Reviews

Mio Fuse Review (Updated 28th Feb 2016)

December 28, 2014

Back in August 2014, Mio Global introduced the first tracker in its repertoire of wrist worn heart rate monitors to measure daily activity, the Mio Fuse. Featuring Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ with daily activity tracker in the form of step count, the Mio Fuse also sports a display in the form of LEDs. One of the final trackers to be released for the year 2014, I gave the Mio Fuse a week of attention and here’s my review.

LOOK AND FEEL

unboxing mio fuse

Mio Fuse and the accompanying packaging.

The Mio Fuse is a tracker more reserved for sports activities. Depending on the size of Mio Fuse you purchased, the colour on the back-strap is going to be Aqua or Crimson. Once worn, the colour peeks out from under the wrist strap.

touch controls mio fuse

The touch controls are three nodes on the top, left and right of the Mio Fuse tracker.

There are minimal controls on the Mio Fuse save for 3 control touch points. The main control touch point affects the heart rate/timer functions; it is also the only toggle between “day” and “sports” mode. The other 2 control points are merely for scrolling.

mio fuse charging

Mio Fuse charging.

The charger appears identical to the Mio Link charger save for the lack of 2 pins. I found it convenient that the charger came attached to a USB cord which is foldable.

alternative way of wearing

Wearing the Mio Fuse 1-3 inches from the wrist bone.

The Mio Fuse wears like most watch strap. The multitude of sizing holes ensure there’s a snug fit for most wrists and adequate ventilation. The Mio Fuse tracker unit itself is pretty long so people with small wrists (like me) will end up having holes not that it will affect the accuracy.

mio fuse tracker unit

Mio Fuse is embedded within the silicon strap and is not removable.

The tracker is embedded within the silicon band so it’s not removable like the Mio Link W2HRM. Initial set up must be done via the Mio GO app which is available on both the Google Play store and the App Store.

To prevent accidental activation of the tracking modes, the Mio Fuse’s touch controls are only active when the tracker is in horizontal position.

This plus the screen lock function should suffice to prevent unnecessary battery wastage  due to accidental toggling.

mio fuse model look

Different views of the Mio Fuse.

The Mio Fuse should be worn snugly and at least 1-3 inches above the wrist bone during heart rate tracking. For daily activity tracker, I tend to wear it loose fit near at the wrist bone like  how I’d wear a watch.

device setting on mio fuse

Customisation is extensive on the Mio Fuse.

The Mio GO app allows the user to customise the displayable, right down to whether the user is left or right handed; which affects the display.

To simplify HR training, Mio Global has added a HR indicator light. It’s a tiny blip that can be customised to flash every 1 or 2 seconds, or to stay lighted throughout a workout. The HR indicator light only comes on when sports mode is activated.

Touch controls are sensitive but getting the controls right takes practice, especially the main touch control that toggles between all-day and workout mode.

The Mio Fuse is vibration enabled so the user will get a buzz when:

  • HR monitoring is commenced
  • Starting, pausing, resuming, or ending a workout
  • Entering a new heart rate zone in 5-Zone Mode
  • outside target zone in 1-Zone Mode
nice back ground

Mio Fuse against  the Marina Bay, Singapore.

FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION

All day activity tracking

mio fuse all screen mode

Users can set goals for themselves and decide what stats to be displayed on the Mio Fuse.

In “All-day-mode” the Mio Fuse functions as a wrist worn step counter that estimates calories burned based on the indicated age, height, weight and gender.

mio fuse goal bar

Mio Fuse goal bar indicator. I’m far away from my goals…

The Mio Fuse also tells time, distance, calories burned and provides a goal bar to tell the user how far away they are from hitting the daily step goal. Users can access and customise goals and what stats to be displayed on the Mio Fuse.

mio fuse summary screen

Mio GO app tracked activity summary.

