• Moov HR Sweat Review

    Moov HR

    Get ready, it’s time to Moov.

    Remember that little voice in your head which tells you to keep going during or workout, or reasons with you to give in? Now Moov HR is here to act like your conscious, with artificial intelligence persuading you to push harder and get the best from every workout.

    Moov HR is your very own artificial intelligence powered PT, which keeps you updated on how hard you're working throughout your workout via a heart rate monitor in a headband.

    Heart rate in a head band? We’ve heard of chest straps, wrist watches and even in ear heart rate, but in a head band is a new one!

    What is HIIT?

    HIIT has become somewhat of a buzzword in the industry and I’m sure you must have heard of it. High-intensity interval training has taken the fitness world by storm and with good reason. HIIT has been scientifically designed to burn more fat in less time by having you give an all-out blast of effort followed by a short rest interval and then repeating intense bursts of effort to keep you heart rate high.

    According to the Journal of Sport Sciences, this will cause you body to increase the calorie burn by up to 15 percent for as long as 30 hours post workout.

    HIIT Moov Workouts

    How effective is HIIT?

    HIIT is most effective when you listen to your heart rate, and no I don’t mean listening out for that pounding in your chest. I mean using an accurate monitor to ensure you’re getting the best from your workout. For most people, this will involve wearing a strap. Which can often be difficult to pick up real-time data from, as either you review the data post workout, or you’re constantly having to look at a screen to see how you’re doing whilst trying to keep up the intensity of your exercise.

    The Moov HR sweat is designed to give real-time coaching as you follow MOOVs very own HIIT workouts, to ensure you get maximum results.

    Moov Heart rate headband

    Moov HR HIIT Workout Review

    Setting up the Moov HR is really easy, you simply charge the sensor itself for around two hours and then insert it into the pouch in the sweatband.

    Wearing the headband was daunting and I did feel self conscious, where the heart rate monitor causes the headband to stick out, I did feel like Mr Bump and having a pea head doesn’t help keep the band discrete - it covered half my face and did get a lot of attention.

    Appearance and fit of the band : 5/10 - As this is a test product it’s likely that the sweat band will come in better sizing for males and females which can be more discreet and a better fit for female users.

    The Moov HR works by tutoring you through a choice of 5 HIIT workouts, pictured below.

    Moov Workout Selection

    Moov workouts

    From the app you can view the exercises in each of these workouts which is worth doing so you’re familiar before your coach starts bossing you around.

    In order to test the heart rate accuracy of the band, I wore my Wahoo TICKR X, which is reviewed here, this strap has the most accurate reading of all the monitors I have used (and there’s been plenty).

    The head based heart rate is easy to pick up and takes about 20 seconds with minor adjustments of the headband and the reading matched that of the Wahoo Tickr X.

    The workouts are simple and guide you through a warm up before entering into the workout itself.The electronic voice of your coach is a little weird when it first start shouting at you through your headphones, but you soon get used to it. The coach is great as you move through the exercises, keeping you posted on your heart rate so that you can make sure you're putting in enough effort to get results.

    Whilst at the moment there are only a few different workouts, I’m sure once the app develops there will be more, making this a far more useful tool.

    Moov Lifestyle

    Moov HR Running

    The Moov app is a great tool to use to accompany a run. I found that it was less embarrassing training in the headband, as it’s more of a familiar sight to see a headband being worn on a run, plus you’re never by one person for more than a few moments glance.

    The run feature can be set up for indoors or outdoors, as I mentioned I wore the band outdoors and I found it great to know whether I needed to up the speed thanks to my in ear Moov coach.

    The running workout can also be set up and customised for high intensity intervals which is great for burning extra calories and making the most of heart rate training.

    Moov Running

    Moov HR Heart Rate Accuracy

    The heart rate on the Moov is great for those who struggle wearing a chest strap, it’s easy to put on and take off in public and has far superior accuracy to a wrist based watch, you can read our reviews on heart rate watches here.

    To test the heart rate accuracy I compared the headband with the Tickr X and whilst it did remain accurate most of the time, I did experience a few technical difficulties.

    1.As you move throughout the workout naturally the headband slips which can cause you to lose connection.

    2.The headband makes you really hot, but if you mop your brow, you risk interfering with your heart rate. At one point I even became to sweaty to get a reading.

    This aside, it is a great monitor, simple to set up with accurate readings.

    Moov Heart rate Screens

    Moov HR: Overall verdict

    Overall I love the idea of a heart rate headband, and the personal coach, though odd at first, you will grow to love.

    I struggled with the material of the band and size and do feel it needs to be made in varying sizes and a better sweat wicking material - this may well come in future developments of the band.

    I would recommend this to those who are running outdoors or training alone and need extra motivation to stay on track.
    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Mio Alpha 2 Review

    Love the idea of using a heart rate monitor but don't want the hassle of a chest strap? Then here is the watch for you. The Mio Alpha 2 is designed to give you all the benefits of heart rate training at your wrist allowing you to train smarter. Commit, connect, monitor and improve your training intensity with this heart rate sports watch.

