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Contour+ POV Camera
Last year, Contour beefed up its HD model by adding GPS. This year (with a $200 price hike) it’s added HDMI live streaming: your friends and family can watch as you bomb down a hill or (with an optional waterproof case, $50) go 200 feet below the sea. Meanwhile, Contour continues to deliver video and audio as sharp as any POV camera’s, with less fish-eye distortion.
TAGS: LIVE STREAMING, HI-DEF
Motorola Titanium Smartphone
Sure, there are fancier smartphones, but the Titanium is one of the handful built with military-spec ratings for dust, shock, and temperature—i.e., it can tumble out of a bike jersey and keep on texting. Bonus: it’s one of the few Android phones with Nextel Direct Connect, so it can pair with another device on that network as a two-way radio, making it an ideal first-responder phone.
TAGS: MILITARY-GRADE, ANDROID
Westone Elite Series ES5 Earphones
We’ve long been curious: do custom earphones really sound that much better than off-the-rack jobbies? Yes, they do. The crisp, noise-isolating ES5’s make it sound as though you’re right there in the concert pit. Of course, having ear molds made adds to the cost ($50 and up from an audiologist), but Westone’s entry-level modules start at $300. Greater comfort, additional drivers, and our custom logo upped the final price here.
TAGS: CUSTOM FIT, AUDIOPHILE SOUND
Considering how small (about the size of a can of soda) and tough the Jambox is, the sound is downright booming. Charge the rubberized rectangle up, connect it via Bluetooth, and go completely wireless, whether you’re using it as a speakerphone or (like us) as the sound system for your iPad.
TAGS: TRAVEL SPEAKER, IMPRESSIVE SOUND
Olympus TG-810 Digital Camera
Waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof to 6.6 feet, freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushproof to 200 pounds of pressure, the TG-810 may be the ultimate travel cam. But the truly amazing thing is the near-DSLR quality of the shots. It’s still a point-and-shoot, but with 14-megapixel photos and 720p video this colorful—plus fun add-ons like GPS tagging and 3-D—it’s pretty impressive.
TAGS: TOUGH, UPGRADED COMPONENTS
Nikon Coolpix S9100 Digital Camera
Nikon further blurs the line between DSLR and compact with this super-zoom camera, offering a stunning 18x optical zoom that covers the range from wide-angle to telephoto—and then retracts all the way into the slim body. A CMOS sensor provides 12.1-mp images and 1080p video, and we like how fast it starts up: less than two seconds from power-up to snapshot.
TAGS: BIG ZOOM, FAST
DeLorme InReach Communicator
Paired with an Android smartphone or a DeLorme PN-60W GPS, this nifty little unit becomes a satellite-powered text-messaging device, allowing you to send and receive tweet-sized texts to and from any cell phone or e-mail address. By itself, it can send preloaded messages or be used as a tracker, allowing folks back home to chart your movements online. $10-per-month subscription required.
TAGS: TRACKING, TEXT MESSAGING
Solio Bolt Solar Charger
Every electronic device on these pages can be replenished by this lightweight, hard-shelled charger. Set it up at base camp and it collects a full charge in eight hours, allowing you to juice your favorite gadgets overnight. Or load it up from the wall in your hotel room and you’ve got a boost for your iPod on the third leg of an international flight. As an insurance policy, it’s a no-brainer.
TAGS: BACKCOUNTRY, COLLAPSIBLE
Sony Walkman NWZ-W260 MP3 Player
You no longer have to settle for either a tangle of cords or a crappy-sounding Bluetooth device. Not only does this waterproof MP3 player-headset sound great and stay where it belongs, but if you forget to charge it before heading out the door, a quick-charge function gets you an hour of music from just three minutes of plug-in time. Our only gripe: the small amount of storage.
TAGS: HANDS-FREE, SWEATPROOF