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on 19 October 2008
Some specifics: The box itself is very light, easy to operate, and about the size of a box of matches, or the video screen of an iPod Classic. It's also really light.
The headphones are robust, with three sizes of earplug, which is useful.
This machine works - I have to say, it's great to be able to swim with audio. But you're reading this trying to find out what the downside is, so I'll tell you - you will spend time fiddling with the earphones. I have reasonably large ears - not freakshow, but I'm a tall guy and they are in proportion to my head, and they took three swims to get in properly. And in so doing, were a little uncomfortable. Now I'm used to them, and have the correct ear plug size on them, I am loving the sound, which is a little better than radio - you won't be getting amazing bass response here unless you ram those suckers so far in the tips come off (this happened to me at one point - tweezers and a lot of calm!)
With all this said, those are the only downside. Light, easy to use, and a lot of fun. And, once you're practiced at using them, great to show off in the pool with. I have already had two people ask me where I got them from, and it's only been a week or so. Recommended.
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on 24 May 2009
I was really worried about buying this after reading all the reviews, but I'm a fat, middle-aged arthritic woman who needs every possible incentive to do some exercise. When my husband told me these things existed, I figured that it was my one chance to make joining the gym an almost tolerable prospect. So after buying more swimsuits, goggles, hats and towels than anyone can ever need, there was nowhere else to go but here. And I'm so glad I did. It's a 'Does what it says on the tin' product. The software is rubbish, but my son showed me you can do everything you need to do via Windows Media Player instead, so that's ok. It's annoying that it will only play things in the order you put them on, and in artist order within that, and there's no display, but you will have already learned that from these other reviews and from the product description, so no news value there. But it's transformed my life. It's no longer boring to swim up and down. It's fun. The thing itself is pretty cheap, so you can't expect more than that, and I've been evangelising about it to my friends, so I'm a satisfied customer. I suspect that there's a love-it-or-hate-it quality to this thing and if your ears are the wrong shape or something, it must be pretty frustrating, but try wearing a swim cap over your ears and things may be better. I don't have a problem, but I do have a LOT of swimming hats........
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on 3 February 2009
Please do not make the same mistake I made when choosing this product. I did all my research, reading all the reviews and studying all of the pictures both on Amazon and on the Speedo site and came to the conclusion that this product, and in particular the earphone design (which look like they will stay in your ears while swimming), was the one to choose. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the box to find that they have completely redesigned the earphones; they now resemble any standard headphones, with rounded rubberised ear buds (not the ridged ones pictured) and remain in your ears for exactly zero seconds in or out of the water...
I am returning this item to eCom Cameras who have been very helpful and understanding of the issue (a true measure of a retailer); I have also complained directly to Speedo who said these headphones were replaced due to people complaining that the old (still pictured) version got stuck in their ears (lucky them!!). Steer clear if you actually want to hear any music when swimming!!
Speedo AquaBeat Waterproof MP3 Player (3meters, 1GB Hard Drive) BLACKSPEEDO - Speedo Aquabeat 1 GB MP3 Player in pinkSpeedo Aquabeat
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on 11 July 2009
The headphones sound like listening to music in a tin can - and that's without going into the water. (I know what good earbuds sound like as I have a pair of Atrio M8s.) The main problem is that it is impossible to insert the buds deeply enough into the ear to channel the sound correctly. I tried some extra long silicon plugs (from my Atrios) on the end and this dramatically improved the sound. In the pool this lasted two laps and after that no more sound. The bases of the earbuds are too wide to insert into the entrance of the ear canal and they have a long rigid "pole" attached to lead up to the hook going around the ear - also blocking further penetration. This makes for an incredibly painful experience if you try to put any pressure on it (swim cap etc) to hold everything in place. In short ergonomically the earbuds were designed by total morons. The little MP3 unit is very practical and fine to use but I will have to find other earbuds - no question about it. The software supplied does not work correctly as it tries to constantly access my floppy drive. It is still useable but I will need to disconnect my floppy if I'm going to use it. All in all not to be recommended. The engineers who designed this device have obviously not used it or they just don't care. Sad that "Speedo" took this on board - you tend to trust a name like that.

After writing this review I discovered why there is a problem. On the packaging there is a picture of silicon ear inserts that are shaped like christmas trees with several ridges and are quite long. When I purchased the product this was covered up with a piece of paper with another image showing small ear inserts -as were inside the box. It is obvious that Speedo have changed the inserts and that they are having problems. I don't know what the original problem was, but they have certainly created some bad new problems. I'm trying to contact speedo to see if they will send me some of the old inserts - if not I'll return the product. This is probably why some Amazon reviews are positive - those people probably have the old model.

