Product Review: Finis Swimp3 1G

Dec 09 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

If your face is regularly complimented with goggle rings and you spend hours every week following the black line, this review might just interest you. If don't know what I'm talking about, it won't.

I like to swim. This is a good thing, since I'm currently employed as a head guard, and spend more than 40 hours a week at the pool. I'm required to swim at least 500 meters every workday, and I usually go well beyond that. And I really, really enjoy it - far more than I've enjoyed any other form of physical exertion.

But - let's face it - a long workout, especially distance sets in a 25 meter pool, can start to feel like Groundhog Day. Swim swim swim, turn, swim swim swim, turn, swim swim swim . . .

The Finis Swimp3 1G is one of the latest mp3 players designed for swimming. I picked up one a couple of weeks ago, and it's certainly not a purchase I regret. It's good to keep in mind, though, that it's not a typical mp3 player, and it does have both good and bad points.

What it is and isn't:

The Swimp3 is not a waterproofed mp3 player. It's an mp3 player that is specifically designed for in water use. There is a difference, and it is an important one. Waterproofed mp3 players are typically just that - regular mp3 players that are safe to use in the water up to a certain depth either because it's had its components waterproofed or because you've put it in a waterproof case. Typically, the sound from a waterproofed mp3 player reaches your ears through a set of waterproof earbuds. The Swimp3 is a waterproof mp3 player that's contained within a pair of bone-conduction headphones. This gives it certain advantages and disadvantages over a less-specialized music player.

The Advantages:

1. Using earbuds underwater works great, right up until the point when water leaks past them and into your ears. Once that happens, you discover that you've just combined all the fun of swimmer's ear with all the sound quality of listening to a speaker underwater. The swimmer's ear can be fixed with a little vinegar and rubbing alcohol, but there's no quick and easy fix for the water-distorted sound.

Finis got around this with the Swimp3 by building the player into a bone conduction sound system. It doesn't go into or over your ears; it sits in front of your ears, against your cheeks. The sound is transmitted via your bones, so you get good sound quality even with water in your ears. More importantly, the sound quality remains the same no matter how many times your head goes into and out of the water.

2. Compact design. The entire unit consists of the two bone conduction units and a single short wire that connects the two and incorporates a USB connector. There's no separate head straps - the two bone conduction speakers clip to your goggle strap, and the USB plug can be tucked into the goggle strap behind your head.

That means that there is no part of the mp3 player that's below your head. There are no wires running from your ears to an armband or waist pouch (which is what you usually have to do if you're using a standard music player in a waterproof case). Keeping everything on your head keeps anything from interfering with your arms.

3. Other features. The player has a 1 gig capacity, about 8 hours of playtime, and can handle playlists.

The Disadvantages:

1: Compatibility. The Swimp3 is billed as Mac compatible. That might be the case, but it doesn't seem to be very mac friendly. To work properly, the player needs to be formatted for a FAT filesystem, not FAT32. I didn't get the thing working right with the Mac, but I have to admit that I didn't try too hard. I've got Windows on my machine, so it was quicker just to work it on that OS than try to figure out what I needed to do to get it to work right on the Mac.

2: Price. This is a 1 gig mp3 player that has a suggested retail price of $150. That's not cheap, particularly given that it's designed for use only in the water

3: Flexibility. The swimp3 is designed to be used while swimming. It's probably possible to find some way to configure it to use on dry land, but I doubt that it would be worth the effort. This is important to keep in mind, particularly given the price.

Final Verdict:

Overall, this is a nice product and I am very happy that I bought it. However, it's clearly not a piece of technology that most people will want to own. It's very well designed for, and works very well in, the swimming environment. If that's an environment that you are frequently found in, there's a very good chance that you'll think that the player's benefits are worth the price. If you rarely swim, it will be a waste of money.

5 responses so far

  • John Marley says:

    I was a competitive distance swimmer in HS (oh, so many years ago). This would have made daily practices orders of magnitude less dull. Even as relatively pricey as it is, I'd say it's worth it.

  • Swimp3 User says:

    Just to warn others thinking about purchasing this: I bought one in November 2009. The battery has never been working properly. I typically swim for an hour, then *attempt* to turn it off. My attempt involves pressing the power button for 3 seconds, followed by the reset button. The next time I try to use it, I can't turn it on. I have to re-charge it before every swim. This is annoying, to say the least, when the literature claims an 8 hour battery life.

  • Although I love my swimp3 player, I have the same problem as the previous fellow; no two consecutive swims without recharging. I keep pushing various buttons, but it won't turn on.

  • At first I was a little confused - an MP3 player for swimmers that functions underwater? How would it sound? How would it function? Well the answers are pretty clear - it sounds great (though base is limited) and it does wonders for lap swimmers who frequently get bored. Like any other MP3 Player - the SWIMP3 is easy to transfer MP3s to (just plug in via the USB port) and it holds 1 GB of music - enough to get you through an hour or 1.5 hour workout!

  • Lisa says:

    Dear Mr/Mrs Manager:
    Good day,very nice of your website, power seller, really admire your hard and strict work. I am Lisa from Hong Kong Best Step International CO., Ltd, young company, only 4years old. 😀 But we also do our best all the time during this years, so we have had many experiences for exporting. Strict quality test program, fast express, perfect service, long time warranty. We are sure you will be satisfied with us 🙂
    So could you give us your email address then I can send you the price list? We are trade company not factory, but we can get tax - return from government, so we can give you even lower price than factory as the same quality goods. 🙂
    Our waterproof mp3 players have CE, ROHS, and waterproof certifications. And one year warranty. So you do not need to worry about the quality at all.
    Waiting for your reply.
    Kind Regards
    Lisa / Export Manager
    Hong Kong Best Step International CO.,Limited
    Add: 1404, Gelinwangyuan, No.96 Yannan RD, Futian District, Shenzhen, China
    Tel:0086-0755-83745799 Fax:0086-0755-83745795 Cel:0086-13430980360
    MSN: Skype: wlluruifeng