H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport review: swim, run & bike with your favourite tunes
As someone constantly on the lookout for the perfect workout partner, I recently had the chance to try out the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones. Designed with athletes in mind, these headphones promise a great audio experience while keeping pace with even the most rigorous of workouts.
Not only are they resistant to water and sweat, but they also have built-in MP3 player, so you can listen to music on the go without needing an extra device. Durability is also a priority with these headphones.
H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport headphones
In this review, I’ll share my insights on the comfort, fit, and performance of the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones, as well as the added perk of an integrated microphone for hands-free calls and voice commands. Join me as I explore the world of these headphones to determine if they truly live up to their impressive claims.
H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport review: Design, hardware
Taking a closer look at the design of the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones, I’ve noticed several key features that make them appealing to athletes. The first one is that unlike traditional headphones, they use bone conduction technology. This means they have round transducers that sit in front of your ear canals, from where they transmit sound through the cheekbones.
This is the kind of design that lets you listen to music and be aware of what’s going on around you at the same time. So you could see it as a great way to keep yourself safe while exercising.
Right out of the box, these headphones look and feel solid. The neck band is made of a soft, flexible material that doesn’t irritate the skin, and the ear hooks make sure the headphones have a comfortable fit. I love how light they are, which makes them easy to wear while working out. The device is for the most part black, but you can choose Caribbean blue, hot pink, or black neckbands for it.
I mostly ran with the headphones and did a little bit of swimming. The flexible band goes around the neck and keeps everything in place while you move, which is exactly what you want from these kinds of headphones. It’s important to note that this comes in only one size, so you can’t change the length of the neck loop.
There are three small buttons next to each other on one side of the headphones. They let you trigger various functions and serve as the control unit, but more about that later.
Suitable for swimming
The headphones’ IPX8 water-resistance rating is one of their best features. This makes them good for use in multiple sports, as the name “Tri” Pro suggests. H2O was started in California in 2003 by Ironman triathlete Kristian Rauhala, so it’s not a big surprise that part of their focus is on being water-resistant.
The headphones can safely be submerged down to depths of 12 feet or 3.6 metres for an unlimited amount of time. This waterproof technology makes them perfect for swimming, surfing, paddling and even ocean use.
When swimming, the best way to keep the headphones in place is to put a swim goggle strap or swim cap over them. For this, the package comes with a small rubber leash and a set of earplugs. Using the earplugs enhances the sound quality.
Take your music with you
Another standout feature of the headphones is the 8 GB of memory. You can store hundreds of songs, making it easy to bring your favourite audio with you wherever you go. The other option is to use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device to stream music.
The average playtime with a full battery is about 5 or 6 hours, but the actual playtime depends on the volume level and mode you are using. The company says that on some settings, you can get up to 9 hours, but I doubt I’d get 6 hours with the volume at its highest setting. During my tests, I found that after about 4 hours, the battery level would drop below 20%.
Charging requires a custom 4-pin cable, with one end plugging into a USB outlet and the other end magnetically aligning with the headphones. I would have preferred a more universal connection like USB-C, so I could use a cable I already have. It means if I lose the proprietary cable I need to purchase a new one.
The LED that can be found on the side of the device lets you know the charging status. Red means that the battery is being charged, and blue means that it is full.
When you turn on the headphones, a voice will tell you how much power is left in the battery. Even though it’s useful, it can be annoying sometimes, and as far as I know, there’s no way to turn it off.
H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport review: Technical specs
Open ear design
Black, Blue, Pink
IPX8. Can withstand submersion to 12 feet (3.6 meters) under water.
up to a max of 8-9 hours
Internal memory, MP3 player or Bluetooth
8 GB flash drive
Outside of the water it is 30ft (around 9-10 meters). Bluetooth range under water is 4 inches (2cm).
Price (typical RRP)
H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport review: Setup, features
Connection & pairing
The first thing you’ll need to do with the headphones after charging is to pair them with your smartphone. Switch them on by holding the centre button for 2-3 seconds. For the initial pairing, you’ll need to double-click the middle button. You’ll hear an audio prompt saying “Bluetooth Mode”. Then, all you have to do is go to the Bluetooth settings on your phone, find the headphones in the list of devices, and choose them.
I found this process to be seamless. From that point on, without fail, the headphones would immediately connect automatically with my phone as soon as they were switched on. You can connect them to your iPhone, iPad, Android device or any music enabled smart watch.
The Bluetooth range is about 10 meters, but I found that it was less indoors because walls and other things could get in the way. As mentioned, the headphones are waterproof, but if you go deeper than 2 centimetres underwater the sound will get choppy and the connection will be shaky. The further you are from your phone the worse it gets.
This is just the nature of the beast. Bluetooth signals don’t transmit well underwater, which is simply due to the laws of physics. So, you can’t really blame the headphones for this limitation. The good news is that you can use the built-in storage to listen to audio uninterrupted while in water. That’s what the internal memory is for.
In my experience, the one aspect you need to master are the button controls. As mentioned earlier, there are three buttons on the headphones. They’re quite small, which sometimes makes them difficult to press. Personally, I would have preferred larger buttons and it seems that this will be addressed on the next iteration of the device.
