I’m not a huge workout fan. The best I do is take a walk on a nice day, get on the stationary bike or play something physical on my Wii. My wife, on the other hand, is a work-out fanatic. For the last few years it was either water aerobics or her friend Peter K’s “” workout. Recently she added swimming laps into her routine. When the opportunity to review the SwiMP3 waterproof headset came along she agree to review it for the site.
The Company’s Info…
The SwiMP3 underwater MP3 player provides an incredible audio experience through its innovative sound transfer technology. Standard mp3 players rely on the transmission of sound through the air or water causing the swimmer to perceive only muffled noise. The SwiMP3 uses bone conduction – the direct transfer of sound vibrations from the cheek bone to the inner ear – to provide the swimmer with exceptional sound clarity. The SwiMP3 is fully waterproof and can be used with all the competitive swim strokes. Just imagine listening to hours of your own music in high-fidelity during your swim.
The headset was designed by the FINIS Development Team who set out to create a personal waterproof mp3 player that transmitted good sounding music underwater. The first SwiMP3 prototype took 2 years and was created in 2004. It was released a year later. A new version with a sleek finish, controls built directly into the side panels and double the capacity was released in the spring of 2007. It plays both MP3 and WMA files.
It come packaged nicely. The unit the company was kind enough to send us came in a hard cardboard box with a magnetically closed lid. Inside was the unit itself, a carrying case and an instruction manual.
You’ll note that there is no speaker to speak of but, instead, a flat plastic disk that works through bone conduction. I’m not a sound engineer so I’ll let the developers of the technology explain how it works…
The SwiMP3 is revolutionary in that it relies on bone conduction of sound. When the device is placed on any bones of the skull (i.e. the cheek bones or the mastoid tip) it leads to vibration of the fluid in the inner ear. Thus swimmers can enjoy clarity of sound with the SwiMP3 device that was never before possible. Bone conduction is a safe, well-established hearing mechanism in humans that the SwiMP3 player leverages to enhance aquatic activity. FINIS’ application of the technology brings an entirely new level of experience to swimmers of all abilities.
* Attaches easily to any swim goggle or snorkeling mask
* Built in MP3 control panel
* On/Off button
* Next / Previous track
* Volume control
* Pause & Shuffle functions
* 8-hour rechargeable battery
* 60-song (256MB) memory capacity
* Plays both MP3 & WMA files
* Requires- Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP, VISTA — Mac OS 9, OS X or higher, Intel Pentium II 233 Mhz or equivalent, 256 MB Ram, 35 MB available hard drive space, USB port
Using The SwiMP3
Setup was simple. On a Mac you simply plug the small USB dongle on the cord into the USB port. It appears as a disk and, from there, you simply slide a few songs to it.
What follows are the notes from her “debriefing” after Elana used them this week…
- Nice packaging- compact (no waste) & colorful w/sturdy, glossy box
- Includes carry case- oval plastic, small, yet big enough to fit standard-size goggles & swimp3, mesh on bottom for excess water
- Easy-to-use controls- not too many, one-touch fast forward/rewind/power
- Adjustment NOT needed once in place
- Holds more than enough music for hour workout- 30-60 songs
- Long-lasting charge- enough for a few serious workouts
- Easy to load music- via USB (drop and drag files onto “drive slot”)
- Easy to charge- via USB plug (laptop port worked well)
- Helps pass the time- tested during (2) “40 lap” workouts, totaling about 1/2 hour each
- Great sound quality- surprisingly clear, NOT muffled at all
- Extensive written instructions for loading and charging only
- NO written instructions for placement on head- only one small picture (not useful at all)
- Placement can be tricky- took a while to figure out the right position for me in terms of comfort and sound (sits in front of ear- different than which most people are accustomed, takes a minute to get used to having it on your head), DEFINATELY recommend watching the video on-line (see below)
- Swim cap is essential for comfort- hair gets caught & pulled without it, googles (with unit on them) do NOT slide on easily without one
- Sound goes in and out as you go in and out of the water- breast stroke is particularly annoying (as you lift your head up & down)
- Unit’s hard plastic is a bit uncomfortable- ideal if it could be made in a neoprene-type material, softer on the jaw bone
- Enhances ALL ambient sound- you hear EVERY bubble, swoosh of the water, breath you take, stroke of your arm, splash of fellow swimmers in FULL volume, etc.
- You CANNOT sing along- try (as I unconsciously did, because that’s what I do on-land) and you’ll get a mouthful of water
Bottom line: Good product, just not for me. I thought I would want the music but, much to my surprise, I missed the “zen-quiet” and lack of distractions while swimming.
So in short- For people like Elana the idea of music while swimming is better than the actual experience. For others, however, the opportunity to listen to your favorite tunes while swimming is quite attractive and the SwiMP3 delivers on its promise of ease of use and excellent sound quality.
More information on the SwiMP3 can be founde. They can be .