Mio Link Review – Wrist HR Band

MIO Link
MIO Link – £63 (March 2015)

All sport wrist bands were not created equal.

The newly released MIO Link (April 2014) clearly highlights this.

The acid test: Would I buy a new one if I lost it?

Answer: Yes!

This is a great piece of kit. Perfect for some uses, great for others. You just have to know what those uses are and whether or not you will use it in that way.

If you appreciate this review then please buy it <here> to support this site. Many thanks. Lots of other very positive user comments there for your additional reassurance.

What do you get?

Out of the box you get the band and a USB charger. Your Android phone has a configuration utility – which you don’t NEED in any case. However the configuration utility is useful in that it can be used to set HR zones for the flashing lights on the band. So if you plan to use this with a sports watch you don’t need to configure the band, if you plan to look at the band and not your phone then DO configure the band.

Your iphone has the same configuration utility and an app as well. The MIO Android App will follow in due course. You might as well use the free “WAHOO Fitness App” and configuration utility if in doubt. There are LOTS more alternatives as well – some free, others not.

What else do you NEED?

You need a device to record (and display) your stats. That can be your Bluetooth/ANT+ enabled phone or it could be a sports watch such as an ANT+ compatible Garmin watch.

The MIO Link does NOT record data. IT just ‘streams’ or transmits it to something that can listen to it.

(Although technically you could exercise based solely on the colour of the flashing lights and not record the session)

If you are looking for other wrist-based solutions then  MIO have new products out towards the end of 2014; try and look at the MIO Fuse <here>.

So, hang on a minute, it’s just a HR monitor then?


You: Oh!

‘Just’ is probably a loaded word so I’ll clarify. This is a wrist based optical HR band.

I’ll just put that bit in special boldy-font-thingys

Wrist-Based, Optical HR Band

That’s SO cool and here’s why.

  1. You might be a lady. Anatomically some women have issues with straps and they simply don’t work. This wrist-based strap WILL work for ANYONE with a wrist.
  2. You might not like the faff of wearing a HR monitor. Let’s face it they’re not nice. NONE of the brands – soft/hard/comfort straps – none of them are nice.
  3. Being optically based it will not have the same contact and HR spike issues of ALL the branded chest straps. IE it might actually be reliable (more on that later).
  4. The MIO Link is absolutely not a glorified pedometer. Some of the other bands are NOT the same as this. Some of the others simply do not measure heart rate. Some estimate it. But, in my opinion, most people should look at HR if they are looking to measure and improve on their fitness.
  5. It looks nice. Very few wrist based sports devices (OK, watches) look nice. The MIO Link borders on beautiful from a design point of view. I absolutely love it as does everyone I’ve seen.
  6. It’s waterproof to 30m…that should be deep enough.
  7. Battery life is 10 hours.

So. As a supposed athlete I would use it. My sister would use it. My nephews and nieces said they would use one. All for different reasons.

Where’s the catch?

The catches are all different takes on what I’ve put above as great features. If you need a 14 hour battery life then a 10 hour battery life is no good. Doesn’t mean it’s a rubbish product, just that it might not be right for you. OK here goes:

  1. Battery life of 10 hours is fine for most people but will not be enough for some who are looking for long race monitoring or 24×7 monitoring. I can live with that. Maybe configuration could allow us to turn off either Bluetooth or ANT+ – that might save some power.
  2. Whilst waterproof it cannot record HR during swimming. Or at least that’s the official line. See below for how it does actually record HR underwater if the band is RIGHT next to the watch. Super Cool.
  3. It has no display. But you knew that when you bought it right? If you want a watch buy one. There will be watches released in 2014/2015 that have built in HR monitors. I haven’t seen any that look nice yet. I can live with that.
  4. It has no recording ability. This is a bit of a shame for me and for some people who don’t want to either wear another wrist device or carry around their mobile phone.
  5. Doesn’t have in-built step/pedometer/cadence functionality. I can live with that.
  6. Accuracy – yep, it’s accurate!
  7. Range (distance from ‘other’ device) – see graphs below showing range is a factor.
  8. Longevity – I will update if I get problems. None so far.