The middle button serves a variety purposes, including switching the headphones on or off, playing or pausing audio, and changing the mode (from memory to Bluetooth). The + and – buttons control the volume, skip songs, or skip folders. Different click combinations trigger different functions, so it will take you a bit of time to memorise them all.
Additionally, you can trigger Siri voice assistant with a long press of the middle button. If a call comes through while you are in Bluetooth mode, a single click on the middle button allows you to answer it. The same hands-free microphone used for the smart assistant enables you to conduct calls.
Overall, mastering the button controls does take a bit of practice. But once you get the hang of it, they are fine.
Built-in music storage
In addition to water-proofing, what sets these headphones apart from the competition is their offline music storage ability. I really like the way this functions as the implementation is very simple.
There are several ways to transfer over music to the device. The first is via the USB connection. Use the charging cable to plug the headphones into your Mac of Windows PC computer. After a few seconds it will appear as a normal drive on your computer. The simply copy (drag, paste, etc…) MP3 (in addition to WMA or M4A music formats) into the appropriate folder. The transfer is done almost instantly.
Essentially, you can control the contents of the drive as you would any disk on your computer. The feature even allows you to organise music into different folders and switch between them during playback at a double-click of a button.
H2O Audio could have chosen the option to create a smartphone app for all of this or their own software for music transfer. I’m glad they didn’t. I have too many apps on my phone as it is. The USB solution is way more convenient.
H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport headphones
The company has recently added a new feature called PLAYLIST+. It allows you to capture streaming music onto the headphone drive for offline listening.
This works by recording what you hear when you are connected to your music source in Bluetooth mode. Double-click the + button to start or stop the capture. While the device is recording and saving the sound, a blue LED will blink quickly. Interestingly, the volume settings are mirrored as well. So make sure to turn up the volume so that the sound is captured properly.
Again, the implementation of this is really clever. Most impressively, the audio recorded is just as good quality as something that comes professionally recorded. You can hardly tell the difference.
All the music recorded in this way is placed in a folder called LOAD. Simply navigate to that folder in Memory mode and it will start playing.
H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport review: Sound quality
Regarding sound quality, it’s important to note that while bone conduction headphones, like the H2O Audio Trigger Pro Multi-Sport, have their unique advantages, they don’t provide the same level of audio fidelity as in-ear headphones. This is due to the way they transmit sound.
In-ear headphones send sound directly into the ear canal, which makes listening to music more immersive. By sending the sound directly, they can offer a wider range of frequencies, better bass response, and clearer audio.
In contrast, bone conduction headphones work by transmitting sound vibrations through the skull bones, bypassing the outer and middle ear. The sound quality and volume aren’t as good with this method.
You can actually get a sense how this works if you hold the headphones in your hand while they are powered on. You’ll feel an ever slight vibration which gets stronger as the volume is higher.
I’d say the sound quality of the H2O Audio Trigger Pro Multi-Sport is on par with other bone conduction devices, but it doesn’t quite match the performance of a high-end pair of headphones. Essentially, you get more bass but less treble and overall richness. The volume is also lower, so in exceptionally noisy environments, it might be difficult to hear the audio clearly.
That said, the sound quality is decent enough to let you listen to audio while exercising or swimming, all while maintaining awareness of your surroundings. Because of how bone conduction works, I think these headphones are better for podcasts than music.
H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones review: Should you buy them?
The H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones have a unique set of features tailored for athletes, including bone conduction technology, water resistance, and built-in music storage. While the sound quality may not be on par with that of high-quality in-ear headphones, these headphones provide an excellent balance between audio performance, safety, and convenience. They allow users to enjoy music on the go while remaining aware of their surroundings.
H2O Audio Tri Multi-Sport headphones
With a comfortable, secure fit and the added benefit of an integrated microphone for hands-free calls and voice commands, the $150 H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones are a great value for the money. If you are an athlete looking for a pair of headphones that can keep up with your active lifestyle, the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones are definitely worth considering.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: What are the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones?
A1: The H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones are bone conduction headphones designed for athletes, offering water resistance, built-in MP3 player, and an integrated microphone for hands-free calls and voice commands.
Q2: How do bone conduction headphones work?
Bone conduction headphones transmit sound vibrations through the skull bones, bypassing the outer and middle ear. This allows you to listen to audio while maintaining awareness of your surroundings.
Q3: How is the sound quality of the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones?
A3: The sound quality of the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones is decent for exercising and swimming, but it doesn’t match the performance of high-end in-ear headphones due to the nature of bone conduction technology.
Q4: Are the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport headphones waterproof?
A4: Yes, they have an IPX8 water-resistance rating, which means they can be submerged up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) underwater for an unlimited amount of time. To keep the headphones in place while swimming, you can use a swim goggle strap or swim cap.
Q5: How much built-in memory do the headphones have?
A5: The headphones come with 8 GB of memory, allowing you to store hundreds of songs for offline playback.
Q6: What is the battery life of the headphones?
A6: The average playtime with a full battery is about 5 to 6 hours, but the actual playtime depends on the volume level and mode being used.
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