I recently had the opportunity of playing around with a new heart rate, training and all day activity monitoring device from Mio Global. The Vancouver-based brand is no stranger to the South African market, as we’ve seen their legendary GPS units grace our car cabins over the past few years. Since then, the brand has ‘reinvented’ itself, silently, and appointment a team of health and fitness enthusiasts in working on their fitness devices.
As popular as most heart rate monitors can be for runners looking to improve their health, there are often definitions of compromise that come with the hundreds of smart devices out there. You either have a combination of; Heart and fitness tracking, fitness and health tracking, heart and health tracking , but hardly ever the trio combined. The Fuse is equipped with a built-in heart rate monitor for workouts and an all-day activity tracking function, whether you running a marathon, at the gym, relaxing or sleeping, all your daily activities are covered. Which, of course, is no stranger to the fitness and health tracking device craze.
First Impressions Count
There’s no mistaking that the Mio Fuse is a fitness-first device. Unlike other all-day activity trackers, which are meant to blend in with whatever you’re wearing, the Fuse has a sporty look that is more at home at the gym than anywhere else.
The model I tested was black on the top with red underneath, and the band itself had a series of perforations running its length. (Mio also sells a blue-and-black model, as well as a version for smaller wrists that has an aqua-colored underside.) Best of all: The Fuse has a fairly traditional clasp, which makes putting it on and taking it off much easier than, for example, the Jawbone Up2, whose clasp requires some deft fingerwork to close.
The Fuse’s display remains indistinguishable from the rest of the band until you press one of three buttons. When you press one of the buttons, a number of red LEDs illuminate briefly to show you the time, your distance or other metric, such as steps or heart rate.
Mio was the first brand to commercially launch the worlds first strapless continuous heart rate monitor sports watch back in 2012., and its technology has been licensed by a number of different companies, including TomTom and Garmin. It’s no surprise, then, that the Fuse’s heart rate sensor performed excellently.
One nice touch with Mio’s device is that, through the app, you can customize your heart rate zones depending on your level of fitness. For example, more seasoned athletes will want to set a higher threshold for aerobic activity than someone who’s just getting off the couch. And, while you’re in the middle of a workout, the Fuse will vibrate, and an LED will change color, when you go from one zone to the next.
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Navigating the Fuse using its three touch buttons is fairly easy, but it’s worth reading the instructions that come with the fitness tracker. The two side buttons let you scroll among Time, Calories, Steps, Distance and Goal. A third button above the display can start the Fuse’s heart rate monitor and begin tracking an activity. Press and hold the button for 3 seconds, and the band will activate the heart rate monitor; it usually took about 10 to 15 seconds to acquire my pulse. All this bdy fat is to blame.
After the Fuse finds your pulse, if you press the button again briefly, the Fuse will start tracking your activity. Hold the button for about a second to pause, and then tap and hold it for another second to end the activity. However, because the screen goes dark after a few seconds, you have to tap the button for it to light up again. It seems straightforward, but it took me more than a few taps and presses to remember what to do while I was in the middle of a run.
Mio says the Fuse should last up to two weeks on a charge with regular use, and I found that claim to be accurate. That’s about twice as long as you’ll get from the Fitbit Charge HR. The Fuse recharges via a proprietary magnetic USB dongle, whose connection to the band is rather tenuous. The device is great, despite its bulky look and feel compared to other fitness devices. To get the most of your device I would highly recommend downloading the Mio Go application which is available on the App Store and Google Play.
The recommended retail selling price is R2499 and is available at Totalsport and other leading sport/active wear outlets.