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1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 review: A promising earbud let down by fit
6:43 pm | February 29, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Fitness Headphones Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: | Comments: Off

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: One minute review

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 use air conduction technology to get sound to your ears. They don’t sit in your ear canal, like most other true wireless earbuds, or cover your whole ear, like over-ear headphones. Instead they’re designed to hook around your ears, positioning little speakers above your ear canals.

The benefits of this open-ear design is that you can stay more aware of what’s going on around you, which is ideal for outdoor workouts or anyone who doesn’t want to feel cut off from their surroundings. Because no part of the design goes inside your ear, they’re also a good option for people who don’t like the intrusive design of other types of buds.

Other audio brands have been venturing into air conduction tech recently, including Bose, Shokz and JBL. But, as I’ll get to soon, keeping earphones in place when there’s nothing inside your ear is a challenge: the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 won’t give the best earbuds a run for their money. It’s very difficult to get fantastic sound from this sort of design, but I was pleasantly surprised by their audio: it was clearer than I was expecting with some decent, but not powerful, bass. 

They’re built for workouts with some specs you’d expect from the best workout headphones, like an IPX7 rating, making them sweat-resistant, and an impressive listed 38 hours of battery. I got around 35 hours during testing, so this is quite representative. The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 may sound like a decent set of earbuds, but they’re sadly let down by their fit: for me, they simply weren’t stable enough. 

It’s easy to see why there’d be a problem with this design as in-ear buds are “anchored” in place when they fit in your ear canal. 1More attempts to solve this problem both with earhooks and small silicone rings, which sit just outside of your ear canal. However, the earhooks didn’t bend enough and were oddly-shaped for my ear. This meant I never got a good fit on my left ear, the bud fell out several times, and although I managed to get a slightly better fit on my right ear, the bud still felt precarious the whole time – not ideal for earbuds built for fitness.

Some of these fit issues could have been down to the size and shape of my ears, but I asked a few other people to test them and several had similar problems. Issues with stability became even more apparent when I was wearing glasses, too, as the earhooks and glasses were competing for the same small space behind my ear.

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Specifications

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Price and availability

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Cost $149.99 in the US
  • £149.99 in the UK 
  • Around AU$290

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 were released internationally in September 2023 and cost $149.99 / £149.99 / around AU$290. At the time of writing, they’ve been reduced on the 1More website to $99.99 / £104.99. We don’t know if this is a permanent discount or part of a limited deal. 

1More also makes the S30, and while these earbuds use the same air conduction tech and have a similar design, they’re cheaper and a step down in terms of specs. They only have an IPX5 water-resistant rating and a 30-hour battery, compared to the S50’s IPX7 rating and 38-hour battery. The S30 cost $69.99 / £69.99 but, like the S50, are currently reduced to $47.99 / £49.99.

To put the S50 into broader context, similar air conduction rivals, like the Shokz OpenFit, are more expensive at $179.95 / £179.99 / AU$289, although I did find the Shokz buds to be generally better and much easier to wear. The S50 are more similar in price to JBL’s air conduction offering, the Soundgear Sense, at $149.99/£129.99/AU$231. 

When comparing the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 to sports earbuds more generally, you can often expect to pay more for buds at the top of their game, like the Beats Fit Pro at $199 / £199 / AU$299. Then again, plenty of the options in our best workout earbuds guide are much cheaper and perform significantly better than the 1More buds, like the JLab Go Air Sport at only $30 / £29 / AU$69.  

  • Value score: 3.5/5 

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Design

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Earhook design
  • Unstable fit
  • Looks nice and slickly designed

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 use air conduction technology to enable you to hear audio, which means there’s nothing in your ear canal. Instead, a speaker is just outside of it. So what keeps these buds in place is an earhook design that fits behind your ear and little silicone rings, which 1More calls “sound loops”, that rest just above the ear canal. There are three different sizes of these loops to choose from to get the best fit. Rival buds have a similar earhook, but we’ve not seen the sound loop-like design anywhere else yet.