Apps are where the added value comes in and are out of the scope of this review. You can get lifestyle apps, sports activity trackers, scientific athletic apps…lots of them will work with this unit.

This wrist unit is compatible with many SmartPhone apps. I’ve used it with a professional sports HR analysis app “BioForceHRV” and with Endomondo. Here is a list of supported stuff: http://www.mioglobal.com/apps/default.htm. If you are relying on a Bluetooth connection then do your research there are issues with Polar SMART Bluetooth devices and their compatibility with various apps but the issue lies in the way the APPs handle Bluetooth AND also on how the device manufacturer (eg Samsung) implement Android – similar issue with iphones.

To be clear: This works for me on Samsung S3/S4 with Android and Bluetooth. This works for me with ANT+. It works with more stuff than any other strap I’ve ever owned. Although that’s no guarantee it will work in your precise scenario.

HR Data Underwater

“The ANT+ signal does not travel underwater”.  This phrase is often quoted and it is sort of true. But also sort of false. It DOES travel. Just not very far. And with a HR chest strap…it’s too far. I tried putting the Mio Link next to my 910XT in water in the sink. The readings went haywire. I put it on tighter and went swimming. Here’s what I got:

HR Swim Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT the5krunner.com
HR Swim Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT the5krunner.com

I think the HR track shown was there or thereabouts. I was doing sets/intervals, explaining the ups and downs. Maybe some bits were missed. But add in a smoothing algorithm and it would be better. (Ignore the blue pace line, the 910XT only records HR in run mode and I left the GPS on).

EDIT: Legacy AMBIT2 supports the MIO Link underwater in POOL mode. All the expected stats are there (Thank you for the info Tobias Fahrig).

HR Data Range

Here are two charts showing one identical run after another (well in reverse). The only difference is that in the first chart the band and watch are on different wrists. In the second they are immediately next to each other. Clearly, in the case of me, they should both be on the same arm as the first one had many drop out and the software filled in the gaps afterwards. Looking at the watch during the session HR was frequently not being displayed.

I have had the MIO Link working perfectly over a longer distance so I can only assume that either I did not have the strap on correctly or there was an issue with the signal travelling through/round my boddy rather than directly through the air.

HR Run Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT Different Arms
HR Run Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT Different Arms


Band on same wrist as watch follows:

HR Run Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT Same ArmsHR Run Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT Same Arms
HR Run Data Mio Link and Garmin 910XT Same Arms

We can argue this until we are blue in the face but you are best to have your phone/watch on the same arm/wrist as the band. Doesn’t look too great but it works. I can easily live with that.


I had a pyramid-style bike session with rest intervals. I linked my Garmin 910XT to my Garmin HRM3 strap and I also linked my Mio Link to another ANT+ recording device. The start and end time (over an hour) were exactly the same. The data tracks are clearly not the same. However they are VERY similar, the TRIMP calculation shows 71 for the Garmin and 72 for the MIO. So a 1-2% difference. But who is to say which one is correct?

So assuming you have your MIO within range the data will be accurate enough for most of us to use without needing to worry.

MIO Link Chest Strap accuracy
MIO Link Chest Strap accuracy
Garmin 910XT with Garmin HRM3 Chest Strap accuracy
Garmin 910XT with Garmin HRM3 Chest Strap accuracy

HRV R-R Capability

If you don’t know what this is don’t worry too much! It looks at how the variation of your normal IRREGULAR heart beats. Some fitness apps will use this.

The manufacturer states it is “EKG accurate”. If you read the research paper (I have) that MIO refers to in order to make this claim then you will see it is almost exclusively based on relatively low-level sporting activity.

<This> link shows someone who has studied the accuracy of the MIO Link to a good level of detail, s/he says it’s accurate for HR but that THE MIO LINK IS NOT ACCURATE for HRV/R-R despite appearing to give some degree of a HRV reading.

NOTE WELL  I am not sure that the R-R data that is sent is correct!!! DCRainmaker says not.


