Heading for the coast, lake or river? Don’t forget to pack the right gear. Ben Sillis picks the best waterproof tech to make a splash with on your travels.
1 Panasonic HX-WA2
Action cameras are all about size, and the ability to mount them anywhere. If it’s top-notch video you want in any situation – with the reassurance of waterproofing – look no further than the Panasonic HX-WA2, a typical looking pistol-grip, full-HD camcorder with a few clever tricks. It can grab super-crisp 14-megapixel still images on the side, and operates up to 3m underwater. Face detection and a 15x intelligent zoom also help reduce blur – you may well be grateful for that when you view your attempts at underwater filming back on a big screen.
2 Garmin Swim
Want something waterproof for everyday use? The Garmin Swim is the watch for you. While plenty of sports watches can log your time easily, Garmin’s timepiece takes it to the next level: it not only measures distance swum and speed, it can even detect what type of stroke you’re doing. When you’re out of the pool, all the data gets wirelessly uploaded to Garmin’s Connect service so you can analyse your performance and improve. And of course, it can cope with being submerged the whole time – in fact, you can take it 50m under.
3 Contour Roam 2
If your planning something seriously wet ‘n’ wild, you’re going to need an action camera rather than a more traditional snapper or camcorder. The five-megapixel Roam 2 bolts on to just about anything and starts filming video in gorgeous full HD, so it’s perfect for capturing an insane whitewater rafting trip. While the action camera market is pretty crowded right now, with GoPro’s Hero models garnering much of the attention, the Roam 2 is one of the few that’s actually waterproof without a case, so swimmers won’t need to pay any extra to reap the benefit.
4 Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30
While the Xperia Z (right) is a powerful camera phone, a smartphone’s size restricts its potential for serious snappers. If you want something a bit more powerful for your next water-based activity, try this 18.2-megapixel waterproof and shockproof compact camera instead. It packs a 5x optical zoom so you can frame your shot perfectly from afar. You can also shoot video and take still images at the same time. Best of all, however, there’s a large 3.3-inch touchscreen mounted on the back of the camera for easy operation when your hands are soaking wet.
5 Sony Xperia Z
With its five-inch full HD screen, stunning 13-megapixel camera sensor and superfast Android OS, the Sony Xperia Z is one of the most versatile smartphones out there. It’s IPX5/7 certified waterproof to 1m depth, and dust resistant as well. While the screen doesn’t work while underwater, the shutter button does. Not only is this perfect for the clumsy, it also makes it an ideal camera phone for holidays by the beach. Fancy a bit of snorkelling with your smartphone…?