Cyclists do it, runners do it – even gymnasts and golfers do it. Until relatively recently, only swimmers had trouble listening to music while practicing their favorite sport. But that’s all changed now. Want to get your tunes on while catching some waves? Keep reading to learn about all the best options.
Waterproof music equipment is fast becoming a fashionable must-have accessory, with various manufacturers racing each other to release products that bring sounds to the ears of swimmers, surfers and even divers. From a commercial point of view it makes good sense. The success of MTV in gyms across the nation and the number of headphone-equipped joggers out on the streets show that music is perhaps the best way to relieve the mind-numbing tedium of working out.
And water sports are among the most popular of all leisure activities, guaranteeing a large market that is at last being identified by some of the industry's biggest names. British swimwear giant Speedo, for example, released its Aquabeat waterproof player in the summer of 2008, and it would be a surprise if other major manufacturers didn't follow suit this year.
For the time being, however, the niche waterproof market is dominated by some surprising names you may not have heard of. So, for the swimming fanatic in your life, we are glad to present a round up of the latest waterproof audio equipment.
The obvious place to start is with MP3 players. These machines are designed from the ground up to be used in the water. Already ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the more fully featured, this selection looks set to expand over the coming months and years.
NU Dolphin Swimmer - around $80 for 1GB With prices starting at around $80, the Dolphin Swimmer from Taiwanese manufacturer Nu is the cheapest of the players in this round up. But don't let that put you off. Made from reassuringly solid aluminum, the Dolphin is incredibly light and small, the idea according to Nu having been to create a player that has minimal impact on athletic performance.
The Nu is also equipped with some neat and interesting features, such as the innovative watertight screw-in headphone jack arrangement and the fabric membranes that protect the vibrating plates inside the ear pieces from getting wet. The player is designed primarily to be worn on a pair of swimming goggles, although an armband and other accessories are planned for the future.
Rated battery life is an unspectacular but satisfactory 8 hours or so when fully charged, which is done via the USB port. The Dolphin supports only the MP3 and WMA audio formats, and is available in a range of capacities from 128MB to 2GB.
Speedo Aquabeat - around $115 Speedo's Aquabeat is a great-looking 1GB player that is waterproof down to about three meters. It's designed to be easily attachable to a whole variety of water sports clothing such as wet suits, swimwear and goggles, making it extremely versatile. It is also designed to float, a welcome design feature that will help prevent you losing it in the water.
The controls are big and easy to operate, although the lack of a display or in-use charge indicator can make controlling the player a little challenging overall. The Aquabeat is available in green, pink or black, and is supplied with waterproof headphones and a carrying case. A selection of extra accessories are available, including an adjustable armband and charging cradle.
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