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Best gadgets for the beach and outdoors

Enjoy your summer with the best durable tech you can buy

Best gadgets for the beach and outdoors

If you’re planning to make the most of the good weather this summer, you’ll need to make sure your tech will see you through. We round up the best gadgets designed for use out and about, from activity trackers to waterproof cameras, headphones and smartphones.

The very best outdoor tech will give you peace of mind that it will survive whatever the weather, and even on a sandy beach. Some of our recommendations, including the compact and action cameras below, and the Garmin activity tracker, are even designed to work while swimming so you don’t have to leave them behind.

If you’re looking for the most stringent waterproof tech, look for what are known as IP ratings, which means the tech’s been rigorously tested in certain conditions.

For example, the Bose Soundsport Free headphones below are rated IPX4, which means they’re weather (and sweat) resistant. The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a higher IP68 rating, which gives better waterproofing (it will survive for 30 minutes in 1.5 metres of water) and dustproofing too.

Note that, despite these ratings, most tech will only claim water-resistance in fresh-water conditions, although the Garmin Vivofit 4 claims it’s suitable for snorkelling, so will survive in the salty sea.

Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers – jump straight to the top models we recommend.

Garmin Vivofit 4 activity tracker, £70

The Garmin Vivofit 4 is an entry-level activity tracker that’s a great starting point for tracking your fitness. It does all the basics you’d expect, including tracking calories and steps, and Garmin claims the battery will last for a year so you won’t need to worry too much about charging it either.

It even monitors whether you’re getting quality sleep, and Garmin claims the Vivofit 4 is waterproof up to 50 metres and suitable for showering, swimming, diving and even snorkelling. You can also compete with your friends using the Toe-to-Toe feature. There’s no built-in GPS or heart-rate monitor though – for advanced sports tracking check out the Garmin Fenix 5 fitness watch instead.

See whether this activity tracker is the ideal outdoor companion this summer in our Garmin Vivofit 4 review.

Bose Soundsport Free headphones, £170

If you’re constantly breaking headphones or untangling cables, perhaps the Bose Soundsport Free will be the perfect solution. There aren’t any wires to untangle during use – they’re just two separate earpieces and a charging case to keep them protected and charged when not in use, freeing you from messy cables.

They’re designed for exercise with an IPX4 rating to protect them from sweat and inclement weather, and come with StayHear+ sport ear tips to keep them in place during exercise. Controls on the earbud allow you to control music, take calls and control your smartphone hands-free using its voice assistant.

If you’re looking for cheaper sports headphones, have a look at the water-resistant Kitsound Outrun or Sennheiser CX 686G instead.

See whether these are the headphones you’ve been looking for in our Bose Soundsport Free review.

JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker, £70

The JBL Flip 3 has a splashproof casing, so you don’t need to worry about using it outdoors at a rainy summer festival, and you can rinse it under a tap if it gets muddy as well.

If you’d like even more rigorous waterproofing, check out the IPX7-rated Ultimate Ears Boom 2 (£100) as well, which can be immersed in water up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes. And if you’re simply looking for a cheap, hyper-portable great-sounding speaker, have a look at the Sony SRS-X11 at only £30.

See whether the JBL Flip 3 will do your music justice in our in-depth JBL Flip 3 review.

Roberts Sports DAB6 digital radio, £90

The pocket-sized Roberts Sports DAB6 is great not only for sports fans but anyone looking to enjoy the pleasures of radio listening while on the move. It can be used with or without the supplied in-ear headphones.

While it’s not waterproof, measuring 10cm by 5.5cm it’s the ideal size to fit it in your pocket. Its built-in speaker means that, as well as listening privately, you can choose to share your radio listening with others if you wish.

Never miss your favourite radio programmes again – see whether this is a good-sounding companion for your travels in our expert Roberts Sports DAB6 review.

Nikon Coolpix W300 compact camera, £349

The all-weather Nikon Coolpix W300 is the ideal camera to capture the moment wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. It’s waterproof up to 30 metres, shockproof up to 2.4 metres in case you drop it and dustproof as well, so sand on a beach won’t be an issue.

It has a 16Mp CMOS sensor, 5x optical zoom, 4K video recording and a 3-inch display, plus wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS. There’s an alternative to the Nikon Coolpix on the way, too, with the Panasonic LUMIX DC-FT7, due to arrive in August. We were impressed by its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT6, which is no longer on store shelves, and have high hopes for the FT7.

See whether this camera performs across the board in our full Nikon Coolpix W300 review.

GoPro Hero action camera, £199

Following on from the GoPro Hero5 Black, GoPro has finally released an action camera aimed at the entry-level consumer. At £199, the GoPro Hero is low cost for an action camera.

It’s waterproof up to a depth of 10 metres without the need for an enclosure, and has a 2-inch touchscreen, and wi-fi and Bluetooth for easily transferring your photos and videos.

See our initial impressions in our GoPro Hero first look review.

Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone, £739

Samsung’s latest high-end flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, has IP68 waterproofing, meaning it can be in water up to 1.5 metres deep for half an hour, so it should survive even the worst accidents.

It can be a great way to play music, take pictures and shoot video with the convenience of not having to buy and carry around separate devices. Its main rival, the Apple iPhone 8 (£700), has slightly inferior IP67 waterproofing, which means it’ll survive a dunking in water up to a metre deep.

See whether the Galaxy S9 has the performance to match its price tag in our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy S9 review.

Goji G10PBWP17 power bank, £23

Last but not least, the Goji G10PBWP17 power bank for charging your smartphone, as well as other devices, is a really handy way to extend the battery life of your phone if you’re taking lots of pictures and video while on holiday, or you just want the peace of mind of having a backup in case you run out.

This power bank has IP67 waterproofing, so it’ll survive being dropped in 1 metre of water for 30 minutes. It has two full-sized USB ports protected by flaps, and a battery indicator with four LEDs so you know how much charge it has left.

Power banks are notorious for not giving you as much power back as they promise. See what we thought of this power bank compared with others in our guide to the best portable power bank chargers.

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