Saturday, January 31, 2015

Finis SwiMP3: Newer is not always better

Subtitle: When Newer is not always better and when Global Sourcing FAILS ....

Finis is a company specialising in Swimming equipment. Fins, Goggles, timers and for some years MP3 players that you can swim with.

Wait.  Why would you want to listen to music, or an audio-book whilst Swim training?


Any athlete puts in hours of training per week.   But compared to (say) Cycling or Running, Pool Swimming has one big huge difference.

There is bugger all to look at except the familiar walls of a pool.  Without music a 1 hour Swimming session can quickly lead to boredom and a resolution that you should Swim less rather than more.

So back to waterproof MP3 players.  I've already reviewed the  SwiMP3 2G player.   It is just brilliant!

What changed in 2013
Finis it seems were struck by a combination of stupidy and insanity and changed an almost perfect design adding features that would frustrate me ....

  • A big fat bit in the middle between the bone conduction earphones.  I'll have to stick this onto my goggles at the back.
  • Crinkly bits where the cables comes out of the unit  - unnecessary, better ways to prevent cable fatigue.
  • An LCD display - unnecessary
  • 4GB memory - unnecessary  (2GB or the previous model more than enough)
  • Volumetrically the new unit is a lot larger than the old and has lost its simple functionality.

Global Sourcing Woes
In early 2014 I realised that the new design was inferior and so ordered up a backup SwiMP3 player.  It was extremely difficult to find a unit, at a good price, that would ship to Switzerland.

Now it is 2015.

My backup 2G player was appropriated by darling Agata

My 2G player failed ... one earpiece has died.

I've just paid an annoying price premium on Amazon for an old style swiMP3 2G player.

This was after having an eBay watch outstanding for over 4 months now, and nothing turning up.

Last Minute Hitch
After making the order begrudgingly, I got a message after 30 minutes saying the goods were not really in stock.  What!

So this means I WILL have to order the flippin Neptune monstrosity after all.

Learning Points
With my best OCD (Mr Monk) hat on I thought the days of stockpiling items that I loved was not necessary in the 21st Globally resourced world.

Somewhere (they tell me) is the thing you love, waiting and available at a fair price.  Or, that something is replaced by a newer and lower cost, better designed, higher functionality replacement.

But sometimes the replacement is not as good and nobody (else) does it better.

Wait, I feel a song coming on

Nobody does it better

Saturday Afternoon Update

Having resolved to buy the neptune we journeyed to 

Sportmax Lausanne,  our local Triathlon shop

For Switzerland they keep pretty good hours for Saturday, (and as you know nothing is open on Sunday)

It has been ages since we visited.  But we were reminded that they have an excellent selection of Specialist sports equipment for enthusiasts.

And,  drum role, they had a Neptune.  And they sold it to us for a special price, actually less than I could find on    So I am actually pretty staggered!   The lower price has convinced me to give the Neptune a chance.  Full review to follow.

Finis Neptune