I get the thinking behind the sound loops: they’re a way to keep the buds in place without putting anything in your ear, which means you’re still aware of your surroundings. But they defeat the point of open-ear buds a little for me, as they are still using something to block your ear, even if it’s not as intrusive as a bud in your ear canal. I much prefer the design of the Shokz OpenFit. 

But the reason the Shokz OpenFit work well without similar loops is that their earhooks are effective (albeit not perfect). Unfortunately, the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 have earhooks that are too rigid and not as ergonomic – at least not for my ears. This meant I never achieved a snug or stable fit with the buds, especially in my left ear. This bud fell out even when I was just walking and not working out. 

I played with the earhook, adjusted the positioning, tried out all of the different loop sizes but had no luck. My best guess is that the distance between the bulk of the bud and the top of the earhook was just too big, so it actually fell down over the top of my ear. I did wonder whether this was a quirk of my ears and so enlisted a couple of friends and family members to see if they had similar problems. This was by no means an exhaustive test, but I found women with smaller frames had similar problems, either with one bud or both. 

There was another problem that affected the fit: glasses. Even with my right ear feeling stable, wearing glasses meant the arm of my glasses and the earhook were competing for space behind my ear. I could either lay the earhook down first and put my glasses arm on top, which meant my glasses were unstable and vision ever-so-slightly distorted or the other way around, which meant the buds were even more unstable. 

I opted to wear contact lenses for the rest of my testing, but some people won’t be able to. This also means wearing these buds and sunglasses could be an issue, which feels disappointing considering these are buds designed for outdoor workouts.

Despite these fit issues, these are a nice-looking pair of earbuds with a sleek design. I tested the silver version but, from what I can tell from online press shots, the darker grey shade is a little more appealing. The silver shade is nice, but does look a little cheap and plasticky. The same can be said about the charging case, which has a shiny cheap look about it. The charging case that comes with these buds is also big compared to the cases offered by competitors at 86 × 65 × 29.8 mm and weighing in at 63g (82.5g with the buds in). It could be slipped into a bag or a large pocket, but it’s not ideal for taking out on a run with minimal gear.

  • Design score: 2.5 / 5

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Features

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • IPX7 water-resistant rating
  • Air conduction for ambient awareness
  • Good battery life

These earbuds are durable with an IPX7 sweat-resistant rating. This means they should handle the most sweaty workout sessions, even splashes, light rain and, technically, an accidental dunk in water. However, we wouldn’t advise it – and best keep them out of the shower.

There’s some opportunity to change the audio with 12 EQ presets within the 1More app. It’s good to have this option, but I preferred the way the buds sounded out of the box. You can also use the app to customize some of the touch controls on the buds. These didn’t work well for me as I never got a stable fit, so touching them made it more unstable.

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 have what 1More calls its ‘PurePower Driver’ inside. The company says it has a diamond-like DLC diaphragm, which results in a 40% boost in power over conventional models. It’s not clear whether this means whether that’s over previous 1More models or rivals. There are also dual mics on each earbud for calls, and an AI algorithm promises to distinguish voices from background noises, helping block out any ambient sound when you’re on a call. 

In terms of battery, 1More promises up to 11 hours of battery life from the buds and 38 hours of battery life with the charging case. I found these figures to be accurate during testing. 

This is where the S50 really shine, bringing some of the best battery compared to rivals. For example, the Shokz OpenFit offer seven hours of battery life, and 28 hours from the case. And the JLab Go Air Sport (with an in-ear design) bring you eight hours with an additional 32 hours of battery life with the case.

  • Features score: 3.5/5

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Performance

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Decent sound
  • Only some leakage
  • Great for hearing your surroundings

One of the biggest benefits of these open-style buds is that you can hear what’s going on around you, especially traffic, loud conversations and music. I personally found this to be a better experience than simply using the “ambient awareness” or similar modes on ANC headphones and earbuds, which I always find difficult to process.

