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Reviewed: The FINIS SwiMP3 makes swimming fun and gets two fins up

Posted Nov 14 2010 10:37am


Editor's Note: Our man in the pool Dave Erickson takes the FINIS SwiMP3 for a swim and comes away impressed. Check out his fun and informative EMT review below.

Well, it's officially my off-season but I'm already planning and training for next years triathlon season. One of my so-so favorite things to do has been swimming but now I have found something that has made it one of my newest favorite things to do. It's called the FINIS SwiMP3 . It's a waterproof digital music player. It retails for $150 but I've seen it elsewhere cheaper.

A few of the features before I give you my personal review include what it calls "Bone-Conducting Technology. " This feature directly vibrates the inner ear to create the highest quality of music underwater possible.

It's MP3 and WMA compatible, iTunes convertible which means you can listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts and more with incredible sound quality while swimming. It offers a full gigabyte (1 GB) of storage. That amount of space will hold approximately 250 songs or 15 hours of music. And it has "hydrodynamic clips" which attach securely to your goggle straps and gently rests on cheekbones.

On its website you can download and a User Guide and there's an email and phone number to contact Tech Support.

As a triathlete swimming is just one aspect of my training.  It's not my favorite of the three but I'm beginning to enjoy it more and more. One of the challenges with swimming is breaking up the monotony.   Swimming with a masters group is one way to do it, another is this device.


Swimming with the SwiMP3 is very easy.  The size is just about right in my opinion.  If it were any bigger it might become a real drag.   It even stays put during flip turns. The sound quality is surprisingly good underwater even when I turn my head to breath. I tend to crank up the volume when I work out and with this I have found little to no sound distortion below the surface. The sound quality is most consistent when my head is at or below the surface.

Charging it was simple and loading music from my personal collection was even easier.   Once you plug in the USB adaptor it automatically pops up.  When you do pull songs over into the SwiMP3 file  they will play in the order they were loaded.  You can easily rearrange and delete songs on your computer though. Some people have had issue with the instruction but it doesn't seem that difficult.   The picture of the swimmer on the fold out instruction manual is all you really need.  It's not brain surgery.

Placement is a matter of preference and comfort. I've experimented with location and found my sweet spot in no time.  Each earphone has a clip to attach to your swim goggles and the cord connecting the two, which includes the USB port can easily be tucked under the strap on the back of your head. Only element I find challenging is pressing the "NEXT" or "VOLUME" buttons.  You need to press quite firmly.

The same goes for the ON/OFF buttons. It may take some time getting familiar with the buttons and where they are positioned since you can see them when it's on your head. One thing I noticed in the beginning was that I wasn't holding down the "NEXT"/"VOLUME" button long enough to increase the volume. If you press and release  too quickly it'll advance to the next song.  Again, by becoming familiar with where the buttons are it'll help you avoid hitting the wrong ones.

The manual says it'll take three hours for a full charge and when charged will provide for 8 hours of playback. I tend to charge most all of my electronic devices on a daily basis anyway so charging hasn't been an issue.  Plus, there's a good chance I won't be swimming for more than 2 hours at a time.  It would be nice to know how much juice I have left but since there's no visual indicator I can't.

I feel kind of lucky that this is my first ever underwater MP3 player.  I've heard of other brands that use water proof cases and people complain that those cases can leak and damage your audio device.   Not the issue with this.  It may not have a fancy display but for what I'm trying to accomplish, it does the job just fine.  One more thing,  I'm swimming longer and farther now because I don't want to stop in the middle of song.

And by having my favorite workout songs on the list, I can dictate what kind of tempo I want to swim. Bonus! I'm giving the FINIS SwiMP3 ... two fins up.

Follow on twitter @ everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube .

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