H2O Audio TRI Multi-Sport Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I like the new one AirPods Pro. The sound is unmatched, they integrate seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem, and they’re tough enough to withstand everyday rigors.

But they have limitations.

For example, you drop an earpiece when you’re outdoors and there’s a chance you’ll never see it again. Also, keep them on you while you swim and you’ll go to the Apple Store to buy a new set.

And if you don’t have a phone with you (or an Apple Watch), then you’re not listening to anything.

Do you know how hard it is? I’m a broke Gen Xer and I need constant stimulation.

The H2O Audio TRI Multi-Sport Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones let me have fun in places where my AirPods would have given up.

H2O Audio TRI Multi-Sport technical specifications

  • Speaker technology: Bone conduction
  • Water/Dust Resistance: IPX8 (waterproof up to 12 feet/3.6 meters)
  • Battery life: 9 hours
  • Audio sources: Bluetooth and internal memory (support for various file formats including MP3, iTunes and M4A)

At the heart of the H2O Audio TRI Multi-Sport headphones is a pair of sealed bone conduction vibrators – the speakers – that sit on the cheekbones to transmit sounds to the ears through the head and jawbone. Sound quality and levels are more than acceptable, and sound leakage really seems to be minimal.

Also: The best headphones you can buy right now

Not familiar with bone conduction? It is worth knowing the pros and cons of this technology:


  • You can still interact with others while wearing your headset (this might be a downside for some people).
  • They don’t block your ears.
  • No more sweaty, itchy ear holes.
  • Safer because you have a greater awareness of what’s going on around you.


  • The sound quality is not as perfect as with the tips and in-ear headphones.
  • It may take some getting used to.
  • There is some sound leakage, so others may hear what you are listening to.

The TRI Multi-Sport headphones fit behind your head, not on it, and have small loops that sit over the ears. The fit is good and I’ve found they stay in place no matter what I’m doing — walking, hiking, jogging, biking, or even swimming.

The fit is super comfortable and I found I could wear them for hours — and since nothing was stuffed into my ear canals, my ears didn’t sweat or itch!

The "behind the head" the design is comfortable to wear and very secure

The “behind the head” design is comfortable to wear and very secure

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The Bluetooth connection to various devices was strong and stable up to several meters indoors and a good 10 meters/33 feet outdoors.

No complaints there.

But Bluetooth has limitations.

Bluetooth doesn’t work very well underwater. Even a few inches of water is enough to block the signal, so when swimming it’s recommended to pre-load audio into the headphones (alternatively, if you have a waterproof smartwatch, you can set it up so that the watch is close to the headphones – a bit clumsy , but it works).

Lightweight, waterproof, ready for adventure!

Lightweight, waterproof, ready for adventure!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

How do you put audio files on these headphones?


Connect the headphones to the charging cable, plug it into a PC or Mac, and the headphones appear as an external storage device onto which you can load music, podcasts and other audio files (note that you cannot use files that are protected by any Digital Rights Management/DRM as found in Spotify and Apple Music).

Also: Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones are generally perfect

The headphones give you eight gigabytes of storage, so there’s plenty of room for your favorite tunes.

There are three buttons on the side of the device to control the headphones. As with most controls that are out of your sight, it can take some getting used to, but once your fingers know where they are, it all becomes second nature.

Three buttons allow you to control the headphones

Three buttons allow you to control the headphones

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The headphones come with their own magnetic charging cable (so don’t lose it!) that plugs into USB-A (I wish it was USB-C because most things are like that these days). The cable is used for both charging and file transfer.

The combo charging/data cable attaches securely using magnets

The combo charging/data cable attaches securely using magnets

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Overall, I’m impressed H2O Audio TRI Multi-Sport Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones. I’m a big fan of bone conduction headphones in general, but enjoy the added functionality of built-in memory and water resistance is welcome.

And at $99, the price is right!


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