Speedo LZR Aquabeat 2GB review

The Aquabeat will appeal greatly to swimmers, but its general usefulness is lessened by a number of design compromises.

17 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Speedo is better known for swimwear than MP3 players. That said, its new LZR Aquabeat is certainly playing to the company's traditional strengths, as it's designed to be used while you're swimming.

The Aquabeat has a rubberised casing that feels sturdy and is also waterproof. The back has clips, through which you can thread your swimming goggle straps; this means the Aquabeat will sit snugly against the back of your head. In the unlikely event that it does come unattached it will float, thereby making it easy to retrieve.

There's no display for browsing songs, but this isn't a huge problem due to the small number of tracks you can fit in its 2GB of memory. There's a volume rocker and buttons for skipping back and forth between tracks. The play button has a ribbed texture, unlike the others, making it easy distinguish by touch. However, songs can't be set to play randomly, simply cycling through a continuous loop until you press the stop button.

The headphone socket also doubles as a USB port, so you'll have to use the included USB adaptor cable to connect it to your PC (although you can also use an adaptor cable for a second- or third-generation iPod Shuffle). Songs can be copied to the Aquabeat using Windows Explorer, but if you want songs to play in a specific order, you'll have to use the included transfer program. Unfortunately, it's incredibly slow and you can add only one song at a time. Using Windows Explorer, it took over seven-and- a-half minutes to transfer 500MB of songs - over twice as long as many other players.

The accompanying waterproof earphones are essential for listening to music underwater. The earplug sleeves depend on a good seal to keep water out of your ears. Two sizes are included, but not everyone will get a comfortable fit that also keeps out water. The earphones hook behind your ears, so they should stay securely in place whatever your preferred stroke. Out of water they sound tinny, and not nearly as good as a high-quality set of normal earphones. Underwater, though, they sound surprisingly clear with no distortion and a respectable amount of bass.

Annoyingly, there's no hold switch, so it's easy to play songs accidentally and run down the battery. This isn't likely to happen when swimming, but it happened to us more than once when the Aquabeat was being transported around in a bag. Still, in our tests, it managed nearly 15 hours of playback, which should be enough for even the keenest swimmers.

If you want to listen to music while you swim, the Aquabeat does the job. However, it makes serious sacrifices compared with other players, such as the lack of a hold switch and display, so it's a fish out of water away from the pool.


Price £70
Rating ****
Headphone Rating ***


Capacity 2.00GB
Formatted capacity 1.93GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options lithium polymer, USB
Size 43x22xx60mm
Weight 34g


Device has screen? No
Native resolution N/A
Memory card support none
FM Radio no
Audio record options none
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, USB adaptor, carry case

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 14h 53m
500MB transfer time 7m 41s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support No
Image JPEG support No
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback No
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback No
Video WMV playback No
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support No
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support No
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Download compatibility none

Buying Information

Price per MB 3.4p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.pixmania.co.uk
Details www.speedo.co.uk

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