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Waterproof electronic gadgets for summer

May 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the temperatures rise, we're spending more time in the pool or at the beach. Bringing an iPod or cell phone too close to the water can ruin them. So Eyewitness News went in search of electronic gadgets that are supposed to last even when they get wet.Even when we escape outside this season, many of us can't escape from our high-tech gadgets.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story.

So we recruited Masters Swimmers Eileen Tucker and Ken Kemp to help us test several portable waterproof electronics.

The FINIS SwiMP3 is an MP3 player you wear while swimming. Download music from your computer to the device, which works through bone conduction, transferring sound vibrations from the cheek bone to the inner ear.

"It sounded great, it stayed on, it was comfortable, it sounded really nice," said Eileen.

The SwiMP3 is compatible with Windows and Mac. It retails for $139.

Next our swimmers tried out a couple of cameras designed to take pictures underwater.

One was the GoPro Digital HERO 3, a 4-and-half-ounce camera that attaches to your wrist.

"Well, if you're diving I think this would be a fun thing to have if you're skin-diving, you can take pictures underwater, you don't have to go very deep," said Ken.

"The images are going to be a little sketchier but it's really kind of intuitive and you don't lose it," said CNET's Brian Cooley. "It doesn't drop and sink; it's mounted on you. It's a little gimmicky but perhaps more survivable for true underwater use."

The 3-megapixel Digital HERO 3 wrist camera can also record nearly an hour of video. It sells for about $140.

For a sturdier and much more expensive camera: the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. It's not only waterproof up to 33 feet, but as our swimmers found, it also sinks.

"It's also going to go down real fast," said Cooley. "So you have to be a very good, deep swimmer and have a good set of lungs to chase after it. Otherwise you just lost at $400 camera."

The Olympus Stylus 1030 is also shockproof and freeze-proof, down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It sells for about $400.

Garmin's Colorado 400c is a portable GPS. It's supposed to be waterproof, but we found when it got wet, it stopped working. At $639, this GPS works better on a boat or on the road than in the water.

And, finally, if you just have to keep your iPod in the water, there's the EGO Ice waterproof speaker system. Your iPod is tightly sealed, and you can control it without ruining the components. The EGO Ice speaker system sells for about $89.

FINIS SwiMP3 underwater MP3 player

GoPro Digital HERO 3 Sports Wrist Camera

Olympus Stylus 1030SW

Garmin Colorado 400c portable GPS

EGO Ice iPod speaker system


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