NU Dolphin Swimmer MP3 Player
- Low grade sound quality, counter-intuitive interface
While the Dolphin delivers on its promise of waterproof playback, the poor audio quality is rather disappointing.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
A small, waterproof, flash-based MP3 player sounds like a nifty idea, and this is what Nu has tried to create in their latest digital music device, the Dolphin. However, while the idea may be a good one, the execution leaves a lot to be desired, as the player suffers from poor audio quality and fiddly controls.
Sporting a slim, cylindrical design complete with orange straps to secure it to your goggles, the Dolphin is clearly designed with swimmers in mind. Every part of the unit is waterproof, from the headphones to the device itself. It is constructed from a combination of lightweight metal and rubber and the only opening, the headphone jack, is secured by screwing the headphones into place and sealing it with a rubber ring. We tested the Dolphin underwater and experienced no performance issues; it continued to operate perfectly hours after being submerged. It is capable of going to a depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes.
However while the device does deliver on its promise of waterproof music playback, the rest of its features are very poorly implemented. The biggest problem is the quality of the audio. To put it simply, this is the worst sounding MP3 player we've ever heard. Regardless of whether you are swimming or not, the Dolphin sounds terrible. The bass is totally bloated, completely overshadowing other elements of the music, and everything is extremely distorted, to the point where most of the detail in our music was lost.
Furthermore, this problem can't be easily rectified using third party headphones, as the provided headphones are waterproof where as third party replacements are not. However, even if you could find waterproof third party headphones, it wouldn't make any difference since the Dolphin uses a 2.5mm stereo jack rather than the standard 3.5mm size and no adapter is provided.
The unit has no screen, and only the most basic of controls. The buttons are all housed on the bottom of the unit, in a black, rubber circle. There are track skip and volume controls and a power button, and that is it. We wouldn't mind the simplicity so much if they were easy to use, but unfortunately they are extremely small and packed together very tightly, making the interface quite difficult to operate. This is only exacerbated by using the Dolphin under water, as it is a nightmare to try and use when you can't see the buttons.
Sadly, since there are no playlist, shuffle or random playback modes, you need to rely on the buttons as your only means to find your favourite songs, making the overall user experience quite irritating.
We also had some problems with the headphones. They are designed similarly to canalphones, with a long rubber tip that slides deep into the ear canal. However they are quite a bit longer than most other canal phones, and to get a proper seal you must push them extremely deep. We found this quite uncomfortable and a little painful, although it really depends on the size and shape of your ear canal.
The unit only supports MP3 and WMA formats and files can be uploaded from a PC via a standard drag and drop interface, with no software necessary. It connects to your PC via the headphone port, which also doubles as a data connection using the included headphone to USB cable.
Overall, the Dolphin is a poor quality device. If you really can't live without your music underwater, or if you want some music to amuse you while swimming laps at the local pools, then perhaps it will satisfy you. However, audio quality, lack of features and fiddly controls mean we have to recommend looking elsewhere.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 4 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTMobile Delivery Manager / Studio LeadNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager (Marketing Automation)NSW
- CCDevOps/Automation EngineerNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperSA
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW
- FTInfrastructure Solutions ArchitectACT
- CCMobile Developers (IOS and Android)QLD
- CCL1 Desktop Support - 3 days a weekNSW
- CCTesting Capability LeadNSW
- CCProject Manager - Payroll SystemsSA
- CCProgress DeveloperQLD
- CCNetwork AdministratorVIC
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTProject ManagerSA
- FTRelease CoordinatorACT
- CCSenior Java Developer-Java SE 8, HTTP APIs, Protocol BuffersNSW
- FTOperational Integrity ManagerNSW
- CCBusiness Process Specialist/AnalystNSW
- CCContract Computer Operator (UNIX/Windows-based) 161014/CO/vmtAsia
- CCOracle Functional Consultant | 6mth ContractVIC
- FTWeb DeveloperNSW
- FTDigital Optimisation and Analytics SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior UX DesignerAsia
- CCJava DeveloperNSW