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Top 10 Best Full-Face Snorkel Masks: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

For both vacationers and avid swimmers, snorkeling can be a tremendous amount of fun. Gone are the days when you had to breathe through a conventional snorkeling tube attached to a mouthpiece. Because of technological advancements, snorkelers now enjoy underwater adventures with full-face snorkel masks.

In this review, we list the 10 best full-face snorkel masks currently on the market.

Full-Face Snorkel Mask FAQs

1. What is a full-face snorkel mask?

2. Where can you buy a full-face snorkel mask?

3. How much do full-face snorkel masks cost?

How We Reviewed Full-Face Snorkel Masks

We want to provide you with honest, reliable and useful information. In compiling our review, we chose mask that rated highly in the following areas:

  • Style
  • Functionality
  • Comfort
  • Price

Overall Price Range of Full-Face Snorkel Masks

Snorkel masks often vary considerably in price. Those we reviewed cost between $17 and $130.

The 10 Best Full-Face Snorkel Masks: Rankings, Ratings and Reviews

The Best

1

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In our opinion, there is a clear standout on the full-face snorkel market. The WildHorn Outfitters Seaview mask is the most complete one we found. The mask fits comfortably over your face, allowing you to breathe naturally from either your nose or mouth while exploring the underwater world. Even better, the front of the mask provides for a 180-degree viewing area. As such, there is no blocking of your peripheral vision while wearing the WildHorn Outfitters Seaview mask. This makes for a safer and more enjoyable snorkeling experience.

Our favorite feature of this mask is its GoPro compatibility. Simply clip your underwater camera to the front of this mask and record your underwater experience. Also, the anti-fog design of WildHorn Outfitters Seaview full-face snorkel mask ensures you can focus on finding fish and exploring coral instead of constantly wiping down your mask. Moreover, dry-snorkel technology keeps water from flowing down the tube and into your mouth or lungs. Like the other snorkels on our list, the WildHorn Outfitters Seaview mask is not intended for professional use. Instead, you should only use this piece of equipment for casual snorkeling adventures.

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2

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While the SeeReef full-face snorkel mask occupies the second spot on our list, it is an excellent piece of snorkeling equipment. This mask has a four-valve design, ensuring you can breathe consistently and naturally underwater. That’s huge in the snorkeling world, as many masks tend to constrict breathing. Additionally, the SeeReef has a flat HD viewing area, which doesn’t distort your view. We love that.

If you order the SeeReef mask, you get everything you need to use and maintain your new snorkel. The kit includes ear plugs to help you customize the fit of your mask. It also has spare seals and a carrying bag. Unfortunately, the SeeReef only comes in adult sizes, so this mask probably isn’t a good option for the young snorkelers in your group.

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3

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In our opinion, the X-Lounger full-face snorkel mask is essentially tied with the SeeReef mask. Because of its flat HD viewing area, the SeeReef edges out the X-Lounger mask. Still, you probably can’t go wrong with the mask from X-Lounger. This mask has a foldable breathing tube, making packing it simple.

The X-Lounger features a 180-degree viewing area and has a detachable camera mount. Moreover, the design of this mask allows you to breathe naturally through your nose. When you do, a no-choking water ball prevents backflow into your breathing space. Additionally, the flat view area allows you to see fish and coral as they are, instead of experiencing a myopic or fishbowl effect. Overall, the X-Lounger is a fantastic full-face snorkel mask.

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4

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The Tribord Easybreath full-face snorkel mask is basic. That is, there are no camera attachments or other innovative features on the Easybreath. What the mask provides, though, is a dynamic underwater experience. With a secure fit and 180-degree viewing area, the Tribord Easybreath is an optimal snorkeling mask.

Our favorite feature of the Easybreath is its water-draining valve. When you resurface, you don’t have to remove the mask to drain water that may have inadvertently leaked inside. Instead, you simply open the valve until the water is gone. Still, with dry-top technology, water tends not to enter the mask. Moreover, the bright-orange tip on the tube is designed to be highly visible. As such, this mask offers a safe way to explore underwater.

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5

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At the halfway mark on our survey is the Easy Snorkel full-face snorkel mask. This mask has a decidedly cool look to it. With a solid black finish, the mask makes you feel like an underwater pro every time you put it on. The Easy Snorkel offers more than good looks, however. The 180-degree viewing area gives you a complete look at the underwater world.

Some users complain of water leakage with this snorkel. To prevent it, you may need to tighten the straps to an uncomfortable level. Not all users have this problem, however. In fact, some report the dry-snorkel technology is better on the Easy Snorkel than on other masks. Regardless, the anti-fog shield guarantees you hours of underwater play without having to wipe the mask clean. Additionally, the Easy Snorkel comes with an optional camera mount, allowing you to document your snorkeling adventure.

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6

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If you don’t want to purchase your fins and full-face snorkel mask separately, COZIA Design has you covered. The company’s full-face snorkel mask comes in a kit that includes fins. Buying the equipment together saves you time and money. You should know, though, that the mask has a significantly higher-quality feel than the fins that come in the kit.

The COZIA Design mask has a 180-degree viewing area. Made from anti-fog materials, the screen is designed to take you through long snorkeling trips. Also, the nylon strips are easy to adjust and comfortable to wear. If you want ear plugs or a camera mount, you must pay extra. Nonetheless, the COZIA Design mask is a decent entry-level snorkeling solution.

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7

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The Vaincre 180-degree full-face snorkel mask has a simple look to it. That’s what we like about this piece of snorkeling gear. Like the other masks on this list, you get a panoramic underwater view when you put on the Vaincre mask. You also get a natural breathing experience, thanks to the innovative breathing chamber on the bottom of the mask.