This seems to be a list of POTENTIALLY compatible Bluetooth SMART 4 devices: http://www.bluetooth.com/Pages/Bluetooth-Smart-Devices-List.aspx#Smart

And here is a similar list for ANT+: http://www.thisisant.com/directory

User Manual – Quick Start Guide

Here is a link to the quick start guide / user manual for the MIO Link.

Price Comparisons and Resources

Here is a graph of the price variation of the MIO Link followed by comparisons to similar competitor products.

You can see the trend and the variation in price. Click to see the latest price (takes you off this site)


HRMs Comparison June 28th 2015AmazonUKAmazonUSA
4iiii Viiiiva V100 HRM£79.99Link$77.00Link
4iiii Viva MiniTBC
SMS Bio Sport Ear Bud£114.97Link$150.00Link
Garmin Heart Rate Monitor (Hard)£29.95Link$39.60Link
Garmin HRM-RUN (Soft)£51.93Link$99.99Link
Garmin Premium (Soft)£33.07Link$42.44Link
Jabra Sport Pulse£199.95Link$174.49Link
LifeBeam Smart Helmet£99.95Link$228.00Link
MIO Fuse£95.78Link$124.00Link
MIO Link£63.94Link$79.00Link
MIO Velo£88.43Link$129.00Link
Polar H6£74.99Link$30.52Link
Polar H7£39.67Link$49.14Link
PowerTap PowerCal ANT+£80.99Link$89.95Link
PowerTap PowerCal Bluetooth£90.36Link$99.95Link
Scosche Rhythm+£83.79Link$79.95Link
Suunto Smart Belt£49.00Link$55.91Link
Under Armour Armour39$70.95Link
Wahoo TICKR£44.69Link$59.95Link
Wahoo TICKR-RUN£49.99Link$78.20Link
Wahoo TICKR-X£79.90Link$99.99Link

Manufacturer and other Videos:






Overall score: 91 out of 100


Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It’s mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site and I appreciate everyone who follows, subscribes or Buys Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners. Thank you! FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: Links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

24 thoughts on “Mio Link Review – Wrist HR Band

  1. Be warned that if you live outside the USA you will be charged an import fee. In my case (Canada), it was $31. They claim that they will refund you this fee but repeated attempts to contact their support have gone unanswered.

    1. probably true. That’s the fault of your customs service. Note also that in the US I would imagine that prices are quoted EXCLUSIVE of sales tax. So in the UK you pay an import duty and sales tax when importing from the US….kinda amounts to the same thing ??? The problem we have in the UK is that US$ and GBP prices for MANY items always seem to use the same figure despite the 1:1.6 exchange rate.

    1. YES (Just tested Samsung S3 + Garmin 910XT). BUT there are lots of bizarre implementations of Bluetooth by different manufacturers and certain apps on phones also require certain vesions of Bluetooth, so you need to do your research.

  2. Hi, agree it works swimming, cycling etc but have you had any joy getting the 6 colour LED to show anything other than red, green and blue? I’m failing repeatedly …

      Cyan Resting 0% of MHR < 50% of MHR
      Blue Warm Up / Recovery 50% of MHR < 60% of MHR
      Green Fat Burn & Endurance 60% of MHR < 70% of MHR
      Yellow Aerobic Fitness 70% of MHR < 80% of MHR
      Magenta Anaerobic Intensive 80% of MHR < 90% of MHR
      Red Peak Performance 90% of MHR 220 BPM

      download the free app to configure the mio and check your HR zones are correct

  3. I got the Mio Link but want it to indicate my heart rate without downloading any apps!!. When I have done 100 sit ups the light still flashes at a slow blue rate. But surely my heart rate has gone up!!
    After that. I was expecting the flashing LED to change colour to green or yellow. Have I got a faulty Mio Link or a very fit hearty whose rate does not change after exercise

  4. This is Alex again
    I have spent all afternoon trying to download the Mio Go app so I can get my Mio Link model showing different colours at different heart rates with no success and have never downloaded any app before so guess its beginner trouble. I am not interested in calories or distance or anything else only my heart rate I have registered my new e mail address with Google and got to the Google app store and searched for the Mio go app but when I do this and click on “install” it just says no device connected. So I have registered the g mail address on my Blackberry Z10 and tried to download the Mio Link on there again with nothing working at all. On the Mio go app it has several Mio models eg LINK and FUSE and on both it states “connected” so how can it be connected when nothing is working??

