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The endless summer is less boring when there's a soundtrack running between your ears—even when they're wet. Whether you're lying on the beach or doing laps in a pool, the H2O Man Swim Waterproof MP3 Player from Intova provides up to 13 hours of audio accompaniment.
Already inserted in the player is a removable 512MB Micro SD card; H2O Man Swim is bundled with a Micro SD card reader/writer that plugs directly into a USB port on your computer in order to copy songs. You recharge the embedded lithium-ion battery using a provided USB cable. (Note: the USB cable does not transfer music.) The included Micro SD card can be exchanged for your own card with a capacity of up to 8GB of memory.
Three pairs of rubber bud-huggers are included so that you can try them all in order to pick the O-ring that provides the tightest seal and most comfortable fit. The length of wire between each bud and the player is only 8-inches—and the buds are hard-wired to the player's removable swimming-goggles clip. While this span would seem far too short unless you're a pinhead, an Intova spokesman explained that swimmers are supposed to clip the player onto the rubber strap across the back of their heads that secures their swim goggles. Measured from here, eight-inch wires are sufficient to reach each ear, and the advantage of this short length is that there's hardly any drag if you're a swimmer reaching for greatness.
You replace the goggles module with the power charging/audio output module, also included. To change modules, you hold down a tab and twist clockwise with enough pressure to make you think you're about to break something. A tech-support person assured me that since my model was just out of the box, the first few times you tried twisting, you really had to apply force. I did, and it didn't break.
The second module comes with two ports—holes you don't want to place underwater. One is a mini USB port for charging the player, which takes about two hours connected to a computer's USB port. The other is a jack for connecting your own earphones, presumably the type with ample-length wires. Just make sure to switch back to the waterproof module before reentering the pool.
The players' rubberized buttons, including VOLUME, PLAY/PAUSE, and SKIP to the next/last track may be pressed in or out of water. There is no display, though that would hardly matter unless you had eyes on the back of your head. Luckily, the controls are in graphic relief so that when one hand comes out of the water and reaches back, you should be able to find the button that stops the music. The H2O Man Swim Waterproof MP3 Player is compatible with MP3 and WMA files.
Intova recently introduced another underwater player, the H2O Man Duo, also known as 2 Models-in-One. Though the player is the same, this version comes with two styles of earphones: short-wired "Swim Earphones" just like the ones described above and "Extreme Headphones" (left) which hide the wires in a self-contained polymer frame. Either earphone type can be worn in the water. The Extreme Earphones are more adjustable and flexible to use, though they potentially result in more drag if you try speed swimming. Three Extreme earbud sets (small, medium, and large) and three Swim earbud sets (S, M, L) are included so you can choose the best-fitting pair. A 512MB Micro SD card and reader/writer are also included with the H2O Man Duo.
The Honolulu-based Intova also makes waterproof pocket cameras, from the inexpensive SS1000 to more capable point-and-shooters, bundled with underwater housing, like the 8-Megapixel SP800K and 12MP IC12.
Towel not included.