The best tech for the beach

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6 of the best bits of technology to buy for the beach

You might think sand, sea and tech don’t mix, but what’s a sunny day without a good ebook, your favourite sounds and some photos to record the fun for posterity? From portable speakers that can cope with life by the sea, to a solar charger you can use to keep your kits’ batteries topped-up, it’s not hard to find devices that can make your day-off or sunshine holiday complete. Tech expert Stuart Andrews singles out the best tech to have with you when you hit the beach.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

eBay loves: Its rugged good looks and solid performance.
Watch out for: Don’t lose it in the surf when you’re splashing around.
RRP: £299

You might love your digital SLR or compact camera, but do you really want to drop it in the sea? A rugged compact like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 will take any punishment that the beach can throw at it and it’s also perfect for capturing the action as you snorkel or splash around. It’s safe to use up to 12 meters underwater and the 16-megapixel sensor will give great results, even in the briny depths. Despite being one of the toughest cameras in town, the DMC-FT5 still packs in a 4.6x Leica zoom, along with built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS.
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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

eBay loves: Having a whole library you can carry in one hand.
Watch out for: Sand can get caught in the frame around the screen.
RRP: £109

Okay, so you can read ebooks on a tablet, but can you do it in the midday sun? With the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, you can. It has a matte anti-reflective screen that stays crystal clear while you sunbathe and enough battery power to last all week long. Slip it in your bag and there’s no more need to lug around a small library of books to cover a long trip. You can also look up words with the built-in dictionary, and use Amazon’s X-Ray feature to go deeper on the characters and themes. If you like to spend time reading while you relax on the sand, there’s no better way to do it.
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Braven BRV-1

Braven BRV-1

eBay loves: The tough exterior and brilliant sound
Watch out for: It doesn’t always remember your phone connection next time it’s used.
RRP: £149.99

Want some tunes for your beach party or barbecue? Hook up your smartphone to the Braven BRV-1 and you’re ready to go. This compact Bluetooth speaker supports A2DP for high-quality audio and has a battery that’s good for 12 hours of playback, or for charging your phone over USB while you’re out on the sand. With a shockproof and waterproof exterior, it won’t get damaged, and its twin 3W extended-range speakers pump out music with clarity and punch. Throw in speakerphone capabilities and it’s the perfect Bluetooth speaker for beach life.
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Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

eBay loves: The fantastic screen and cutting-edge features.
Watch out for: Make sure you have the back on properly to keep the phone fully dust and waterproof.
RRP: From £28 per month

Nobody wants to drop their brand new smartphone in the surf, but if you do it with the Samsung Galaxy S5, it won’t be a disaster. Ruggedisation is the new killer feature for flagship phones, and both the Galaxy S5 and the new Sony Xperia Z2 are waterproof and dust-resistant.
Both are great phones, but the Galaxy S5 pips it for us with its fingerprint reader, heart-rate sensor, 16-megapixel camera and superb full HD 1080p screen. It’s fast enough to play the latest 3D games and its battery should last a full day on the beach with charge to spare. If you can’t afford the latest model, though, consider last year’s ruggedised Galaxy S4 Active.
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Powertraveller PowerMonkey Extreme

Powertraveller PowerMonkey Extreme

eBay loves: Having the power to charge two gadgets at once.
Watch out for: It’s more effective if you charge it up before you hit the beach.
RRP: £149.99

There’s only one problem with all these gadgets — keeping them all charged. Grab the Powertraveller PowerMonkey Extreme and that won’t be a problem when you’re on the beach. This smartphone-sized solar panel unfolds to recharge its 9000mAH lithium polymer battery, which is then capable of recharging tablets, smartphones and other 5V USB devices. There’s two USB sockets for charging and enough juice for multiple charges — and it’s shock and water-resistant. Available in a choice of colours, it could be the gadget that keeps all your other gadgets going all holiday long.
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Klipsch Image S4i Rugged

Klipsch Image S4i Rugged

eBay loves: Having a choice of eye-catching colours.
Watch out for: Don’t compare them to more expensive models.
RRP: £89.99

Your costly headphones are great while you’re on the move about town, but do you really want to risk them at the beach? The Klipsch Image S4i Rugged in-ear headphones are designed to cope with sea and sand, with a weather-resistant design that resists moisture and tough rubber mouldings that won’t fall apart in the heat. There’s also an inline remote for controlling music playback, and a microphone for calls on iPhones and iPads. While the Image S4i Rugged can’t compete with the very best earphones, the sound is still good, with impressive clarity and tight bass.
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