Can the Swimbuds Waterproof Headphones stand up to the torrent of sweat pouring off our hard working reviewer…?
I don’t typically ride with headphones. Apparently this is a hot button issue, but it’s not something I care a great deal about personally. I don’t typically use headphones because I like to be aware of traffic when I’m riding in the city and I like to really tune into the bike when I have the opportunity to ride without the distraction of traffic.
It’s actually something I really enjoy about the rare times I get to be on roads without city traffic. You become aware of your breathing and the cadence of the bike. You find a rhythm and it’s a beautiful thing!
However, I do occasionally ride with one earbud in, so I can listen to google maps give directions, typically completely insane directions, but sometimes it’s necessary. I do also ride with headphones when I’m on the rollers. Even then I only ride with one headphone in because although I have a cycle computer that shows cadence on the rollers, it’s a lot easier to get close to my ideal cadence using the sound of the tires on the drums.
So last winter when some of my headphones seemed to randomly stop working, I was really confused. Headphones I’d used forever would suddenly stop working on one side. Took me a little bit to realize that they weren’t working on the side that I’d last used. It dawned on me that I was killing them because they were getting wet from my sweat!
At that point I went on a hunt for a solution. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I’m not an audiophile, not even close and I don’t even listen in stereo. It made no sense to spend a bunch of money on headphones for my use. At the time, I found a pair of Koss headphones that seemed to do the trick, but when the guys at underwater audio asked if I wanted to check out their gear, I jumped at the chance.
As it’s meant for swimming there was certainly no way I was going to kill their ear buds with my sweat. It also meant that if I took along headphones in my jersey, something I frequently do in case I need to start listening to google maps at some point, I no longer had to worry about bagging up the headphones if it rained; no matter how much of a downpour I was in, I would know they’d be just fine in my jersey pocket with no protection. They might even survive an accidental spin cycle should I forget them in my jersey at the end of a ride! I don’t think that’s a recommended usage, but I know for sure that conventional earbuds won’t. It’s a nice potential bonus. All in all, I decided it’s a definite convenience to have truly waterproof headphones even if I’m not swimming with them.
In terms of this particular product, my impression of them is favourable. Although I wouldn’t say particularly noteworthy. They come with a huge range of options for the tip of the earbud, and they are generally well packaged with a good fit and finish. I found an option for the tip that does a good job staying in my ear and feels comfortable when I ride.
The short primary cord and extension seems like a nice feature. They are just a bit too short to reach my phone in my jersey, so I’ve got to use the extension all the time, but I think it’s a nice feature that gives more options for different uses.
As for the audio, like I said, I’m not at all an audiophile, but I found them really tinny sounding. The company said that it sounds much more full when actually being used underwater, but I can’t verify that one way or the other.
Bottom line for me is that these are a good option for a pretty good price, if you want something you know you won’t kill on a hard, sweaty rollers ride and you don’t have to worry about them when outside in the rain. The audio quality isn’t spectacular and the price point they’ve got them at does leave room for bargain shopping.
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