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10-31-2009, 11:20 PM #1H2O Audio Amphibx Armband
We're reviewing the H2O Audio Amphibx Armband (Part No. | WA1-5A1) case for the iPhone/iPod Touch today and having some fun in the process. This armband is intended to be used underwater in swimming pools or other shallow bodies of water to a depth of 12ft, or anywhere you need waterproofing like using a jet ski in the lake. It is made of neoprene to ensure the armband stays on your arm and doesn't slide around. Neoprene is known to be a high friction material and it does a good job of staying put on your arm.
So, who is H2O Audio? A company based in San Diego, California that has specialized in waterproof audio products since 2003. They have put their product in the hands of people such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, and Laird Hamilton for R&D and product feedback. You can find H2O products at Apple, Best Buy, The Sports Authority, and Amazon.com.
The first thing you’ll notice when you begin to preparing everything for going underwater is that getting a 3GS size phone in the package is a bit tricky. It’s very tight inside. At the angle you need to insert it, you have to be mindful of the headphone jack or you may damage things if you don't pay attention. My 2nd gen iPod Touch went in much easier than the phone did. Neither were a huge hassle. The phone seemed to stay put in front of the window, there is nothing to hold it there short of the material inside being rubber and gripping the phone/touch with friction. No problems there as it does a fine job.
The armband is adjustable for various size arms, though it is certainly geared more towards the "average" size arm. Larger arm users may not be able to make this unit fit without some tightness. Since that situation will be similar to taking your blood pressure I will ask users to pay attention to how tight they fit the product as it could result in fainting if you wear an arm band too tight. We are speaking of water here….. and fainting….. not a good combination. Be safe and mindful when strapping things to your body. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to see H2O Audio throw in a small velcro extension for the larger person to avoid encouraging them to use it regardless of whether it fits properly or not. I'm putting this disclaimer here because while the included booklet covers several "don't listen too loudly, watch for watercraft" disclaimers, nothing is mentioned of the dangers of using armbands and circulation issues (especially in active situations).
Once in the water swimming you need to be careful not to let the ear plugs wiring get caught on anything or pull them out accidentally. Since we are in the water and everything floats….. you’re going to have to get creative. If the line floats around and you catch it with your arm, you’re coming back to the surface, shaking everything out, reinserting it, and going back down. For this reason I'd use the product on the arm as intended rather than a belt strap. If you are simply using the Armband for waterproofing and doing something above the waves, using the armband as intended on the arm rather than a belt strap will still benefit you if you hit the water after taking a dive off your boogie board. The armband weighs only half a pound so it is intended to float if by some chance you become detached from it.
I didn’t have any issues changing the touch or phone through the panel so the access window seems to work very well. It's no different than simply touching the screen under normal circumstances. I didn’t experience any leaks with the unit, and both my 32gb 3GS and my 2nd gen 16gb Touch are both still functioning fine with no after effects after taking the plunge. You may wish to check out the various headphones they offer at their site to see which are right for you, as their system called Sealtight only works within the ranks of their products. Therefore, while you could theoretically use any 3.5mm jack headphones, you can only have the waterproof seal to the system by using H2O Audio's headphones.
(image via h2oaudio.com)
I was able to enjoy a great day of using the jet ski and got in some swimming as well all while listening to my tunes. If you go swimming a lot or own a jet ski, boat, etc….. you may want to check out the armband from H2OAudio. Their FAQ section may help you with any specific questions about their products which is located at H2O Audio -- Waterproof Your iPod, Waterproof Headphones, Waterproof Headphone System, Waterproof mp3, Waterproof accessories, Waterproof cover, Waterproof cases, Waterproof phone, Waterproof Armabdns & Cases, Deep Dive Waterproof Case