Most helpful critical review
135 of 137 people found the following review helpful
Sound and power issues, breaks before two years of use
on January 21, 2010
I train for triathlons and bought this to keep me entertained through the endless laps. I swim three times a week for an hour in the pool at a time. I bought it in November 2009 and have been using it many times since.
The instructions leave much to be desired. First of all, the instructions say that the unit will stay lit when it is fully charged. Not so. According to the Finis rep, you need to use the "safely remove hardware" button before the green light stops flashing. THAT is supposed to indicate it is fully charged. I have to leave the computer on overnight for a charge.
The unit is difficult to turn on/off. The same button is used for starting and for pausing. Here is the problem. It is hard to figure out whether you've turned it off or have paused the unit, because in both cases the light goes off... for at least 5 seconds. So you stand there, trying to shield the unit from the overhead light of the pool and squint looking to see whether the green light is going to flash again. This leads to my next problem.
Now, my unit has been having problems holding a charge. I don't know what else to call it. I charge the unit overnight. I take it swimming once, for one hour. I turn it off (I think. I make sure by holding it up to my ear for some time, I'm that paranoid now). I take it home and it sits in my swim bag. Two days later I go for my next swim, and the unit won't turn on. Now, was the unit off or paused when I last used it? Should it matter? It supposedly has an auto off function after two minutes of pausing, so it can't have been drained due to being paused! That was the explanation the Finis representative gave me, that I hadn't turned it off properly but just paused it, so the battery drained. This unit's charge is supposed to last for EIGHT hours, not one. This means I have to re-charge it every time before use.
Customer service has been spotty. They don't answer emails, so don't bother sending them one. They also don't answer calls, unless you harrass your retailer first to complain. They also don't return your call messages. I am tired of paying long distance to resolve this charge issue. On my last phone message, I did tell them that I would be complaining online if they didn't get back to me. I've given them two weeks since the phone message (and longer since the emails), so I think I'm being fair.
As to the sound quality, it is okay, as long as I'm not moving much in the water and not breathing. Yes, that's right, I said not breathing. The minute my head comes out of the water, the sound cuts out considerably. I usually do a front crawl continuously, breathing every 3 strokes, and even with the sound turned up to maximum, the music is not very loud, and I have good ears. Also, the sound of the water rushing by my ears (I am only moderately fast) is loud even with a bathing cap on, and this tends to drown the sound as well. I can hear the unit the best when I am barely moving in the water, thus not making much of a splash. I wonder if this has to do with the lack of power from the charging problem, that I cannot achieve a louder sound. So, the sound quality is much like background elevator music playing faintly. The problem seems to have worsened over time.
I spend lots of time fiddling with the unit trying to get it sitting in a place on my face where I can hear it well. This wastes my valuable pool time.
Finis needs to re-engineer the unit to make it easier to turn on/off. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the poster who said that you can use the reset button to turn the unit off. I will try that next and see if I still have this charging problem.
On a positive note, lousy sound is better than the sound of nothing when I'm doing endless laps.
UPDATE September 12, 2011: I finally lost the cap for the USB attachment about 7 months ago. Now, my Swimp3 player will no longer charge at all... A call to the technical department resulted in this: As it is clearly out of warranty, they can offer a replacement for around $75. Players can be expected to last 2.5 to 5 years, depending on how they're cared for. Not sure how this compares to MP3 players in general, but I personally can't see why the lifespan is so short when there are very few moving parts? How long can they be expected to last? [...]
I hate the built in obsolescence with new electronics. My unit will be replaced with a new improved version which came out two months ago. Hopefully it will have a better life.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: September 13, 2011: Started a forum on Slowtwitch asking how long these things last, and it seems that mine is on the high range of life at 22 months! [...]
FINAL UPDATE: September 27, 2013: I also wonder why they edited out my previous sections here with the [...}? I don't remember what I wrote that they removed. My replacement 1G Swimp3 has kicked the bucket. I was swimming laps, did a flip turn, and one of the sides of this came unclipped and was dragging in the water. I continued on with the lap, and before I reached the halfway point of the 25m pool, the sound suddenly stopped working. I figured it was out of batteries, and would need to be charged at home. But after charging (and the light indicates it is charging), I cannot power it on. I am able to download the files, but it appears to be unusuable. So the second unit lasted twenty four months or two years. Now that there's a new model, no point in updating this any more, as I can't imagine many people would still want to buy this old model.