We like the Vaincre mask for its simplicity. While it isn’t compatible with cameras and doesn’t have a foldable tube, this mask is lightweight and easy to wear. For snorkelers who frequently travel and prefer not to take a bulky mask, the Vaincre 180-degree full-face snorkel mask gets the job done. It also comes in kids’ sizes.

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8

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With sizes for both adults and children, the TriMagic 180-degree snorkeling mask is an effective option for everyone in your snorkeling group. This mask comes with a full-view screen, allowing you to clearly explore beneath the waves. It has a dry-top tube to prevent water from entering the mask.

Our favorite feature of the TriMagic mask is its fit. Comfortably nylon straps adjust perfectly to virtually any snorkeler’s head. With anti-fog and easy-breathe technology, this mask is an excellent choice for anyone who is new to snorkeling. Unfortunately, some versions of the mask are quite expensive.

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9

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On paper, the Greatever Free Breathing full-face snorkel mask is awesome. The mask features a foldable tube, allowing you to tweak its position to avoid water leakage. Additionally, the comfort straps fit securely around your head, keeping the mask in place until you are done snorkeling. Even better, the Greatever Free Breathing mask has a detachable camera mount.

Unfortunately, many users complain about the feel of the mask’s seal. The primary issue is the seal’s width. Many snorkelers report chaffing. While we think this issue is likely resolvable by repositioning the mask’s straps, you may not find the Greatever Free Breathing mask to be sufficiently comfortable for long adventures.

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10

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The final full-face snorkel mask on our list is the Mythquate mask. While this mask earns the last position, it remains a decent mask for most snorkelers. The mask features a foldable tube, anti-fog viewing area and comfort-fit straps.

Even though the Mythquate mask comes in both child and adult sizes, many users think it works best for young swimmers. This makes sense, as the mask has decidedly juvenile styling. Still, for an all-around effective full-face snorkel mask the Mythquate mask is worth a look.

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Comparison Table

WildHorn Outfitters Seaview

Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Yes

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Extra-small, small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Black, aqua, electric, lotus, manta ray, navy blue, plum, sky, sunset and white

Rating:

Price:

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SeeReef Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

No

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Jet black or Pacific blue

Rating:

Price:

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X-Lounger Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Yes

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Small/medium, large/extra large

Colors available:

Black, blue, pink and combination

Rating:

Price:

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Tribord Easybreath Full-Face Snorkel Mask 

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

No

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Small/medium, medium/large

Colors available:

Blue

Rating:

Price:

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Easy Snorkel Full-Face Snorkel Mask 

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Optional

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Black

Rating:

Price:

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COZIA Design View Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Optional

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Medium, large

Colors available:

Black

Rating:

Price:

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Vaincre 180-Degree Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

No

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Extra-small, small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Black, gray, pink, blue, purple, sky blue, white and combination

Rating:

Price:

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TriMagic 180-Degree Full-Face Snorkel Mask 

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

No

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

 Extra-small, small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Black, blue, pink, white, red and combination

Rating:

Price:

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Greatever Free Breathing

Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Yes

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Extra-small, small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

Blue, red, black, blue and pink

Rating:

Price:

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Mythquate Full-Face Snorkel Mask

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Viewing area:

180 degrees

GoPro compatible:

Yes

Anti-fog:

Yes

Adjustable:

Yes

Size available:

Small/medium, large/extra-large

Colors available:

White

Rating:

Price:

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Our Verdict:

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In our opinion, the WildHorn Outfitters Seaview full-face snorkel mask is the best mask on the market today. With a great fit and impressive features, the mask stands on top of the competition. That competition, however, isn’t far behind. In fact, we are happy to note that all of the masks on our list are good pieces of equipment.

A Review of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy Regulator and The Finest Scuba Regulators

Tropical Anthias fish

When you leave the shore and head out on a boat, you can’t help but become excited about the dynamic dive you are about to have. For a safe, fun and memorable dive, you need the right equipment. While several pieces of gear make up your scuba equipment, perhaps the most important one is your diving regulator. After all, it is the regulator that allows you to breathe underwater.

As you probably know, there are dozens of scuba regulators on the market today. While all function adequately, not every scuba regulator is a smart investment. How do you know the difference between a top-notch regulator and an inferior one? That’s where we come in.

In this article, we review one of the most popular diving regulators available for purchase today, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator. Continue reading for answers to common questions, an honest assessment of the regulator and a comparison of similar pieces of equipment.

What Is a Scuba Regulator?

scuba regulator

As mentioned, a scuba regulator is an essential piece of scuba gear. Simply put, regulators provide you with air when you are underwater. Their full functionality, though, is more involved than that. When you are beneath the water, you carry pressurized air with you in a tank strapped to your back or side. As you likely know, highly pressurized air is not comfortable to breathe. Additionally, it escapes the storage tank quickly when the valve is open.

To breathe naturally and comfortably while conserving stored air, you need a scuba regulator. The device reduces air pressure so that you can inhale it comfortably. It also assists with the dispersion of carbon dioxide after you exhale. Additionally, the device releases pressurized air slowly, helping to extend the useful life of your underwater air storage tanks.

