Reviewed on Aug 04, 2016

Swimbuds Waterproof Headphones HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
5.2
Mixed Usage
4.3
Neutral Listening
5.7
Commute/Travel
6.4
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
2.8
Wireless Gaming
4.6
Wired Gaming
1.8
Phone Call
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Swimbuds deliver a unique, waterproof listening experience. They're lightweight, compact and stable enough for sports use. Unfortunately, they're not the most well-rounded headphones. They don't block enough ambient noise for loud environments, and the poor sound quality is a deal breaker for some.

Test Results
Design 5.8
Isolation 7.8
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Minimal leakage.
  • Extremely lightweight and portable design.
  • Stable and waterproof.
Cons
  • Poor audio reproduction.
  • Not comfortable for everyone.
  • Cheap build quality.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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White Swimbuds
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5.8

Design

The Swimbuds have a simple yet unique design that's made for swimming. They're lightweight and ultra-compact, thanks to their detachable audio cable extension. They're also quite stable. The combination of the removable hook sleeves and specialized in-ear tips prevents them from easily falling out of your ears. Unfortunately, they feel cheaply built and not durable. The in-ear tips are also a little less comfortable than typical in-ears because they go a lot deeper into the ear canal. 

Style

The Swimbuds have a simple, straightforward design. They have detachable hook sleeves that provide more stability and give the headphones a more sporty appeal. They also have unique tips made for swimming that are unlike most typical in-ear models. Unfortunately, they look a little cheap on upon closer inspection.

5.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Swimbuds have an in-ear design and may not be comfortable for everyone. They have an unusual tip design that's meant to provide a better fit underwater. However, these tips go deeper into the ear canal than typical in-ear headphones, which may be uncomfortable for some. On the upside, they're extremely lightweight.

0 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
9.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.7 C
9.5 Portability
L : 2.76 "
W : 0.79 "
H : 0.59 "
Volume : 1.24 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Swimbuds are one of the smallest headphones we have tested so far. They have a detachable cable design, that combined with the already compact format of an in-ear model, makes them comfortably fit into any pocket, bag or purse.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A
5.0 Build Quality

The build quality of the Swimbuds feels cheap and fragile. The plastic used in their build looks low grade. The cable is thin and will not be as durable as some of the other thicker, rubberized cables of higher-end in-ear models. On the upside, the headphones are lightweight enough, to not get damage from a couple of falls. However, they won't be able to withstand even mild physical stress.

7.5 Stability

These headphones come with a few features to makes them more stable than typical in-ear design. They have additional hook sleeves that transform the headphones into an ear-hook design, wrapping the audio cable behind your ear. That combined with their long tips, that go deeper into the ear canal than a regular in-ear model, results in a stable design that won't slip out of your ears easily. They're stable enough to use at the gym and while doing high-intensity exercises like swimming.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a poorly balanced bass that sounds very boomy, an overemphasized mid-range that sounds muddy and cluttered, and a treble that's practically non-existent. They also have a poor soundstage, and a mediocre distortion performance. On the positive side, their performance can be very consistent across multiple users, given a proper fit/seal.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
0
Bass-Heavy
:
9.3
Warm
:
10
Bright
:
0
5.6 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
2.96 db
Dips
:
2.78 db
9.1 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.19 dB
7.4 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.09
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.91
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
3.84
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
7.99
0.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
3.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
0
6.7 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.671
WHD @ 100
:
0.355
7.8

Isolation

These headphones deliver a decent isolation performance for passively isolating headphones, The in-ear buds fit deeply within the ear canal and block a fair amount of ambient noise. It should be enough for office use. However, it may not be sufficient for loud, noisy commutes, and you will still be able to hear the rumbles of a bus or train. On the upside, they barely leak and won't disturb the people around you even at high volumes.

6.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-18.98 dB
Bass
:
-3.3 dB
Mid
:
-15.29 dB
Treble
:
-39.34 dB

Average isolation. These in-ears do not have active noise-cancellation, but the passive isolation is quite impressive. They achieve good isolation in the Treble Range and above-average isolation in the Mid Range. In the Bass Range, they achieve about 4dB of isolation, which although quite impressive for a passive design, it is noticeably inferior to what high-end active noise-cancelling headphones can achieve.

10 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
20.15 dB

Excellent leakage performance. The Swimbuds are the quietest headphones we have measured so far. The majority of the leakage is located between 3KHz and 6KHz which is quite narrow and par with most in-ears. However, the big difference here is in the overall level of the leakage, which is extremely low.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A
0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

3.6

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : No
Length : 1.48 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

In the box

  • Swimbuds Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x4)
  • Ear hook sleeve (x2)
  • Audio extension cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

5.2 Mixed Usage

Not the most versatile headphones. They're super compact and have a decent isolation performance. However, they're best used when the accuracy of audio reproduction is not essential to your listening experience.

4.3 Neutral Listening

Not designed for neutral listening. The closed back in-ear buds severely limits the soundstage. Also, audio reproduction is below average and gives an overly bass-heavy representation of all tracks.

5.7 Commute/Travel

Below-average for commuting. They provide decent passive isolation but it may not be enough for ambient noise of a busy commute.

6.4 Sports/Fitness

The Swimbuds are designed specifically to provide a waterproof listening experience. They're portable and lightweight headphones you can carry around easily in any pocket. The in-ear fit also goes deep into the ear canal providing a lot of stability. However, they don't sound good and comfort maybe an issue for some.

5.4 Office

Average for office use. They barely leak any sound so even at loud volumes no one will hear your audio. However, the isolation is just a little weak for noisy offices.

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