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300 of 309 people found the following review helpful
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After water damaging my iPod Classic in H2O Audio Amphibx Waterproof Armband for Large MP3 Players and Phones I purchased this FINIS SwiMP3.1G Waterproof MP3 Player and am glad that at least I will not water damage the MP3 player. Going by the reviews on Amazon, as of February 1, 2010, 3 of 9 reviewers of Amphibx large arm band damaged their iPods (only one replaced by H2O Audio), versus none of the 19 reviewers complains about water damage to this SwiMP3 player. Of the 124 reviews of the earlier 250 Mb version of SwiMP3 player, I scanned about 80 and no one has claimed water damage. This would indicate that this is really the only truly waterproof MP3 player! Here are the pros and cons.

PROS
1. Water proof. This is the biggest advantage of this player and is the essential pre-requisite; notwithstanding the claimed advantages of other players, if the MP3 player is not waterproof, every thing else is irrelevant!
2. Small size and low profile.
3. No drag while swimming.
4. Fairly good quality sound.
5. Easy to load music. You can use Explorer In Windows or Finder in Mac to drag and drop MP3 files. iTunes does not work with SwiMP3 but you can download a free software, for Mac & Windows, called DoubleTwist which works somewhat like iTunes for music with any MP3 player or cell phone that shows up as a drive on your computer. DoubleTwist does not support podcasts and audiobooks unlike iTunes.

CONS
1. The cap for USB port is not tethered and could be easily lost.
2. Lacks the screen and polished user interface of iPod: playing MP3 file from where you left off, removing all played podcasts etc.
3. The items play in the order they were loaded. You can skip forward and back, one at a time, but that is about it as far as controls.
4. The buttons are not etched, so hard to figure out with just fingers while swimming in water. You have to remember the location of buttons.
5. Does not come with ear plugs but over the water sound is much better if you are wearing the ear plugs. In my experience it is essential to have ear plugs or snorkel dry or better still, both. Mack's AquaBlock Earplugs, 2 pr is what I use and they work well.
6. Needs goggles which have to be bought separately. Although I use Speedo Vanquisher Swim Goggle, the air-tight seal is probably better in Speedo Air Seal Tri Goggle, Mirrored.
7. User's guide leaves a lot to be desired. Mostly it concentrates on is how to load music but there are no instructions on where to place the player, how to use it with goggles etc. On FINIS web site there is a video that shows how to wear them with goggles.
8. You cannot fast forward or backward.
9. Very hard to figure out when the MP3 player is off because the green light is barely perceptible in bright light and comes on very transiently. You have to cup with hand to make it dark. Sometime pressing it for 3 seconds does not turn it off, and as soon as you plug into the USB, it starts playing again.
10. No way to find out how much juice is left.
11. Just deleting the songs does not remove them from the player, it just moves them to the Recycle Bin and the songs keep playing. So you have to empty the Recycle Bin. In Mac, this problem is even worse, because the Trashes folder is hidden.

TIPS & TRICKS
Here are few other things that I found.
1. If you place MP3 files in folders then the folders work like playlists and you can toggle playlists by pressing forward and back buttons simultaneously. But it works for maximum of 3 playlists. You can also make and download playlists using DoubleTwist. If you change the name of any folders, that playlist will be lost and you will left with only two. Don't change the names of initial three folders, just keeping changing the songs. On Mac you can use iTunes to make three playlists and then drag them to the SwiMP3 disk icon which is called NO NAME; but again do not change the name of initial three playlists, you will lose it if you do and then the only way to go back to three playlists will be by reformatting the SwiMP3 hard drive in FAT32 format
2. The volume on some podcasts, for example most NPR ones, is really low and can be increased by using a free windows software called MP3 gain.

For about 14 years I used Speedo FM radio which has no screen and fits on the goggles. It worked really well, the earphones rarely came out of the ear. But I wanted to listen to podcasts while swimming and after looking at all the choices I purchased H2O Audio Amphibx Waterproof Armband for Large MP3 Players and Phones and the accompnying H2O Audio Surge Waterproof Headphones.

