MIO Alpha heart-sensor watch

MIO Alpha heart-sensor watch (Joe Felzman Photo)

Name: MIO Alpha

What it is: A watch that takes your continuous pulse without a chest strap. This makes keeping your vital statistics during workouts easy while on the road. MIO Alpha lets you set heart rate (HR) zones for a workout and provides such data as total exercise time, average HR and time in your set "HR zone." Using Bluetooth Smart 4.0 technology, it shares data with fitness apps for iPhone 4S and 5, including Wahoo Fitness and Strava Cycling. The MIO Alpha features a negative dot-matrix LCD display, a workout timer, a tricolor LED HR zone display, a soft silicone strap and a USB charging dock to recharge its lithium polymer battery.

The good: It gets old wearing a chest strap for a workout, and the MIO Alpha takes that hassle away. I have tracked workouts, hikes, swims and bike rides using the Wahoo Fitness app with the MIO Alpha and my iPhone 4S. I've even monitored my heart rate in TSA lines. It turns out that I'm less stressed than I thought. I love monitoring my heart rate on my wrist, because if the rate rises because of stress, I can take a few deep breaths to lower it. Though the manufacturer says the waterproof MIO accurately measures my heart rate only before or after a swim, it seems to share accurate data with the Wahoo Fitness app during a swim.

The bad: I wish the MIO Alpha would record a workout automatically after I press the button for it to find my heart rate. Instead I need to start the workout timer.

Cost: $199

Available from: alphaheartrate.com, amazon.com and rei.com