While divers usually refer to scuba regulators as single pieces of equipment, they are actually complex devices. Most scuba regulators have the following four components:

  • A first-stage regulator that attaches to the air storage tank. The first-stage regulator begins the process of reducing pressurized air to a breathable level. It also allows air to leave the tank in a controlled way, assisting with underwater air conservation.
  • A second-stage regulator that attaches to the mouthpiece inside a diver’s mouth. This part of the system further reduces air pressure, allowing scuba enthusiasts to breathe naturally during dives.
  • An alternative regulator that acts as a diving failsafe. If other parts of the regulator system fail under the waves, divers use alternative regulators to continue to breathe until they reach the surface. This part of the system also allows divers to help others who have trouble with their regulators.
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    Hoses that hook all parts of the regulator system together. Hoses come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials. While stock hoses often come with new diving regulators, divers frequently swap them out for higher-end hoses.

While most scuba regulators have these four components, you should know that not all regulators are created equally. On the contrary, regulators come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles and materials. Additionally, not all regulators on the market today are appropriate for all types of underwater conditions. Before choosing the best scuba regulator for meeting your diving goals, you must think about how you plan to dive. If you are new to the world of scuba, you may want to talk to an expert diver to see which style of regulator is right for you.

What Is the Mares Abyss 22 Navy Regulator?

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In a market where scuba regulators can cost thousands of dollars, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator’s price tag is significantly less. The regulator is appropriate for both cold-freshwater and warm-water dives. Divers who are looking for gear that resists freeze-ups often rely on the expert design and innovative construction of this piece of equipment.

The first-stage regulator is a balanced diaphragm design made from chrome-plated marine brass. Environmentally sealed, the regulator resists corrosion. In fact, because the diaphragm membrane communicates pressure changes, contaminated water never enters the internal mechanism. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the damage that salt, chlorine, sand, acids and other contaminants can cause. Instead, you have a worry-free dive, knowing your regulator has enough protection to last through hundreds of dives.

The second-stage regulator takes advantage of patented proprietary technology. A mesh design reduces water pressure, eliminating the need for a de-tune knob. Rather than fiddling with calibration underwater, you focus on diving accuracy and enjoyment.

Mares Abyss 22 Navy Specifications

  • Ship
    Regulator type: Balanced diaphragm
  • Ship
    Material: Chrome-plated marine-grade brass
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    Environmentally sealed: Yes
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    Includes CWD Kit: Yes
  • Ship
    Weight: 47.02 ounces (1337 g)
  • Ship
    Low-pressure ports: One half-inch threaded UNF high-flow port for primary second-stage regulator.
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    High-pressure ports: Two 7/16-inch threaded UNF
  • Ship
    U.S. Navy Experimental Diving Unit Approved: Yes
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    Authorized for Military Use: Yes (Approval number 1.3.16)
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    High flow: Half-inch threaded 29.5-inch (75 cm) low-pressure hose

The Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator has some impressive specifications and features. Significantly, the regulator includes a first-stage CWD kit to help divers conquer cold-water diving conditions with confidence. It also uses dynamic flow control to minimize pressure drop during intermediate dives. Moreover, the regulator’s tri-material valve prevents freeze-ups and helps boost regulator reliability.

The regulator system weighs 47.02 ounces, which is a moderate weight for diving regulators. It comes with a half-inch threaded 29.5-inch low-pressure hose. The system also features six ports, including four low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ones. To be sure you are getting the most out of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator, the system comes with a detailed user’s manual. Inside the manual, you have access to detailed drawings, expert explanations and other essential information.

As noted, the environmentally sealed chrome-plated marine brass first-stage regulator prevents contamination. The result is a regulator design that holds up well to virtually all underwater situations. If you choose to dive with this regulator, you will likely appreciate the tri-material technology that keeps you safe while optimizing dive performance. This technology uses both hard and soft polyurethane to deliver an unbeatable seal. If you are looking for a durable diving regulator, you can’t do much better than marine-grade brass, hard polyurethane and soft polyurethane.

Perhaps the best feature of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is its DFC. When you inhale underwater, you must pay attention to intermediate pressure drop. If the pressure drop is too extreme, breathing is both unnatural and uncomfortable. The DFC minimizes intermediate pressure drop every time you inhale during your drive. Accordingly, you get a consistent flow of stable air, regardless of diving conditions.

The second-stage regulator is equally innovative. The mesh design minimizes free-flow that plagues even experienced divers. Using the principles of physics, the second-stage regulator eliminates the need for de-tuning. The advanced design of the second-stage regulator also includes a vortex-assisted system. This system uses an air bypass tube to deliver air to the mouthpiece. The design causes a vortex to form due to a low-pressure area in the center. When you inhale, the diaphragm stays down. The process is technical, but the results are clear: you breathe easily regardless of the dive of your depth.

Rigorous evaluation by the U.S. Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit uncovered the superior performance of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator. Through all phases of testing, the regulator exceeded standards. Therefore, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is authorized for military use.

Mares Abyss 22 Navy Pricing

Diving regulators aren’t usually cheap. As mentioned above, you can spend thousands of dollars on a regulator system. While it has an impressive list of features and capabilities, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator isn’t unaffordable. At around $730, the regulator is moderately priced. It also comes with a limited two-year warranty. Even though some regulators have longer warranties, two years should be enough to determine if your new system has signs of construction defects.

How the Mares Abyss 22 Navy Compares to Other Diving Regulators

To know which diving regulator is right for you, you must think about your diving style and personal preferences. Still, you should see how the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator compares to some other popular diving regulators on the market today. In this section, we compare the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator to three similar ones.

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Atomic Aquatics has long been a leader in the scuba business. The ST1 features both titanium and stainless steel construction.


Remember, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is made from marine-grade brass. We like the ST1 for its lightweight design. This competitor functions in either cold or warm-water situations.