What a disaster! Within six weeks the arm band leaked while swimming, let the water come in and damaged the iPod Classic. Although H2O Audio promises to replace the MP3 player damaged in their armband, they refused to do that and sent me this response:

"During the examination and testing the engineering team did notice some dispersed indentation on the seal (black door frame to the lid). This is indicative of some object(s) or debris being caught between the door and the seal. This type of obstruction can lead to leak as the water-tight seal is never actually formed between the lid and the bladder...So unfortunately, this is a situation where it appears that the door was not closed properly or that it was accidently opened during use."

Personally, I feel that SwiMP3 player is the only true waterproof MP3 player but the following also claim to be waterproof to listen to MP3 audio while swimming:

1. WATERPROOF CASES/ENCLOSURES for iPods: Most well known, and even promoted by Apple on its web site is H2O Audio Amphibx Waterproof Armband for Large MP3 Players and Phones. Since I listen more to podcasts and audiobooks, I wanted something that will work with iPod. So I purchased this Amphibx Waterproof Armband for Large MP3 Players and Phones. But within 6 weeks it leaked and damaged my expensive iPod. Big loss. H2O Audio refused to take any responsibility for the product or the damage caused by the armband. Not to say that H2O Audio Surge Waterproof Headphones constantly keep coming out of the ear, cause drag and have poor audio quality.

H2O Audio also makes H2O Audio ISH4-5A1 Interval 3G Waterproof Headphone System for iPod Shuffle 3rd Gen, but after H2O Audio refused to replace my iPod Classic, damaged in their armband, I am not ever going recommend H2O products to anyone.

Aquapac Waterproof Case Fits iPhone and Droid is not very good quality and it is hard to water proof with headphones. Most of these case leak and water damage to your expensive MP3 player.

2. WATERPROOF MP3 PLAYERS WITH HEADSETS: These are goggle based solutions likeSpeedo LZR Aquabeat MP3 Player and Freestyle Audio 200SPT Soundwave Waterproof 2GB Blue MP3 Player Blue Bundle With Aquapac 916 Waterproof Headphones. But the reviews of all these products on Amazon are not very good.

SwimMan makes waterproof 2nd and 3rd generation iPod shuffles. But they do not have screens and do not last long. Many users have complained that iPod Shuffles get damaged after few uses.

3. BONE CONDUCTION TECHNOLOGY MP3 PALYERS WITHOUT HEADSETS: This FINIS SwiMP3.1G Waterproof MP3 Player with its pros and cons listed above. Audio Bone makes bone conduction headsets, which are even more expensive that SwiMP3 player! Now who would buy that?

We all know that iPod is the best MP3 player and we would like to use it while swimming but I do not think it is yet technically feasible to make iPod water proof, notwithstanding the claims of companies like H2O Audio and SwimMan. Although I miss the screen, FINIS SwiMP3.1G Waterproof MP3 Player is really water proof, just like my old Speedo FM radio, and the audio quality is acceptable. As far as I can make out based on my and others experiences, iPod is sooner or later water damaged no matter what the technology they use to waterproof. FINIS SwiMP3 1 G is what I would recommend to a swimmer who wants to listen to MP3 audio while swimming.
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135 of 137 people found the following review helpful
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.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2009
I received the 250 mb version for my birthday and had some issues with scratchy sound in one of the speakers when I moved my head rapidly - but was still amazed how well the sound would come through despite swimming fast, doing flip turns, etc. I am a former collegiate swimmer and currently swim in a master's program. I called FINIS and they were very courteous and provided a return authorization - within 5 days I had a brand new unit - and they upgraded it to the 1 GB version! There are no issues with the newer version - the volume controls work more smoothly and the sound is very good.
Swimming with the SwiMP3 is very easy - it does not move or flap against your face when pushing off the wall during a flip turn - it is very low profile, but I have not tried diving from starting blocks yet. When not in the water, the sound seems like it would be inadequate, but once you are in the water, the sound just comes alive - not BOSE quality, but I am thrilled with this device and what I can hear while swimming. The device is easy to pause between sets if desired, but you can easily converse and hear others without turning the volume down or pausing. Button placement is easy to acclimate to without having to remove your goggles to adjust volume, change songs, etc.
Using the device with my laptop is a breeze - wish the USB cover had a tether - could be easy to lose, but not a big issue;easy to drag and drop songs - have not tried it with i-tunes and have not used the FINIS software.
I love this player - have recommended it (1 GB version) to many of my friends - this device is specialized for in water use - it is not meant to be a music storage device, and would not be good for everyday use out of the pool - even so, it is well worth the price to load up some tunes to make those laps go by which I was never good at counting anyway.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2010
Verified Purchase
Training for a triathlon, I wanted something to break up the monotony of my swim workouts.
Initially tried a waterproof casing for an older Ipod Touch which leaked.
NO problems with this Finis Waterproof MP3 Player. Perfectly waterproof.

