If you are a swimmer, you’ve no doubt heard of the company called Finis. They make gear for swimmers, and one of their specialties is a line of swim electronics. They make a swim watch called the Swimsense that logs all aspects of your swim, and they also make an MP3 player for the pool, the latest being the SwiMP3 2G. There are many companies out there making MP3 players that you can use while swimming, but all of them use waterproof earbuds to transmit sound. The SwiMP3 2G uses bone conduction to transmit audio, eliminating the need and all of the issues of earbuds. Here is a quick look at the SwiMP3 2G player:
For the record, we do not work for Finis, and are in no way connected with them or any of the companies whose gear we review. We do this because we love playing with the latest technology, and we can’t keep our hands off this stuff if we tried. This unit was purchased by FitnessElectronicsBlog.com to review. We do accept gear to review from companies, but the gear is sent back after the review has been completed. No give-us-gear for a favorable review, or anything like that. We call ’em as we see ’em. It keeps us honest. Also, we have a group of 4 people who do the evaluations of all of the gear. One person is the lead on a piece of gear, but everyone gets a chance to evaluate the stuff. We have 2 guys and 2 ladies, so it’s a good mix of people. It gives us better insight, and we get a better review overall. Everyone has an input to the review. If you want to know who these people are, check out our About Us page. We have 4 seasoned triathlete, and 3 Pilates instructors. All swim, bike run, do Pilates and Yoga, and use all of the gear on a daily basis.
We have been using the SwiMP3 1G for a long time, and when the 2G came out, we knew we needed to get one and do an in-depth review. So, today we are reviewing the Finis SwiMP3 2G MP3 music player. So what is the difference between the 1G and the 2G?. The SwiMP3 2G is the second generation of MP3 swim players from Finis. The original SwiMP3 1G had 1GB of song storage, and the new SwiMP3 2G has double the storage, or 2GB of music storage. Are there other differences? Finis claims that the internal hardware has been updated, and if you have ever seen or used the original 1G, you will notice that the 2G color is different.
Here are some of the important specs:
Memory: The Finis SwiMP3 2G holds approximately 3 hours of music, plenty for even the longest training swim.
Battery Life: The claim on the Finis website is that the battery charge will last for over 8 hours. Given the fact that we have charged the product between trips to the pool, we cannot confirm that stat. We’ll give an update after we get more time with the player.
How It Works/Sound Quality:
The Finis SwiMP3 is an MP3 player that utilizes bone-conduction technology to transmit high-fidelity sound underneath the water. The benefit of the bone-conduction technology is that earbuds are not needed.
The sound quality is impressive. Because it plays through the bones in your head and ear instead of through ear buds, there is very little distortion. And I have found that the sound quality is actually better when you are under water. Here is an image of the previous version, so that you can get a better understanding of how it attaches to your goggles.
Overall, we are very pleased with the product’s performance.
Ease of Use:
Music Transfer: The ease with which music can be transferred is, in my opinion, one of the best things about this product. You simply plug the SwiMP3 into your computer, and the SwiMP3 shows up as a portable USB drive. You then drag and drop your music selections on top of the SwiMP3 disk icon. If you use iTunes and store your music in Apple’s AAC format, you will need to convert your songs to MP3 format before dragging and dropping the song to the SwiMP3. This is as easy as right clicking on the songs you want to convert in iTunes, and selecting “convert to MP3”. You then have the original version of the song in AAC format, and an MP3 copy. You are ready to go.
If you want to know how they make the USB connector waterproof, here is an image of the connector and its waterproof protector:
While Swimming: The SwiMP3 has two clips that are placed around your goggle straps, near your temple. You then secure the USB connector (with a plug) under your goggle strap on the back of your head. Starting the SwiMP3 is very easy. You just press the power button and you’re listening to music. However, I must admit that I still struggle with the operation of the SwiMP3 player when it is in use. The buttons on the SwiMP3 are small (as is the product). This is a good thing, but it makes it difficult to make music selections when you are using it, and it is on your head. I always have a hard time trying to remember what the buttons do when you can’t see the buttons. I imagine that with more use I will memorize the button functions and be able to skip songs with ease.
That being said, the buttons are straightforward when you can view them. The forward and back buttons skip forward /reverse to the next song. They also double as volume control buttons if you press and hold. Pressing and holding the power button turns the device on and off. Pressing during play toggles the bass boost. The reset button (the one with the dot) is used if anything goes wrong. Press and hold to reset the unit.
One other issue is that the player doesn’t really work when your head is out of the water. The player needs the pressure of the water to press it firmly against your face to transfer sound. If you swim freestyle, this is not much of an issue, but other strokes can be more of an issue.
We love it! Last season I regularly had training swims that were over an hour, with a number being in the 2-hour range. Swimming in a pool for that long can be mind-numbing. The SwiMP3 breaks up the monotony of any long swim amazingly well.
What I’m listening to:
This does nothing for the product review, but I have been listening to The Black Keys, Brothers & El Camino albums during my swims. Great swim training music. Let me know what you like to listen to while training, and I’ll give it a shot on the Finis.