The Mio Fuse syncs wirelessly to compatible smartphone devices and the tracked stats, both daily activity and workouts, are summarised in the Mio GO app. Tapping on the daily activity row or the workout row will expand the tab to show more information. The dates of the workouts are ringed in colour corresponding to the average HR; so a red ring means a higher average HR than a blue ring.

daily activity mio fuse

Daily activity screen capture.

The daily activity summary is spartan and highlights information which mostly is already available in the activity history. You will not find any weekly or monthly view.

Sleep mode

The sleep mode was only enabled in 2016 and requires a firmware update to the Mio Fuse. In order to commence sleep tracking, place fingers on both left and right touch nodes, you’ll be asking if you would like to commence sleep mode. Tapping the central touch node initiates sleep tracking. To cease sleep tracking, again place fingers on both left and right touch nodes and you’ll be asked if you wish to wake up. Tap the central touch node to cease sleep tracking.

sleep

The tracked stats includes duration of light and deep sleep. What I particularly liked is the Resting HR which is tracked while the user is asleep; this is about the most accurate period you can measure your resting HR. The most alarming or lacking feature you’ll notice is that the vibration cannot be set to wake the user. Yep. It can’t.

Workout mode

workout screen mio fuse

The workout screen capture.

The workout summary shows way more information than the daily activity summary. Users can also tag the workout session to a comprehensive list of activities.

iso hr graph on mio fuse

Screen capture of HR trend on iOS device.

The iOS app shows the HR graph which is also available on Android version of the Mio GO app.

The list of displayable during workout mode:

  • Current time
  • Pace
  • Speed
  • Distance
  • Step count
  • Calories
  • Duration
  • HR

Distance and speed is estimated from the acelerometer within the Mio Fuse so that’d come in handy for those who are not in favour of lugging the smartphone devices for runs. Pace is basically how long Mio Fuse estimates you’d take to run a km or mile depending whether you’re on the metric or imperial system.

The other feature of the Mio Fuse is tracking of daily activity in terms of step count. I was able to compare the step count versus 3 other activity trackers on the market. Slightly on the lower side but still acceptable in providing an estimate of daily activity.

HR indicator on mio fuse

The HR indicator LED changes colour depending on intensity of workout.

The HR indicator LED is a small blip on the Mio Fuse that indicates the HR zone which the user is in. It’s blinks either light blue, blue, green, yellow, pink or red with each colour corresponding to a more intense HR zone. Though small, the HR indicator is surprisingly viewable.

The other tracker on the market with a HR indicator LED is the Adidas FIT SMART which also utilises Mio Global’s optical sensor technology. That has a much bigger LED strip, something I’d prefer.

Mio Fuse shines not in the activity tracking aspect but in HR monitoring and the functions involved.

5 zone settings for mio fuse

5 zone setting. Rest is not considered a zone. 😛

There are 2 modes the user can select. The 5 zone setting will allow the Mio Fuse to display the user’s HR at that moment on the HR indicator. SO seeing a green LED HR indicator would imply the user is in zone 2 or between 60-70% of maximum HR.

1 zone setting mio fuse

1 zone setting.

In 1 zone setting or target HR training, the user can preset a target zone and the Mio Fuse will monitor and double vibrate periodically when the user is not in the zone.

Users can also choose to have the LED display  always-on during workout mode which I thought would be exceptionally helpful during those high intensity workouts.

polar h7 vs mio fuse hr trend

Polar H7 HR trend in red and Mio Fuse HR trend in blue. Both HR trend from Polar Beat mobile app.

The Mio Fuse functions like a normal HRM when Bluetooth-linked to 3rd party apps such as Polar Beat, Strava or Endomondo and connection is hassle free.

I was able to compare the HR data versus a Polar H7 chest worn HRM. Data was tracked on Polar Beat app.  The HR trend seemed comparable and should be more then good enough for the regular joe.

The limited Mio GO app is the Achilles heels forcing users to tap on more comprehensive 3rd party apps thus reducing the Mio Fuse to a subdued wrist worn HRM and discounting the activity tracking. I personally found the Mio GO app presentation lacking and wished it could do more.

Battery life is advertised as 6-7 days use with  an hour of HR recording daily. That’s about right.