I completely agree with all the other reviews and will just add my 2 cents for anyone considering buying this item.

Pros
Only MP3 player out there that works through bone conduction.
Fully waterproof and will NOT short or be affected by the water.
Decent (but not great) stereo sound while head is immersed in the water.
Easy to load songs with Itunes or any Music Program (just drag the son onto the player).
Reasonable price at $120 on Amazon for the technology.

Cons
MUST reorganize and relabel your songs in order. (eg. 01 track 1, 02 track 2, 03 track3, ...)
Only 3 folders of songs which act like play lists and start from the beginning
Charge holds for about 3 to 4 hours of play time then need to plug in again at the USB port.
Easy to lose usb cap.
MUST use earplugs or the breathing and wave sounds with interfere with conduction sounds.
Does not work too well with audio books (works are muted sounding). Spoken podcast will NOT play on it.
Controls are multifunctional and hard to remember how to use.

Advice
1) Make 3 separate MP3 swimming songs folder. Rename all the songs in the order you wish them to play. Then load them on the player by dragging them over all at once.
2) photocopy the instructions and place them in a ziplock bag to bring to the pool.
3) Readjust the player right in front of your ears over the bone for the best sound. TIghten the goggles.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2010
Verified Purchase
I've been swimming for 5 decades- competition and now for exercise. There has never been much in the way of entertainment available for this beyond counting laps, strokes, tiles... Had a Sony Walkman in a bag once but it was WAY too bulky. At Xmas I decided to try a waterproof MP3 player- Speedo or Finis??? and finally opted for the Speedo Aquabeat LZR. It delivered music but was a constant nuisance. It requires a tight earplug seal because any water in the ear blocks the sound. I found that the sound would cut out of one or the other ear unpredictably because of this. It has semirigid ear loops to keep it in place and these don't adjust. After nearly every lap I found myself readjusting the angle of the earpieces to make them work- one or the other side would cut out. Finally I tried putting a swim cap over the whole thing. This held the earpieces in place but made my ears hurt and exerted enough pressure to turn the unit off in mid-lap. Finally one of the ear loops came off and got lost in the pool, rendering the unit useless. So, time for a change. I bought the SwiMP3. To my delight it worked the first time out. The fidelity of sound is radio-quality (not HD) but it is MUSIC. It is hard to hear when out of the water (earplugs fix that problem) but IT LOVES THE WATER. As soon as your head is in the water the music is loud and clear. It holds tight and rarely requires adjustment. It is stable at speed and with flip turns. The only downside is that you can hear the water rushing by your head- I never really noticed that before. I've had the unit for a month and so far it has held up well. Perhaps Finis will get more acoustic range out of the next model but for now this is infinitely better than the alternatives. I recommend this unit to anyone who swims regularly for exercise.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
Verified Purchase
...it really works!!!

