Saturday, April 4, 2015

Underwater Audio Swimbuds Sport Review....

Ok as you know I'm not a reviewer. There is many triathlon bloggers out there that ask for free stuff so they can review them and get to keep them. For them it's just a way to get free sh#t.

I've never been paid to review stuff and if I did a review it was just me finding a product I liked and would blog about it.

I guess one of the products I blogged about 2 to 3 years ago was an underwater iPod that I fell in love with from Underwater Audio.

Why did I fall in love with it?

Basically because it worked. Prior I had tried two other brands, I can't remember their names, but I remember one was about doing vibrations into your cheek bones and the other was putting an ipod in a plastic case. I think I paid $200 or so for each of them and both of them didn't work.

In fact I had all sorts of problems with the cheek one and had to fight and scream for them to take it back. Other than it didn't work, it was near impossible to get my songs on them. It was not an Apple itunes friendly product.

After I tried those two I figured that underwater listening to music was a fantasy and that I'd just have to continue to suffer through my training sessions listening to my own thoughts and dreading my swims. Out of the swim, bike, run and put a needle in my eye, the worst is swimming. It's so damn boring and the initial cold when you jump into the pool sucks too.

Anyways I don't know how it came to my attention but I saw this ad or something online for a different company that had taken a regular iPod and put some magic stuff on it so that you could swim with it and water wouldn't get in.

I was intrigued on two levels. First it's an iPod and I know it works with my Apple products and I'm an Apple fanboy. The second reason was it looked easy to put on. The other two underwater mp3's took forever to try to wrap around your head and through your goggles. This one seemed pretty easy.

So I ordered one.

From the first time I tried it I loved it. It worked. It wasn't perfect but it was 1000% better than the other guys.

Why wasn't it perfect?

You can't stop water getting into my ears. It came with a number of ear plugs and I found the one that worked great 90% of the time. Water would get in and it's not like I couldn't hear the music, I could. It just wasn't stereo quality loud. Even when the water got in it was great, just muted, and to fix it it was a breeze, pull the earplug back out and put it back in.

I have purchased a number of things that I am proud of buying and it makes me feel good. The first was the Thule car bike rack, it's amazing, I can put my bike on and off in 30 seconds. The second was Yurbuds, I can't run without them. They attach to regular earphones and make the sound amazing and when you are training 50 - 80 hours per week the quality of what you are listening to matters.

The third purchase I'm most proud of is my Underwater Audio ipod and ear phones.

Besides them sounding great they were relatively easy to put on. Much easier than the other guys. For the next couple of years I swam with my Underwater audio ipod and loved it. People at the pool would ask me about them and I couldn't stop bragging and telling them they should get some. I still do. I love them.

Now timing is everything.

As luck would have it I lost one of my rubber ear pieces from the earphones on my ipod and out of the blue I get this email asking if I'd like to review the new ear pieces from Underwater Audio. I guess they found me because I did an unsolicited review of their product in the past.

Of course I said yes and they arrived.

No I'm not going to lie, after I opened the package I had no idea what I was looking at. There was the earphones and that's it. The original earphones they sold the package with had a feature that you would wrap around your ear and I kind of thought that was necessary to keep it in place. Now I see these new ones and they have none of that and in fact they have this weird looking ear plug that I couldn't see working.

It kind of threw me and I figured hell they sent it to me I didn't buy it so lets not get to hasty. I tried to figure out the earphone and I really couldn't and that is not unusual for me with products. So I emailed them and asked them if they had instructions on how to put on the ear buds and make it work.

They didn't. I think they were also surprised as they figured it was self explanatory. It might have been but just not to me. But I figured I see how they are on in the pictures, I'll do the same and try them out.

Frankly I thought they looked so strange and that there was no way that they would work. There was no heavy seal like most and I figured water would just get in or they would fall out or both.

Now this is where I feel bad.

They sent me the sample about 6 or more months ago and because I hate swimming so much and was lazy I didn't try them. Only a month ago I jumped in the pool and figured I'd try them and write my review. Heck I'm a business owner and know it cost them money to send them to me I may as well give them a review as I promised.

So the moment of truth came. I got to the pool and I noticed a huge difference right off the bat. It took me about 15 seconds to have them on and ready to go. WTF? The other ones they sold, albeit way better than the competition, still took me about a minute or more to put on and make sure the loops when around the ears and stayed in place and I had to make sure I had a swim cap on to pin my ears in place so they wouldn't come off.

It was a good thing I was using these new versions. I forgot my swim cap. I needed a swim cap for the older version. With this new version there is no hooks to go around your ears, they just plug in like a normal earphone.

This is where I was skeptical. How could these stay in during my swim without the hooks?

This is where I was surprised, they did!

So they passed the first test and took no time to put on. They passed the second test that they stayed on when I started swimming.

The next question would they pass the third test.....Would the sound be good and would water get in my ears?

I was certain that water would get in my ears. The design was so different that I couldn't see how it couldn't. Even to this day the design is so different I don't know if I'm putting them in right. I don't know what it top or bottom or what. I just stick them in and hope for the best.

I wasn't expecting them to work well. I was wrong. They were surprising in that the sound was great and worked better than the original pair.

Now don't get me wrong, water will still get in. I don't think with my ears, water not getting in is possible and sometimes just pushing off the wall hard will put enough pressure against the ear that water will get in or in rare moments the ear piece will pop out.

To expect perfection with underwater ear buds I don't think is possible from anyone. Although I found these ones to be better than the others I've tried. Even their own original pair I bought.

I has less water coming in my ears. I had better sound with and without water in my ears and if I did get water in my ears to reset the ear but was a second. Just a simple pull out and put back in and it would work great for relatively long periods of time.

To put it in perspective even with the occasional adjustments, I LOVE there new ear bud. I still can't believe it works based on what I see and I know they got a patent on it and to this day wonder how they even thought to go in that direction. It's so counter intuitive of a look.

The things I love about it.
- Super Easy to put on and fast.
- You don't need to wear a swim cap (perfect if like me you forget yours)
- Great sound without and with water in ears
- Easy to adjust if you get water in your ears

Would I recommend this product?

Totally. I always have and now the only other recommendation I'd make is to get the sport version of the ear buds.

Anyway that is my review and in no way am I influenced by the fact they sent them to me for free to try out. If they sucked, I would say so. They don't.

If I have any concerns it's that what will happen when they run out of iPods if Apple discontinues them. Sometimes when I swim I think of this. That's how much I love the product. I just hope they bought a shit ton of them or have a deal with Apple to supply them when they run out.

On a scale of 1 - 10 when it comes to finding the perfect underwater iPod / MP3 player, hands down I'd recommend Underwater Audio. (If it doesn't work for you you probably have some sort of ear deformity and mine are one the edge).

Definitely will increase your swimming pleasure, unless you enjoy mind numbing looking at the lines on the bottom of the pool. If that's the case you probably also like watching paint dry.

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