Finally, waterproof gadgets no longer look like Playskool toys. It all started last year when a Santa Ana, California, company called Liquipel announced that for $60 it would dunk your smartphone or tablet in an invisible, waterproofing chemical soup. The stuff works unbelievably well—and makes you wonder why most electronics aren’t waterproof straight out of the box. Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z is.
The 10.1-inch device comes coated in a proprietary nanotechnology that keeps it running while submerged up to three feet below the water’s surface. It’s also among the best tablets on the market. The sound from its stereo speakers is crisp and loud, and the Xperia is both slimmer and lighter than the iPad. Plus, its screen features the same technology found in Sony’s flatscreen TVs, which display 16 million colors. The result: images look cinematic, even in the hot tub. $499 for 16GB.