    In the Box

    The watch comes in a small white box like all the rest of the Mio family, equipped with the watch itself, your quickstart guide and foldable USB charger. First things first, you need to charge the device, which is simple and easy to do by unfolding the handy charging clip and attaching it to your watches magnetic strip which sits behind the watch face, after a few hours of charging your watch is ready and raring to go. The battery can last up to 24 hours in training mode, or Mio claim the battery can provide up to three months of life in regular mode, but who buys a fitness watch and doesn’t use the heart rate for three months? You’d be missing out on this watches best feature.

    Mio Alpha 2 Unboxing

    Mio Alpha 2 Boxed

    Appearance

    The Alpha 2 look is quite clearly a sports watch, with its digital face and silicone strap. Its chunky design dominated my small wrists, but the strap features breathing holes which double up as fasteners, which meant that I was still able to fit the watch snugly around my wrist, this is vital for accurate heart rate readings, but try not to tighten it to the point you cut off your circulation. These holes are very useful for adjusting the watch precisely, as well as allowing your skin to breathe. The large LED screen is clear and easy to read at a glance during activity, even without my glasses, however, I do feel the watch is quite masculine and I can’t help but wonder if people think I’m wearing a man’s watch.

    Mio Alpha 2 Watch

    Getting Started

    Once it’s charged, you press and hold any button to activate your MIO ALPHA 2.  Whilst this may seem simple enough, I feel it is important to mention that the buttons are so well integrated into the side of the watches design, that initially I found them hard to find. I also had difficulty with the screen and buttons sensitivity. The buttons are quite hard to select, for example, the screen says it takes just two firm taps to activate its backlight, but it seemed to take multiple of my perhaps wimpier attempts, whilst this doesn’t depreciate from the watches performance, it can be frustrating when you just want to quickly start tracking or view your statistics and it took a little getting used to. The user then enters basic details such as age, weight and gender in order for the watch to calculate your training zones. Once I got used to the watched sensitivity, the integration of the buttons actually became one of the watches strengths as there was no opportunity for me to accidentally start workouts or hit buttons whilst I’m working, which I have experienced with other trackers.

    Mio Alpha 2 Review

    Strapless Heart Rate Monitoring

    To enter into heart rate mode with the Alpha 2, Mio recommend you wear the watch slightly higher up your wrist than you usually would for regular wear, in order to get the most accurate heart rate readings. When you are ready to work out, you simply press and hold the timer button until the watch beeps and flashes ‘find’ and the watch then begins its heart rate hunt. In my experience this hunt can last anywhere from 20 seconds to a few minutes, so it's worth starting the find a few minutes before your warm up to ensure your watch is ready to track whatever training you’re doing. Once you begin training the watch automatically picks up your heart rate and shows you which training zone you are working in throughout your session. The watch actually comes with two heart rate zone settings 5 zones and single zone, though it automatically begins monitoring in 5 zones mode. BPM is displayed throughout the workout in this setting and a small LED light flashes colour coded responses as you enter each of your different training zones, these mimic the colours users will become familiar with from data feedback provided on the Mio app’s graphs. During training, users can read their heart rate with a simple glance, or select the mode button to scroll through their time, calories, pace, distance, heart rate and timer.

    Set-Up Screens of Mio Alpha 2

    Alpha 2 Set-Up Screens

    I was impressed by the accuracy of the heart rate for a wrist-based watch. The heart rate seemed to keep up with me and match my level of exertion throughout training. The second way the Alpha 2 can be used for heart rate recognition is in single zone mode. Here the user sets up their desired heart rate target zone using the app and then begins training. If their heart rate drops above or below the desired zone, the watch gives a vibration alert, so the user can move back on target, like having a miniature personal trainer buzzing at your wrist.

    Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Zones

    Mio 2 Heart Rate Zones

    Lap Timer, Pace and Distance

    Despite it’s lack of a GPS tracker the Mio Alpha 2 does have a distance tracking feature, for which it uses 3 - axis accelerometer tracking, whilst this may not be as effective as GPS tracking, it’s a useful feature for giving an approximate distance, particularly for runners. The watch also has a lap timer and pace monitor, great for tracking the average speed of your run or challenging yourself to beat the last lap. A single press of the heart rate button during training marks ‘go’ and commences your first lap, pushing it again will start lap 2 and so on. The watch is also waterproof to 30m, so you can take your laps to the pool, or run without a worry in the rain.

    Mio Alpha 2 Searching for Heart Rate

    Mio Alpha 2 Searching for Heart Rate

    Mio Alpha 2 Displaying Heart Rate

    Mio Alpha 2 Displaying Heart Rate

    Verdict

    With 24 hours workout data stored on the watch itself and your weeks training easily accessible on the app this watch is sure to enhance your training. I would recommend this watch as a first heart rate tracker for runners, or for those who don’t want to sift through lots of data as the watches feedback is simple and precise. Though the watch may not do as much as what other fitness watches, what this watch does do, it does well.

    Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Monitor

    My final thought for the Mio Alpha 2? Quality not quantity.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner