I have taken up more water sports in my travels like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing. To stay in shape, I switched from jogging to swimming but one of the biggest issues is music. I started investigating waterproof headphones for working out, travel, and a generally more active lifestyle.
My first attempt are XXY headphones. I got these because they function as a Bluetooth headset and a dedicated MP3 player, which is great for exercising without carrying my phone and also an absolute must for swimming where Bluetooth does not work underwater.
XXY H20 Headphones and all its contents
First impressions were impressive! Instead of brown cardboard pictured on Amazon, it came in a fancy spot gloss box with magnetic closure. Included in the box are user guide, carrying pouch, flat MicroUSB charge cable, headphones and six pairs of ear plugs in three sizes (excluding the ones already attached to the headphones). The charge cable tip is longer than most and appears to jut out even when fully inserted. Headphones looks too big for the pouch but will fit snuggly when wrapped up along with the charge cable.
Design and Fit
At first I thought the shape was just some random sleek design but it actually makes sense because when you are swimming the tapered end points forward when your face is down thereby reducing drag. Although it is designed to wrap around your ears, it just hovers over mine. My head and ears are probably smaller than average. Nonetheless the earbuds stayed put while swimming and even after I got out of the pool and shook my hair dry like a wet dog. The wire is malleable but the piece around the ear is hard plastic. I would have love to see an entirely flexible wire design since it does not wrap around my ear anyway and so I can use a single earbuds as a headset for driving.
The Bluetooth connects easily and will automatically try to connect to the last device each time it powers up. Internal memory is simple drag and drop to load files. It came with three tracks included. There are three buttons allowing to pause/play/switch modes/power, volume up/next track, and volume down/previous track. No seek function but that is no big deal. You will hear what sounds like a busy tone when you max out the volume or the battery is low. Specs are off, it took longer than the two hours to fully charge and drains in about four hours of continuous MP3 use.
Waterproof and Sound
I think the headphones are just at the point of buoyancy, it float the first time I tested it, the second time is slowly started to sink. I swam about twenty five laps for about thirty minutes and it really does work fully submerged. There are some caveats though. I originally wanted to use it for listening to language learning audio books. Unfortunately, audio levels are a bit low, especially for vocals and in a foreign language. It was fine for loud upbeat music, rigorous splashing may compete but definitely usable for casual swimming. This is to be expected though because they are too small to house the necessary space for preamps and air space for sound to travel. Note that they are louder with the buds slightly out than pushed all the way in. They may benefit from the pyramid shaped cone tips seen in other swimming earbuds.
Accessories and instructions.
For the price, it is hard to complaint. It doubles as a Bluetooth headset and a MP3 player. It even triples as earplugs just to keep water out of your ear. There just are not a whole lot of other options on the market that does both. It is about a quarter the price of the Sony Bluetooth/MP3 walkman and one-tenth the price of the Bragi Dash. While it is not perfect, it does what it is supposed to. Music really breaks up the monotony of lap swimming, encourages me to exercise longer, and make the time pass quicker.
XXY H2O on the left, Megafeis E350 in the center, and Tayogo Amp in the right.
Not pictured is the sunken Tayogo WB02.