Customer Review

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beats earphones hands down, 28 Oct 2012
This review is from: FINIS SwiMP3 2G with X18 Firmware (Sports)
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I used to have a waterproof MP3 player, but there were wires everywhere (you carried it in a sort of holster velcro'd to your arm) and as soon as water got behind the earbuds, which was inevitable, the sound went horrible. Water gradually destroyed the earbuds and it was never a very suitable solution. The earbuds would pull out, or I'd get my arm caught on a wire, and there was noticable drag in my glide. It made lengths much more enjoyable, but was frustrating to use.

This one however is a very good bit of kit. Instead of plugging earbuds into your ears for a swim, which never works very well, this things consists of two plastic pads which rest on your cheekbones. The sound apparently is conducted by your bones to your inner ear. It clips on to your goggles, with the connecting wire behind your head, and you really don't notice it's there. There is no noticable drag, and it doesn't interfere with your stroke at all. I pull my arm right into my head on my glide and I expected to knock this off my head, but it didn't happen. I didn't notice it was there at all.

Everyone I've mentioned the bone conduction thing to immediately says 'that's horrible', but the reality is it's no real different sensation to using a normal MP3 player. If you're imagining that it makes your bones buzz or something, don't. You can hear the sound coming from the player before you put it on, but it's very tinny and thin. Put it on your cheeks, and you can hear it a bit better. Submerge under water, and it's amazing. Because your ears are still 'open', it sounds like the music is coming from everywhere. It clips on to your goggles and you can just forget about it.

There are some caveats though, so this is really a 4.5star review. Firstly, the controls are a bit poor. There isn't much of a positive action when you press a button, so it's hard to tell if you're doing anything. Also, once you've got it on your head you obviously can't see which button does what. It's easy to accidentally turn it off, or change track by mistake. The manufacturers should have made each button a different shape really, but in practice you set it up, put it on, and once you start swimming you don't really touch it.

Another problem is that this works best underwater, by which I mean with your head fully submerged. The snag when you're swimming is your ears come out of the water! This means you can get a weird tremolo effect that can get a bit annoying. I highly recomend you wear ear plugs when you use this thing (I use these: Mack's AquaBlock Earplugs - Purple (2 pair)) which improves things dramatically. Remember, your ears aren't covered with this player, so you can still hear the 'outside world' as normal so when you're going flat out, the noise of the water and bubbles from your breathing can be surprisingly loud and you can't hear the music over it. Earplugs block the extraneous noise and it's much much better. If you're the sort of swimmer who never puts their head under water, then this MP3 player is probably not a good choice and you'd be better off with an earbud style. Similarly, if you're thinking about these for kayaking, or surfing, or any water sport where you're up out of the water, these won't work very well for you. If you're a 'proper' swimmer though, then these are great.

Putting music on to it is dead easy, none of your annoying DRM itunes type shenanigans here. Just plug it into your computer, and it appears as another drive just like a USB stick. Drag and drop your music, and you're done. No software needed.

I normally swim for about 20-30minutes before I get bored. With this on, I was nicely distracted and easily cruised up and down for the best part of an hour. Highly recommended.
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3.7 out of 5 stars (19 customer reviews)
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