MIO are a lesser known cycling brand in the UK where the default choice of the cyclo-sheep is Garmin, I include myself in that category.
MIO are probably best classed as a potential ‘rising star’ in the cycling navigation market.
(Here) is a link to a 1 minute review of the Cyclo 505HC. For those of you who want the details read on.
The MIO 505HC is probably best suited for a cyclist looking for a top-end and feature-packed device more akin to the navigational flavour of a smartphone or satnav. They will be intrigued exploring new areas and new routes yet will still be doing the occasional serious bit of training and perhaps a race or two. For you people the Cyclo 505HC will be a very good choice that’s hard to beat – I found it difficult to think of new features that could be added to this watch for you; it’s all there.
The MIO is probably not best suited to a stat-freak wannabe triathlete/bike racer.
The detailed review starts by incorporating two links to some of the subject areas that I know a few of you are less interested in – unboxing, setup, configuration and the like. They are included for completeness and, whilst I try to add a little humour to opening a box, it does get VERY difficult. So these are in separate posts/links.
Those of you who are concerned about value for money or in need of specific features or who just want to make sure they are ticking all the research-boxes should read on and discover a little more about the gem that is MIO.
Unboxing, Box Contents, Weights & Dimensions
This entire section is covered as a detailed, separate post/page which you can find (here). It’s not that interesting.
Installation, Configuration & Pairing.
This entire section is covered as a detailed, separate post/page which you can find (here). It’s a little bit more interesting than the unboxing section but less interesting than watching paint dry (when you’ve bought one come back and have a look). For the techies amongst you, I should also point out that this device is dual-band and IS able to accept both ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART sensors. That’s rare.
First Time Usage
I’ve not looked at the manual yet. That’s a good thing. You start up the device and you get a colour, touchscreen, satnav-like screen. Tapping the dashboard (below) gives you all your various in-ride screens. The other button are either pre-ride (route/workout planning) or post ride/history or settings.
Press dashboard and the start button and you’re off! Simple.
Clicking on the Dashboard tile you get a screen something like the one below; or you could get a screen full of speed/distance/altitude/navigational waypoint data, or a combination. All customisable, of course, so you could have fewer and larger data tiles on display than I have shown.
Here’s my kind of screen 🙂 Look at the Speed tile (km/h). It shows a satellite in the bottom left hand corner. This is because you could get speed form the sensor that comes with the 505 – I’m just pointing out that specific detail because it illustrates the level of thought that has gone into this product.
The triangular arrows at the bottom of the screen moves from one in-ride screen to the next. Stopping and pausing the ride is done with the red square – indeed when starting you are also sometimes prompted to press ‘Go’ and sometimes to press a red square even though you haven’t apparently started; which is a little confusing.
Once in use you can swipe the screen across or use the press the triangles. Swiping can be disabled if you prefer.
This suggests potentially new routes. It could be either
- A new route to a specified address (good for a new route to work)
- A circular route to your location (good for a new area)
- A route to a POI, favourite or point on the map (you can drag and drop the destination marker).
Normally I’m a user of small-format, wrist-based watches so what the larger screen-format of the MIO has to offer is eye-opening. Even the History tile is rich in what it offers in an easy-to-read manner. So, for example, you look at your list of previous activities (or totals of all of them) and then for each activity you can see lots of summary data such as: distance; average speed; active time; calories; average cadence; maximum speed; a graphical summary graph of speed over time; ascent; descent; a graph of altitude over time; min/max heart rate; average heart rate; a graph of HR over time; then all the same again for cadence and power (including TSS and normalised power); and a map of the entire route!
That’s all on the 505HC itself. Nice big numbers, super easy to read.
The navigate tile gives lots of navigational options. You can navigate to: your home; an address/postcode; a specific pre-created track; a POI, back to the start; an address; a co-ordinate; a favourite; or you can stop the current navigation. You can navigate to a chosen point on a map, like this:
Click where you want to go to and you’re off.
Workouts are goal-, target- and route-based. Like this:
So if you choose a Zone workout based on either HR or Power, then you can further refine that workout by choosing either a distance or time based element also with a ‘surprise me’ route.
