Tunes to Swim By

For the last 9 years I have enjoyed swimming with music. Not every swim, but for some swims the added auditory stimulus has enhanced my concentration and quality of swimming. I like that.

For these 9 years I have used the Finis MP3 device. The original player which lasted for about 5 years, and then the newer Duo model which is still up and running…. but not without some frustrations. I have absolutely no issues with the sound – it delivers crisp, clear melodies with no static or vibration. The Finis Duo is relatively comfortable for its size and shape, and I never had any issues with the programming. Its biggest downfall and most frustrating aspect is the charging. Yes, those reviews were correct. The first Finis model had a direct USB connection which was fantastic. The newer Duo has magnetic pins. Hit and miss on the connection and half the time it may look like its charging but fair dinkum it’s not. Bring in the mech eng husband who gets a mini clamp to hold it in place to charge. On a good day that would work. However, I would sigh every time I needed to charge the device.

Well this week was the last straw, two attempts to charge and no dice. A minor dummy spit, a quick click and ship, and the Aftershokz Xtrainerz was at the front door. Yeah baby, who doesn’t love a new toy. I ripped that sucker out the package and went straight to charge. Exciting doesn’t begin to describe it… the Xtrainerz come with a charging cable and its own little mini house (cradle is the official word) for the pogo pins that the headphones snap in to. Genius. It was super quick and easy to charge and load songs. I was already sold.

Looking closely at features of the two devices I can give you the following Cliff notes:

The Xtrainerz charge in less than 2 hours…. the Finis Duo may charge if the stars are aligned.

The Xtrainerz play time is 8 hours…. the Finis Duo 7 hours.

The Xtrainerz support a few more file formats than the Finis Duo but both support MP3 and WMA.

The Xtrainerz have the ability to create folders and change between them on the device, for example, switch from a music playlist to an audiobook. Winning.

Both have storage of 4GB.

The Xtrainerz have a two year warranty, the Finis Duo has one year.

I couldn’t wait to swim this morning to take the Xtrainerz for a whirl.  

Some notes on the practical side….

There is no significant weight difference between the two. Check. The Xtrainerz are far more streamlined and discreet. The shape of the Xtrainerz, and the fact that you don’t attach them to the goggle strap like the Finis, made for a more comfortable fit. I did play with putting the rounded strap of the Xtrainerz under my cap, then over my cap, and it did not change the comfort or quality of audio. I would say do what feels best for your noggin.

I did really like when turning on the Xtrainerz, it gave you an alert for the level of battery -even more in its favor regarding charging! I did not wear the ear plugs included in the Xtrainerz kit (along with a swim cap and storage case, thank you Aftershokz!), and the audio was still clear and crisp. I wondered if there would be movement of the device when going to breathe, and to my delight there was not. The audio did change a little in that moment though, when the device shifted from water to air. Just a volume change it seemed, nothing major and could entirely be my ears….

The smaller buttons for on/off, volume and mode are much more responsive than the Finis Duo. And here is one added feature y’all…. the Xtrainerz will flash solid red for charging, solid blue for charge complete, red flash every 5 seconds for low battery, one second red for power off, one second blue for power on. Flashes red and blue, lookout, there is a problem. Communication! The cornerstone of every great relationship! As of this moment I am one happy, tuned in swimmer with the Xtrainerz!

Please note I am not affiliated with any company, just looking for an enjoyable swim! If anyone is heading to the swim studio soon and would like to compare, I am happy to guide you through it.

Coach Dinah