Speedo have now sent me new earphones - after my first week of struggle with this device. One of the old earphones has dropped in volume and the sound is not returning even when properly dried. The new earphones have the conical eartips. I have tried them on and the sound is much better. The frame around the ear is identical and I'm worried that this will still cause problems. Basically the ear canal points forwards and upwards slightly and when the earphone is pushed in this leaves the rigid stalk of the earphone sticking outwards and upwards at an angle of about 10°. When you then use a swimming cap to hold the earphones in place the pressure actually has the opposite effect due to the stalk and it levers the earphone out slightly. I'm attempting to deal with this by feeding the cable through the frame and pulling the stalk out of the frame, so that the frame goes around the ear and the earphone is dangling on the cable freely - so it can now be inserted with the stalk pointing downwards. This causes the stalk to end up flush with your cheek bone and means that nothing is left sticking out also the penetration into the ear canal is more or less correct. I'll find out in the pool tomorrow.

OK. I tried as I suggested and it worked perfectly. I used the largest conical eartips. The seal in the ear remained watertight throughout about an hour in the pool. The sound quality is good. I'll only report back now if the new earphones pack up. Seems like there is a good solution here with a bit of persistance. The replacement headphones are much louder than the original headphones ever were and the sound quality much better - even seemingly better than my expensive Atrio M8 in ear monitors!!!! I'm not sure what Speedo is playing at here.
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on 3 October 2008
I bought this with some trepidation as it was hard to find a review from someone who had actually bought and tried out this great sounding product. However, rest easy, as it does exactly what it promises. I went swimming with it on today and enjoyed listening to my favourite podcast as I ploughed up and down the pool doing my laps. It made training far less boring than it can be and also motivated me to actually go to the pool in the first place. My only problem is I must now learn how to laugh at the same time as swimming as I like to listen to comedy. You can also swap the waterproof earphones for your own regular ones in order to use it outside of the pool, and it pops in my pocket easily when I want to go for a run. It is easy to put your mp3 files onto the aquabeat as you can just drag and drop from your itunes library into the aquabeat window that opens on your PC when you connect it via the supplied USB cable. I haven't been disappointed, it's a great bit of kit.
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on 25 November 2009
I received a Finis Swimp3 for my birthday in August, and struggled for 3 months trying to get it to work. It was technically easy to use, but basically I couldn't hear it very well while swimming. I am a computer specialist by profession and had no trouble increasing the volume of my mp3s to pump up the volume a bit, but could not get the unit functioning at a comfortable volume. Basically, the amazing bone conduction technology didn't work. A couple of friends at the pool (I swim more or less a mile a day) tried it and found the same problem. I sent the unit back, got a replacement, and it was no different. The second unit, after being used for a few weeks at max volume, was eventually frequently distorting. I tried wearing earplugs whilst using the unit - it actually made the sound quieter, not louder, though it cut out most of the splashing noise so it was on balance a little improved.

Anyway, I was very unhappy with the swimp3 and sent it back eventually for a refund. So I then bought the speedo unit, despite reading VERY mixed reviews. I tried the earplugs before going into the pool - they were tight and a little painful really, but I thought I'd give it a go.

It was wonderful!! The volume is superb, I play it on quite a low volume and hear it clear as a bell. Sound quality is fine. The earplugs did take a little getting used to, and a little adjusting so they pointed into the ear canal correctly (the supplied instructions didn't make the process clear at all! it is fairly simple, but you do have to rotate the earplugs on the attached earholder things to use them). In the end though, the experience was superb.

Only one problem - when removing the earplugs the rubber tip of the right one tends to get stuck in my ear - and needs to be removed with tweezers! Not as scary as it sounds - it protrudes a little bit and was easy to grasp with tweezers, but not with bare fingers. I have written to speedo to see if they can do anything to help with this, perhaps to supply some other rubber tips.

Both of these units (Finis swimp3 and Speedo aquabeat) are easy to transfer music to - I use mediamonkey, but the process is similar in most media players. Aquabeat doesn't shuffle the songs, but I get mediamonkey to assign random titles to the songs and it has the same effect.

My conclusion - Swimp3 just did not work. I struggled with it for 3 months and gave up. The speedo unit worked from the first day perfectly (apart from the issue with the earbuds, hence the 4 not 5 stars). But it WORKS. It's wicked!!

