The Best Underwater Tech for Summer ’19

Shame on thee who pulls up to the pull party empty-handed. As we approach summer bod season, it’s imperative that we all do our part to keep the festivities buoyant, since, you know, a rising tide raises all pool floaties.

While the leading smartphone companies have decided to mass produce (outside of Japan, that is) water resistant if not waterproof phones — including the Samsung Galaxy S9+ ($699) and iPhone Xs Max ($1099) — shouldn’t the rest of your tech be a friend of the sea as well?

So, here’s how to not get left high and dry this summer: Despite all earnest attempts to side-step water puns, armed with any of these 7 tech accessories, you can cooly shrug off gratuitous claims of coming through to the function dripping.

Ultimate Ears, regardless of whether you consider the brand name to sound like an Instagram account dedicated to chronicling superlative Corgis, is consistently among the most highly-touted speaker companies for those who put a premium on fun. If carefree were a speaker it’d be the Wonderboom. Completely waterproof, it floats while retaining its robust, balanced bass. With 10 hours of battery life, 360° sound, speaker pairing, and a $100 price tag, this Bluetooth speaker is a sonic bath bomb. For a bit less ostentatious though no less novel take, the $65 Speaqua Barnacle Plus — designed by a surfer — is a deftly transportable speaker for when you want to amplify your tunes even when you’re being far out.

Speaking of sound, maybe you’re more of a solitary type; the kind who’s read John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” and anticipates a summer re-interpreting the classic short story for the social media era. Then may I introduce you to the aptly named Swimbuds Sport? Whether you’re the lazy river sort or a true watersports pursuant, the Swimbuds’ rugged construction, one-year warranty, and fluid design (with 4 different styles of earbuds), is a well-rounded product for swimmers of every stroke. With a short cord, feel free to tuck these $70 completely waterproof headphones into your swim cap and go. We should all be able to live out our greatest Olympic freestyle swimmer fantasies at the gym and have our favorite EDM bangers blasting in our ears, too.

Anyone who keeps tabs of their sleep, steps, and overall fluctuations in fitness on a statistical level could almost undeniably benefit from accessorizing themselves with the 5ATM water resistant Vivoactive 3. This smartwatch from Garmin, who produces tech for the marines and the aviation industry along with the larger recreationist population, goes the extra mile in leveraging the Verizon LTE network and GPS software while retaining the bells and whistles — i.e. text and music — that are now standard on smartwatches. What really makes this watch “smart,” however, is the ability to track your activity (e.g. stress, sleep, and fitness) through 15 preloaded sports apps as well as incident detection and incident safety features.

So, for those of you who are into data collecting (that is, working out) and data sharing (that is, talking about your gains), the $400 Vivoactive 3 is a must-have. It may even make you want to leave your phone behind.

This, I would wager, is the extreme activities pursuer’s version of showing strangers at a party photos of your kids. These vids are proxies for your proudest achievements, and why shouldn’t they be? The GoPro Hero7 Black offers 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution. And, taking cues from what plays the best on Instagram, this GoPro model offers a trove of features including live-streaming, a timelapse mode, WiFi, GPS, face/smile detection, voice control, and cloud subscription services. Oh, it’s also completely waterproof, captures 12-megapixel photos, is compatible with prior GoPro mounts and accessories, and, in the most GoPro move, has a wind noise reduction filter.

Like the Constitution, marketing materials are up to nuanced degrees of interpretation. Unlike the Constitution, well… we don’t really need to go there when talking about a digital camera. Still, according to its papers, the Ricoh WG-50 is not only waterproof but shockproof, coldproof, and crushproof as well.

The Ricoh WG-50’s 16-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor means crisp, high-def images whether they’re micro or macro captures. No need to dust off the overhead projector either, as the WG-50’s wide angle 5X internal optical zoom lens and 1080P HD raises the standard of home movies and vaca shots to the premium expected in our digital times. For $240, this easily-packable camera will make you experience the outdoors differently, all without a selfie stick.

While this will likely be among the most curious items at a pool party, this should likewise become an indispensable part of your treks — whatever their scale. Days tanning at the beach or sipping lemonade in an Adirondack chair by the lake — wherever you are, the Nomad 7 Plus lets you be the hero who can keep the crew’s devices juiced up.

These aren’t just some panels you post up on your backpack, however, as the solar intensity indicator on the Nomad 7 Plus alerts you to current conditions with 4 LED lights and an auto restart feature that reconnects disconnected devices due to environmental causes like, say, turbulence or tsunami. The $180 dual-device charger boasts an IPX6 water-resistant rating in the event of a sun shower and other unexpected sprays and splashes. So, go ahead and tell Elon Musk to eat his heart out.

Think of the OtterBox Drybox 3250 Series as a super utilitarian tackle box that, with a bit more imagination, could also be a hardy makeup train case in a pinch. (Don’t be surprised when these make the next A-Cold-Wall* or Rains lookbooks in a season or two as fashion continues to parlay the fisherman aesthetic into a lifestyle.) And while we’re on the topic, doesn’t a waterproof case need a sleek backpack to match? For one, the extremely summit-to-street Arc’teryx Granville 20L Backpack ($229) is a reliably water-resistant companion to your out-of-doors excursions.

If we are what we shop (and wear), then why not keep our most valuable items in a personal black box of sorts? With a neoprene waterproof seal and fibreglass enclosure, perhaps, there’s a reason no one carries bulky briefcases any more. And at only $40, sure, let it rain.

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