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The Sherwood SR2 regulator’s price tag is about the same as the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator. We like this competitor for its customization option. Like the Mares Abyss 22 Navy, the Sherwood SR2 has enough ports to attach hoses in a variety of ways. It also has a closed-water system that helps keep contaminants out of the regulator system. Still, the Sherwood SR2 is heavier than the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator. It also doesn’t feel as well-built.

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If price is no object, you may want to think about investing in the SCUBAPRO M25 A700. Made from stainless steel, the M25 A700 is durable. It also includes some impressive technology, giving you a consistent supply of air. It isn’t cheap, though. In fact, the SCUBAPRO M25 A700 is more than twice the price of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator.

There are some cool scuba regulators on the market today. All have their own benefits and drawbacks. While we think the three competitors above are excellent options, they don’t impress us more than the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator.

Mares Abyss 22 Navy Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Nice build construction.
  • Excellent versatility.
  • Low price.

Cons

  • Heavy weight material.
  • Short term warranty

We think the best feature of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is its construction. Made from chrome-plated marine-grade brass, the regulator is heavy-duty. The environmentally sealed design of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy keeps contaminants from destroying the system. It also eliminates the need for in-depth cleaning.

The Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is also extremely versatile. With six ports, you can configure the system in any way you choose. It isn’t hard to see why the military has authorized this regulator for its use. If you want to dive in extreme conditions, you are likely to appreciate the durability of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator.

Finally, we can’t object to the price tag of the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator. At under $700, the system is one of the most affordable available for purchase today. It doesn’t feel cheap, though. On the contrary, the regulator has a heftiness to it that you are sure to appreciate.

While the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator feels expensive, it is heavier than other scuba regulators. The weight is easy to understand, as marine-grade brass is not light. If weight matters to you, you may want to pick a regulator made from titanium or another lightweight material. Expect to pay a premium for these regulators, though.

The Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator comes with a limited two-year warranty. While we think that gives you enough time to determine if your system has problems, the warranty is not as long or comprehensive as warranties from Atomic Aquatics or SCUBAPRO.

Final Thoughts: The Mares Abyss 22 Navy Regulator Is Excellent

Divers rely on scuba regulators to breathe comfortably underwater. Few mistakes are more consequential than relying on a substandard system. Fortunately, the Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator is not an inferior regulator. This equipment reduces the impact of water flow onto the second stage diaphragm, thus eliminating free flows even in strong currents. So this main feature is its main advantage.

Free Diving Beginner’s Guide

free diving

One of the things we will learn is the great diversity of interesting and competitive activities that come under the broad heading of free diving. For example, have you ever heard of “competitive apnea”? Probably not. But in free diving, holding your breath (“apnea”) is usually a good thing.

What Is Free Diving?

Free diving is a form of underwater swimming or diving where the person holds their breath through the duration of a single dive. Generally, the idea is to prolong holding the breath to enable the diver to go many meters below the surface of the water to experience and explore undersea life-forms and marine bottom-scapes.

In addition, these diving techniques can be used to enable many different forms of underwater activity, from spear-fishing to competitive diving, and even competitive apnea. All these activities share the need for the participant to hold their breath, usually for as long as safely possible.

Some of the benefits of free diving compared to scuba diving, which requires the use of an underwater breathing apparatus (diving tanks, etc.) are:

  • Much lower equipment cost—free diving does not require any equipment at all
  • Free divers don’t have as many safety concerns as scuba divers
  • Free divers are “free” of heavy equipment—so can move about more naturally
  • No excess bubbles—the sea life doesn’t get so startled

We should clarify a couple of points here.

While it is true you do not need any equipment at all to begin free diving, many free divers do use equipment, which we will discuss in more detail below. But basically, mask, fins and sometimes snorkels can be used by all divers, including beginners.

man diving into the water

While it is true free divers do not face as many risks (few decompression concerns for example) as scuba divers, this does not mean that free diving is risk-free. Obviously, that is not likely to be the case with an activity where the main idea is to hold your breath. Learning how to properly breathebefore and during a dive is an important safety concern. Again, we will look at this in more detail below.

Free Diving Is Ancient

It should not surprise us that an activity as natural, and essentially low-tech, as free diving has been around for thousands of years. And this is especially the case since global coastlines offer such an abundance of food, much of it accessible to free divers.

Not only have free divers explored for food, but their special skills, which can be honed to enable very deep and very prolonged dives, have been employed by those with other goals entirely. For example, we know that in 332 BC, Alexander the Great employed breath-holding divers (free divers) to help dismantle the defenses of Tyre, an ancient Phoenician coastal stronghold.

And free-diving techniques, especially long breath-holding abilities, have been key in the development of survival skill-sets for US Navy personnel, especially submariners.

man back flipping in the water

However, for most people drawn to this kind of diving, their goals are much more personal—learning how to free dive better and more safely in order to have a great time!

Is Free Diving Safe?

It may seem a little strange to consider this as a safe activity when you intentionally hold your breath for as long as possible and then plunge as deeply as possible underwater.

But, the breath-holding is usually a means to an end—the enjoyment of the considerable rewards of exploring a part of our world that most people will never see up close and personal. That amazing experience can most certainly be achieved safely.

Sure, there are risks involved in any kind of diving. And, the key to managing those risks is to know what they are and to take them into account in your preparation and performance of each and every dive you do. So, let’s take a look at what that means with this most natural kind of diving.

Remember, unlike in scuba diving, and even in snorkeling, which enables you to breathe just under the surface of the water, free diving is based on the idea you will be holding your breath through the dive. For beginners, this is something that may seem a little scary at first. How long is safe? How deep should you go?

person swimming in the water

Before we answer particulars about safe beginning dives, we need to talk about the most important thing—breathing, and not breathing. And the main thing we need to look at is how your body breathes, and how and when it makes you breathe—especially when you are trying not to.