If you choose a time/distance-based route it gets a bit creative sometimes and bases the route on your preferences of road-type for that Bike/Profile after you have entered a target speed, like this:
So on a run/walk profile it will also let me go through parks, like this where it shows multiuple route options in different colours:
My only criticism with the workouts would be that they are created from where you are NOW. Sometimes you might want to base them on somewhere 30 miles away that you are going to drive to and then cycle from – or at least determine your options before heading off. Small point.
There’s a lot of other special stuff on the 505HC. I’ve already mentioned some of it. I’ll mention some key points again and also add some of the features I’ve not been through already.
- Bluetooth Smartphone free notifications requires CycloSmart application (android/iOS) – alerts pop up on the 505HC to warn you of an incoming text or call so you don’t have to pull over only to find out that the PPI company has called you again. Not tested.
- WIFI Sync – no need to plug into your computer after a ride.
- Lots of ANT+ sensors; heart rate, cadence, power, speed, Di2.
- Bluetooth sensors supported – heart rate (tested) and speed/cadence (note Bluetooth sensors require more battery than ANT+ but are more likely to also be compatible with your smartphone)
- Alerts – out of zone, low battery, instructions
- Handset-to-handset transfer of routes – meet up with a friend you both shake your 505HCs and the current route is shared. Nice idea that relies on your frined having one (Not tested)
- Where am I
- OSM or Tele Atlas maps.
- Multi-person, multi-bike and bike/walk/run profiles all possible.
Some usage scenarios
I confess that the MIO 505HC is not a product I would regularly use. I am probably one of those types that I had a swipe at towards the start of this review ie I’m a wannabe triathlete who likes numbers. Having said that the 505HC is very useful and I would certainly have used it several times this year for holidays, adventure trips and just for when I wanted a cycling computer on my handlebars rather than on my wrist for a change.
Luckily for the world, most people are NOT like me. I strongly suspect that most cyclists who commute or who do family biking trips or who want to enjoy new routes at new locations will find this a perfect tool. It helps you forget about wasting hours researching routes on the internet or making wrong turns when you hold your paper maps upside down en-route.
ALMOST EVERYTHING that I tested with this complex device worked. And it worked well.
For the price you would expect it to. So why do so many other similar products from other manufacturers come laden with bugs? To be fair, the MIO has been out for a year or so and may well have had bugs ironed out but from what I can see on their website they have been releasing new features post-launch as well.
Let’s be clear, it’s a great product.
If I have to be critical then I would say that the following need improving.
- Stated battery life of 12 hours is probably hopeful with lots of sensors attached and GPS on – especially if you make lots of wrong turns and have to re-plan as well as listening to lots of wrong-way alerts. Against this, it can be charged on the go with a cheap battery stick to extend battery life.
- GPS accuracy is good but could be improved further
- Ability to add laps and to use those laps in a pre-made interval workout would complete the workout functionality in my mind. The laps would need to go through to STRAVA.
- Re-planning a route after a wrong turn was slow at times on longer, mor ecomplex routes.
- Add cadence alerts/zones (minor)
- Touchscreen is OK
There are other things I could be annoyingly negative about such as: lack of Bluetooth power meter support; improving MIOSHARE; the possibility of adding ever more complex data fields; BUT I just don’t think they are fair criticism and what MIO have implemented is perfect for nearly all customers of this kind of product for nearly all of the time.
The positives are massive.
- Includes heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensors.
- Included Western European Maps (or region-specific to where you buy it)
- Numerous innovative mapping and routing options, including multiple route suggestions and surprise me suggestions. Preferences can be given to road/tracks/paths for your journey planning
- Indoor training support (picks up the sensors and turns GPS off)
- Bluetooth and ANT+ sensor support (including power meters and Di2)
- SMARTPHONE notifications for iOS and Android
- Great workout functionality with HR/power zones and alerts.
- Voice/Music control (don’t do it when cycling please!)
- WIFI Upload
- Links to STRAVA and other sites.
- Bike-related POIs
- Sensible shape/form factor
- Can be used for driving, walking, running and almost any kind of cycling
- Waterproof to IPX7
This unit originally competed with the Garmin Edge 1000. It easily beat it. Recently, however, Garmin introduced a directly competitive model that being the Garmin Edge 1000 Explore.
Telephone support is OK and on par with or slightly below Garmin.
Price (rrp) £323.48 (bundle)
|MIO Cyclo 505HC (Bundle)||£323.48||Link||$373.99||Link|
|Garmin Edge 1000 Explore (non-bundle)||£351.58||Link||$449.00||Link|