A few weeks ago, I was busy trying to make an old iPod shuffle ready for dirt and water and whatever else might happen to it over the following seven days. As I was devising ways to make an iPod waterproof, the FINIS XtreaMP3 waterproof digital music player arrived for me to review. I dropped my special project to open up the box and see what it was all about.
XtreaMP3 Technical Specs
Often, when I find out something is made to be rugged or, in this case, waterproof, I fear for the loss of traditional features. The first thing I noticed with the XtreaMP3 was the lack of any digital screen to show me a playlist or even what song is playing. I may be a bit spoiled, but I wasn’t much surprised. This, after all, is meant to be waterproof and I guess no digital readout is the trade-off. Moving along, I found this player to have many of the standard features expected of an MP3 player, including:
• 1GB of storage
• MP3 and WMA Compatible, iTunes Convertible
• Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
• Basic play controls
…and, of course, a couple unique to a sport or waterproof player:
• Air-tight, waterproof ear buds
• Neoprene arm strap
Like some car MP3 players, playlists on this device are created by just dropping music into a folder. This is a little less convenient than creating a playlist via software and it means you’ll have to be creative if you want to put the tracks in a specific order. The 1GB of storage seems a little low from the perspective of someone with a 64GB iPhone, but for its size and durability, it gets the job done.
The River Test
This product arrived with exceptional timing for a proper test. Why just play with it near water for a day when you can fully immerse it into the type of activity that its creators had in mind? After charging the XtreaMP3 up fully and squeezing as much music as possible onto it, I took it with me on a seven day hike. Starting in Utah, two friends and I followed the Paria River 63 miles into Arizona, enduring cold, heat, mud, water, climbing and a lot of dirt and sand throughout. For those seven days, the XtreamMP3 tagged along in my pocket, surviving the same elements, and occasionally making the trip easier with music.
The picture above is not just of me on the river. Below is a close-up where you can see a wet, dirty, mud-covered XtreaMP3. Towards the end of our hike, I stopped to relax in the river with the best of Johnny Cash.
Although the waterproofed controls of the XtreaMP3 took some getting used to, the waterproofed ear buds sounded much better than I had expected. The arm band (which I did not take with me) takes some practice the first time to get the music player to attach to it and stay attached. One of the more unique elements FINIS included was the way in which the XtreaMP3 is charged. There’s a small waterproof sleeve that covers the tiny USB connector to keep water out. I’m not sure if any water got through, but I never had a problem with it working, even submerged in the river.
At about $90, the XtreaMP3 is a little less than most iPods, but you’ll trade some features for the peace of mind that a little dirt and water is no match for your music. Even accidentally throwing this player around didn’t phase it. The XtreaMP3 is the easy choice for the outdoor adventurer, surfer, or swimmer.