The original Mio ALPHA was the first fitness-tracking wearable to keep tabs on your heart rate using the same technology as the highly-accurate finger-worn pulse oximeters used at hospitals, instead of an awkward and uncomfortable chest strap. And now the company has finally revealed its successor, the Alpha 2, which improves on the original with better software, a built-in accelerometer for measuring pace, speed and distance, and most importantly, a backlight.
The original Mio ALPHA focused on heartrate tracking, but that was pretty much it. We found it to be incredibly accurate, but as far as features go it was bare bones, even for a watch. But with an accelerometer included, the ALPHA 2 is now a full-fledged fitness tracker keeping tabs on distance, speed, calories burned, and other metrics without the need for a constant connection to a smartphone. The ALPHA 2 can actually store up to 25 hours of workout data until it's uploaded to a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection where the data can be accessed by the Mio GO app, or other popular fitness apps on iOS and Android.
The ALPHA 2 also has improvements made to its stopwatch and timer, which we found lacking in the original version, and a much-needed backlight. The high-contrast display is still easily legible in the brightest of sunlight, but now the ALPHA 2's screen is just as easy to see when you're running or training in the dark. When available sometime early this year, the Mio ALPHA 2 will also come with the same $200 (£125-ish) price tag as the original version, despite the extra hardware and functionality now included. [Mio]