Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy
We recommend the H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ears for those looking for a top-tier waterproof headphone set. These headphones are so multipurpose, with dual Bluetooth and flash memory, that you’ll need a single pair for all your workouts, whether on land or in the water.
With its 8GB built-in flash drive and surprisingly outstanding Bluetooth performance, you may listen to music without interruptions, even when swimming. Because of Bluetooth’s incompatibility with water, you’ll need both modes to ensure you’ll never be without sound. Remember that you’ll need a three- to four-inch gap between your smartwatch and your swim cap or goggles, even though you could rig them together.
The H2O Audio Sonar, one of our waterproof headphone recommendations, requires attachment to swim goggles, although these, like most bone-conduction headphones, are worn on the cheekbones.
We have one major gripe: the control buttons only sometimes work the first time we press them. The main button handles most functions, so you must be light-handed when pressing and holding it. After the next production run, this should be much better with the new button design.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, you can get these multipurpose headphones on sale on Amazon and H2O Audio’s website. But you can get them for $149.99 (£128,000, AU$225,000). Their design is from San Diego, California, while their manufacturing is from China. Shipping costs and additional taxes are country-specific, although they offer international shipping.
Having waterproof headphones at this price point that feature Bluetooth and inbuilt memory is quite unusual. With these headphones, you can listen to music without interruption, no matter the weather.
Take the $149.95 Shokz OpenSwim headphones as an example; they have just an MP3 player and no Bluetooth. You can get the YouthWhisper SuperQ3 bone conduction headphones, which are Bluetooth-only, for $89 (down from the $129 regular price). Although the Zygo Solo headphones enable faultless underwater streaming from your phone through an FM radio transmitter, they are pricey at $299 and require additional equipment to be brought to the pool.
With an IPX8 rating, these open-ear headphones from H2O Audio Tri are completely waterproof. The next time you want to skip a workout, you may rest certain that these will hold up in water up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) deep for an endless amount of time.
Two circular transducers rest beneath the temple, hooks envelop each ear, and two rectangular pieces, including the battery and controls, sit behind the ears. This design is very common in bone-conduction headphones. Most of the device is black, but the band around your neck can be black, hot pink, or Caribbean blue. They have a small rubber leash that can be attached to swim goggles or a wetsuit zipper, so there’s no need to be concerned if you anticipate being tossed about in the waves. They held their shape well for us while we swam laps and jogged so that you won’t require them for everyday wear.
A little proprietary cord that magnetically attaches four metal rings on both devices charges the headphones and transfers files to the 8GB flash drive. Even though you can’t use any of your other numerous wires with it, the charging port is watertight.
A popup to transfer data will immediately appear when the cable is connected between your computer and headphones. Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” energizes us for several extra laps in the water, and our headphones came with two dozen tracks already loaded. Sort your music library by genre, exercise, or whatever else you like with the simple drag-and-drop feature. It supports MP3, WMA, and M4A (iTunes) files. Remember that subscription services like Apple Music and Spotify do not allow file downloads due to copyright protection; however, you can stream these files via Bluetooth.
You may use these H2O Audio Tri Multi-sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones for all your sporting events because they have a dual-stream design. While phone conversations could be a little echo-y, the sound quality is generally excellent, particularly for music and podcasts. Whether playing through Bluetooth or directly from the flash drive, the podcasts and music sounded fantastic and shockingly full. The audio quality of podcasts remained unchanged while submerged in water. While we did want a little more treble and less bass for underwater listening, it was far from a dealbreaker. On the plus side, we were relieved that the bass wasn’t as jarring as it was with other bone-conduction headphones.
When we swam in Bluetooth mode, the sound did come in and go out whenever our head was even slightly submerged, as water hinders Bluetooth signals. The headphones worked best at the pool’s edge, closest to our phone, and poorly at the far end, about sixty feet away. Remember that the headphones need to be set to Bluetooth mode to receive calls.
Headphones with an MP3 player integrated into them are ideal for swimming. The sound was fantastic in memory mode and remained uninterrupted, whether we swam surface-level or dove to the depths of our 4.5-foot lap pool.
Our primary gripe is the H2O Audio Tri Multi-sport’s fiddly control buttons, particularly the main button that toggles between memory and Bluetooth modes, plays/pauses the audio, and controls a few other features. It took a few tries before we got the gadget to accomplish what we wanted. On occasion, we just pulled out our phones to reset the sound instead of trying to hold the button for the precise amount of milliseconds.
While most users won’t go to the level of control tweaking we do while testing; it’s worth considering if you often want to avoid advertising, pause and restart playback, or toggle between Bluetooth and memory mode. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t use your hands to operate your phone, here’s a solution: load up your flash drive with as many podcasts or songs as you like to avoid toggling, and then turn off the controls once it’s playing according to your preferences.
Control buttons will reportedly be larger and easier to push in the next production run due to design changes implemented by H2O Audio.
If you’re going somewhere noisy, you’ll have to crank up the volume on these bone conduction headphones—or use the earplugs that came with them—because nothing will shield your ears from outside noise. One safety benefit of the open-ear design is that it allows you to hear other swimmers, cyclists, or cars coming up behind you. The sound bleed was low compared to other bone-conduction headphones we’ve tried.
That’s great news because our noise-sensitive roommate hasn’t complained.
Typically, you can save 1500 to 2000 music on an 8GB storage, which is a fairly normal amount. Our main obstacle in navigating the Bluetooth world for MP3 podcasts and music was the ease of drag-and-drop file downloading into the headphones.
You can listen to music on the 8GB flash memory or stream it directly from your phone via Bluetooth with the H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport Waterproof Open Ear Headphones, which have the highest waterproof rating and better than expected sound quality (though underwater music sounds a little bassy). We want the control buttons to be more accommodating.