JLab Audio GO 4GB Waterproof / Sweatproof / Sports MP3 Player Review

Has it ever crossed your minds to listen to music underwater? If you haven’t, then so do we, but the people in JLab Audio will make you think otherwise with the GO MP3 Player — at least on how they market it. Unlike conventional headphones where you connect the piece to your favorite music player, JLab did something different to actually place the music within the headphone itself. For what purpose you say? Hear this, it is a player for use underwater. The question now here is — does the product pull it off? In this review, we’ll take the positives and negatives of the GO as a MP3 player unit itself and all its features.

Unboxing and Presentation

Granted that what we received is a review sample, the GO didn’t come in its retail package. Instead, it just came in a white cardboard box that has everything inside wrapped in a layer of bubble wrap. Things also get simple as everything you need is inside. We’ll get into what’s actually included later but as for presentation, we won’t make any judgments based on the sample we acquired.

Features

  • 100% Fully Waterproof and Sweatproof 2GB MP3 Player Headphones
  • Ideal for swimmers, cyclists, runners, triathletes, walkers, hikers, water and snow sports, and any kind of workout
  • Noise-isolating in-ear style cushions with ergonomic cord free design
  • Rechargeable lithion ion battery provides up to 10 hours of play time
  • Includes 7 pairs of soft silicone tips for water and land use, USB 2.0 Mini Cable, User Manual and 1 year limited warranty

Contents

As teased earlier, opening the package basically reveals everything you need to make this player work. Included in the package is the actual GO MP3 Player unit, a USB cable for transferring files two sets of earbuds and the obligatory product manual. Each set of earbuds come with multiple pairs, each varying in size as well as the actual no. of tips.

Let’s discuss the manual first. It comes as a single, folded back to back sheet that basically contains everything you need to know about how to use this player, complete with it’s button layout as well as guides on how to actually use it in water. Speaking of using in water, this is where the two sets of earbuds come in. Each set is placed in a little zip bags that actually say “Land use earbuds” for one and “Swimming use waterproof earbuds” on the other. Now further inspection of the said tips don’t reveal any difference in terms of the actual materials used. However, each set is structured differently — we’ll detail that in the review proper. The GO MP3 Player unit itself comes in a single package. The thing weighs very light to the point that it might give the impression that it was made out of cheaper materials. More on that as well in the review proper.

Specifications

  • Volume, Track, and Play/Pause Controls
  • 2GB Built-in Memory
  • Supports MP3 and WMA files
  • Built-in 190 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Up to 10 hours play time
  • The IP Waterproof rating is IPX8 (100% fully submersible for extended use)
  • Includes 7 pairs of tips, USB mini cable, extra port plug, and manual
  • Safe for Fresh, Pool and Salt Water Swimming
  • Limited 1 Year Warranty with special water-use terms

Impressions and Review

Okay, so where do we start in reviewing this set? First impressions first. As stated earlier the player itself feels a little light and might give the impression of being made with cheaper materials. But remember this, this player is purposed to be used while on the go — when swimming for instance. So we then thought that it would be really great if the player that is used while underwater is non-obtrusive and is actually lightweight. Such is the case of the GO MP3 Player. You can easily move your head around in it even if you’re wearing goggles. In fact, they’ve actually included in the manual on how you should secure the player with googles, so that’s another nice touch.

In order to load music to the player, just connect the player with the provided cable to you PC’s USB ports. This is one limitation that the player comes. It only recognizes MP3 and WMA files and explicitly states that unrecognized formats may cause the player to stop during playback. Provided that most people have digital copies of their music as MP3s (or WMAs for that matter), it would still be appreciated if it could also read, say AAC files – as many are ripping their CDs and buying online music in this format.

Playback of music is quite easy with the player, you just need to press the main button for around 4 seconds and the LED indicator will lit up in a bright green light. Now, you won’t actually see that green light when you use the thing as it’s strapped to your ears, but it’s something that can be clearly seen by others underwater. As for controls, most of it are located in the right section of the player. In total, there are 5 buttons that you need to remember in order to use the player. First of these is the on/off switch as mentioned, again, hold for 4 seconds to turn on or off. Then on the top side is the pair of volume buttons, each for increasing and decreasing. At the bottom part is another pair of buttons, this time it’s for toggling the next or previous songs. Pressing these buttons may require more force than usual, especially since both sets are made from single rubber pieces. This is more apparent in the toggle buttons as you would really need to push those buttons just to change the songs. Again, given that this is purposed for underwater playback, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as they would want to make sure that these buttons won’t leak water into the device itself.

The sound quality for this player may vary as sound coming from earbuds highly depend on the kind of tip that you use. This is where the two sets of buds that we mentioned earlier come into play. For the land use earbuds, they provide small, medium and large sized earbuds. These are the standard fare so if you’ve used earbuds before, you’ll probably know what size to use. Then comes the waterproof earbuds. As mentioned earlier, the materials in use isn’t different — so how do these pairs qualify as waterproof. Well, the concept of waterproofing here, besides the ones mentioned earlier, was to minimize the chances of water entering onto the speaker units. And while underwater, minimizing this also meant minimizing the chances of water entering to your ears. In order to do that, JLab provided these earbuds with multiple segments – like a smaller earbud on top of a larger one. This style ensures that little to no water gets onto the speakers that will eventually damage the unit. They give you two types of these waterproof types, one with two segments and another with three. Wearing these may be something to get used to, but if it’s to ensure that your player will still work while surfing the waves, then it’s a compromise that most will probably take.

The last point we’ll take note is the exposed cable that goes from the player unit to the plastic band itself. While this is just a small section of the connecting cable, it is still exposed. Prolonged exposure of this segment to saltwater might lead to some problems. But as their site states, the product is ensured to work, fully submerged for extended use, then we’ll take their word for it.

Final Thoughts

If you’re the type of person who wants to jam when going underwater for some swimming or even snorkeling, then this is the perfect player for you. Not only that, you can also use it for other activities that you wouldn’t want to have cables dangling all over the place. The main charm of the GO MP3 Player is how simple and light the whole thing is, so light that you won’t probably notice wearing it when you swim, run, or do other stuff. It has its limitations, but that’s expected for a package this small and simple. The final question is, is it worth the price? Initially, it is tagged at $79.95 MSRP for this unit, but they’ve now slashed the price down to $59.95. We’d say that at that price range, it is something that you may really consider buying. As said, water-activity aficionados will really have many use of this gadget, so if you’re one of them, then we’ll recommend it. Otherwise, you can just stick to your trusty music player. For more information about the GO and their other products, please visit JLab Audio’s website at jlabaudio.com.

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