While there is a ton of tech for swimmers, from Tempo Trainers to wearables, a waterproof music player has been the one swimmers want most. Here’s a review of an underwater music player that finally delivers, the FINIS Duo.
One of the downsides of being a water-based athlete is the lack of music.
Unlike the moments where you strap on a pair of big headphones and walk into the gym with your brain rattling from the bass, there is no similar experience for swimmers.
The closest we get is typically at meet-time, when the host team pounds aggressive, pump-up music during warm-ups and when we walk out for finals.
As a result, the only tunes we end up listening to are the ones that we sing to ourselves on repeat, over and over again, over the course of our swim practice. Manufacturers and swim gear companies have been working to change this, designing and marketing a series of waterproof and underwater mp3 players and waterproof headphones for swimming.
Some good, and some not so good.
The best one that I have used, hands down, has been the FINIS Duo.
It looks funny, doesn’t actually go into your ears, and works like a son of a gun.
The only reason you need to buy the FINIS Duo mp3 player.
Besides the aesthetics, and the fact that I am a fan of FINIS swim products, from their swim snorkel to the Tempo Trainer Pro to their Agility paddles, the only real reason you need for picking up this bad boy is that it actually works in the environment it is designed for.
The first thing you notice when you look at the device is that it doesn’t have any earphones. That’s because the music is pumped into your face and ears via your cheekbones. Seriously. The music travels along the bones in your face to your inner ear.
The reason this is so freakin’ awesome is that you don’t have to worry about positioning ear-buds into your ear, and you don’t have to stress about them jarring loose and the music sounding like it’s coming from the bottom of a tin can.
The bone conduction aspect of the FINIS Duo makes it immediately a winner because (1) you don’t have to worry about earbuds falling off when you push off the wall or swim at full speed and (2) the sound is infinitely better because it is conducted straight to your inner ear.
One of the main issues I have found with underwater mp3 players is that water will get between your ears and the buds, distorting and muffling the music and making the listening experience infuriating.
This clever little piece of engineering insures that you don’t need to worry about earbuds at all and you get awesome sound.
Side Bonus: For the chlorinated athlete who uses earplugs for swimming, the FINIS Duo provides another benefit. Since you don’t need to pull out your earplugs to use the earbuds of a typical waterproof music player, you can keep water out of your ears while ALSO listening to your favorite jams. Double whammy!
What else should you know about the FINIS Duo?
- It only supports MP3 and WMA songs. If your entire music library (or at least the ones you want to listen to when swimming) are m4a format—iTunes preferred format—you will have to do some converting. This is handled within iTunes, so it’s a doable workaround. Just be aware of it.
- It sounds better with ear plugs in. Finally, a benefit to having been wearing ear plugs since I was a young age grouper! The sound quality—for whatever reasons—sounds better conducting through your head and ears while wearing ear plugs. Giddyup.
- The charging system has been known to be finicky. One of the most common complaints I’ve seen with this device is that the charging dock can require some fidgeting to connect. This hasn’t really been much a nuisance in my experience, and given that you can get about 6-7 hours out of a charge you won’t need to charge as often you would your cell phone, for instance.
- How many songs does the FINIS Duo hold? The device’s specs state that it can hold up to 60 hours of playback (or around 1000 songs). Which is more than enough to get you through those long swim sets and practices.
Where to Shop for the FINIS Duo:
More Swim Gear Guides:
Swim Paddles: The Ultimate Guide to Training Paddles. Swimmers love using paddles–here’s how to make the best of them, and a buyer’s guide for swimmers.
Swim Gear Guide: FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro. It’s one of the simplest and effective tools for swimmers looking to master their stroke rate, stroke distance, and more. Here’s the dealio on this popular device.
Swim Gear Guide: The Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers. Ready to take your swim workout to the next level? Here’s your guide to the best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming.