Mio Alpha Heart Rate Sensor

My second Kickstarter project delivered just after XMas this year: Mio Alpha Heart Rate Sensor. There have been a few modest delays with the project, but the result seems worth the wait. It came in Cupertino-Class packaging that made unpacking a joy, and the unit looks really good. The Alpha is a continuous heart rate sensor that works by shining light on the skin while measuring the color changes caused by the blood stream. The sensor is attached to the wrist like a watch, and sure enough, it has a watch function as well. My unit came with a Bluetooth 4.0 radio (there is an ANT+ version available, too). While there are a few heart rate and clock features integrated with the unit itself, like average HR over time, the unit acts more like a bare sensor The developer does not provide a specific application - but third party apps will do the trick. There is not much guidance given, but I settled with the $2.99 Digifit, which also connects to other gadgets like the Withings Scale. Wahoo apps work as well (I tested Wahoo Fitness), but the sheer amount of Wahoo apps is confusing and I could not find an app which plots the HR over time. The Alpha/Digifit combo did well on my first exercise, see below the Digifit screenshot. There was a loss of data in the beginning - I moved the sensor a little up and tightened the wristband - it worked fine afterwards.

Thanks to request in the comments, here are a few other apps that I tested with iPhone 4S, iOS 6.0.1:

  • Digifit: version 6.50: connects, HR curve over time on app and website - HR sensor $2.99 in-app purchase
  • Runkeeper: version 2.8.1: connects, HR curve over time on website (not on app)
  • Endomondo: version 7.1.2: connects, HR curve over time on website (not on app)
  • Strava Run: version 3.1.1: connects, but HR stats only for premium subscription members ($60 p/a) - not tested
  • MapMyRun: version 4.4.1: no HR sensor support? 
  • SportsTracker: version 1.8.6: connects, HR curve over time on app (failed to log on website for some reason, so this is not tested) 

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