I purchased the SwimP3 for my boyfriend this Christmas, and being that we are both swimmers... there was this unspoken "doubt" between us about the product. But after taking it for a spin, I mean SWIM...we couldn't be happier. Moving the music from his iTunes onto the SwiMP3 was very easy. But please note, you'll have to convert your iTunes files which are in ACC format to an MP3 format. Very easy to do..... the instructions included with the device explained how to do it.

Through very little experimentation and manipulation of the bone conducting paddles, you'll quickly locate the best area on your cheek bones to place them which optimizes the sound. As a previous reviewer noted, don't expect BOSE quality - but it far exceeds what I could have even hoped for. Plus, when underwater, the sound conducts even better. This purchase was oneof the best that I made this holiday season and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence. You WILL NOT be disappointed.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2009
Verified Purchase
I have been a swimmer all of my life and have always wanted to find some way of listening to music while swimming to ease some of the boredom that comes with the sport. I've been using the Swimp3 player for over a month now and I think it's safe to say that I've finally found it. This was the best money I've spent in a long time. The clarity while under water is amazing! I've found that I'm more motivated to swim harder and longer and the time passes so much faster.

There are just a couple of issues I have run into. First, I'm having a difficult time finding just the right place to position the mp3 player on my head. I have to say though, once it's clipped onto my goggles, it's very stable and I haven't had any problems with it falling off in the middle of my workout. Secondy, I have run into some issues with the same songs playing over and over. I must admit though, I haven't read and followed the directions very thoroughly. I anticipate that when I do, I would change my rating to five stars.

The Swimp3 player is must have for swimmers!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2009
These are amazing. I had the H20 Audio set, which is basically an otter box that holds an iPod shuffle, I used for about 9 months when all of a sudden the music shut off in the middle of a swim. When I got to the edge of the pool and looked at the box, the rubber gasket had failed, allowing water to get into the box, which destroyed my iPod shuffle. The otter box had a warranty, so the company replaced the box, but the shuffle is ruined. Also, the ear pods were really hurting my ears on the H20 product, in fact, on a long swim, they would make my ears bleed. I hemmed and hawed about purchasing the SwiMP3 because it was expensive and because it doesn't work with iTunes, but I'm very happy with it, I swim 3 to 4 times a week with usually a couple of 10,000 yard swims that take around 3 hours, the music really makes the time fly by. The sound on this unit is excellent, it makes the other product seem like music out of a tin can. It's very close to the sound quality out of an iPod. I love that it sits on top and not in the ear, I don't wear mine on the cheekbone as advertised but right over my ear, it's way too loud when you're out of the water, but excellent sound quality in the water. In fact, when I stop for a drink I have to move them away from my ears! I use Speedo Vanquisher goggles which have two straps, I attach them on the bottom strap and then take the other strap up over the units which keeps them in place during flip turns. The buttons are a little bit hard to get used to, but once you get a feel for them, they're fine. The battery is very long lasting - it's never quit on even a 4 hour swim, although I charge it in between swims. I do wish it had a little more memory, the software is a little annoying - you have to move songs from iTunes, and it's hard to change the order of songs, they go in alphabetic order and there is no shuffle. Also, if you buy songs through iTunes you have to change the format which is a little annoying but the benefits outweigh the annoyances. Also, if you use a Mac, know that you have to empty the "trash" before you can add new songs - even though you delete a song, it still "sees" the song in the trash until you empty it - a lesson I learned spending a lot of time talking to the service rep....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2010
Verified Purchase
Swimming laps can be deadly boring. I have tried other waterproof MP3 players and found the sound to be poor and the quality and lifespan of the devices to be unimpressive. The SwiMP3 is in a totally different category. It sounds so good that I find myself taking extra laps to finish a song or a set. It appears to be well-designed and constructed. I plan to take it with me on vacation and to use it while snorkeling. I would like to thank those of you who provided information in the previous reviews, without which I might not have purchased it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
Verified Purchase
A lot of other comments on here cover the many tricks of this device, but I'll summarize and add my own feedback.

* Firstly, it's a legit waterproof MP3 player. It does what it's supposed to do. Imagine that.