“Heart rate calculation of the Mio FUSE is not based on instant R-R interval, and will not work for apps and devices that require heart rate variability (HRV) data.” 

IN A NUTSHELL

Pros

  • Tracks steps, calories, distance, pace, speed, sleep
  • Tells time
  • Wrist worn HRM
  • Connects to 3rd party apps as a HR monitor
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ enabled
  • Waterproof to 30m.
  • Vibration enabled
  • HR indicator LED
  • Touch enabled
  • 7 days battery life
  • Stores 14 days daily activity data and 30 hours workout data
  • Connects to 3rd party apps as a heart rate monitor
  • Mio GO app available for both iOS and Android devices

Cons

  • Mediocre app

Barring the aesthetics, the Mio Fuse is actually an excellent wrist worn HRM. It boasts accurate HR monitoring, throws in step counting, has a vibration function ,is waterproof to 30m and is both Bluetooth 4.0 ad ANT+ enabled. What I particularly like is the ease of linking to 3rd party apps on both iOS and Android devices, and the zone training functions. Unfortunately that’s where the good stuff ends.

While the Mio Fuse tracks all day activity including sleep, I can’t fathom anyone wearing it on an extended basis beyond workouts; it’s a thick black  band  with screaming red LEDs and worn 3 inches from the wrist bone.

There’s 30m water resistance but the touch controls are useless under water and HR tracking via optical means is not recommended due to reduced accuracy. Granted there have been reports  of users who’ve successfully recorded their HR under water to a certain level of accuracy, I want to personally hear the endorsement from Mio Global before deciding if it’s indeed designed and tested for water activities.

At present, the Mio Fuse is an excellent wrist worn heart rate monitor; great for workouts. Period. Reviews.com has selected the Mio Fuse as their best basic use fitness tracker money can buy.

Depending on where you reside, you can usually get the Mio Fuse at a discount from Amazon with free shipping.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Richard March 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    It’s my understanding that wireless transmission of heartrate is possible underwater with devices utilizing ant + as long as the fuse and the device recieving the data are worn on the same wrist next to each other. For those tracking swim metrics through say the Garmin 910xt this would be a viable option.

    • Reply Michael S March 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Richard, I’m quoting straight from the Mio Fuse manual. “The accuracy of the heart rate monitor may be reduced in cold water or if you are using large arm movements.” You may get a reading but whether it’s accurate is another issue.

  • Reply KJ October 26, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Hi,

    I had drop a mail to gadfit@gmail.com. Would like to get some opinion from you. Hope to hear from you soon. KJ

  • Reply ST November 30, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Hello,
    I just bought Mio fuse and I just can not get all the readings . I can not get the reading of Speed, Distance and pace on the Mio go apps. Only in Mio fuse which is disappear when I start the second activity.
    I thought it would be auto sync and store to my phone.
    Please advise.
    Thanks,

    • Reply Michael S November 30, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Hi there,

      The new Mio GO app allows the Mio Fuse to tap on the smartphone’s GPS to provide an overlay on the map. So I’m unsure if this is the option you took or you relief on the Mio Fuse’s accelerometer to calculate distance, pace and speed. Either way,the data must be synced to the smartphone device.

      Perhaps this URL might help you: http://help.mioglobal.com/hc/en-us/articles/204193074

      HTHs
      Michael S

  • Reply Vicky January 7, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Have you seen the latest update ? Now the watch lets you monitor sleep! Do you think this will add value to the product? Love to hear your opinion on its accuracy !
    http://www.sundried.com/blogs/news/72365893-monitor-your-sleep-with-mio-fuse

    • Reply Michael S January 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Hey there,

      Great blog you got there 🙂 The sleep monitoring was apparently in the works for the longest time and I’m just glad it arrived. I didn’t see it on the Mio blog though and have e-bayed my Mio Fuse away a while back. Sure it’ll add value to the product. My personal take on sleep tracking is to focus on the duration and take the light/deep/REM sleep stats with a pinch of salt.

      Mike

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