Hands-on Gear Review

Mio Fuse Review

Price:  $150 List
Pros:  Rugged, solid, and comprehensive.
Cons:  Bulky. Wrist-mounted heart rate monitoring has inherent flaws.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Mio

Our Verdict

The Mio Fuse is the most durable device we tested, and offers a comprehensive suite of sensors and data management. With some information, including time, available on the device and an ultra secure attachment method, there is sure to be a niche of consumer for whom the Mio is just right. For the most part, our Editors' Choice winning FitBit Charge HR is a little more polished and certainly less bulky. The Misfit Shine is a tiny fraction of the bulk and half the cost of the Mio Fuse, but does not have any sort of heart rate sensor. The Top Pick Garmin VivoFit 2, with its chest band heart rate sensor and comprehensive data management platform, is at least a little better suited to the dedicated athlete looking for a fitness tracker.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter

Last Updated:
Friday
November 27, 2015

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The Mio Fuse, from its large and solid construction to its app that points you first to your dedicated training sessions, is a wrist-mounted Fitness Tracker and heart rate monitor that emphasizes formalized training. It also works for day-to-day activity monitoring.

Performance Comparison


Mio Fuse with the dedicated  compact charging "cord". We appreciate most manufacturers efforts to keep the charging cables short and compact.
Mio Fuse with the dedicated, compact charging "cord". We appreciate most manufacturers efforts to keep the charging cables short and compact.

Interface and Data Management


Mio's app is a utilitarian interface for organizing both day-to-day activity and formalized training sessions. Immediately upon opening the app one is presented with a summary of recent actual training sessions. Other products have apps that summarize your entire day in the default app "home screen". The Editors' Choice Fitbit Charge HR, for instance, shows your progress toward your daily goal right away. This sort of data, with the Mio Fuse, requires a little digging. This is great if you train every day and consider your formalized training the bulk of your activity. Most, however, use a Fitness Tracker like this to monitor and motivate "normal" day time activity for general health.

The on-device data "screen" in the Mio Fuse is a grid of LED lights. The user scrolls through various fields to see what he or she desires. In this case  the screen shows steps so far today.
The on-device data "screen" in the Mio Fuse is a grid of LED lights. The user scrolls through various fields to see what he or she desires. In this case, the screen shows steps so far today.

Depth of Data


  • Sleep Tracking
The sleep tracking function of the Mio Fuse is effective and clean. The charts generated illustrating a night's sleep are readily compared one night to the next, but, as with all such products, aren't easily compared to the output of other make and model devices. Finally, the Mio automatically enters sleep mode when it senses an appropriate change in movement patterns. More and more devices are doing this. When we first started examining fitness and sleep trackers, very few automatically entered sleep mode based on movement patterns. In this latest update only one of the added devices, the Avantek Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker requires prompting to enter sleep mode.
  • Heart Rate
The Mio Fuse monitors your pulse rate with an optical, wrist-mounted sensor. This is convenient and comfortable, but limited in scope and accuracy. The best heart rate monitoring technology is held in a hospital EKG machine. These machines monitor the electrical impulses in the heart associated with each heart beat. Chest-band athletic heart rate monitors emulate this electrical impulse sensing to great effect. In our test, the Garmin VivoFit 2 and Polar Loop have such chest bands. Wrist mounted heart rate monitors use an optical sensor and associated light to count the pulse of blood through the arm. Right away, one's wrist pulse is delayed and weakened over the actual heart beat. Next, the optical sensor is impeded by dark complexion. Additionally, the optical sensor has a hard time differentiating between pulses when those pulses come at a high rate. Finally, the nature of the sensor is quite susceptible to movement and perspiration. In short, a wrist mounted sensor like in the Mio Fuse (or FitBit Charge HR or Jawbone UP3) is best at low heart rate, on fairer complexion, and when the body is at rest. This is great if you fit the demographic and are looking to monitor resting heart rates. If you have darker skin, or are looking to track pulse rate during exercise, you may be disappointed by the wrist-mounted trackers.

The Mio Fuse is marketed as a dedicated athletic tracking device. It works well enough  but it must be pointed out that wrist-sensed heart rate is less accurate and useful than chest strap heart rate tracking.
The Mio Fuse is marketed as a dedicated athletic tracking device. It works well enough, but it must be pointed out that wrist-sensed heart rate is less accurate and useful than chest strap heart rate tracking.
  • Distance/Step Count
The Mio Fuse tracks steps and distance effectively and clearly.
  • User Entered Data
The Mio Fuse offers no option to enter any sort of subjective data or diet information. If you are looking to correlate diet and mood with sleep patterns and activity information something like the FitBit products or Jawbone UP3 will serve you better.

The Mio app is clearly targeted to training athletes. We only wish that wrist-sensed heart rate data was more accurate.
The Mio app is clearly targeted to training athletes. We only wish that wrist-sensed heart rate data was more accurate.

Accuracy, Durability, and Construction Quality


The Mio band is super secure, the construction is robust, the battery lasts comparable to other similar featured products, and the step count accuracy is beat by only the Fitbit One. The Mio is the toughest device we tested.

Ease of Set-up and Use


Like most modern electronics, in the smartphone age, the set up is clear and intuitive. In our "here, figure this out" test, the Mio Fuse was easily set up and configured for tracking activity and training.

Portability and Wearability


The Fuse is the most bulky tracker we reviewed. Some liked the more rugged look, but most wished it were more compact.

In day-to-day use  especially on those with small wrists  our testers found the Fuse to be bulky.
In day-to-day use, especially on those with small wrists, our testers found the Fuse to be bulky.

Best Applications


This is a rugged, reliable piece of equipment for those looking for a utilitarian, no nonsense approach to fitness tracking. Beware the limitations of wrist-mounted heart rate sensing and you should be well informed and well served by the Mio Fuse.

Value


The Mio Fuse is best compared to the Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone UP3. These three devices are the only ones we tested with wrist-mounted heart rate monitoring capability. In that category, the Jawbone is the most expensive, while the Mio and Fitbit are the exact same price. The Mio is more rugged than the Fitbit, but the Fitbit is strong enough and offers slicker data management in a more compact package.

Conclusion


If you are looking for the toughest, most secure wrist-mounted fitness tracker we tested, the Mio Fuse is perfect for you.

Jediah Porter


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 27, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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