Age group triathlete Jon Dundee takes the Audioflood waterproof iPod for a test drive. See how it fared in our extensive swim training tests…
Open the box and the waterproof iPod bundle from Audioflood* looks no different to a standard iPod. The water proofing is completely internal with the process filling the inside with a special sealant. Included in the bundle is a set of underwater headphones, the standard iPod headphones, an extension lead, carry bag and swim hat. And the bundle comes with a confidence-inspiring two-year warranty.
As we’re now in the depths of winter I was not in any way dedicated enough to test in open water, however, I have used the iPod extensively in the pool and my impressions were good. Although not designed for swimming, the clip on the iPod shuffle makes a perfect goggle clip, and as a result the iPod didn’t move a bit during any of my sessions. In fact, after a few minutes of swimming you could easily forget it was there.
I generally have an issue with in-ear headphones staying put and when I first used the headphones supplied this was the case too. Luckily, Audioflood includes three different ear plug sizes, so I found swapping the buds and using the supplied swim hat kept the headphones in place perfectly. This is further assisted by the coiled cords minimising the drag on the headphone lead through the water, it also means they don’t get in the way and there’s no chance of getting tangled.
One observation of using in-ear headphones in water was once water found its way into my ears the sound changed, which was sometimes distracting; this was particularly evident when tumble-turning.
As the iPod is not designed for ‘behind the head’ operation, I found the buttons slightly difficult to use. I’ve also heard reports of some waterproof iPods having very stiff and difficult to operate buttons due to the waterproofing process, but this was not the case with this unit.
I’ve used music as a tool to help up my running cadence in the past and my first thoughts were to use music for swimming in the same way. I downloaded an app that analyses your iTunes library and displays the BPM for each track. Once I’d chosen a playlist with music of the correct BPM, I synced to the iPod and found this a great tool for ensuring an even and correctly timed stroke rate.
In syncing the iPod I discovered one of the major advantages of a waterproof iPod over most other swim-specific mp3 players – it works perfectly with iTunes! Having used other mp3 players, often a great piece or hardware is let down by the sub-standard software. They often involve annoying methods of getting the music on the device or fall fowl of overzealous DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). The other advantage is that you only need a single device for swimming, running or even your daily commute.
The only downside I can see is that the bundle seems pricey when compared to other waterproof mp3’s designed specifically for swimming.
Words: Jon Dundee
Jon, 36, has been a keen age group triathlete for the past three years and qualified for the ETU sprint distance European Championships in 2014. His favourite discipline is cycling and his next goal is to go up in distance at the Ironman 70.3 in Majorca this May.
*The Audioflood waterproof iPod is an American product so there is a $10 international shipping fee.