Speedo Aquabeat review
It's a long time since jog-proof CD players were the gym accessory of choice.
Today's Flash-based MP3 players are the ideal exercise companion, whether you're running, weight training or cycling. And with the Aquabeat, Speedo are planning to bring digital music to the swimming pool too.
This waterproof MP3 player, complete with waterproof headphones, is submersible to three metres (10ft). It floats, too, so there's no chance of your resurfacing without it. The Aquabeat comes in three colours - green, black and pink - to match your cossie, and clips onto your trunks or goggles. At 35g it's not heavy enough to pull them off, though if you prefer to swim au naturel, or just find it irritating to have a gizmo clamped to your elastics, you can buy a dedicated armband.
Before using the Aquabeat, you obviously need to upload some songs onto it. That's a very simple business using the proprietary USB 2.0 cable supplied. You just plug the Aquabeat into your PC and drag and drop your favourite MP3 and WMA files onto it. If you want to create custom playlists, you can use the bundled Playlist Editor, or iTunes if you're a Mac user. The Aquabeat's 1GB of storage should hold between 250 and 500 tracks.
The player also charges via that same USB connection. A fully charged battery should give you around nine hours of playback - not quite enough to swim the channel, but enough for hundreds of lengths between recharges.We found the sound quality nice and punchy on dry land, and it actually seemed even better when submerged. We weren't sure about the idea of wearing headphones underwater, but they were surprisingly comfortable. They come with a variety of earbud sizes, and swivel through 360 degrees for a perfect fit.
Using the Aquabeat is easy: it has large buttons for playback, volume and track skip, so you can locate them by feel when you're in the water. When you press a button, an LED lights up and a beep plays in the headphones, so you know for sure what you're doing. In all, the Aquabeat is perfect for those who swim a lot and fancy some music to splash along to. For occasional swimmers, though, the £80 price tag is steep.