We flew out to CES 2013 with expectations of wireless charging gadgets, mobile Intel processors and plenty of smart watches, but we had no clue waterproof gadgets would be on the agenda. Turns out, we can’t predict everything. From Sony’s puddle-proof Xperia Z smartphone to new beach-ready, water-tight cases from Griffin and Otterbox, here are the CES 2013 gadgets that make your fears of water damage obsolete.
Sony Xperia Z Smartphone
No need to panic if you drop the Sony Xperia Z in the toilet. The glass-polycarbonate chassis on this 5-inch smartphone can survive up to 30 minutes in a meter of water. Sure, it can't go diving in the Barrier Reef with you, but its waterproofing will keep the phone alive if you drop it in a bathtub or puddle or douse it with coffee. Plus it can stream Bluetooth from inside a fish tank. And if you’re caught in the rain, the Xperia's 1080p Bravia-enhanced screen will register your touch despite all the cascading rainwater.
Nuu Splash Wireless Speaker ($99)
Got a pool party that needs some tunes? Even if the $99 Nuu Splash Wireless Speaker gets splashed from all your pool-side horseplay, the IP55-certified sound box will keep kicking out audio. That’s because this Bluetooth speaker is designed to withstand water, dust, and sand, making a solid companion for beach parties too. A battery rating of 10 hours and a pair of neodymium 40mm drivers, means the party won’t stop until the water gets cold. Available in green gray, black and red.
Griffin Survivor Catalyst ($79)
With its bright blue-green and yellow case, the $79 Survivor Catalyst would look perfect while you’re snorkeling in Hawaii. Thanks to a water-tight rubber seal called the O-ring, this case keeps the iPhone 5 dry in up to 10 feet of water. Ports are sealed with silicone gaskets and the headphone jack cover is chambered to support a waterproof headset. For calls, the Survivor Catalyst uses a special plastic membrane that first captures sound vibration, then directs it through the case’s plastic shell and into your ear.
Seidio Obex Case ($79)
This is one water-proof device that’s made for something tougher than a trip to the beach. The Seidio Obex case for the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III is more rugged than other offerings, thanks to its support for MIL-STD 810 levels of abuse. The polycarbonate case not only locks out water, but is also built to survive mud, snow, rain, sand, and dust as well. And it’s designed smart: Seidio uses an anti-glare glass screen for better use in sunlight or bright indoor lighting, the iPhone’s case has a glass-protected cut-out for the Apple logo on the back, and included in the packaging is a clip-on carrying case that attaches to belt buckles. Obex for Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Nexus 4 will be available later in Q1.
Otterbox Armor Series
The new Armor Series’ water-proof case goes on sale next month, but it’s surprising a company called Otterbox hasn’t designed a watertight case before now. This steel trunk of a case locks all current iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S III behind a wall of hard-shell silicone and reinforced polycarbonate. Tough-looking metal clasps and thick rubber port covers make sure the device survives in up to 6.6 feet of water for a max of 30 minutes. And out of the water, the case’s exterior can withstand up to 2 tons of pressure.
Garmin Edge 510 and 810 Bike-Mounted GPS
The Garmin Edge 510 and 810 bike-mounted GPS units, $329 and $499 respectively, not only track speed, elevation, global positioning, and climb rates, they also use barometric altimeters to get a bead on local weather systems. Don’t worry though, if dark clouds rain on your mountain bike parade, both Garmin Edges are protected against the elements. Even in the wettest conditions, your GPS will continue to broadcast your location to friends and family, track your performance, and provide skill level-appropriate routes for your session.