Earbuds have become so commonplace that their features have often been downgraded because no one would notice. That’s not he case with SnuggBud’s Fusion Sports Headset, because it knows that there are certain things an earbud must have. An omni directional microphone built into a controller on the wiring to activate Siri, take and make calls and advance music functions, to be sure. But beyond this iPhone compatibility, there’s also the very helpful tangle-free cord made from fabric (rather than plastic which tends to “sweat” in hot weather and stick to the back of one’s neck) and a gold coating of the sport jack for audio connecting. Also it’s angled at 90 degrees for a better and firmer fit that avoids extending the bottom of the iPhone (and increasing the risk of pull-out and damage to the jack over time).
As to the sound quality, the Fusion employs audio drivers for a 20-20,000Hz sound output. The physical chassis provides for a “clean” sound that primarily focuses on the midrange and high frequencies, with a somewhat muted bass that makes for less stellar results for the heavy metal crowd. With that in mind, the Fusion’s sleek and compact shape provides for a lightweight and comfortable fit. And while not true waterproof, it does provides water resistance through a fabric screen protector. It retails at $69.95 and its metal/aluminum alloy construction makes for a compelling argument for wearing it.
But for a true waterproof earbud, the WET! Is the choice to select ($59.95 retail). Designed to deal with water, sweat and the proliferation of fluids that always end up buffeting earbuds (spilled soda, I’m talking about you!), submerging these earbuds in water up to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes results in a boring time spent, but not damaged earbuds. The audio drivers (speakers) are also designed to function in or out of water, although obviously the audio source they’re connected to had better be waterproof as well if they’re going to be used in water.
The physical chassis of the WET! Is constructed so as to take being submerged into consideration. The tips going into the ears are of a soft silicone and tear shaped so as to provide for a firm fit; one that holds well in the exposed outer ear whether submerged or not. Sound comes from a small 9mm driver, yet the frequency level reached is fairly high at 104db. Sound is somewhat muffled when submerged, but continues to be well understood and not tinny at all (though bass levels are very much to be desired). Use above water to have a better listening experience as relates to the mid and lower ranges. Also, obviously, there is no microphone/music control tab on the cables as this would obviate the waterproofing.
Both the Fusion and the WET! take their job of providing audio for portable players and on-the-go listeners seriously. As it should be.