I love swimming, but I’ve got to admit – it can get a little boring. I think it is especially so in a pool doing long distance. I don’t see why even the most avid swimmer would disagree with me. Back and forth for an hour or so is pretty darn tedious. There has to be a way of making it a little bit more interesting? Surely? Right?
I’ve always been interested in ways to make the time fly by and have looked into waterproof headphones before but all my research found that they were rather frustrating and could put you off your swim. From my reading, it sounds like earphones often pop out of your ears, fumbling around trying to get one back in your ear won’t ever help your performance or make your swim more enjoyable. I think myself, like most people, want something that will add to my swim, not detract from it.
Determined to find a music solution to brighten up my swims, I kept looking. I really enjoy listening to music while running or doing any exercise so having something to listen to whilst swimming was something I was dead set on. I found the Finis Duo Underwater MP3 Player at SimplySwim and after reading some positive reviews online – decided to take the plunge (swimming pun).
I’ve never warn anything like one of these before and was a little bit unsure about how comfortable pads resting on my cheekbones would be. I am happy to confirm, though, that they are really unobtrusive and you totally forget that you are even wearing them. It simply clips onto your goggles and that’s it, away you go. Because the mp3 unit and bone conducting pads are all integrated, there are no long or fiddly wires to get in the way.
The controls are all on the left piece of the Finis Duo. They are very straight forward and intuitive, within no time at all I knew exactly where all the buttons were and could change track and volume by just touch alone. This is exactly what you need in the pool, especially when the control is stuck to your head.
The Finis Duo has 4 GB of storage which roughly equates to 60 hours of songs or about 1000 songs. This means that you can have many long swimming sessions with the Finis Duo without having to listen to the same song twice. What’s even better is that you can use iTunes to add music to your Finis just as you would with your iPod or iPhone. A bit of a side line but here are some of my sea swimming songs:
- The Beatles – Octopus’s Garden
- Frank Turner – Front Crawl
- Pearl Jam – Amongst the Waves
- Decemberists – The Mariner’s Revenge
- Metric – Breathing Underwater
- Ou Est le Swimming Pool – Dance the way I feel
What would you add to my list?
What sets the Finis Duo apart from the other underwater mp3 players that I had looked at is that it uses bone conduction technology. What this means is that instead of frustrating earphones it uses pads which rest on your cheekbones. The vibration in the pads vibrate and these vibrations travel through your skull to your ears. Basically, those green pads touch your face and the sound travels to your brain! It is crazy, but it works really, really well. It takes a little getting used to and a bit of adjustment to get it sounding at its best. Once you’ve worked out where on your cheek bones they need to be set, you can quickly get it set up in seconds before each swim.
I found that this mp3 player definitely sounds better in the water. It’s definitely listenable on dry land, but the sound quality improves significantly when it’s submerged – after all, that is what it’s designed for. Underwater mp3 players are never going to beat a regular ‘dry land’ iPod, but all things considered – this one certainly isn’t far away!
Obviously, all of my photos are of me using it on the beach and in the (rather chilly) sea. I’ve been using it in the pool too but the people down at the leisure centre kind of frown upon snapping lots of photos in there! I’ve really enjoyed using it whilst snorkelling. I love snorkelling and never ever get bored like I do in the pool swimming lengths. In the sea, the Finis Duo works on a whole other level; I find snorkelling quite magical as you get to look down into a whole different world of seaweed, fish and crabs. Having a soundtrack of your choosing can make your sea swim feel like a music video or a very ethereal otherworldly experience.
Although the Finis Duo is clearly designed for pool swimmers in mind and the clips on the bone conductors are definitely designed for lightweight swimming goggles rather than a snorkelling mask, with a little persausion you can get the conductors clipped onto your mask and then you are good to go. You really haven’t snorkelled or sea swam until you’ve done it with background music!
Charging is super easy and has some incredible technology which I wish more products had… a magnetic dock. It works fantastically – hover the mp3 player over the dock and the magnetic parts lock together. You don’t have to plug anything in or use any cables. This is what keeps the waterproof integrity of the Finis Duo and ensures you don’t have to faff about with rubber cases and covers. This dock is used for both the transfer of songs and for powering up and recharging the batteries. I can’t get over how brilliantly it works!
I really have been enjoying using the Finis Duo in the pool, it makes something, that can be quite boring, much more enjoyable. What is even better is that in the sea, which is my favourite place to swim, it totally transforms the experience into something really different. In my opinion, swimming across beautiful Cornish beaches is about as good as it can get. With the Finis Duo, you can actually make this even more pleasurable by adding your favourite music.