    1. i would imagine it only works on ANDROID and iOS, not ure if there is a blackberry version. blackberry I believe is a totally different operating system. so you need to temporarily borrow someone’s smartphone AND that smart phone should be realtively new to be sure that it supports the latest version of Bluetooth eg a samsung 3s from a couple of years ago is ok

  5. Be careful purchasing this product. I have been very unsatisfied by the accuracy of the heart rate measurement with the mio link. It will work fine for a while and then the readings will be all over the place. I am not sure if it is a bad unit or not, but when I reached out to customer service they would not work with me to resolve the situation. In my opinion your money may be better spent elsewhere.

  6. Hi does this use case exist for the mio link? Use this with an ambit 3 peak or perhaps the new Spartan ultra where it could, apart from measuring your heart rate during exercise, do hourly sampling to determine your resting heart rate and the quality of your sleep?

    1. i’ll try to answer the question and then say it’s the wrong question:-) ? but it is a good question. Yes it could do that in theory but the mio link battery life would restrict you, i’d have to re-read the specs but i think it is 7 hours…let’s say 10…you’re still struggling to make that usable as battery life degrades over time. so then you could have some sort of bedside recording device eg an ambit or a smartphone app. so sure you could continuously record that and analyse it as appropriate. it would be a pain but you could do it. but EXACTLY how do yo uanalyse it and EXACTLY how do you get ACTIONABLE insight? maybe there is some a3 app to do it in a sensible way? the Spartan will not support the apps :-(. so you come to your resting heart rate during the day…the sports watches aren’t geared for that type of recording really, you want an activity tracker something like the microsoft band or the polar a360 where that functionality is inherent to what the product is designed SPECIFICALLY to do. but you will find HRrest is mostly useless/not-actionable if you are a fit person. quality of sleep – get elite hrv or ithlete and do it on an app in the morning as a measure of what happened overnight in summary…nto ideal but it is actionable and these apps directly input into your train/no train decision. Even better is the QS EMFIT (review on my site) this is *THE* overnight solution, problem is, is that it is SO GOOD it is NOT AT ALL intrudive. So UNintrusive that yo forget to look at the results!!!! in other words, forget all about and go train harder 🙂 (maybe) … that probably hasn’t helped at all!

      1. Hi thank you for your quick and thorough reply.
        I understand the Mio battery life issue but if it only took 25 samples per hour to estimate RR and maybe even HRV, well that could give long-term actionable data as part of a training plan and a battery than might last a couple of days.. Which is what fitness bands are doing anyway but usualyl with sensors that are not as good as Mio.
        I spent some spare time looking at your review, which was very good, and it seems that most people agree with you. Emfit QS is a great device but it’s algorithms and dashboards don’t help you make sense of the data or make it actionable. I think there should be some watch/app platform that should allow for training and give you all of this data without having to stop, then measure, then try and upload it to some ecocystem/platform. Perhaps Suunto and Emfit as Finnish companies could make the emfit data a part of their platform that would automatically be uploaded and fill-in part of the picture.

      2. emfit IS actionable. It’s just that you often forget to look at it (in my experience)!!
        mio: mio will transmit continuously.
        25 sampels per hour: that is the sort fo thing that some of the bands specifically do
        integration of hrv data – comapnies are starting to look at it more now. 2 years time i think there will be solutions like you describe (emfit sell to sports teams and has a team dashboard i beleive)

  7. I see you don’t monetize your blog, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn additional bucks every month because you’ve got hi quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Mertiso’s tips best adsense alternative

  8. I have got one. It is worst from any explanations. It some how provides HR reading while rest, but once I starting workout HR start to drops till minimum possible number. Whatever I tried doesn’t fix this problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *