This is a review post for the Pyle PSWP20BL MP3 Player I recently purchased for use during lap swimming.
TLDR: It’s good. Make sure the earplugs fit well.
A couple weeks ago I decided to get back into lap swimming. For whatever reason, it seems to be the only regular workout routine that has worked for me historically, but the huge drawback is it’s just so boring. Being able to listen to podcasts or audio books is great for making the time fly during tedious tasks like this, but at least up until now that hasn’t been a good mix with being in the water.
There are a lot of different waterproof MP3 players out there. The price (and I’m sure the quality) varies greatly. I didn’t want to invest a lot without knowing whether they would even work, and these seemed to be an attractive option in that regard – they were only $34.99 when I bought them (about a week ago – they’ve gone up since then).
After reading the Amazon reviews I took a chance on these and I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, the features and user interface aren’t as rich as my preferred media player (the Sansa Clip Zip using the substantially superior open source Rockbox firmware) – quite the opposite in fact – this thing is as bare-bones as it gets. But the basic idea is I’m going to be swimming with it clipped on the back of my goggles, so as long as I can control the volume, pause and skip forward and back without looking that’s all I’m really interested in.
While I normally listen to more podcasts than probably anyone who’s reading this, I decided (at least for now) to see if I can finally make it through the daunting set of Song of Ice and Fire books, so that’s all I’ve listened to using them so far. The simple controls are fine for that, since it’s just listening to each track in order, so I’m never really skipping around.
The big question everyone wants to know with these devices: how do they sound? The answer is it’s not the greatest in terms of audio fidelity (and I highly doubt any waterproof model would be), but in terms of being able to hear (in this case book content) clearly they fit the bill.
In my experience, the most important aspect is making sure the earplugs fit in and seal well. If you’ve got a good seal (no water leaking in), it’s crystal clear. The minute any water gets in, you basically can’t hear at all. Again, I suspect this will be the same for any similar product. They provide four different types of rubber earplugs you can swap out to find the best fit for your ear, but the ones it came set up with initially worked great for me. There are other adjustments you can make to the earpieces, etc. and I highly recommend tweaking them until the fit is perfect, since it’s a deal-breaker if the fit is slightly off.