I’ve been on the lookout for a good shower radio or speaker for a long time…and I’ve wasted a whole lot of money on less than ideal solutions.
There are a number of great waterproof (not water resistant, waterproof) options out there, but they all have two big disadvantages: price and size. Seldom less than $200, they are all too large to take in the shower with you. There are plenty of fine speakers that could have a place in your bathroom, but the shower itself is another matter. Even with the volume up, you still have the constant hiss of the water to overcome.
When I first saw the Swimmer by BOOM, I was skeptical because I’ve had such poor luck with speakers of this this size. Hope springs eternal, however, so I gave it a try and was delighted with its sound, clarity and power.
The Swimmer is a truncated cylinder design, approx. 2.5” in diaper and 2.1/4 in length, weighing 11.5 ounces wrapped in a rubberized coating that eliminates vibration no matter where it is placed or mounted, and the options are rather unique. It comes with a suction cup mount that can be attached to the back of the speaker and stuck to glass, tile, porcelain or any other smooth, flat surface. It works as well as any suction cup solution I’ve seen, but like other suction cup-mounted items, sooner or later it is going to come crashing down, inevitably at 2 AM.
I much prefer using the Swimmer’s unique “tail”, a bendable appendage to the speaker that can can be used to prop, stabilize and even hang the speaker from a shower wall, shower rod or anything else that presents itself. This versatility is a killer feature, since it doesn’t require the Swimmer to take up valuable shower shelf or ledge space.
The Swimmer has five control buttons that are accessed through the rubberized coating by pressing on their raised symbols: Power, Volume Up, Volume Down, Pause/Play and Bluetooth. Because they are embossed, they can be a little difficult to see in a steamy shower, but you will have no problems finding them. After two or three uses, you’ll know exactly where what is.
A small, blue LED indicates Power on and Off blinks red when the speaker needs to be charged. There is even an audible, spoken alert lets you know when you power the Swimmer on or off.
With a Bluetooth range equivalent to any small Bluetooth speaker you’re already familiar with, approximately 33 feet, the Swimmer can easily connect to and iPhone or iPad in an adjacent room, so while you’re rocking out in the shower, your iPhone or iPad is dry and safe.
The most important thing about the Swimmer is, of course, the sound. It is clean and surprisingly powerful for a speaker of this size. There isn’t a great deal of bass, but you don’t want all that boom in the shower, which is already basically a small echo chamber. Between the hiss of the water and the questionable acoustics, a shower stall is hardly an ideal listing environment. The Swimmer performs perfectly, making rock, jazz, voice and everything in between enjoyable. You could easily make the Swimmer your only portable Bluetooth speaker, in the shower or out, and not be disappointed.
At this point, you may be wondering: why a shower radio? Every weekday morning I time my shower to the top of the hour. Using the iHeartRadio app on my iPhone, I send a local talk radio station to the Swimmer, and by the time I’m done, I’ve heard the morning’s top stories, had an update on local news, heard the forecast for the day and even have an idea of any traffic problems for the morning commute. And if it gets to the morning zoo part of the program, I know I’m running late.
On weekends or any other time, Pandora or Spotify let me select exactly what I want to listen to. And all the while, my iPhone is sitting in a CrystalCore TiltDock dock on my nightstand, so I’m not using up any of the phone’s charge.
The Swimmer itself charges by a USB port in its base that is protected from the outside world by the suction cup or tail. I can easily get three to four weeks out of a single charge. That’s a whole lot better than my previous solution, which chewed through double-AA batteries at the rate of two per month.
Available in a variety of colors including red, white, blue, green and grey, you can pick a one that accents your bathroom colors, if that’s important to you.
If you’re in the market for a great shower speaker, I can’t recommend The Swimmer highly enough. It does what I wish every speaker would: delivers excellent sound for its intended use at a reasonable price.