However, due to the build of these buds – with their positioning and the silicone sound loops – not all sounds were clear in my immediate environment and it was easy to get distracted by the audio. This means you’ll need to be careful, as you definitely can’t hear everything when you’re using them. Especially when the volume is loud, which is worth bearing in mind if you run next to roads.

As you’d expect from an open-ear design, there’s some sound leakage. But not as much as I anticipated, which makes the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 a versatile proposition for wearing in a range of different environments – assuming you get a decent fit.

The S50 deliver a good but unremarkable sound. The audio is clear and there’s some decent bass and volume here too – again, two things I wasn’t expecting from the open-ear design. Push up the volume high on a bass-heavy track and things do start to sound a little muddied. Due to the style of these buds there’s also no real sense of immersion or an expansive soundstage. But then again, these buds were never going to be the best-sounding out there, you’d need to find a pair of the best ANC buds for a more polished experience. However, for me, the sound is perfect for providing a soundtrack to a walk or workout.  

  •  Performance score: 3.5/5 


1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested

I wore the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 most days over three weeks, and had the opportunity to test them in a range of different environments.

I used them while walking around the city and by the beach, running through the countryside and rollerblading. I took them to work at several coffee shops and the gym and wore them as I worked at home alone.

I also went on a trip to Rome whilst testing these buds, which gave me a good opportunity to use them in some different situations, like on a plane to listen to movies with my phone and in an airport to listen to podcasts and stay aware of flight announcements.

I paired them with an iPhone 14 Pro and mostly used Apple Music and Spotify streaming services to test them with music, as well as podcasts on Spotify and movies on Mubi.

I’ve tested many different headphones and earbuds over the past 12 years, especially those designed for fitness and active lifestyles. I like to find the devices that prioritize comfort and ease of use and flag up any new tech that feels more style over substance.

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones review
9:02 pm | November 16, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Fitness Headphones Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's note

  • Original review date: November 2022
  • Original price $149.99 (£128.00, AU$225.00)
  • Price now $99.00 / £84.99 / AU$127.99

Update: February 2024. The H20 Audio Tri Multi-Sport headphones are still a great buy over a year on, even with the advent of a Pro model. Onboard storage and streaming options, a cheaper price from launch and bone-conduction tech, which hasn't really advanced much, means it's standing the test of time very well. The rest of the review remains as previously published.

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: One-minute review

The H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones are a contender for our best waterproof headphones guide. Thanks to their dual Bluetooth/flash memory, these headphones are so versatile you’ll only need the one set for all your workouts, whether underwater or not. 

Fully waterproof, they have surprisingly good sound in most Bluetooth conditions and from the onboard 8GB flash drive for uninterrupted play while swimming. Bluetooth’s limitations in water mean you need both modes if you never want to be without sound. While you could jerry-rig a smartwatch to your swim cap or goggles, keep in mind you’ll need the two devices within three to four inches of each other.

As with most bone conduction headphones, they’re worn on the cheekbones – an improvement over the H2O Audio Sonar (one of our waterproof headphone picks) which need to be attached to swim goggles. 

Our main quibble is that the control buttons sometimes need a couple of attempts to perform how we want rather than working on the first try. Of the three function buttons, the main button controls a lot, so you need to be very precise with how you hit it and how long you hold it. This should improve after the button design change in the next production run. 

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $149.99 (£128.00, AU$225.00)
  • Where is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: SPECS

Interface: Bluetooth and onboard media player
Battery life: 8-9 hours play time
Storage: 8GB
Audio formats: MP3, WMA, and Apple iTunes’ M4A
Weight: 1.16 oz / 33g

Both on H2O Audio’s website and on Amazon, these versatile headphones are currently on sale at the time of writing. However, they retail at $149.99 (£128.00, AU$225.00). They’re manufactured in China and designed in San Diego, California. They ship internationally, though additional taxes and shipping fees vary by country. 

