Mio Fuse Activity Tracker provides superior battery life and satisfying user experience.
CES 2016 was a playground of wearable tech, both the good, the bad and the ugly. I toured through the 2+million square feet of show space, with my 42 inch Space Gray Apple Watch on my left wrist. I monitored my activity app each day and saw the thousands of steps, 5-10 mile days and saw a calculation of the number of calories burned. This made me think, I do not know the difference between activity trackers and smart watches. Why would I want one vs the other? As I had an Apple Watch, I was curious about possibilities. My mom wanted an activity tracker, my wife wanted an activity tracker, so what did I do? I turned to google. A quick search fof the internet showed numerous threads, numerous posts and numerous opinions on the matter. I wanted to see for myself. I would like to review the Mio Fuse for you today.
Through empowerment, innovation and an open mindset, Mio aims to guide the individual to a more connected, healthy lifestyle. The goal is to give the individual the right tools to train smarter, and more efficiently. Ultimately with the right tools, one can better reach their fitness goals. Historically to monitor heart rate, one needed chest straps or clunky finger gadgets. Mio has worked diligently to innovate the field, through the development of wrist worn optical heart rate sensors. It is well known in the tech, fitness and health worlds that the heart rate is integral to fitness. As a physician, my patients are often leery of advice on exercise and weight loss options. How do I do this? What do I do? For how long? This is impossible! These are the answers and excuses I hear. My general advice, has been to work up to a goal to walk 30 minutes 5 days per week, at a pace that is difficult to hold a conversation. Let’s be honest, this is difficult to police, it is difficult to monitor and is really not reproducible. Not everyone can have a “Biggest Loser” coach. Mio’s goal is to be open with their gear, to be there for you and on your terms. They believe that people should not have to commit to a single app, device, work-out style, etc. They have made their system compatible with smartphone fitness apps, GPS watches, and bike computers. For a detailed list, please view their website. Do you know what the biggest problem is now? When do we get started?
Step 1 get a Mio wearable. I have the Mio Fuse Cobalt (strap length large) to review. The Mio fuse debuted at CES 2015 and has been on the market for about a year now (with a few firmware upgrades along the way). The packaging is very professional, shows a very flattering picture of the device on the cover. The front and back of the outer sleeve detail the capabilities. It states that this device can give you heart rate training and all day activity tracking without requiring a chest strap. Slide the inner cardboard box out of the slip cover and then open the box. You are greeted to a very appealing silicone wrist wearable. The black on blue design is classy and will blend in to just about anything you could wear. I would argue that this is not formal wear, however. The product is nested nicely into fitted cardboard. Behind this is a unique looking charger, that has a foldable USB A connector and inductive charging for the Mio. There is a warranty/legal packet in multiple languages and there is a getting started guide. Unfortunately the link on the guide is broken as of the writing of this review. Simply go to their website Mioglobal.com
The first thing I did, out of the box, was to place it onto the charger and let it charge overnight. While charging, I went to their website to learn more about the device, and to learn about the application. To get started, download both the Mio Go and the new Mio Pai app from the IOS and Google Store. You will be asked to sign in/create an account to each app. Enter your email, password, agree to their terms. Then set up a profile (twice). You will be asked to enter either Metric or Imperial numbers. I have never heard of the Imperial system, as I have always heard of Metric and Standard (this may because of the use of tools). As I typically measure in “Imperial,” I entered my vitals and completed the process. You are then taken through a series of How-to screens that you can either slide through or skip. This is very well done and very descriptive, teaching you how to use the apps in just a few minutes. This app has numerous achievements. It encourages continued usage, following the trophy system. Basically if people are getting rewards along the way, they are more willing to continue to participate. This is similar to the Trophy system on PS4 or Achievements on Xbox. The more you play, the more you earn.
Once the device is charged, go to settings blue tooth and connect to the wearable. Enter the Pai App. Note that there is a small heart at the top right of the app. This will take you to devices. This will give you a list of connectable devices. Select the Mio Fuse and then select connect. This will link your device to the app to upload data. Once connected it is time to use the device. You will also have to connect to the Mio Go app to get connected and to upgrade firmware. After the initial setup, I have not really used the Mio Go app any longer.
The Mio fuse is a silicone wearable activity tracker with silicone band and integrated heart rate sensors and a nice sized LED display. It is water resistant up to a depth of 30meters or 3 atmospheres. This is ideal for swimming, ideal for snorkeling and for most activities that one would typically participate in. This is not a dive watch. Along these same lines, it is important to note that this is not a smart watch. It has very limited integration with smart phones, mostly sending heart rate information to it. It does tell time, simply press the 3 raised tabs on either side of the LED display. One will scroll to the left, the other button will scroll to the right. There is a rectangular raised button at the top that you hold and it will calculate your heart rate. This will activate the “activity recorder.” When done hold this again and it will stop collecting heart rate data.
The buttons are easy, there are only 3 of them to learn. You have a pair of scroll buttons (3 raised circles), located on either side of the LED DISPLAY. These will scroll left and right. You also have the raised button along the top that turns on the heart rate/tracker timer. Press the scroll button until you see the word time, let go and it will display time for about 5 seconds. It will then turn off. Press the same button (while “Time” is displayed) and you will get calories, then step, then distance, then whatever goal you have set (steps, calories, etc). The screens are customizable through the Mio Go app.
