Prep for a dream vacation—or a trip to the deep end—with tech that can take a dunk. Summertime and tech don’t always play nice, especially when it’s a day at the beach or the pool. To get the most out of the warmer months, it pays to know that if your wireless speaker or smartphone take an unexpected dip, it's functionality won't sink.
Fortunately, there’s an incredible selection of waterproof and water-resistant accessories that take some of the worry out of the summer months. So don’t sweat the drips, drops and potential drenchings. Learn about five brilliant summer companions that the tech media are raving about.
GoPro HERO6 Black action camera
Relive the thrill of a whitewater adventure or the relaxation of lazy-river tubing with the GoPro HERO6 Black, an all-weather action camera that’s waterproof to 33 feet. The QuikStories feature captures footage or still photos, allows edits on the fly and uploads to social media via Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, video comes out crystal-clear thanks to advanced video stabilization—which CNET calls “groundbreaking for the category”—and improved low-light recording.
TechRadar also praises the HERO6 Black’s 4K video, which is rendered at up to 60 frames per second, deeming it “a brilliant choice.” And Wired calls this high-speed rendering “another step to making silky-smooth ultra-high-resolution video capture possible anywhere.” And since the HERO6 Black is GPS-enabled, you can add location, speed and elevation information to any footage.
JBL Flip 4 speaker
A poolside speaker has to deliver high-quality sound and be able to shake off a splash. The JBL Flip 4 checks both boxes. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity for two devices and up to 12 hours of battery life, the Flip 4 also offers “slightly beefier bass” than the previous model, according to SoundGuys.
And Digital Trends appreciates its impressive range, noting that “even with 20 feet of distances and several walls in between, the Flip continued to play with no hiccups.” The reviewer tried it out in the shower and, for a tougher test, submerged it in an above-ground pool. “It doesn’t float,” the reviewer cautions, “so be wary around deeper bodies of water.”
LifeProof FRE smartphone cases
Compatible with select Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel devices, LifeProof FRE waterproof cases protect against accidents that end with a crash or a splash—keeping phones safe even when “dropped in six feet of water for an hour,” according to MacWorld. And for a case that meets military protection standards for drops and shocks, the LifeProof FRE is “surprisingly slim,” according to iPhoneLife.com—and a welcome change from bulkier rugged cases that make pocket storage nearly impossible.
Best of all, the screen protector doesn’t impact functionality. Notes Digital Trends: “It remains fully compatible with all the touch capabilities of your phone, including Touch ID and 3D Touch.”
Garmin Vivosmart HR fitness tracker
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is waterproof up to 50 meters, which means you can use its advanced heart rate tracking features in the pool, and it doesn’t need to be removed before jumping in a post-workout shower. With step and rep counting, sleep tracking and calorie monitoring capabilities, the Vivosmart HR is “the best fitness tracker in its price range,” according to IGN, suitable for casual exerciserse and serious athletes alike.
Men’s Health says it actually can motivate wearers to intensify their workouts, noting it provides “a nice little notice-me zap to your wrist, encouraging you to get moving when you’ve been sedentary for too long.”
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 305 Wireless Sport earbuds
The BackBeat FIT 305 sport buds’ IP57 water-resistance rating and sweatproof coating make them uniquely suited for grueling gym workouts, long hours under the hot sun and, after either of those, quick rinses under the tap. CNET calls them “light and unobtrusive” and praises their “secure, tight seal”—thanks to the integrated loops—and notes that their wireless connection is “rock solid.”
Wired, meantime, calls out their “amazing” audio quality and durability, saying they’re “tough enough to shove into a pocket or gym bag, even without the protective mesh pouch.” And “even when doused with sweat and rain,” the FIT 305s keep the beat, the editors note.
Gizmodo puts the exclamation point on the appeal of these go-anywhere ‘buds: “If you’re after a solid audio performer that can take a beating, consider these guys.”