It’s rare to find waterproof headphones, especially at this price, with both Bluetooth and onboard memory so you can have uninterrupted sound regardless of the conditions. For example, Shokz OpenSwim headphones have only an MP3 player (no Bluetooth) at a cost of $149.95. On sale for $89 (from $129) are the Bluetooth-only YouthWhisper SuperQ3 bone conduction headphones. While Zygo Solo headphones allow you to stream flawlessly from your phone underwater via an FM radio transmitter, it’ll cost you $299 and you need to bring extra gear to the pool.

  • Value: 4.5 / 5

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: Design

  • IPX8 waterproof rating means you can swim without worry
  • Stream via Bluetooth or from the onboard flash drive 
  • 8MB of storage of MP3, WMA and M4A files 

The H2O Audio Tri Multi-sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones have the maximum waterproofing rating – IPX8. That means they can withstand immersion in 12 feet (3.6 m) of water for an unlimited time (so you’ve lost one more excuse for cutting your workout short).

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Fairly typical for bone conduction headphones, these have two round transducers that sit below your temple, hooks that go over the top of each ear, and two rectangles that sit behind your ears with the controls and battery. The device is mostly black, though you have your choice of Caribbean blue, hot pink, or black for the band that wraps behind your neck. No need to worry if you expect to be tossed around in the waves, they come with a little rubber leash to secure them to swim goggles or a wetsuit zipper. For regular wear, you likely won’t need it – they stayed comfortably in place for us during a jog and while swimming laps. 

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Charging the headphones and downloading files to the 8GB flash drive is through a compact proprietary cable that pairs four metal circles on each device via a magnet. While you can’t sub one of your dozens of other cords in, you don’t have to worry if water will seep into the charging port. 

Once the cable connects your headphones to your computer, a window instantly pops up to transfer files. Our headphones arrived with two dozen songs already loaded, and we can attest that Janis Joplin belting out “Me and Bobby McGee” energizes for several extra laps in the pool. It’s easy to drag and drop whatever MP3, WMA, or M4A (iTunes) files you like into folders and organize them by type, workout, or however you like. Note that you can’t download files from subscription services like Spotify or Apple Music because they’re copyright protected (but you can stream them via Bluetooth). 

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Three buttons manage the controls. With a click, two buttons raise or lower the volume; holding one skips to the next or previous track (or forward or back a few seconds on podcasts). In memory mode, a double click of a volume button skips to the next or previous folder. The main button turns power on and off, pauses and restarts play, and toggles between Bluetooth and memory. In memory mode, the main button also controls shuffle play and, in Bluetooth mode, answers calls as well as activates voice assistants. 

The battery lasts eight to nine hours though playing at higher volumes will drain it more quickly. You’ll know your headphones are fully charged when their light turns from red to blue. A polite British lady announces the battery status when you turn the headphones on and she gives you an hour’s worth of periodic warnings when the battery level is low. She also confirms when you’ve toggled successfully between Bluetooth and memory modes. 

  • Design: 5 / 5

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: Performance

  • Easy to download to the 8GB memory and organize files how you want
  • Great sound, though a bit bass-y underwater
  • Button controls can be a bit finicky 

Because the H2O Audio Tri Multi-sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones stream sound two ways, you only need this one set for all your sports needs. Overall, sound quality is quite good, especially for music and podcasts, though a bit echo-y for phone calls. In the air, both music and podcasts sounded great and were surprisingly rich, whether streaming by Bluetooth or from the flash drive. Underwater, podcasts’ sound quality was just as good as in the air. For music underwater, we would have liked more treble and less bass, but it wasn’t a deal breaker (and we were happy that the bass wasn’t so strong that our cheekbones vibrated, as with some other bone conduction headphones). 

Because water blocks Bluetooth signals, sound did go in and out while swimming in Bluetooth mode when our head was even just a couple of inches below the surface. The headphones performed better at the end of the pool nearest where our phone was sitting and less well 60 feet away at the pool’s other end. Keep in mind that the headphones must be in Bluetooth mode to receive phone calls. 

Swimming is why you want headphones with a built-in MP3 player. In memory mode, the sound was great and didn’t cut out at all whether we swam on the surface or dived to the bottom of our four-and-a-half-foot-deep lap pool. 

