Pros Water-tight, solid access to controls, waterproof headphones included, easy-to-read screen
Cons price, headphones take some getting used to, armband or swim belt are extra
Summary I can't believe this rates on C-net's "worst iPod product ever." Normally, I think the reviewers are pretty accurate when it comes to their product evaluations, but I couldn't disagree more with this product from H2O Audio. The case feels and acts like any other water-tight housing for electronics. The latching mechanism which C-net criticizes is pretty standard when it comes to underwater housings. A plus to the latching mechanism is the spring-loaded lock which prevents the housing from accidently opening while submerged.
Getting the iPod in and out of the housing is relatively easy. Once in, all of the click wheel functions are easily controlled by the SV iMini's bezel and raised buttons, making scrolling through songs and selecting playlists a breeze. I have no idea what the reviewers were doing to test the bezel and buttons to not get accurate functions, but I've had no problem so far. In fact, it's been great to quickly skip to another song in the pool as easily as it is on the treadmill.
The headphones are akward at first, and take some getting used to in order to get the right fit. Once on, I was initially unimpressed by the sound out of the water. I'd agree that it sounds like an AM broadcast- very tinny. I was worried that my experience in the pool wouldn't be a positive one. Once in the pool and with my ears submerged, the headphones come into full bloom. The water in your ears actually conducts the sound better into your ear canals than if the sound was being directed through air. Listening to a playlist for the first time underwater is truely remarkable. All other ambient noise is gone, and you are left only with the music. It's a really unique experience.
Swimming with the headphones can be hit or miss- again, depending on whether there is water in your ear canal in order to conduct the sound. If water drains from the ear, then you'll lose some of the fullness of the sound. Overall though, the benefits of being able to listen to any music, even if it wasn't full theater surround 100% of the time, far outweighs the minor annoyance by occassional sound fluctuations while swimming. Quite honestly, I questioned how much time the C-net reviewers spent in the pool with this unit, and actually submerged in water- for me, the sound was great.
It is unfortunate that H2O Audio doesn't include an armband or belt, and instead charges extra for it. Without either, the unit is impossible to swim with, or do any of the water sports it is advertised for. And with a price tag of $150, such an omission is a big oversight.
Because of the poor performance of the headphones out of water, I'm not sure how beneficial the headphones are for surfers. The housing is fantastic for watersports, but if you're going to be spending a lot of time above the water, or at the very least, not partially submerged, you might want to consider other headphones.
Overall, I'm having a blast with the SV iMini. I swam longer than I ever have, and am enjoying my swim workout more than ever. For those who do some serious laps in the pool, need to listen to music when you shower, or are planning on playing in the ocean, the SV iMini boldly goes where the iPod has never gone before- and does so splendidly.
Pros IPod is not wet
Cons High price; hard-to-open case; horrible sounding music; headphones are hard to get on
Summary Well, there is nothing much to say about this. All I can think of is that if someone has tried using this or has purchased this...you're brave. I took the risk, and so did you.
The pricing was what took me to disbelief. $150.00 US for a case and some headphones that don't even fit right? Let us all hope that this is the only product that will be dubbed "The Worst Accessory of the IPod".
Pros Even with poor sound quality, it relieved the tedium of swimming laps.
Cons IT LEAKED. The first 10 times I used it it stayed dry, but today after swimming for about 10 minutes water leaked in and fried my Nano on the spot.
Summary Fortunately I had a replacement warranty on my Nano so it was replaced. I have no idea why it leaked this one time--there's only one way to close the case.
The sound was also terrible. Unless I could get a perfect seal on the earbuds, which was rare, the sound constantly cut in and out. Every couple of laps I'd stop and fiddle with the earbuds-- very distracting.
I only hope I can get a refund, since I'll never trust it again.
Pros Lap swimming no longer a chore
Cons Challenging to open and close
Summary I adore this device. I'm training for a triathlon and normally I can't stand lap swimming. But now that I can take my workout music with me into the pool, I can go for hours! Contrary to the reviewer, I didn't need any optional accessories -- I just stuck the unit into my bathing suit bottom (against my hip) and I was good to go. I was surprised by how great the sound quality is. The controls work fine and I don't really have to use them much anyway; I just pick a playlist that lasts the duration of my swim. The earbuds did take some adjusting to feel comfortable, and the case is a bit of a challenge to open and close, but these are minor gripes.
Pros Keeps it DRY, the headphones work great!
Cons Please make more of them!
Summary This case rocks, I cross train with surfing and swimming and it sounds even better under the water! I would recommend this product to anyone who like to listent to music when they are in the water. I got mine at www.RazorReef.com