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
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 ; www.tagheuer.com)
Nike psa256max MP3 player
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; www.nike-philips.com)
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; www.fujifilm.co.uk)
Garmin Gecko 201 GPS
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 ; www.garmin.com)
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; www.firebox.com)
Casio SY2-1 portable
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, www.casio.co.uk)
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; www.nokia.co.uk)
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; www.panasonic.co.uk/toughbook)
Roberts R9665 Poolside
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 ; www.robertsradio.co.uk)
Aquapac PRO Sports Case
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; www.aquapac.net)
Return to The Independent 10 best page