Swimming while listening to your favorite playlists with headphones or earphones?
Not that easy.
Many products with the IPX4 standard advertised as waterproof by their manufacturers are only partially so.
But some equipment, them to the IP65 or IP68 standard, are specifically dedicated to swimming.
Swimming to music?
Many dream of it during these summer holidays where swimming pools and seaside welcome tourists in search of freshness and relaxation.
But what possibilities do 100% wireless headphones and earphones offer us to punctuate our swims?
"20 Minutes" makes an urgent point on the question, in order to protect you from any risk of damaging your equipment.
Isa does not regret the time when she ran with her headphones.
Relatively heavy, bulky, it also made her sweat a lot around her ears.
And each time, care had to be taken to wipe it, dry it.
Since she bought “waterproof” True Wireless headphones (it was indicated on the box!), her running sessions are synonymous with more freedom.
And Isa intends to use them during the weekend of August 15 to do lengths in the swimming pool of the gîte rented with a couple of friends.
Except that Isa may well drown his pair of headphones.
A standard to navigate
Behind this generic term used by manufacturers often hide contrasting realities.
Like other technological equipment that stands out for its resistance to shocks, dust and water (smartphones, readers, connected watches, etc.), audio products may have a standard that offers this guarantee.
It is recognized by its first two letters: IP (for Ingress Protection, or Protection Index).
Helmets without protection
As expensive as they are, most of the headphones we know (Sony WH-1000XM5; Marshall Monitor II ANC; Bose Quiet Confort 45…) do not have them.
If no one imagines swimming with them, we can however hope that they are not damaged by use in a light rain.
The manufacturers are not making much progress on the question… It is rather on the side of True Wireless headphones that there is grain to grind on the side of IP standards.
And a lot of grain, even.
The IPX4 invests the spokes
For their resistant devices, the brands are advancing in their vast majority, headphones to the IPX4 standard.
Thus, most of them play the same music: from Apple's AirPods 3 to Oppo's Enco Air 2, via Bose Sport Earbuds, or Sony's WF-1000XM4.
These headphones are resistant to splashes (this is indicated by the “4” of IPX4), but not to dust (which is indicated by the “X”).
There are some dissonant vocals however, as with the Endurance RUNBT from JBL, or the ZNE 01 ANC from Adidas.
At the IPX5 standard, they are advertised as also resistant to perspiration.
In fact, the IPX4 standard states that the headphones are protected against splashing or spraying water from any angle for a certain period of time.
The IPX5 standard goes further and speaks of resistance to water under pressure.
For its part, Xiaomi drives the point home with its Buds 3 headphones which, themselves, its IP55.
They are therefore resistant to water, but also to dust.
Yes, this is all quite subtle...
Manufacturers that don't get wet
All the more subtle as the manufacturers do not get too wet in the end.
Thus, Xiaomi takes care to specify in the characteristics of its Buds 3 that they cannot “be used in a bath or in the shower”.
But also that it is necessary to avoid using them during an intense effort because "sweating due to the effort can damage the device".
And Xiaomi concludes: "This product is splashproof, waterproof and dustproof at the time of purchase"!
So when protected in its box.
For their part, Apple's recommendations for its AirPods are more nuanced.
These headphones “are not intended for use while engaging in water sports such as swimming, nor for showering”.
We have been warned.
IP57: the rare rainproof standard
It is perhaps at Jabra that Isa should have equipped herself for her swimming pool lengths.
The Danish manufacturer offers with its Elite 7 Active earphones advertised as “rain resistant”.
With the IP57 standard, these headphones are thus technically protected against dust and against immersion between 15 cm and 1 meter deep.
Bingo for swimming?
No: underwater, the Bluetooth transmission is naturally cut off.
The connection with his smartphone left on his bath towel risks being very chaotic… But these headphones can take on water for good.
To be able to swim while listening to music, no mystery.
A self-contained device that can withstand submersion is required.
This is what Sony offers with its WS WS410 neckband headphones.
In-ear type, it has 4 or 8 GB of memory to accommodate MP3s and its own battery (sold for 99 euros and 119 euros).
With the IP65 standard, it can withstand brief immersions.
Ideal for swimming!
Similar principle for the new OpenSwim headphones from Shokz.
Here, listening, less precise, is done by bone conduction (the entrance to the ears remains free), but the device (sold for 159 euros with 4 GB of storage) is IP68.
It is therefore possible to keep it submerged up to more than a meter deep for an hour.
The Graal ?
On arrival, not easy to see clearly.
We would come to dream that common standards are finally defined to specify once and for all, and without ambiguity, which activities can claim helmets and headphones: classic, sport and multisport, for example.
In the meantime, it's time to take a dip!
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