There are 2 main modes to the Mio Fuse. First All-Day mode, you can touch any button to turn on the display. Tap either of the scroll buttons to scroll through the screens (However you set them up). To enter work-out mode, Press and hold the heart rate button, the device will vibrate and will flash the words “FIND.” It is important that you hold still for this. I had no issue connecting. However, the troubleshooting highly supports wrist movements in this step cause the connection to fail. Once it finds your heart rate, it will display it on the LED panel and then you will see a flashing blue light to the right of the LED panel, this is informing you that heart rate data is available. Touch the same button again and you will activate the “Go” feature which will start a clock. Hold it to pause the work out. Hold the same button again to “QUIT.” This stops collecting heart rate data. All of this can be reviewed on their site through the manual.
I have 2 favorite features of the device. First, as the device is checking your heart rate, you will feel nudges/vibrations similar to that of the Apple Watch. You can turn these on/off in the Mio go app. I really like this feature as it reminds me to be more active and reminds me to look at my wrist during workout mode. The second feature that I really like is the strap itself. It has numerous pre drilled holes, which work incredibly well to keep the device I place and to prevent sliding. Most watch bands that I have used are either too loose or too tight. Not this strap, it has that “Goldilocks” feel to it. I wish that my current Catalyst Case had this kind of silicone strap. The cobalt Large strap should work very well for nearly all sizes of male wrists. It is comfortable and light weight, weighing in at 39grams (paperclips). It measures at 259mmx30mmx16mm from their website.
The device works well, allowing you to store data on the tracker itself. It can store up to 30 hours of workout activity data or up to 2 weeks of daily activity data. It has a chronograph, has accelerometer and clock features. It can measure sleep heart rate, resting heart rate, activity heart rate. During activity it will monitor steps, distance, heart rate, pace and calories burned. I do not like that it does not calculate stairs/altitude as this is more detailed information for calories burned and ultimately for your Pai score. I do not like that you have to activate it to calculate steps. My Apple Watch calculates heart rate, calculates stairs, steps and calories and does everything that the Mio Fuse does except for integrate with the Pai App. Honestly, remembering to activate the fitness device is probably the largest weakness of the system.
For a daily wearable, I personally will stick with my Apple Watch. Honestly, the Mio Fuse does a lot. It will do everything that my wife needs it to do, which is to track activity and to tell time. The problem? Apple has spoiled me. I want my device to be more integrated and to be more involved with my life. The Mio Fuse is a great work-out device, a great swimming device and heart rate tracker. The price point is very fair, the construction is spot on, the weight is ideal and the band is glorious. I wish it had a stop watch and had an always on time display option, to allow this to be more useful throughout the day as a wearable. I find the biggest issue with tech is, remembering to take it with you. I like that my Apple Watch, is on my arm every morning. It tells time when I need it to, sends me messages when needed, and more importantly, it monitors biometric data, steps and calories burned behind the scenes. Yes you can push the heart rate button to see your heart rate. However, this is information the app uses to determine calories burned. With the Mio Fuse you have to tell it to start monitoring heart rate in workout mode. Mio just added the Sleep tracking feature option, which if used, will drain the battery faster although the HR sampling during sleep is not as frequent as during workout mode, so the impact is not the same as having workout mode on for the same period. Apparently, I was not the only person who noticed/wanted to have access to heart rate data all the time. This does improve the functionality of the device as a daily wearable. I think it is unfair to compare this device to my Apple Watch, yet it is really difficult not to do.
The Pai app is a really neat concept and one that I think that the company can expand upon. It is a great medical concept and I will look for this in medical literature to discuss with my patients. A detailed discussion of how it is calculated and what it means is beyond the scope of this particular review. However, it may be the Pai calculation that is the greatest strength of the device. To learn more information, you can review the company website and learn about this novel activity/health biometric. The Mio Fuse definitely has its place in the wearable world and works well as a work-out adjunct. I added the Apple Watch information to show you some of the differences between Smart Watch and Fitness/Activity tracker. I have tried Fitbit, I have tried misfit and so far I really like the Mio Fuse. It has a nice feel, is not too heavy and really works in that niche. Comparing this to other activity trackers, this has a wonderful battery life, lasting up to 6 days with 1 hour of exercise per day. This is stretching the Li-Poly battery to its max. This length of charge will make any Apple Watch wearer salivate. I give the Mio Fuse a 4.5/5 based on the device and the Pai tracker. This is definitely a company to watch.
Quick summary of Pai
Pai is the first metric to evaluate all activity, not just steps. The goal of Pai is to keep a score of greater than 100. Each 7 days the app calculates activity and average heart rate and calculates a Pai score. This is based on one of the largest scientific studies conducted. showed keeping Pai >100 can lengthen life by about 10 years. This is not yet released into medical journals, but this science is trying to get into the medical community. This app/tracker works with your level of activity and makes it harder with time to achieve a score of 100. Thus, it works with you and your fitness to improve your health with time.
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