2nd-Generation iPod nano
Keeps its promise - keeps iPod dry underwater
Good underwater sound quality
Case and headphones are sold separately, making the final price higher than it at first appears
US$79.95 for case
US$39.95 for headphones (required for underwater use)
As with any electronics, a cardinal rule of iPod care is don’t get it wet. But if you’re a swimmer who wants music in the pool or a snorkeler in need of a soundtrack, are you out of luck? No, thanks to the new H20 Audio for iPod nano waterproof case and headphone combination from H20 Audio.
This product, designed to be taken no more than 10 feet below the water’s surface (making this a poor fit for most scuba divers), consists of a clear, hard-plastic case and a pair of headphones (these two items are sold separately, which is a bit frustrating since you need the special headphones for underwater operation). The case has its own buttons and clickwheel adapter to facilitate underwater use.
The case is made waterproof thanks to a rubbery layer that sits just inside it called a T-seal. When the case is used and locked properly (accidental openings are prevented by an effective two-step locking system), the T-seal prevents water from leaking into the case, while the SealTight headphone connector keeps moisture out of that opening.
The make or break test of the product, of course, is taking it into the water, which is a scary thing to do given how electronics and water usually get along. Assuming you’re using the case correctly, you can put those worries out of your head – it works just as advertised. No water got into the case or touched my nano in 30-40 minutes of underwater use.
After getting out of the water and opening the case, I found a few small drops of water, on the outside edge of the T-seal, which seems acceptable.
The headphones worked surprisingly well underwater. If you listen to these headphones outside water, you’ll conclude that they’re low quality and not worth the price. Using them underwater, though, will quickly change your opinion.
As soon as you submerge with the headphones on, their sound transforms from tinny and soft to riche and more nuanced. While no one will confuse these headphones with high-end options for true audiophiles, they’re certainly good enough for in-water use.
When listening underwater, be sure to use the included earplug adapters, which prevent water getting between the headphones and your ears, causing uncomfortable bubbles and reducing the sound quality.
One thing to note is that you may need to use a higher volume underwater than you would out of water. This may worry those concerned about hearing loss and it also means that before you listen to your iPod out of the water, you ought to turn the volume down lest your next listening experience be far too loud.
The case comes with a neoprene sport armband to secure it to your arm while swimming. Serious or competitive swimmers may find that the case/armband/headphone combination causes too much drag on them in the water, but recreational users should be happy with trio.
All in all, the H20 Audio for iPod nano system (H20 Audio also makes a model for the iPod video) safely takes the iPod where it hasn’t gone before (at least not on purpose and without serious damage!).