through your blood, then computing the pulse of said blood with a photosensitive thingamablobber. My apologies for the technical jargon.

Here’s the thingamablobber array in question:
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This has several ramifications. You don’t have to put on your heart rate strap under your clothes. The strap goes on just like a watch. And never again do you have to lick the heart rate strap contacts so that they’ll work properly in cold weather.

Perhaps best of all, the Mio Link’s strap is rubber and very easy to clean, so you don’t end up with a gross itchy spot on your chest from using a HRM strap every day. And it connects to your GPS recording device via Bluetooth or ANT+. I had no trouble getting it to talk to my cell phone as well as my Garmin watch, although it was a bit weird wearing a watch and the MIO strap.

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My preferred setup was definitely the Mio strap and iPhone. I carry my phone in my pack anyway, so it doesn’t make that much sense to have a GPS watch and HRM strap plus phone anymore. I did notice that when I was wearing the Link I tended to look at it as though it were a watch, expecting to see the time printed on it, but you’re probably a lot smarter than I am.

The Mio Link retails for $99, which is cheap as chips. If you already own a smartphone and you want to do GPS ride tracking with HRM, it’s a great alternative to a sport watch. Even the least expensive sport watches tend to be north of $120 and you have to wear a bra strap.

Not that I mind, like I said. But some might.

Thanks to Mio for providing the Link for review.

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