How We Breathe and Don’t Breathe

Each breath we take is in two parts:

1. Inhalation—the lungs draw air in and retrieve oxygen
2. Exhalation—the lungs expel air and eliminate carbon dioxide (CO2)

Oxygen Is required to perform energy production in our cells, including in the cells of our brain. Without oxygen, our cells are quickly starved of a key fuel component, and if the oxygen deprivation is in the brain, we lose consciousness and soon die.

Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is a byproduct or a waste gas of our cells’ energy production process. This gas must be removed by the lungs through exhalation because too much carbon dioxide is toxic to us.

So, as you may notice here, the whole breathing process is based on a balance between these two gases—oxygen and carbon dioxide. Our body has sensors inside it that monitor the amount of both of these chemicals in our bloodstream.

Interestingly, the main sensor, the one that basically makes us breathe, is the one for carbon dioxide. When CO2 levels get too high, the urge to breathe will eventually force us to take a breath, even if we are trying not to.

This helps to explain why many free divers practice loading up on oxygen and eliminating carbon dioxide, for example by hyperventilating, before a dive. And, that can be a big safety problem.

What Is Shallow Water Blackout?

What Are the Essentials of Safe Free Diving?

Essential Gear You Need

person wearing swimming goggles

The good news is that there is no essential gear to begin having fun with free diving. As we have noted above, the only tools you require to do this ancient activity are your body and the ability to hold your breath while underwater.

However, as you develop your skills, and as your objectives and goals motivate you to go deeper with your dives, you will likely want to investigate the gear that can dramatically improve your diving experience and performance.

And, the truth is, that even beginning divers can benefit from this gear, so “essential” is determined greatly by the diver.

Tools of the Dive

So, let’s say you want to start off your diving experience with the right gear. What is that?

There are basic elements of diving/swimming gear that pretty much all divers will want to have.

These include:

  • Mask—should be watertight, fit your face, and give a clear field of vision
  • Fins—these fit on your feet and magnify the power of your leg-strokes
  • Snorkel—not essential but this tool gives you more options

The mask covers your face and nose, giving you as clear a view of what is around you as you can get. You will want the mask to fit tightly enough to prevent leakage, but not so tight that it leaves marks on your skin. You should try out masks at a dive shop because the fit is impossible to determine online.

As for fins, the idea is to magnify the power of your stroke or kick through the water. Generally, the longer and more responsive the fin, the more power you will get for each stroke. This will move you faster and deeper through the water while not burning as much of your precious oxygen. Plastic fins are cheaper, but generally, won’t have as much water-moving power as more expensive fiberglass and carbon-fiber fins.

man snorkeling

Finally, snorkels do not have to be expensive or have special features to do the job. The idea of the snorkel is to give you the ability to breathe, through the tube sticking in the air, while your face is just immersed in the water, enabling you to have a shallow-water view of what is below you. If and when you decide to dive beneath the water’s surface, you are then using breath-holding techniques just like any free diver.

Your Free Diving Guide

Here, in addition to the information we have already provided you, is a basic guide to getting started with free diving.

How to Prepare for Your First Dive

Assuming this dive will be happening someplace more challenging than the deep end of the swimming pool, where the basic safety rules still apply, there are a few things you will want to make sure you have done before beginning your dive.

For one thing, the more fit you are, the easier it will be to perform the physical functions of the dive. If you are seriously out of shape, you may want to improve your physical fitness a bit before beginning diving.

Some other basics to learn:

  • Learn how to breathe
  • Learn how to equalize
  • Learn how to dive

Breathe Right—Then Dive

So, what does it mean to learn how to breathe?

Remember, we talked about the dangers of the wrong kind of breathing and how that can lead to shallow water blackout. But, at the same time, you want to prepare your body so you can safely maintain your breath for as long as possible underwater. The basic guideline to follow is to saturate your blood with oxygen, but do not try to drastically reduce your carbon dioxide level; so, no hyperventilating.

Instead, take long, relaxed breaths combined with even longer exhales—that will prevent you from exhausting the carbon dioxide in your body. When you are ready to dive, completely empty your lungs and then take one, deep breath, completely filling your lungs.

Then take your dive. After the dive, remember to spend time on the surface recovering. Your breathing should return to normal before you try to dive again.

What Is Equalizing?

As we descend below the surface of the water, the pressure of the air inside the mask and in our sinuses increases. This will cause pain and potential injury if the pressure is not equalized.

woman on the water

To accomplish this, you must force air into the mask and into your sinuses. There are a number of methods to equalize air pressure in your sinuses, but you will need to release a small bit of air from your lungs to equalize the pressure in the mask. Since you are starting out with a limited air supply, you want to practice this technique to release only the minimum amount of air required to equalize the mask.

How to Dive

Again, this may seem strange to you. Doesn’t everybody know how to dive into the water? But, there are way more efficient ways to do it that you can learn and practice. For example, you can learn something called a “duck dive”, which mimics a duck’s highly efficient dive motion. You can learn to use diving fins to magnify the power of your stroke so you get to the depth you desire with as little energy and oxygen expenditure as possible.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered some of the basics of learning what free diving is and what you will need to learn to do it. Always remember that in free diving, there are right, safe, ways to do things, and you should learn those ways and practice them. You’ll have a lot more fun that way.

