A while back, when I first saw Steve Jobs announce the new version of the iPod shuffle, with integrated clip and super-small form factor, I was excited. I exercise a lot, mostly running, biking and swimming. Music (or “books on tape”) makes the whole experience a lot more tolerable, and the iPod shuffle with its light weight and built-in clip is a perfect companion.
For running and biking, the shuffle is brilliant, and I use it every day. Every day. However, I’ve been swimming a lot more lately, and most electronics don’t do well in water, chlorinated or otherwise. And I’ll tell you something else. Swimming laps is boring. Really boring. I find it slow, tedious, dull, and insipid. I like the feeling of endorphin release, and the positive benefits of the exercise, but man swimming laps is uninspiring.
Swimman.com is a service that will waterproof the iPod shuffle. You can buy the iPod through them, or purchase it directly and send it to them. The waterproofing treatment takes about one week, and then you’re ready to go. They also sell waterproof headphones (which I bought) to use while swimming.
Here are the basics:
- They waterproof the shuffle
- The On/Off slider and the Shuffle/Continuous play slider are both locked in place
- The buttons become much stiffer
Otherwise it works the same as before. If you want to shuffle your music you can set your playlist in iTunes to shuffle. Once you get your device, you’ll want to clip your headphones and the shuffle to the headband, strap the excess cord under the headband, and then you’re ready to swim.
Swimman offers a number of packages to choose from, including just the shuffle itself, the headphones and the shuffle as a combo package, etc. I went with package E, along with a pair of swimman headphones. The waterproofing treatment is $100 plus $15 for shipping and handling. The headphones are another $100. And the 2GB shuffle is about $70. So all told I’m down almost $300 for the luxury of waterproof tunes while lap swimming.
I’ve now used the waterproofed shuffle a total of 8 times. I am stoked. I switch back and forth between music and books on tape (nothing gets you pumped up like Joe Mantegna reading the Godfather.) But I find that I can now swim longer and with less impatience. Here are some pics of the shuffle in situ – (it looks just like any other):
On the whole I think this is awesome. It ain’t cheap, so if you’re short of cash you might need to look at cheaper options. But all of those options are considerably bulkier, heavier, and/or less convenient than the Swimman waterproofing treatment for the shuffle.
If I were forced to give the Swimman waterproofing system a numeric rating between 1 and 10, I’d give it an 8. It would probably be a 9 or 10 if the price wasn’t so dang high.
This post is also available on 1TO10REVIEWS.
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