Mio Slice review: Heart rate done right, but style is still a struggle

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Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn.

While loads of health tracker firms wrestle to make gadgets that mix the perfect of all worlds, others are sticking to what they know. Mio has been making coronary heart charge displays for years—most of its trackers aren’t probably the most complete or probably the most fashionable, however Mio is aware of coronary heart charge, and it is sticking with that.

The new $130 Slice health tracker shifts barely out of Mio’s consolation zone whereas nonetheless principally specializing in coronary heart charge. It has a number of further options, together with every day exercise and sleep monitoring, in addition to smartphone alerts, but it surely makes use of Mio’s optical coronary heart charge monitoring know-how and PAI level methods to evaluate your health stage on a weekly foundation. It’s clear Mio sees the necessity to modernize its lineup with the Slice, however it additionally has to persuade customers one-trick pony may be simply nearly as good as a multipurpose gadget.

Design: Nothing however the fundamentals

Mio Slice’s design is not precisely impressed, but it surely will get the job performed. Available in small and enormous sizes, the Slice has a TPU band and an anodized aluminum physique plus buckle. The Slice is marginally thinner than Mio’s Fuse (13mm versus 16mm), however simply shaving off that little bit provides a pleasant contact, particularly contemplating Mio did not do a lot else to modernize the Slice’s design. It’s only a humble band, its design appearing solely because the medium by which its health monitoring sensors acquire information. On the underside of the module is an optical coronary heart charge monitor, and inside is a tri-axis accelerometer and a vibration motor. The total gadget is water-resistant as much as 30 meters, however you most likely should not take it swimming.

The Slice has monochrome OLED show together with a singular button you may faucet to cycle via a number of screens: the time, your complete PAI rating for the week, your PAI rating for immediately, your present coronary heart charge, and your complete distance traveled. These may be edited within the app so you may see different stats, like energy burned and sleep time, on the gadget, too.  Long urgent the button robotically begins monitoring an exercise as nicely, and you should utilize the identical management to finish and save the recorded exercise. The Slice’s coronary heart charge monitor repeatedly measures your pulse all day, whilst you’re awake and asleep, and through train as nicely.

According to Mio’s web site, the Slice shops coronary heart charge information at “one-second intervals during exercise, every five minutes below moderate activity, and every 15 minutes during sleep.” Knowing the frequency at which the gadget measures coronary heart charge is helpful as a result of that helps you perceive battery life, amongst different issues. Mio estimates the Slice can rise up to 5 days on a single cost, placing it according to gadgets like Fitbit’s Charge 2. However, in case you put on all of it day and all night time, I discovered its battery drops to 50 % after only a day and a half of use. This consists of monitoring at the least one exercise every day and carrying the band to mattress to observe sleep. It’s attainable you could possibly get 5 days of life in case you do not observe sleep with it, however you should not must sacrifice that function to get probably the most battery life attainable.

Mio has by no means been an organization that emphasised vogue of their health gadgets. They are utilitarian, and in lots of ways in which’s a good factor for coronary heart charge monitoring wristbands. Part of me likes the practicality of the Slice, however I do not see it holding its personal in opposition to different comparable merchandise. Fitbit’s Charge 2 follows the identical primary design language, and but Fitbit managed to make that gadget extra thrilling with interchangeable bands that includes numerous textures and supplies. Garmin’s Vivosmart HR is much more just like the Mio Slice in that it solely is available in a number of completely different colours, however Garmin’s gadget additionally features a touchscreen and reveals extra on it, together with textual content message clips. Other firms have confirmed you can now make a easy band fashionable, and Mio’s Slice solely tackles the “simple” a part of that equation.

Features: Let your coronary heart information you

Mio is thought for correct coronary heart charge monitoring know-how, and all of its wearables filter their options via that lens of experience. While Mio Slice is an all-day exercise tracker, all your information is collected and analyzed utilizing coronary heart charge depth. The Slice tracks steps, energy, distance, and sleep, however these stats are solely supplemental to your all-day coronary heart charge information. The Slice’s coronary heart charge monitor is consistently measuring your pulse and provides you PAI (private exercise intelligence) factors relying on the variety of minutes your coronary heart charge was low, medium, or excessive. The larger your coronary heart charge, the extra PAI factors you obtain, and Mio provides you a aim of 100 PAI factors per week. You’re thought of wholesome and energetic in case you hit 100 factors in seven days. If not, which means you have to be doing extra to get your coronary heart charge up extra regularly in the course of the week.

All of that is irrelevant if the Slice’s coronary heart charge monitor is not correct. Thankfully, it’s. When I used it, it was at all times inside 5 BPM of the Apple Watch Series 2’s readings. I additionally in contrast it to Polar’s H7 coronary heart charge chest strap, and the Slice was sometimes inside 2 BPM of the strap’s studying. The Slice dealt with each excessive and low coronary heart charges nicely. When I wore all of it day, it captured the whole lot from the random heart-rate fluctuations that occur all through the day to the extremely excessive beats per minute that plague the center of a exercise.

The solely strategy to begin recording a exercise utilizing the Slice is to long-press its singular button. There aren’t any exercise profiles like operating or biking to select from, however since most of Slice’s exercise information is derived from coronary heart charge, you do not essentially want these. Other health trackers have exercise profiles that assist the gadget decipher the way it’s shifting in 3D house—the best way you progress your arms once you run is completely different than how you progress your arms once you stroll, so the gadget will calibrate itself otherwise relying on how it is going to be shifting whilst you do a sure train.

Slice has none of these differentiations. At first, that made me really feel like one thing was lacking. But Slice is a coronary heart rate-based tracker, so when you settle for that your coronary heart charge shall be extra of a health indicator than motion, exercising with out selecting an exercise profile turns into a lot simpler. Wrist actions will change relying on the exercise, however coronary heart charge will sometimes improve once you’re understanding (and it positively will in case you’re doing any high-intensity workout routines).

The different principal options of the Slice are name, textual content, and calendar alerts delivered to your wrist out of your smartphone. The band vibrates as soon as once you get a textual content and repeatedly once you get a name. The show may even gentle up and present the identify or variety of the sender. You can not reply from the band or reply a name, and you may’t see the contents of a textual content message on the show. Much just like the Slice’s design, Mio’s strategy to smartphone notifications is bare-bones and utilitarian: you will obtain simply sufficient data that will help you determine in case you ought to take out your smartphone instantly or not.

While most of Mio Slice’s uniqueness is in its coronary heart charge monitor and PAI calculations, it sadly lacks some easy options that different opponents have. It will not faucet you on the wrist with a reminder to maneuver once you’ve been sitting for too lengthy; there isn’t any auto-tracking of actions even when it reads your coronary heart charge as larger than standard (though, it is going to document these high-intensity moments and provide the correct PAI factors for them); and there is not a silent alarm you may set to both wake you up every morning or remind you to do one thing in the course of the day. These are all options that the $130 Fitbit Alta and $150 Fitbit Charge 2 have. While you will not be buying a health tracker for any of them particularly, shopping for a tool solely to appreciate later that it might’t do some staple items may be annoying.

Listing picture by Valentina Palladino


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