GoPro 3 Review: Is This Small Action Camera Worth It?

gopro 3

For action cameras, it is difficult to find any brand more ubiquitous and more associated with the genre than the GoPro. These portable, user friendly and durable cameras have provided an exceptional route for owners to incorporate coverage of nearly every degree of action and condition. Meanwhile, GoPro’s nearly endless line of support gear means your camera can go wherever you are and do whatever you do. For diving, hiking and sporting of any kind and every degree, GoPro 3 has a solution for you to get the footage you need.  But in this day and age, coverage can mean so many things. With the advent of 360Âş recording and so many shooting modes, your imagination these days can be limited only by the camera you buy. That's why we're going to explore the ever-expanding world of small action cameras and consider which of 4 leading cameras may be best for your needs.

About the GoPro 3

The GoPro 3 is obviously the third installment in the GoPro Hero line. This particular body design has remained true to its original dimensions in order to maintain compatibility with GoPro support gear from the previous three iterations. This means that although the GoPro 3 has reduced size, it has only done so in width and weight and has otherwise maintained the same degree of portability it always had.  Updates for this camera are more notable with regard to its wifi capability, updates in image quality and enhancements in water resistance. Of note is that the camera itself comes in multiple editions including silver and black, the black just a more feature friendly and premium version of the silver. We will mostly focus on the GoPro 3 hero black edition with occasional reference to the silver edition.

Product Specs  

Starting with what tends to be most important, image quality in the GoPro 3 is much improved as compared to the previous Hero 2 model. GoPro 3 boasts twice the sharpness of its predecessor. In fact, all across the line the GoPro Hero 3 Black edition stats are definitely impressive:

  • 1080p full-HD video at up to 60fps,
  • 960p Tall HD video (4:3 aspect ratio) at up to 100fps
  • 720p HD at up to 120fps,
  • Slow motion video friendly WVGA 480p video at up to 240fps
  • 1440p (4:3 aspect ratio) at up to 48fps
  • 4K Cinema at 12fps
  • 2.7K Cinema at up to 30fps

High resolution is great for editors in need of cuts with digital pans and stabilization but can be a bit overkill for shooters just interested in documenting their underwater or action experiences.  Without a doubt, the Hero 3 black is hard to match for quality and output in the ever-growing action camera market.

Pricing

The GoPro 3 comes in several editions, but as for the Hero black, which is our focus for this article, starting prices begin at close to $400, and that’s just for the camera body alone. Additional features like cards and headphones make this a premium option for shooters interested in top tier videography.

How It Compares

Action and portable cameras come in many designs and iterations so we have explored options in not only flat screen, single-direction cameras, but as well have taken a look at the years more exciting 360Âş cameras in order to give you the most well-rounded review of action camera options on the market today. The cameras we have featured all are similar in price and design but can be wildly different in performance. Our list comprises:  

  • YI 4K Action Camera
  • 360fly 4K
  • Ricoh Theta S


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Price

The GoPro 3 starts $150 for the silver edition, which does not include the additional sharpness and capabilities of the GoPro 3 Black, which starts at close to $400. This price makes the Black the most expensive camera on our list. It is for good reason, as it has a lot going for it. However, it may include features which may not be necessary to your needs.

Design

The GoPro design has had nearly a decade to craft a near perfect design and over the years little has changed in the look and feel of the GoPro 3 body. That said, the major complaint has been fairly continuous across every new iteration: working the camera’s exterior buttons to navigate through a tiny phone has always been a frustrating process and still continues to keep it from perfection. The Black edition can be worked through your phone, though, which is an added upgrade.

Features

4k video modes, slo motion capture, f/2.8, six-element aspherical lens, wifi capability and a remote for the black edition make this camera’s external features an exciting competitor. Meanwhile modifications are readily available through GoPros incredible line of support products.

Performance

Amazingly sharp videos and high frame rates make this an unmatched contender in the field. It should be noted that the 4k video quality performance can only be recorded at 15 FPS which means playback is jittery and really not worth being recorded at this degree.

Image Quality

Again, the only star loss here results from a misleading 4K selling point, which is only caught at the 15 FPS frame rate.

Pros

  • Built in Wifi
  • Ultra high resolution

  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 4k is a misleading sales tactic
 
  • Does not have 360Âş capability


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Panasonic has been a massive contender in the high end camera market for years, but only recently has it set foot in the expansive action camera market. The YI 4K action camera is the latest in their foray and is no slouch in the genre. Where GoPro still often reigns supreme, Panasonic offers an exciting contest to the GoPro at a much more buyer-friendly price. Meanwhile, with the ability to function with GoPro gear, it is easier than ever to include this exciting camera in your arsenal.  

Price

Starting at around $120, this camera is a great way to get into the action cam game without the burdensome budget of the GoPro 3.

Design

The camera body itself is nothing to write home about, but with an easy-to-use touch screen and a litany of other features, you can get to shooting with this camera without being bogged down by too many technical issues.

Features

This camera offers an exceptional array of shooting features, but where it falls short is the lack of included support materials such as waterproofing, additional housing, or attachments of any kind. It does feature compatibility with GoPro gear, though, which is a huge plus.

Performance

This camera holds up in many of the technical features but can have trouble with recording in certain, non-technical aspects like trouble with high contrast and bright subjects. Meanwhile some quintessential aspects of it being an action camera, like durability, are lost due to a touchscreen which can be prone to shattering.

Image Quality

As noted in the performance area, the bright days are challenging and sometimes too much movement can create jitter, but overall this camera records stunning imagery.

Pros

  • Low cost response to GoPro
  • True 4k recording
  • Exciting touch screen

Cons

  • Need to purchase all accessories: includes nothing
 
  • Touch screen is not shatterproof

  • Parts of English app are still in Chinese


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360º is the next generation of coverage for cameras in every capacity. This new and exciting format means reviewing footage that can be interacted with to explore a viewpoint from nearly every possible perspective. One of the major players in this exciting new field is the 360fly 4k. This little action camera handles spherical perspective inside of a durable and portable body, making it an action camera you’ll love to use and experiment with.

