My name is Ingo, I live in Germany, and I am one of the first Instabeat backers and testers! Something you should note about me before reading this review is that I am actually a runner and not a swimmer. So my first evaluation of Instabeat is really based on the practical side of things.
When I first got Instabeat, I tried fitting it with my goggles (Limuwa deluxe). They were too small, the rubber did not reach my face and it was pure water. I then tried the TYR special ops, it took some practice to put them on properly, but they were a good fit and didn’t leak! It does take a few laps to adjust to it, but Instabeat can be worn very comfortably after you have a routine.
For my first training with Instabeat, I swam different sets: 250 m crawl, paths leg workout, and then some tracks without footwork. In the first few laps, Instabeat would only show me a blue LED, which was odd given I was increasing my effort. I then realized that part of the silicone of the goggles was covering the heart rate sensor, so I cut it out, and it worked perfectly! I would say the ideal goggle for Instabeat would have an oval shape, would be large but not too large, transparent to see the LEDs, and have a wide rubber to seal well. I could easily see the LEDs changing colors while swimming. It was trickier to figure out whether one or more LEDs of the same color were lightening up.
After the workout, I was anxious to see my data. The installation of software was very easy on Windows 8. I had some trouble with Windows 7, but now the software works properly on it.
Here are two pictures, one with the pulse profile of Instabeat and one with the profile of my Polar V 800 that I used to validate Instabeat’s readings. In the beginning, there are some differences (due to the rubber on the sensor), but after the data is almost equal.
I have a few suggestions that I think would make the dashboard much better:
- Smoothening the curve because the small jumps can be confusing.
- For a professional evaluation on a PC, lap times should be presented more clearly, perhaps in tabular form.
- Ambitious athletes often rely on platforms of professional firms who have long been active in endurance sports area and provide appropriate hardware, such as Polar, Garmin or Suunto. For this specific target group, I would suggest to work on some sort of synchronization with respective platforms.
- Add a table with percentage of how much of the workout is spent in each of the three different heart rate zones.
I am looking forward to keep swimming with my Instabeat and tell you more about it!