* It plays by being placed just in front of your ear. I get the best experience having it touch the front of my ear, shifted just a bit downwards.

* Ear plugs make it easier to hear (kind cool).

* The default volume isn't loud. Above the water it's pretty hard to hear, and below the water it's quite clear, but can be difficult to hear over the sound of you swimming if you don't wear ear plugs. That said, I swim with the volume turned up just 1 notch and no ear plugs and am very happy listening to music I've heard before (I already know the words in case I miss a few).

* Changing the volume is not obvious. You press and hold the Next Track button for several seconds. The volume increases. Release, then press and hold again to repeat. You can make it pretty loud this way - be nice to your ears! I don't think most reviewers figured out this functionality, and I'm not surprised.

* The buttons have to be memorized before clipping it on, or you're going to have to ignore the buttons until you take it off. You can however easily feel the difference between Power and the Next/Prev buttons because the button below Power is recessed.

* The power LED is pretty hard to see, and it turns off both for Standby mode and for Off. In Standby mode, it will die in about a week. Off, it will last for months and months. You can guarantee you're in the Off mode by first confirming it's playing, then pressing and holding the Power button for at least 5 seconds (count them out slow).

* Other reviewers have complained the device only lasts for one 1-hour swimming session. I found it lasted through 5 1.5-hour swims over the course of 2 months, and I think the difference comes down to the Off vs Standby issue. You need to get that right to get much life out of this.

* The device is a little laggy. It can take a second or 2 before it starts playing, and it can take a second or 2 for Next or Previous Track to kick in. I think this might be part of why some reviewers are frustrated with it - the lag can make learning it difficult.

* It clips solidly to your goggles - I kickturn repeatedly each time I swim and it stays put. It's important after clipping the 2 ear pieces on to then tuck the small white portion (USB plug and cover) behind your head so your goggle strap is holding onto it, or it's going to flip up and hit you in the face when you kickturn (it doesn't hurt, but it is confusing).

* You plug the USB plug into your PC and the device opens up like any USB thumb drive.

* You can't have any folders on the drive. Technically there's a playlist feature that allows exactly one level of folders, but it's really confusing and not worth dealing with. Just don't use folders. All music files should go directly in the root drive of the device.

* The order it plays tracks is alphabetical, so you may want to rename your files to get them to play in the order you prefer.

* For the curious, all the major components of the device are in the left half. You can feel the battery in it get hot when charging while the right stays cool, which seems to be hollow other than the speaker.

* If you're going to listen to podcasts you have some work ahead of you:

1. You can't fast forward or back, so if there are long segments, you'll probably want to break them down into smaller chunks so you can skip through them like tracks. For example, if there's a 60 minute segment and you miss a detail at minute 59, you'll have to press Prev to start all over from the beginning. Broken down to 5 minute segments or even 1 minute segments - not so bad!

2. Songs nowadays are made louder by producers. Podcasts are not, so you'll have to do it yourself or you won't be able to hear quiet speakers. You can use tools like MP3 Gain or Audacity's Dynamic Compression Filter (I use 4x in Audacity) to get this same loudness out of your podcasts. Audacity is free, and can also be used to slice up long tracks.

3. You'll want to name your sliced up podcasts in a way that guarantees they play in the right order on the device, or you're going to be annoyed.

I recommend reading SanjeevP's review as well if you haven't already.

If by some strange event the FINIS SwiMP3 engineers read this, I have 3 suggestions:

1. Make the plastic in front of the power LED clear, so it's easier to see. I don't know why they went with opaque white there, but it sure makes it nearly impossible to see if it's lit - in the sun, you definitely are not going to see it.

2. The LED should only light up in Standby/Pause. It's not very useful when Playing since you can just listen long enough to determine that much, but Standby vs Off need to be differentiated. If the power draw is low relative to the battery life, it could light up blue when playing and green for Standby, red in either case if it's low on power.

3. SanjeevP's suggestion of etching the buttons is pretty smart - if they were slightly bigger and etched with circle, arrow forward, arrow backward, it would be slightly easier to use.
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