Instabeat, a high-tech swim tool, review
Is this piece of swim tech, which provides visual feedback of training zones via the unit attached to your goggles, worth the £155 price tag? Jack Sexty puts it through its paces
The Instabeat is an immersive swim device that provides visual feedback of training zones in real-time, via the unit attached to your goggles that detects heart rate. Instabeat began life on Kickstarter in 2013, with the 2019 product finally arriving as a sleek and polished package with its own carry pouch.
Getting started is simple, with set-up performed via Instabeat’s phone app. When Instabeat is charged (you can also share workouts via Strava after your swim), you attach to your goggles by placing it around the right gasket, then securing with the band and tucking a goggle strap inside.
There’s one button to switch on, and three LED lights that are visible in the corner of your eye – blue is low effort level, green is middling and red is ‘max performance’. Unlike running and cycling where HRMs are often used to dial back efforts, in the pool the way to truly become faster is by swimming faster. So aiming for that red light on big sets is useful in keeping you honest and getting the best training effect.
Some may want more specifics but Instabeat tell us swimmers asked for simplicity, and it’s as good a method as any we’ve seen to get data while you’re swimming. Downsides are it lacks the glut of information you get with the recently-launched Form Swim AR goggles (priced at $199), as you only have simple heart-rate data and fitting is quite fiddly. Yet being able to use on your own favourite goggles – and the fact you barely notice the device is there while swimming – will appeal to many triathletes.
Verdict: A simple, insightful device that could be of great benefit to some triathletes, 80%