UPDATE: I got in touch with speedo, sent an email saying I was having trouble with the headphones getting stuck. Two days later a new set of headphones (new type) arrived in the post - brilliant service. They were smaller , what I presume are the newer type. BUT, despite being easier to put on, the headphones aren't as loud as the old ones - they were just about loud enough at full volume, but I was always wishing for a little more volume. So I've gone back to the original headphones. I am just a little careful when removing them to avoid leaving the bud in my ear. I haven't had a problem recently, and my ears don't feel uncomfortable anymore.

The great thing about the speedo unit (as compared to the finis swimp3) is that ANY pair of underwater headphones will fit. I have been well impressed with their customer service, they sent a new pair (worth 15 quid I think) without a question. I'm going to see what sort of effect a few months wear and tear have on them.

Oh, and finally, some people complain about the unit hanging down the back of your neck, or not fitting properly? It fits perfectly, I think it might give some resistance if you wear your goggles strap near the top of your head, but sling it low (like I always have done), below the bump at the back of the head, and it fits perfectly.

I found it useful to use a tiny bit of twist tie on each side to attach the headphone cable along the goggles strap. Before I did this it was either an attempt at twisting the headphones round the goggles strap each time, or feeling a tug on my ears when the cable was flailing about behind me whilst swimming.

Crickey, I've written an essay!
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on 13 February 2009
I was so excited that after over 20 years of swim training that I might finally be able to listen to music whilst I do my laps that I had to get one of these!!
I am beyond disappointed with this!! If you are a very gentle swimmer then I am sure it is fine, but I swim quite fast and this obviously causes drag as you push through the water. I swam up and down trying to fit the earphone correctly so they simply didn't fall off!! No ammount of moving adjusting or pushing into my ears helped; any signifigant speed and off they came again! Rubbish! Then there is the unit itself, this is better, but attached to your goggle strap it can cause the strap to roll down due to its weight.. so one decent tumble turn or some speed again and your eyes are full of water. Rubbish!
I brought the Speedo version of this thinking they might have allowed for, and tested this product with some pro-swimmers who train hard!! You must be joking!! If you swim even medium fast - this product is NOT for you! Feel absolutely ripped off by a seriously flawed product. Returned the day after I got it!
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on 23 April 2009
Found out about this little gadget after seeing it worn by another swimmer, a few clicks on google and there it was. I was a little hesitant about buying it after reading the inconsistent reviews on Amazon. Especially the scathing one, from the guy that sent it back disgustedly due to the headphones falling out all the time. Well I ordered it, and tried it out the second it arrived. Being somewhat retarded when it comes to computers, I was dissapointed that I simply couldn't drag music from iTunes and drop it into desktop icon of aquabeat. However a non-retard looked at it and simply converted tracks I wanted to export into Mp3 version (Advanced then create Mp3 version - as easy as that)the files just flew over. To be honest when I first used it I almost drowned. I found it a bizzare experience, I felt a bit disoriented, found it wierd I couldn't hear myself breathing and wasn't impressed by the sound quality, especially underwater (Dhur) Anyhow I gave it another go the following day, I made sure that the headphones were properly in the old ears and set off. I had a whale of a time (though not sized like a whale an expression you'll understand, I'm quite lithe actually) the sound quality was great the experience was fantastic, I think I swam double the lengths that I do usually, I had to make myself get out of the pool, after an hour and a half, when I did I got straight back in as a track I love came back on. Buy this thing and give it a chance. I am not entirely sure how the headphones fell out of the other guys ears, they seem to fit in there perfectly, and they have that earframe for extra security. BUY IT!
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on 29 November 2008
Swimming up and down and up and down the lanes can be quite boring, but with my new MP3 player, I have found I clock up more distance in a shorter time.
Was a bit tricky at first learning how to fit the earphones etc, but had it sussed by the second swim. The sound is excellent - music is not distorted at all by the water.
This MP3 player comes highly recommended - swimming to music definitely makes it more fun!
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on 30 March 2009
1. The earplugs are not swimming-type any more - just normal mp3 earbuds and very hard to keep in even out of the water.
2. The supplied over-ear bits don't seem to detatch and were uncomfortable for me and did nothing to help keep the ear phones in anyway.
3. The goggle strap attachment only works for very thin straps - despite all efforts I could not get it on my swimming costume strap either. Resorted to stuffing the thing down my cleavage (!). Makes it impossible to change track or volume when swimming except accidentally.
4. The supplied software claims to be Vista compatible, but just gives device error when run on the 3 pcs I tried. So you basically have to listen to the music in artist alphabetical order.
5. The player only actually connects as a drive about 1% of the time, so adding more music is an extremely frustrating experience. Works better on older OSs so I would guess they just haven't bothered to write a decent driver. Even whe it does connect it is extremely flakey and very slow.

So - not a good buy if you have Vista and/or non-standard ears.
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