Swim Gear: The FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Review

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.

The FINIS Duo is a breakthrough in helping swimmers listen to music while in the pool.

Using bone conduction, the Duo pumps music to the ears via the jaw, bypassing the need for earbuds or headphones, which often fall out when swimming.

Swimming up and down the pool for hours on end can get tedious. With these specially designed waterproof headphones for swimming, you can fire up a motivational playlist while doing laps in the pool.

In this review of the FINIS Duo, I highlight my experience testing and swimming with this waterproof MP3 player designed for lap swimming.

I’ll review what I liked most about the FINIS Duo, some potential improvements, compare it to alternative MP3 players for swimming, and more.

Let’s jump in.

Swim Gear: The FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Review

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.

Swim Gear: The FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Review

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 ensures that you don’t need to worry about earbuds at all, and you get awesome sound. This alone is why it’s one of the best types of headphones for lap swimming.

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) is in 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 earplugs in. Finally, a benefit to having been wearing earplugs 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.

What are some alternatives to the FINIS Duo?

Since the FINIS Duo came on the scene and changed the way swimmers listened to music in the pool, several other brands have introduced waterproof music players for swimming.

The two best ones, in my opinion, to emerge include:

SHOKZ OpenSwim. The OpenSwim is a hydrodynamic and wireless bone-conduction headphone that plays MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC and FLAC songs. It’s an excellent alternative to the Duo as it has no wires that tangle with your goggle straps and stays firmly in place while swimming.

FINIS Duo vs SHOKZ OpenSwim

H20 Audio TRI Multi-Sport Headphones. Similar in design to the SHOKZ OpenSwim, the TRI Multi-Sport is a waterproof and lightweight set of headphones perfectly suited for swimming. It has Bluetooth connectivity but requires the music player doing the streaming (an Apple Watch, for example) to work within several inches of the player.

Where to Shop for the FINIS Duo:

FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Review

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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