Pros: Music matches pace well; Comprehensive data views
Cons: Small memory capacity; Looks and feels cheap; Unintuitive controls; Expensive
Verdict: Music that changes with the tempo of your workout is a great idea, but the design of the BODiBEAT needs serious work.
Any cardio enthusiast will tell you that pacing yourself with music is a great way to power through your workout, and Yamaha takes this experience a step further with the BODiBEAT, a portable device that intelligently selects songs with tempos to match your pace. The BODiBEAT also functions as a normal music player, and can track your distance, heart rate, pace, and time.
It's striking how ugly this device really is. With a monochromatic OLED reminiscent of perhaps the first display ever created, the BODiBEAT certainly doesn't earn any style points. The device also looks and feels cheap, and the controls are strange and unintuitive.
It took a while to sync our own songs to the BODiBEAT Station software since it analyzes each song's tempo, but transferring them to the BODiBEAT itself was quick. Yamaha claims the player can hold about 100 songs on its meager 512MB of memory, but we were able to load only 31 tracks on our 256MB preproduction unit. The device also comes with "thousands of preloaded electronic mixes," but Yamaha says the space these take up is negligible, and that future models will have more memory.
Unlike the Forerunner 405's heart rate monitor chest strap, the BODiBEAT's monitor clips firmly to your ear. We jogged around a city block at various paces, and the player changed songs with about a five second lag. The tempos it chose matched our pace very well, and it was a nice motivation tool to pump out that extra mile. We would have liked to run to more of our own music, but viewing our complete run data in graph form on the BODiBEAT was pretty cool.