Our biggest complaint is that the control buttons of the H2O Audio Tri Multi-sport are a bit finicky, especially the main button which controls play, pause, toggling between Bluetooth and memory modes, and a few other functions. Sometimes it took a few tries to get the device to do what we wanted; occasionally we gave up and just pulled out our phone to get the sound to restart rather than continue to try to hold the button for the exact right number of milliseconds. Now, most people won’t do the extent of toggling and control adjustments that we do during testing, but keep this in mind if you frequently want to skip ads, pause and restart play, or switch back and forth from Bluetooth to memory mode. In circumstances when your hands aren’t free (or dry) to use the controls on your phone, make sure you’ve downloaded enough podcasts or music to the flash drive so you don’t need to toggle and then don’t touch the controls once it’s playing how you like it. 

We’re told that H2O Audio is updating the design for the next production run to make the control buttons bigger so that they’re easier to press. This is likely to reduce the problem significantly.  

As with all bone conduction headphones, you’ll need to turn the sound up in noisy environments because, unless you also wear the supplied earplugs, nothing blocks your ears. The open-ear design is a safety advantage – you want to hear the cyclist or car zooming up behind you or if another swimmer is trying to pass. Unlike with other bone conduction headphones we’ve tried, there was very minimal sound bleed (and, phew, no complaints from the noise-sensitive person we share home and office space with). 

The 8GB storage is a fairly standard size and generally means you can store 1500 to 2000 songs. Downloading files onto the headphones was drag-and-drop easy – our biggest challenge was finding MP3 podcasts and songs in a Bluetooth world. 

  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport?

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport: Report card

  • First reviewed November 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Zygo Solo review
7:04 pm | July 21, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Fitness Headphones Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's note

  • Original review date: July 2021
  • Original price $229 (£218.00, around AU$400.00)
  • Prices holding steady

Update: February 2024. Zygo is still unopposed three years on as the best premium option for in-pool workouts. The Zygo Solo vs H20 Audio Tri versus feature we did last year has a lot of points that remain relevant one year on: the FM radio transmitter means if you want to stream, Zygo Solo is the best option, especially if you want to stream guided workouts. The continued limited availability in the UK and AU is a big frustration, but otherwise for US swimmers, Zygo is the premium headphone set for you. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Two-minute review

Is this the Peloton of the pool? With the success of that workout streaming service clearly in its sights comes Zygo Solo, a unique audio gadget for swimmers.

We’ve seen waterproof headphones and bone conduction headphones before, but not like this. Since Bluetooth can't penetrate water, all other swim headphones are little more than waterproof MP3 players (pretty much that music file format’s last stand). The Zygo Solo is different, and is able to stream content from a smartphone through water using an FM transmitter that can penetrate water.

It’s something of a 'hallelujah!' moment for swimmers, many of whom have by now experimented with the Sony Walkman NW-WS413 and then the Aftershokz Xtrainerz, both of which are good at what they do, but only play MP3s. Does anyone even have any MP3s anymore?

Zygo Solo equipment

The Zygo Solo kit consists of a headset, FM transmitter, stand and charging case, plus a pair of earplugs (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

A four-piece set consisting of headset, FM transmitter, stand and charging case, the Zygo Solo has a lot more hardware than your average pair of super-slim swimming headphones.

It works like this: your phone connects to the FM transmitter via Bluetooth and the transmitter to the headset via radio frequency. It’s easy to set up, though there’s definitely more physical equipment to deal with. It also means taking a lot of gear poolside. Fine in a private swimming pool, but not so great in a public pool where you’ll have to keep one eye on your stuff while you swim.

Nevertheless, committed swimmers with the right environment will adore the Zygo Solo. A long overdue audio upgrade for the pool, it’s surprisingly easy to use, offers great FM-quality sound and has hundreds of excellent on-demand workouts that can really change how you approach your swimming fitness. Or you can just listen to your own music, audiobooks or podcasts without having to drag-and-drop MP3 files prior to a swim.

