Nu Dolphin Touch MP3 player
The Nu Dolphin Touch lets you listen to MP3s and FM radio while underwater
- Player and earphones work surprisingly well underwater, very sturdy construction
- Unintuitive controls and antique LCD screen
If you’re keen for music while swimming or in the bath, the Nu Dolphin Touch is the player for you. Its interface isn't great and the bundled ear-buds aren’t comfortable, but its waterproof nature and rugged body mean it can go where more civilised MP3 players can’t.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
The Nu Dolphin Touch is a waterproof MP3 player, and combined with the bundled waterproof ear-buds it delivers good sound. It is sturdy enough to stand up to significant abuse and the 4GB storage capacity means it can store a workout session’s worth of music.
It is nowhere near as stylish as the Apple iPod Touch, but that’s because the Nu Dolphin Touch has been designed with a specific purpose in mind. Constructed out of brushed black aluminium and accompanied by a set of headphones with a screw-in headphone jack, the Nu Dolphin Touch is designed to be waterproof to a depth of 1 metre. One metre is enough for lap swimming, bathing and river-fording.
It's 66mm long and 21mm in diameter, looking like an AA battery on steroids. It has an embossed power button on one end and the other end houses the screw-in connector for the earphones (you can also plug regular headphones in).
Apart from the power button, four touch-sensitive buttons are the only controls. They’re not particularly intuitive to use, but reading the manual will soon educate you as to their purpose. There’s a volume toggle, a menu button and multi-purpose forward and backward buttons; you tap the power button once to start or stop tracks. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the Nu Dolphin Touch it is easy enough to use, but we think there’s plenty of room for other buttons.
The Nu Dolphin Touch has a 96x24 pixel screen that only displays a single line of text, with around 12 characters visible at any time. This makes viewing song titles and information nearly impossible, but we don’t think you’ll be looking too often while underwater.
Sound quality using the bundled earphones is acceptable, but nothing special. The earphones seal well thanks to silicone tips and they have a decent amount of bass extension given their low price. The Nu Dolphin Touch can only play MP3 and WMA files, which leaves anyone with a comprehensive iTunes library out in the rain (pun intended). There’s an equaliser available if you want to laboriously navigate through the menu, with different presets like Rock and Pop.
The integration of the MP3 player’s FM radio is interesting: we often got better reception under water than above it. It is easy enough to operate and adds value. The 4GB of onboard memory is enough for around 1000 128 kilobit MP3s.
Battery life is an unimpressive eight hours at a reasonable listening volume. The player charges through a nifty USB-to-3.5mm adapter.
The Nu Dolphin Touch stumbles on some key points like battery life and file compatibility, but if you want a waterproof MP3 player it is worth considering. By the way — the experience of swimming or showering while listening to music is novel, but we don’t think it will catch on any time soon.
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