Reviewed: Zygo Solo Swim Headphones
New technology combines bone-conduction audio with a radio transmitter to stream any content from your phone while you swim—no pesky MP3 downloads required.
Stream anything (music, podcast, books, or a Zygo workout) while you swim laps in the pool with a simple transmitter connected to your phone at the pools edge and a pair of bone-conduction headphones.
Countless workout choices
No need to store files
Hear your coach underwater
Lots of parts
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Zygo Solo Swim Headphones: The Basics
The Zygo Solo swim headphones are a great addition to swimming alone. The Zygo app has numerous pre-recorded workouts with exciting coaches and music genres to keep your motivation up and effort high.
Using bone-conduction technology—similar to what Shokz has used in their running and swimming offerings for a few years—the sound is transmitted directly into your head, bypassing your ears. This means you’re still able to hear external sounds, like a whistle or a chatty lanemate. It also acts more like a headset than many other swimming audio products so you don’t need to fix it to a cap or goggles.
If you do have a workout to follow, you can choose to stream any audio to your Zygo headphones while training. The transmitter sits securely on the edge of the pool, connects to your phone’s Bluetooth, then uses radio frequencies to transmit to the headset. The trick here is that Bluetooth transmits horribly through water, so the transmitter bridges the gap from phone to headset—and allows you to keep your phone away from the water if you need. It can also transmit live speech via the walkie talkie feature…a great option for on-deck coaches wanting to communicate with athletes in the water as they swim.
Everything stores neatly in a carrying case and charges right in place. The battery life is decent—three hours for the headset and eight hours for the transmitter— and will provide multiple swims before recharging.
Zygo Solo Swim Headphones: What We Liked
By using Bluetooth, Zygo removes the challenge of pre-downloading your audio choices to your headphones before starting to swim—which is what the majority of swim audio products do. You can listen to live streams or Zoom meetings while swimming (don’t tell your boss!). Or you can push play on any music/book/podcast app that outputs sound on your phone. With most other devices, you need to have the actual MP3 file and upload it to the device via a computer—not particularly useful if you rely on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.
The package includes a set of simple ear plugs which enhance the audio experience by blocking out the water noises and allow the bone-conducted audio to stand out through the splashes. You can use any ear plugs or just increase the volume and swim without. The volume is easily controlled right from the headset, on the transmitter, or via your phone.
Similar to the popular Peleton-branded workouts, for an additional monthly fee ($15) you can select a Zygo pre-recorded swim session based on difficulty level, duration, pool length, instructor (we suggest trying one of Johnny’s “practice not perfect” sessions), workout type, or the equipment needed. Follow along as you have a personal coach right in your ears, leading you through an entire workout session, and rock along to their great music selections.
Zygo Solo Swim Headphones: What We Didn’t Like
With Bluetooth range limited to 30 feet (and a notoriously horrible transmitter through water), Zygo needs the additional transmitter device to keep the music streaming to the other side of the pool. This adds an additional step because it needs to be sitting high on the edge of the pool in the provided stand. The transmitter still has distance limitations (your audio will cut out on the furthest 10 meters of a 50 meter pool) and can’t transmit through more than two feet of water (flip turns and underwater streamlines will be silent until you resume swimming at the surface).
Zygo suggests wearing the headset hooked over your ears and underneath your swim cap. Due to the bulkiness of the device, this wasn’t a popular choice for cap-wearers…but those without caps had no issue just hooking the headset over their ears and continuing to swim. Earplugs were also key to getting clear sound to understand and follow along with the coach’s workouts—of course this also means you won’t be able to hear anyone on deck, but that’s the tradeoff.
If you’re a gear minimalist or still enjoy quiet time at the pool, the Zygo Solo probably isn’t going to be on your wishlist. But if you are looking to enhance your time at the pool with some tunes or add some spice to your lap swim session, the Zygo will be a great addition.
Zygo also does a great job differentiating its product by allowing streaming from your phone, as opposed to preloading your music—eliminating another step that can slow you down as you head out the door—and the addition of in-water instruction is truly a game changer if you have a coach helping you work on your form as you swim.