Mark Harris
10 BEST WATERPROOF GADGETS - The Independent, 29 June 2004

Technology expert Mark Harris rounds up the best outdoor gadgets, whether you’re hanging out at the beach or simply braving a soggy British summer

Tag Heuer 2000 Aquaracer £650
This solid diver’s watch is waterproof to a bends-inducing 300 metres, and has a built-in extension piece so that it can be worn over your wetsuit. Its scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face and screw-in crown should be tough enough to cope with the inevitable shark attacks, and both hands and face are luminescent so you don’t lose track of the time in Davey Jones’ locker.
Tag Heuer (01204 861168 ;

Nike psa256max MP3 player £155
Strap this MP3 player to your arm or waistband and enjoy high quality, shock-proof digital audio in all weathers. It’s not up to total immersion but will cope with the sweatiest jogging sessions and unseasonable downpours. There are magnetic clips to prevent the wires and remote control from flying about on the move and its 256Mb memory can hold around six hours of tunes.
Nike-Philips (0870 900 9070;

Fujifilm FinePix F420 digital camera and WP-FX420 case £375 ---- BEST BUY
On land, the F420 is a slinky metal-clad camera that can fit into the smallest pocket. But slip it into its tough, transparent housing and it transforms into a serious dive camera that can brave depths of up to 40 metres. Images from the 3.1 megapixel chip are bright, beautiful and show plenty of detail, especially with the powerful on-board flash.
Fujifilm (020 7586 1477;

Garmin Gecko 201 GPS unit £120
Think of this eye-watering GPS unit as a sense of direction in a box. It’s fully rainproof and capable of locating your position worldwide to within just a few metres. You can store up to 10,000 individual waypoints, so you shouldn’t get lost on a walk ever again. Four built-in games will give you something to do while you’re waiting for your fellow hikers to catch up.
Garmin (01794 519944 ;

Eternal waterproof torch £24.95 ---- BEST BUDGET BUY
Smart, practical and eco-friendly, is this the perfect emergency torch? Not only is the Eternal completely waterproof, it can even cope with you forgetting to replace flat batteries. When its three AA cells run down, simply shake the torch for thirty seconds and an internal induction coil generates enough power for five minutes’ LED illumination. Brilliant.
Firebox (0870 241 4289;

Casio SY2-1 portable TV £100
You wait for the sun all winter, then when it finally appears, they go and put all the best sport on TV. This splash-proof portable telly should keep you up with the Olympics (and other soaps) while you’re out and about. Although the passive matrix LCD screen has an anti-glare coating, don’t expect to be able to follow cricket or golf balls on its tiny 2.3-inch display.
Casio (020 8208 7813,

Nokia 5100 mobile phone £free with contract, £120 pay as you go
This chunky, ruggedised phone is packed with gimmicky features such as a thermometer, calorie counter and sound meter. But its user-changeable shell repels water, dust and scrapes, and a built-in FM radio turns it into the perfect gadget to take up a mountain or down to the beach. There’s even a small built-in torch for night hikes!
Nokia (0870 055 5777;

Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 notebook £2100 ---- BEST LUXURY BUY
At last, a laptop computer to suit even the clumsiest road warrior. Built to military specifications, the CF-18 is waterproof, dustproof, vibration-proof and can even be dropped from a table without harm (home testing not recommended). Don’t worry about that rotating screen, it actually separates completely from the keyboard to become an fully portable, touchscreen Tablet PC.
Panasonic (08700 100464;

Roberts R9665 Poolside radio £80
Tune in to the soundtrack to your summer with this all-weather radio. It has twin loudspeakers for top sound quality and three-band (FM/MW/LW) reception so that you can still pick up the World Service while sunning yourself on a foreign beach. Rubber detailing protects it from bumps, and if your choice of music isn’t going down well, a headphone socket should calm the waters.
Roberts (01709 571722 ;

Aquapac PRO Sports Case £30
A cheaper option than buying a brand new splashproof gadget is simply to pack your land-lubber gizmo in one of these tough cases, guaranteed waterproof to 10 metres. This housing is suitable for mobile phones, GPS units, walkie talkies or handheld games consoles, with larger models available for cameras and camcorders. The PRO Sports comes with a neck cord and Velcro wrist strap.
Aquapac (020 7738 4466;

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