Unlike hot days and lemonade, water and tech typically don’t mix.
Fortunately, there’s a growing array of water-resistant and waterproof devices available for those summer trips to the beach or pool. So, now you can splish-splash without making your devices crash.
To get the scoop on waterproof tech, we chatted with Blue Shirt Bryan Calzado at Best Buy Store 1498 in Miami Beach. And he ought to know a thing or two about the topic, because his store is located just a few blocks from one of America’s most crowded beaches.
Keeping your mobile devices safe
First things first: You need to protect your smartphone. You take it with you wherever you go, but that can be tricky at the pool if you leave your purse at home and your swimsuit doesn’t have pockets. (Even if it does, please remember to take your phone out before you jump in the water.)
A good phone case, however, will help keep your phone safe if it gets splashed when your friend shows off his cannonball skills or you accidentally spill your iced tea on it.
“LifeProof is the biggest name out there, and it’s also the one that I think works the best,” Bryan said. “You can submerge the case down to two meters for an hour, and you’re completely fine. And now they have a great LifeProof Fre Power case for the iPhone that also has a built-in battery pack so your phone gets double the battery life.”
Some new phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S7, are water-resistant, but Bryan notes that they are only rated for freshwater, not saltwater. So, if you’re going to the ocean, you’ll still want to get a case.
And, yes, there are water-resistant cases for tablets, too. (Bonus tip: Never leave your phone or tablet sitting out in the sun unless you want it to fry like an egg on a sizzling sidewalk.)
Listening to music
If you want to stream some tunes while lounging by the pool, on a boat or at the beach, a Bluetooth speaker is the way to go. There are plenty of sizes, shapes and prices to choose from.
Just be sure you read the package carefully or ask a Best Buy Blue Shirt for help. A “water-resistant” or “splash-proof” speaker is safe for splashes or rain. A “waterproof” speaker typically has an IP67 rating, meaning it’s safe for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water.
“I have a JBL Flip 3 that’s splash-proof, so if it ever rains or gets splashed, it’s OK. Then I have a UE MEGABOOM, which is my favorite because it’s really light and you get 20 hours of battery life on a charge,” Bryan said. “I also own the Fuel Style XL, and the good thing about that one is that it has up to 35 hours of battery life and it’s waterproof. It even floats.”
If you’re looking for headphones, Bryan recommends going with good workout earbuds, such as Bose SoundSport or JayBird X2.
“Those are all sweat- and water-resistant, so if you’re outside and you happen to take a splash, you don’t have to worry about it,” Bryan said. “You just can’t go swimming with them.”
Keeping Tabs on Your Fitness
You have a fitness tracker for a reason, so you don’t want to have to take it off when you’re active on the beach. But many wearable devices are only water-friendly for basic activities like washing your hands or maybe taking a shower.
“I usually tell customers that as long as there’s no water pressure, you’re fine,” Bryan said. “So, if you’re going to go swimming, I don’t recommend it at all. For that, I would recommend one of the Garmin Forerunner watches or something like that because it’s a little more durable in the water.”
Some other smartwatches, like the Fitbit Blaze, are also rain-, sweat- and splash-proof.
Capturing the Moment
Whether you’re chilling on the beach or out in the water, there are a variety of tough, waterproof digital cameras and action cams that are perfect for capturing your memories.
Waterproof cameras can easily handle accidental splashes, and some — such as a GoPro or the Fujifilm FinePix XP90 — are even submersible for use while snorkeling or swimming. But Bryan warns to always double-check that the battery pack is sealed tightly at all times to ensure no water gets inside.
“I usually recommend a GoPro. It’s a little bit easier and there are a lot more accessories,” he said. “That’s waterproof down to about 100 meters, so there’s no worrying. You can capture all your adventures while you’re out on vacation or around town, and it’s small, so it doesn’t take up too much space.”