18th Jul 2013
The rainy season is in full swing and the most affected by this damp weather are electronic gadgets. In this era of dependence on electronic gizmos, we cannot afford to keep our devices away even in such weather. Luckily, manufacturers have thought about it and brought out weatherproof versions of such gadgets. We are enlisting a few of them to get you started.
The Sony Xperia ZR is not only waterproof enough to survive being submerged in 1.5 m of water for 30 minutes, but even resistant to dust. It is compliant with IP55 and IP58 standards and is said to be able to capture photos and record Full HD videos underwater, thanks to its 13 MP camera with EXMOR RS mobile sensor that also supports HDR. The smartphone runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU with 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It has a 4.55" HD Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 with pixel dimensions of 1280x720. The handset is available for Rs 28,000.
The Samsung GALAXY S4 Active is an IP67 certified smartphone that is able to withstand water at a depth of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. It is also dust-resistant. The Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) handset is powered by a 1.9 GHz quad-core CPU, unlike its octa-core elder sibling. In fact, it is more like the GALAXY S4 mini with ruggedness. With 2 GB of RAM, there is 16 GB of internal storage and support for up to 64 GB microSDXC card. Its 5" TFT LCD multi-touch panel sports pixel dimensions of 1080x1920. Its 8 mp rear snapper has autofocus and LED flash, while there is a 2 mp front camera for video calling. The handset will be available in Urban Grey, Flare Orange, and Dive Blue colours. While it is known that it will go on sale soon initially in US and Sweden, the pricing and availability in India is yet to be confirmed.
In addition to mobile phones, Sony has also made a waterproof tablet — Xperia Tablet Z. The Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) tablet is not only water resistant, but also dust-proof. Its IP55 and IP57 rating means that it can survive under water for 30 minutes. It should therefore not have any problem facing the monsoons. The 10.1" HD WUXGA display uses Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and claims to deliver enhanced colours in images. The 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU and 2 GB of RAM should provide enough processing power to smoothly run most apps. An 8 mp rear snapper with Exmor R for mobile, and a 2 mp front HD camera takes care of imaging. Weighing 495 grams, the tablet is only 6.9 mm thick. In addition to Wi-Fi, there is also a version with 3G connectivity. The 32 GB version in black is available for Rs 46,990.
Now that we have mobile phones and tablets that brave the rains, why not a laptop that does the same? The Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 is an ideal laptop for the real road-warrior. This rugged laptop has MIL-STD 810 G certification for vibration and shock resistance, and IP65 for resistance to water and dust. The ports are protected by a water-tight flap. Internet connectivity options are available in the form of LAN, 3G, and WIMAX. This Windows 8 laptop is powered by an Intel Core i5-520M vPro CPU and has Intel HD graphics that drives the 13.1" high brightness (1100 cd/m2) display, which features circular polarisation for better outdoor visibility.
While we talk about waterproof gadgets, we can certainly consider waterproof watches. After all, watches are wearable gadgets that most of us still wear. Sony had the MN2 earlier, and now it has unveiled the SmartWatch 2. This Android-based watch with a 1.6" screen and aluminium body is certified (IP57) water and dust resistant. It can be paired with an Android phone via Bluetooth so that you can remotely answer calls, read text and email messages, or even click photos. Additionally, it features Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC, and claims to have a battery life of four days with moderate usage. In case you are planning to get this one for the rains, hold your horses as it has a September release date. So you will have to wait till the next monsoons to challenge it.
Not everyone is satisfied with a watch that depends on a mobile phone to pair with in order to function. The S.W.A.T. Waterproof SmartWatch Phone does it all. Featuring a mini SIM card slot, this little baby is actually a phone that is built into a watch. The quad-band radio claims to work with any GSM operator in the world. It features a 1.5" OLED resistive touchscreen and is powered by the MTK6253 chip. While it doesn't have Android, it runs Java apps and features Bluetooth, GPRS, and WAP. MP3 and MP4 playback capabilities are also present with 8 GB of internal storage. If that's not enough, there is also a 2 mp camera to take quick snaps. The 550 mAh Li-Ion battery claims to provide a talk time of up to 2 hours and standby of up to 120 hours. Before we forget, it is IP67 grade waterproof. You can order it online for $195 (Rs 11,700).
While mobile phones do come with cameras, we think that photography is still best left to cameras. That brings us to waterproof cameras and the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT20 fits the bill for starters. This point-and-shoot camera with a 16.1 mp CCD sensor features 4x optical zoom with image stabilisation to suppress blur. It has a 25 mm wide angle lens and supports HD video recording. The FT20 is waterproof up to a depth of 5 metres, so you are good for underwater photography (or videography) while snorkeling. Additionally, this camera claims to be able to survive a drop of 1.5 meters, can work in freezing temperatures up to -10 degrees C, and is also dust-proof. You can make this gadget a part of your entourage for Rs 12,990.
If you can spend a little more, the Nikon COOLPIX AW110 offers a few more extra features than the FT20. This camera is waterproof up to a distance of 18 meters. In addition to being dustproof, it is also shockproof up to 2 meters. An altimeter, hydro-barometer, water depth/altitude logging and GPS are also present within. There is built-in Wi-Fi to transfer files and to allow it to be remotely controlled via a mobile phone. This 16 mp camera with Full HD recording, features 5x optical zoom with image stabilisation and features a 3" OLED screen with anti-reflective coating that enhances visibility even underwater. The AW110 is available for Rs 16,950.
Do you fancy jogging in the rains? Well, many do, and that's where the Bose SIE2i comes in. These IEMs claim to be able to work perfectly even with water flowing over them, thanks to their ingenious design. The hook-type eartips make sure that they hang onto your ears even while running. Instead of plugging off the ear canal, these hang in there without making contact with the ear canal, thus allowing you to be aware of the surroundings as you jog down the streets. The SIE2i also come with an inline remote control that works with the iPhone and iPod touch. With amazing clarity and audio reproduction, these are perfect to run around in the monsoon. Pity, we may not be able to say the same about your MP3 player.
While the Bose SIE2i is good enough to work in the rain, it is still not waterproof. If you are looking for really waterproof earphone, then you need the AQS-02. Designed specifically with water sports in mind, this earphone features in-ear design that seals off the ear canal, thus isolating the surroundings including water. A neckband that goes behind the neck helps secure it during the sporting activity. It comes with a short cord to connect to your MP3 player or you can also use the longer extension bundled along. As mentioned earlier, while the earphone is good to be used even while swimming, you need to make sure that you seal off your MP3 player properly against the elements with a waterproof enclosure. The AQS-02 can be yours for just $30 (Rs 1800).
Waterproof Gadgets To Buy This Monsoon (2013 Edition)
Gizmos across various product categories that will weather the rainy season with ease.
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