Gadget Review: H2Audio iV6 vs. FreeStyleAudio Underwater MP3 Solutions
As consumers are inundated with MP3 peripherals, manufacturers are constantly trying to integrate new ways for you to your experience music. Today I am pairing H2Audio’s waterproof iPod case against Freestyle Audio’s 2GB Sport MP3 Player. Both of these products offer submersible MP3 solutions, and each of these products have their pros and cons.
H2Audio’s Waterproof iV6 iPod case is an airtight, fully submersible case that attaches via an armband. You must also purchase the ‘sold separately’ H2Audio H3 waterproof headphones in order for it to work underwater. The case is very well constructed, but it’s very bulky, and has blunt force trauma weapon written all over it.
Once it’s jammed into the armband, it hangs off your arm like an extra appendage, which could be very cumbersome for certain people. The water proof rubber sealant worked great in the ocean and in the pool, and I had no doubts in trusting the device to protect my expensive iPod properly. The scroll wheel and adapted buttons were smooth and functional, be it a little slow, and wearing thicker gloves would render the buttons totally useless. The deepest pool I could find was 5 feet, and the iV6 responded great, keeping all the water out. I must say that listening to music underwater is a totally unique experience, but was it ever supposed to happen?
The seal on the headphones just isn’t that tight and I constantly had to readjust them to keep the water out. Easily the most distracting thing about the iV6 and the H3 headphones is that they require too much babysitting. I can see how it might be tolerable in a casual setting, but if you’re like Mike Phelps it would be totally annoying. The H3 earphones out of water sound like clock radio speakers, and aren’t very comfortable. Honestly, I feel the iV6 is better suited used without the H3 earphones. The rugged case would be great tossed around casually at a BBQ or party, but as far as it’s intended purpose, it’s more gimmicky than useful. Factor in $135 for the iV6 and the H3 headphones, and I feel these products are extremely niche.
The Freestyle Audio Sport Mp3 Player is a fully submersible waterproof/shockproof 2GB lightweight FM radio and MP3 player. Other features include: flash memory, up to 18 hours of play time, OLED screen, floatable body, EQ presets, FM presets, stores files, MAC & PC friendly, and universal eight inch jack.
So this MP3 player has a ton of features that are some great selling points, but how does it stack up to the iV6? The biggest difference is price, with the Freestyle Audio Sport Player with headphones included at under $70. Also, the FreeStyle Audio is much smaller, and weighs a fraction of what the iV6 weighs. Just like the iV6, the Freestyle Audio Sport player also attaches via armband, but is far less obtrusive and has a bright blue OLED screen, which brings me to my first point. The screen has so many options and icons that it can be confusing as to what you are doing. To add to the steep learning curve of the functions, there are 5 very small interface buttons that use up to 4 different button presses! Short press, long press, hold, and double press! This might deter some users who turn on and listen. The instructions are well laid out, but I found it best to just create a large play list and go! Screw futzing with all the controls! Design choice was obvious when it came to limiting the device’s buttons and inputs, as there is one headphone input that acts as the headphone port as well as the computer interface via USB. The same problem persisted when it came time to listening to music underwater, the seal just wasn’t there. The included waterproof headphones are better fitting than the H3′s but required just as much adjusting. Still very cool to listen to tunes underwater, but the practicality just isn’t that prevalent.
In the end, if you need to listen to your music underwater, I’d go with Freestyle Audio Sport MP3 Player. Price, weight, and size is the final nail in the iV6′s coffin. H2Audio’s iV6 is a quality product in it’s own right, though only when applied to the right scenario. Other than that, they’d both be cool for everyday casual use, and it wouldn’t hurt to use them with some 3rd party low cost ear buds just so you have better sound quality when you’re engaged in non-underwater sports.
H2Audio iV6 and H3 Headphones
- Rough & rugged design and construction
- Absolutely rock solid underwater iPod seal
- Awesome for alternative scenarios
- Headphones sound weak in and out of water
- Bulky, heavy, and obtrusive
Freestyle Audio Sport Mp3 Player
- Lightwieght & Floatable
- Fair Price
- Cool Features
- Headphones are a weak water seal
- Buttons, functions, and interface are totally convoluted making you not want to learn it
- Not the best choice for primary Mp3 player
Buy the H2Audio iV6 waterproof iPod Case for $99 here.
Buy the H3 waterproof Headphones for $34.48 here.
Buy the Freestyle Audio Sport Mp3 player for $67.80 here.