How does Zygo Solo compare to its underwater MP3 player competitors? It blows them out of the water, of course – and it’s priced accordingly.

Zygo Solo price and availability

  • Out now
  • Costs $299 / £218 (about AU$400)

Available in the US, Canada and the UK in two sizes – standard and large – the Zygo Solo costs $299 / £218 (about AU$400) for the full package. A replacement headset costs $99 / £72 (about AU$150), while an external mic costs US$30/UK£22 (about AU$40), and is useful if a coach wants to use the FM transmitter as a hands-free walkie talkie.

If you want Peloton-inspired streaming swim workouts (comprising short and long audio workouts delivered by instructors and paired with music) then you also need to take out a Zygo All Access Monthly Plan, which costs $14.99 / £12.99 (about AU$20) per month after a 14-day trial.

In future Zygo tells us it’s planning metric tracking similar to that offered by the best running watches, leaderboards, and truly Peloton-style live classes. On Zygo’s website you can purchase an app gift certificate for an entire year for $149 / £108 (about AU$200), which gives you two months free.

Zygo Solo design

  • Headset weighs 66g
  • Waterproof to 2ft / 60cm
  • FM transmitter streams to 55yds / 50m

The Zygo Solo is, technically speaking, by far the most ambitious set of swimming headphones available. Predictably that means it comes with some baggage. The package consists of an IP68-rated waterproof headset, an IP67-rated (waterproof for 30 minutes) FM transmitter and stand, a pair of earplugs and a charging case.

While the Sony Walkman NW-WS413 and the Aftershokz Xtrainerz weigh 32g and 29g, respectively, the Zygo Solo headset weighs 66g. Why? It’s got a radio receiver as well as a battery inside that makes it possible to receive audio from the FM transmitter connected wirelessly to a smartphone.

The 101g FM transmitter itself is a figure of eight-shaped device that’s also waterproof, so it’s fine to leave it close to the water. Also included is a small 25g holder for the FM transmitter that keeps it upright, which extends its range.

Zygo Solo headset with transmitter

The Zygo Solo is considerably heavier than other swimming headphones due to its radio receiver (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Meanwhile, the charging case itself weighs 450g, and 623g with both the headset and the transmitter inside. Resembling the kind of case you might find housing a pair of the best noise cancelling headphones, it’s rounded and compact, and fairly easily fits inside a swim bag. The headset also has an accelerometer inside, so expect activity tracking soon.

Zygo Solo setup

  • Connects via FM transmitter
  • Streams any audio from a smartphone

Despite a slightly convoluted hardware arrangement compared to MP3 swim players, the Zygo Solo is always easy to set-up. It takes a bit of getting used to. If you’re used to entering the pool with just a pair of goggles, or even if you’re used to donning an MP3 swim player, the Zygo Solo seems a lot to get used to.

The headset feels reasonably solid and unwieldy at first – it is, after all, more substantial than a basic swim MP3 player – partly because it’s designed to stay firmly in place during underwater turns. It’s chunkier because it’s got more hardware inside.

Man wearing Zygo Solo headset

The robust, chunky design of the Zygo Solo helps it stay in place during underwater turns (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

What’s really different about the Zygo Solo compared to MP3 swim players is that you have to have the FM transmitter and your smartphone poolside. That FM transmitter works to a range of 50 meters – so the size of an Olympic swimming pool – which is generous enough (it can also transmit to an unlimited number of headsets). However, if you’re used to leaving your phone in a locker and entering a neighborhood pool deck with just a towel, having to take a smartphone and an FM transmitter is a bit of a change.

The 50m limit applies only to swimming pools, with a half-mile range promised in the great outdoors. So you could get away with wearing a Zygo Solo while open water swimming, surfing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and even sailing.

Zygo Solo sound

  • Bone conduction works well
  • Sounds best with earplugs
  • Only the FM transmitter has playback buttons

Make no mistake about what Zygo is trying to do here; streaming live audio underwater is not easy. In fact, the tech it took two years to perfect. The Zygo Solo’s sound is good. Out of the pool it sounds a little tinny, but in the water it suddenly gets a lot of bass.