Price

Not as expensive as the GoPro 3, but with a starting price of around $275 this is a fun way to experience and explore all that this new field has to offer without breaking the bank.

Design

The single button activation, spherical shape and not true 360Âş mean it is not truly perfect, but with few contenders in 360Âş market, it is hard to find much to compare it to.

Features

It is great for shooting, but once again with 360Âş functionality it loses a star for a misleading title. But with a water resistant exterior and a sturdy body, it more than makes up for other misconceptions.

Performance

Easy to use with the 360 fly app and a single button to activate. That means that if the app is working, the camera works fine. Occasionally though, if the connection with the phone is lost you can miss the moment by waiting for Bluetooth to activate.

Image Quality

Once again, not true 360º. It has been noted that this camera has soft edges and doesn’t expand well when you blow it up to full screen.

Pros

  • 360Âş shooting
 
  • Water Resistant 
  • Easy in app functionality 


Cons

  • Not true 360Âş
  • Soft images and not focused exteriors
  
  • No exterior functionality

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For spherical camera, the Ricoh Theta S is an exceptional entry into the field. Not quite as durable or portable as its action camera predecessors, this Ricoh Theta S stands out for its ease of use in an otherwise complicated video format. With many support apps and simplicity, this is a great camera to get into the field with.

Price

This camera starts at around $300, which makes it neither the least nor most expensive camera on this list.

Design

Extreme ease of use and portability make this camera exceptional compared to others like the GoPro 3. Where it lacks is in the action camera support gear as well as the durability of other cameras of its size.

Features

This camera does 360Âş and single frame photos well, but beyond that it has little else to offer for shooters wanting to experiment with different styles.

Performance

With exterior buttons as well as app friendly features, you can always be sure you’re rolling when it counts.

Image Quality

In spherical video it is still challenging to discern what the bar is for quality imagery. For that reason any response to video quality tends to be vague. This camera does do fairly well for what you need it to though.

Pros

  • 360Âş video recording
  • Easy functionality

  • Easy WiFi-friendly sharing

Cons

  • Specialized and doesn’t include many external features
  
  • Not necessarily for standard flat screen shooting
  • Somewhat pricey for the field


Conclusion

When talking about action cameras, the GoPro 3 always stands out as the first choice. Its listed 4k shooting capability, wide line of support features and portable design have made it stand out amongst competitors now for nearly a decade. For reliability, quality images and ease of access, the GoPro 3 is a great way to go. But for diving, you’ll need to buy an external casing to work under the water. Meanwhile, the high price could be a big turnoff. For true 4k or 360º shooting you will have to go to another camera entirely. That said, we absolutely endorse the GoPro 3 for your shooting needs.


Waterproof MP3 Player – Top 5 Revealed

Waterproof Mp3 Player placed on the table

Music is fun, and many people carry portable devices to listen to their favorite tunes wherever they go. However, people like watersport players and divers face a challenge since music players don't go well with water. For such individuals, a waterproof MP3 player is a must-have.

Given the number of manufacturers available, shopping for a waterproof MP3 player can be confusing. Factors like storage, supported file formats, design, and pricing usually influence the choice. Most devices on the market look similar but have different prices.  Striking a balance between features, quality, and the price is a challenge for most shoppers.

If you love music and you spend a lot of time in the water, we have reviewed five players for you. Would you like to know which waterproof MP3 players call the shots? Please read on.

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Product FAQ

We will start by addressing some concerns that people who intend to buy waterproof MP3 players raise. Here are some questions and answers.

1. What Is a waterproof MP3 player?

2. What Does a Waterproof MP3 Player Do?

3. How Does a Waterproof MP3 Player Work?

4. Where Can You Buy a Waterproof MP3 Player?

5. Which Files Can It Play?

6. Why a Player When I Have Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones?

How We Reviewed

We searched the market for the available waterproof MP3 players and compared them to determine the best five. For fairness, we subjected each device to the same parameters. We explored the features, pros and cons, price, where to buy, and warranty.

Overall Price Range of Waterproof MP3 Players

While the primary role of waterproof MP3 players is the same, they have a quite a wide range of prices. Some cost as low as $20 while others go for as high as $250. Several factors determine the value of a waterproof MP3 player.


One consideration is the extent of waterproofing.  As water pressure increases with depth, waterproof devices can only get submerged to a specified limit. Devices that withstand high pressure tend to cost more. 

The design also affects the price. You want a setup that fits well and doesn't keep falling off. Another critical factor is the storage size. A device with a capacity of 8GB, for instance, may have a higher price than one that stores 4GB. The range of file types that the player supports may also influence the price. We mentioned a few examples earlier. The quality of sound is also a determinant.

What We Reviewed

The following waterproof MP3 players stood out for various reasons.

  • Swimbuds Headphones and SYRYM
  • Pyle Waterproof SportsDiver DB-10
  • AudioFlood Waterproof Apple Ipod Shuffle
  • AGPTEK Waterproof MP3 Player
  • Let's begin the reviews in that order.

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F​eatures

This package consists of the 8GB SYRYN MP3 player and Swimbuds headphones. It comes with a 40cm cord, 1-meter waterproof extension cable, and swimming goggles. The headset includes four ear-tip designs to match various ear shapes and sporting environments.


The set can withstand long hours of daily use in water. The headphones have a fitting design that keeps water off the ear canal. Sound quality is exceptional. It can beat some products that cost higher. The short audio cord connects the headphones to the player easily for minimal cable management. The longer one allows for versatility when using the MP3 player outside the water.


