Freestyle Audio SoundWave $90; www.freestyleaudio.com
The Specs: A 1.8-ounce enclosure is little bigger than a key fob, waterproof to 10', and shock resistant. The 2GB flash memory holds up to 600 songs, sports 18 hours of playtime per charge, and has an FM radio tuner with presets. Supports MP3, WMA, and DRM files.
The Highs: The SoundWave hooks to a computer through a USB connection, which also recharges the battery. Transferring songs is easy using Microsoft Windows Media Player; iTunes users (Windows or Mac) must first convert files to the MPEG/MP3 format, which adds a few steps. We took the SoundWave from a hot tub to a waterbike to a wakeboard. In each case it worked as promised, with an elastic armband to hold the player in place and waterproof clip-on ear buds. Volume range was sufficient, whether listening to digital music or radio. We threw it in the water, and yes, it floats.
The Lows: For those accustomed to the ease of an iPod, the SoundWave's navigation can be frustrating. Rubberized buttons have raised labels, but the black-on-black color scheme makes them hard to see. The waterproof ear buds sound tinny.
The Verdict: A great option for those who must have music on the water. Just don't expect exceptional sound quality, and don't tune out your surroundings while you're tuned in.