H20 Audio for iPod Nano review: H2O Audio for iPod Nano

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great opportunity to listen to music while doing water sports. Control technology allows normal iPod operation. iPod stays dry and speakers stay on through active use.

The Bad Only available for iPods (and some iRiver MP3 players for scuba). Sound quality varies depending on the setting. Need to spend time getting the headphones to fit well and the sound to work.

The Bottom Line Fairly expensive accessory but worth it for those who spend a lot of time in the water.

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Preparing to swim with the H20 Audio

H2O Audio was founded on the idea that we shouldn't be prevented from listening to music just because we like water sports. The idea is to waterproof your iPod to give you access to your tunes when you're taking a dunk -- swimming, diving, surfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing or kayaking. Perhaps if Thorpie had've been using one he might not have got bored with that black line so quickly! On the market locally since 2004 and in the US since 2002, H2O Audio is now on its third generation of cases, with most iPods covered and the 2nd gen Nano housing coming out in Decemeber. H2O Audio housings are only available for iPods, with one exception designed specifically for scuba divers: the iRiver iFP-300 Series case.

Design
All H2O Audio housings include silicon ear plugs, designed to custom fit your ears, and a sports pro armband (which can also be purchased separately for $29.95). The H2O Audio Waterproof Headphones are sold separately for $49.95. You can also buy a swim belt ($49.95) and other accessories not tested in this review. All are available online via H2O Audio Australia, Apple and speciality surf/skate stores.

The patented technology behind the waterproof case is impressive indeed and includes the Commander Scroll Wheel control assembly (allowing you to maintain function of the iPod click wheel in the water or while wearing a glove); a dual-hinge, locking draw latch designed to generate uniform compression for a watertight seal up to 3 metres (and which won't open on impact); and the rubber boot keeps its grip on the H2O Audio Headphones for use in the water while still allowing use of any headphones you like on land.

Snorkelling with the H20 Audio

Features
The waterproof headphones feature a standard 3.5mm audio jack, watertight speakers (made for complete submersion) and are designed with an adjustable frame to stay secure during the most active water sports. All headphones include four silicone earplugs as standard, and although these are not supplied separately if they got lost you can contact H2O Audio for more. These plugs are designed to be cut to suit your ears.

Assembling the housing is quite straightforward. The headphones do need some work to get to fit to your head/ears -- the removable silicon earplugs do help to keep water from freely flowing in and out of the ear canal during use. The standard pair are quite large, however you can cut the barbs down to a suitable size.

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Where to Buy

H20 Audio for iPod Nano

Part Number: CNETH20 Audio for iPod Nano

Typical Price: $99.00

See manufacturer website for availability.