With 8GB internal storage, the waterproof MP3 player can store about 2000 songs. It supports MP3 and WMV audio formats. File transfer between the player and a computer is by drag-and-drop via a USB cable. It has three buttons each with at least two functions: On and off, play and pause, and forward and rewind. The same are used for shuffling the tracks. Its battery lasts for about four hours.

Pros

  • Short cord to prevent tangling
  • Waterproofing meets IPX8 with up to 8 feet submersion
  • Complimentary swimming goggles

Cons

  • Buttons are somewhat stiff
  • Supports limited file formats
  • where to buy
  • warranty

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Features

The Pyle Waterproof Sports MP3 player has a submergible design for use in water for extended periods. It has a flexible wrap-around headset style to fit any head shape.


Since it comes as a single piece, it eliminates the hassle of cable management. It has two pairs of waterproof earbuds and three other sets for active sports outside the water. This makes the music player customizable for various application areas.


The headband makes the earbuds to fit perfectly in the ears. It also creates a watertight seal to prevent water from entering the ear canal.
The controls are easy to use, and the player is very responsive. You can manipulate it easily in the middle of an activity.


You can store about 1000 songs in the 4GB memory of the device. It supports MP3 and WMA audio files. Syncing with a computer is stress-free, and you can transfer data by drag-and-drop. The battery supports about 10 hours of playback.

Pros

  • One compact piece
  • Universal size and flexible design for different head shapes
  • Low price

Cons

  • Limited file formats
  • No shuffle
  • Relatively low lifespan
  • where to buy
  • WARRANTY

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Features

The Diver DB-10 is a portable MP3 player that uses hooked waterproof earphones. The earphones connect to a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes with clips for attaching the player to your swim cap, goggles, or bathing suit. Additionally, the package includes three pairs of earbuds and a USB cable.


With 4GB internal memory, the player can store about 1000 music tracks. It supports MP3 and WMA audio files. The gadget connects to Macs and PCs by plug-and-play for smooth file transfer. You can use the MP3 player with wireless headphones when not underwater. The sound quality is not that impressive. Although most music players have issues with deep diving, a set like the Diver DB-10 gets affected adversely. Water can find its way into the ears making the sound inaudible.


This is a consequence of the low-quality of the earphones. You may have to find better ones. The controls can be confusing before you get used. The player combines next track with volume up and previous track with volume down. The Diver MP3 player can stay submerged for more than 24 hours without getting damaged. The battery life about 16 hours. Some users have reported half the time.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Standard audio jack

Cons

  • Poor earphones
  • Confusing button controls
  • where to buy
  • WARRANTY

The manufacturer provides a limited 1-year warranty for this device.

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Features

The AudioFlood Waterproof Apple iPod music player offers superior performance in all water environments. The casing of the device is watertight to a depth of 200-feet. With good headphones, the iPod allows the user to enjoy deep dives stressfree.


Similar to other Apple products, this waterproof MP3 player has an impressive lifespan outside water. It has a compact and durable design ideal for everyday use. It can serve you for years. If you need a waterproof MP3 player for frequent use under the sea, this is the device for you. It can withstand salty water as long as you take good care of it. After a sea dive, clean it with a cloth and let it dry.


The device comes with standard and waterproof Apple earbuds. The set also includes swimming ear-tips as well as a short cable with an extension. You also get a swim cap and a swim bag. The bag is useful in storing your iPod, the headphones, and the swimming goggles. When it comes to sound, the AudioFlood iPod is above the average portable MP3 player. However, it may not achieve the best quality. If that's a concern for you, consider changing headphones.


The iPod has an internal storage of 2GB. This may be a rip-off for many people as most MP3 players today have at least 4GB capacity. The device can hold about 500 music files. Its battery can provide 15 hours of playtime. It uses a regular USB cable for recharging.

Pros

  • Durable design
  • Withstands considerable depths
  • Easy to use
  • High-quality accessories

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • Quite expensive
  • where to buy
  • WARRANTY

The AudioFlood iPod has a two-year warranty.

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Features

The AGPtEK S05 waterproof MP3 player conforms to the IP-X8 standards allowing a submersion of up to three meters. It comes with submergible, waterproof swimming earbuds, a USB cable, and an arm belt.


This player has an impressive 8GB memory that is enough room for about 2000 songs. It supports several file formats including MP3, WMA, WAV, Flac, ape, and OGG. For this reason, building a music collection is easy.


The device has only one pluggable port for file transfer and charging. You can listen to your music for about four to six hours before recharging. Despite the awesome features, the earphones are not very comfortable. Some users have complained about hard buttons and muffled sound.

Pros

  • Large memory
  • Many file formats
  • Low price
  • Easy operation

Cons

  • Short lifespan
  • Sound muffling
  • Finding earbuds of the right size is mostly guesswork
  • where to buy
  • WARRANTY

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The Verdict

After a thorough analysis, we found the AudioFlood Waterproof Apple iPod Shuffle to be the best waterproof MP3 player.


With a submersion allowance of 200 feet, watersport enthusiasts can enjoy hours of activity under the sea without worries. The device offers unparalleled durability even when subjected to saltwater. Maintenance involves wiping the water off and drying it. The sound may not be the best, but that is usual with deep diving. You can get yourself a different set of headphones if you can't stand a muffled sound.


For those who want maximum storage space for the least price, the AGPTEK Waterproof MP3 Player may be your match. On top of 8GB memory, the device supports many audio files. Developing your music library becomes easy.

Featured Image by Mike Foster from Pixabay