Aftershokz UK recently put out a post on Instagram calling for reviewers to try out their new, waterproof headphones – the XTRAINERZ. I filled out the form and explained that, as I was learning to swim, their new product could be a game changer for me. I was lucky enough to get picked and have been trying them out since they arrived!
The XTRAINERZ are the latest model, joining the Titanium and the Air among others, and Aftershokz have been working on them for two years. They’re made for the water as there are so few options out there for swimmers and triathletes and swimming can get a bit lonely (if like me you’re learning in any way and it’s a bit stop/start while you get into a rhythm it’s also a little frustrating!). They have 4 buttons in total – on/off/pause, volume down/back a song, volume up/skip a song and mode (normal/repeat/shuffle and general/swimming mode).
Now, here’s some stats:
– They’re currently £139.95 on Amazon
– They can be taken up to 2 meters deep
– They can be submerged for up to 2 hours
– They have 8 hours of playback time (they have a rechargable lithium battery)
– They have 4GB of memory (roughly 1200 songs)
– You can download songs from any PC or Mac
– Weight = 30g
I’ve decided to rate these out of ten based on comfort, sound quality (above and below the water), ease of use and how easy it is to transfer music on to them (They are an MP3 player which means you do have to put music on there first as they can’t be connected to anything like Spotify).
Sound quality in the water – 10 out 10
All I can say is that the sound in the water was just amazing! It was like an underwater concert! As soon as your ears go underwater the sound becomes amplified. I spent the first 10 minutes of my swim not doing any actual swimming because I was too busy listening to the music with my head half underwater. I was absolutely fascinated with how much the sound changed below the surface. Listening to Queen in the pool was brilliant and it definitely added focus to my time in water as I has a beat to swim to.
Sound quality out of the water – 9 out 10
Now, these are designed for the pool but I also tried them out on dry land while I was running and the sound quality is still great. I did my long run in the stormy weather last week and the only reason they are one mark short of the full 10 is because I expected to still be able to hear them clearly in that weather and couldn’t. However, where I don’t even bother with normal headphones in that kind of wind as they just blow out of my ears, these stayed put the whole time I was running and I definitely didn’t feel like I was going to lose them in a big gust of wind.
Comfort – 8 out of 10
I tried these on a run as well as the pool and in both settings I could have forgotten that I was even wearing them. In the pool they work with my googles and my swimming hat so you don’t have to change up your kit just because you’re wearing these. In the pool I did prefer to wear them without a swimming hat as they got a bit ‘pinchy’ with the hat over the top of them but that only happened once I’d been wearing them for over half an hour. When I took my swimming hat off I was a bit worried about them slipping but they stayed put I never felt like they were going to fall off and sink to the bottom of the pool!
Ease of use – 10 out of 10
I mentioned above that these have just four buttons so they were really easy to use when I was swimming or running as you can just feel your way around. The on/off button also pauses the music while the volume buttons also skip songs if you hold them down. I put mine on random mode while I was swimming so I didn’t really have the need to skip the music but it was easy to do when I was finding a track to start swimming to. All in all the unit is easy to get used to and I’m already able to just find the button I need.
Putting music onto the headphones – 10 out of 10
When I plugged the USB cable into my Mac the headphones showed up straight away so there was no searching for the software. I opened up my iTunes and simply dragged the music I wanted to put on the headphone across to the Aftershokz. It was that easy! Their other headphones do work with bluetooth but with the XTRAINERZ you have to put music onto them. In a world where you can connect everything to everything else I can see why this might be a bit inconvenient but I actually don’t mind it. Why would you want to be having to look at your watch or your phone to change the music in the middle of a swim? The earphones have a shuffle mode so you can have a mix of songs and you can skip a song with a press of a button so you have everything you need in the unit to enjoy a variety of music in the pool.
Overall rating – 9 out of 10
I wasn’t sure what to expect with bone conducting technology as I’d never tried anything like this before but I loved them! Wearing them in the pool was brilliant and it’s changed up my swimming so much already. I’m not a strong swimmer and I do find improvement slow when I get bored but having a rhythm to swim too made my swims this week much more enjoyable. I’m so glad I got picked to try these and I’ll be in the pool a lot more now! If you’re more of a runner with the odd swim here and there I would go for any of the other models but, if like me, swimming is going to feature a lot, you need a pair of these!
You can buy the XTRAINERZ here. At £139. 95 (current price on Amazon at time of writing) they’re not cheap but for swimmers they’re a bit of an investment and I definitely think they’re so worth it!