Let’s not overdo it; this is not audiophile quality, and overall the impression is (not surprisingly) of FM radio-like sound, with a little crackle and hiss now and again. However, at all times it sounds much better than any waterproof MP3 player. That is, if you remember to use the earplugs.

Close-up of Zygo Solo earpiece

The Zygo Solo uses bone conduction to send vibrations to your auditory nerve (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Like the Aftershokz Xtrainerz the Zygo Solo are bone conduction headphones, using a technology that employs an open-ear design and transmits audio through vibrations in the cheekbones directly into the inner ear.

You don’t need to use the included earplugs, but if you don’t you’ll find that every time your ears are not immersed the quality of sound drastically changes. So for a more consistent experience it’s best to use the earplugs.

It’s possible to tweak the volume using + and - buttons on the headset’s right temple, and the FM transmitter has some too. It just about goes loud enough, but only the FM transmitter has skip track and play/pause controls, which is a shame. It means you have to make sure you have lots of songs/podcasts/content queued up, or keep the FM transmitter accessible by the side of the pool.

Man's hand holding Zygo Solo transmitter

Play, pause and skip controls are all on the FM transmitter, not on the headset itself (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

We found the headset to be reasonably comfortable when worn for long periods, largely because the bone conduction design leaves your ears alone, though it did begin to feel slightly tight after about half an hour. The advice is to put the headset on, followed by a swim hat, goggles and then earplugs.

As a nice bonus the transmitter doubles as a walkie talkie, so a coach can speak to a swimmer directly as they swim in the pool. What the headset doesn’t have is a microphone, so you can’t answer back … or make hands-free calls from the pool.

Zygo Solo companion app

  • Huge choice of pre-recorded workouts 
  • Excellent instructors and lots of music
  • Live classes and activity tracking promised

The Zygo app for iOS  and Android has had a lot of investment in it and is arguably the best reason to invest in Zygo Solo. It’s not free, but there’s a huge choice of classes and activities inside. As a few random examples we found a 20-minute beginner-level tutorial in learning backstroke, an intermediate 30-minute HIIT workout and a ‘fun’-grade 25 minute DJ drill set to music.

Each one has excellent instructors and a lot of music, the latter the result of various licensing deals struck between Zygo and the music industry.

We counted over 50 drills, which seems good value, which can be browsed on a timeline but also by specific genres, such as ‘strengthen and lengthen’, ‘5 days of fitness’ and ‘your first sprint triathlon’. It’s best to download them on WiFi within the app before hitting the pool.

Zygo Solo app screenshots

The Zygo Solo mobile app includes instructor-led workouts, with licensed music (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

However, the app does need a queue so that lessons and drills can follow-on from each other. Since some are only a few minutes long you can easily find yourself completing a drill and then swimming in silence.

In future Zygo tells us it’s planning to go full-Peloton and add live classes and leaderboards, with new software incoming that will use the built-in accelerometer to track your activity in the pool.

The app works independently of the device, so in theory you could just subscribe to the app and use all the workouts … though the Zygo Solo is so far the only way to stream content underwater.

Zygo Solo battery and charging case

  • Headset lasts for three hours
  • Charging case uses micro USB not USB-C
  • Charging case doesn’t hold a charge

Inside the Zygo Solo headset is a battery that lasts for three hours, and the transmitter lasts for around six hours. Sadly the hard-sided charging case itself doesn’t hold a charge, but if you snap both gadgets into place in its molded interior, both nestle up against precisely-placed connectors and begin charging automatically if the case is hooked up to power via a micro-USB cable.

Zygo Solo headset and transmitter in charging case

The headset and transmitter are charged by placing them inside the case, which is powered by a micro-USB cable (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

It’s a shame the case doesn’t contain a battery of some kind, and micro-USB also feels slightly outdated given the popularity of USB-C.

Buy it if

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