You don’t have to be part fish to carry on life under the sea, not when technology has become so advanced. With the surge in interest in water sports and water-related activities, there are now all sorts of devices that let you do what you do on land while in water (devices that only go a few metres below the water) or underwater (devices that can do down great depths). Insidedives in for a closer look.
The Sony 4GB W Series MP3 Walkman from Harvey Norman (S$99) has a streamline design that is waterproof. It can withstand being immersed in water up to two metres deep. The compact design is cord-less, with only a single wire connecting the two ear buds, making it the perfect companion for swimming with.
If you want something with more bells and whistles and are willing to pay the price, head to Farle Innovations Pte Ltd at Funan DigitaLife Mall. You can get the Speedo Aquabeat Waterproof MP3 Player that comes in 1GB (S$139), 2GB (S$169) and 4GB (S$199 without LCD screen and S$239 with LCD screen) versions there. Both the MP3 player and the earphones can be submerged up to a depth of three metres and are so lightweight that they will float quickly to the surface so you never need worry about losing either while in the water.
For those who take their mobile phones everywhere , the idea of one that you can take underwater is very enticing. Several brands offer water resistant models. But the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is the only waterproof smartphone with a full HD display outside of Japan that is for global distribution. It can take a dip into waters up to 1.5 metres deep for half an hour. While you may not be able to hold a decent conversation at those depths, you can still take pretty good pictures and videos.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (S$898) released in Singapore in July boasts a fully sealed design that keeps out dust and protects it from water damage. Like Motorola’s Defy + (S$197), it can be submerged in water up to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes. While this is not enough for you to take either phones for a swim, it definitely makes them more resilient than your regular phone. Both come with water-resistant earphone jacks that allow you to listen to your audio files even in the wettest of conditions.
For those who do not want to splash on a brand new phone just to stay connected in the water, there are a few cases you can get to protect your mobile phone. The LifeProof iPhone 5 nüüd Case (S$109) protects the phone from impact and water, dirt and snow damages. With its integrated waterproof headphone jack, you can even listen to your favourite tunes. The OtterBox Armor case for iPhone 5 (S$129) allows the phone to be submerged up to two metres for half an hour, survive a three-metre fall and withstand a two-ton crush.
Keep Watch Underwater
Of all the devices that can be used underwater, the one with the most choices is probably watches. The problem is not one of variety but of price because watches that can be taken underwater are usually diver’s watches and they do not come cheap.
Diver’s watches or diving watches can be used up to 100 metres below the water’s surface, with some able to do to depths of up to 300 metres. A true diver’s watch complies with ISO 6425 standard and have the word “Diver’s” on them to distinguish them from other types of watches.
If you want a diver’s watch simply because they represent a higher standard of quality and technology and not because you need it for a dive, you may not want to get those with all the diver’s functions like water temperature, depth readings, and gauges for timing the breathing mixture in a tank. Functions aside, how you pick a diver’s watch depends on your trust in the brand, the unique features they offer and the kind of look that appeals to you.
Since OMEGA SA is reputed to have created the world’s first diver’s watch in 1932, it might be worth your while to check out an OMEGA when shopping for your diver’s watch. The OMEGA Planet Ocean Chronograph series (from S$10,450) is the powerhouse of diver’s watches. It is water resistant up to a depth of 600 metres; is powered by a co-axial column wheel chronograph movement with temperature and magnetism resistant silicon hairspring that is seen through its transparent caseback; and has a helium-escape valve that prevents the helium atoms that escape from the breathing tank from damaging the watch.
Tag Heuer’s line of diving watches are designed and developed by people who really know what they want – professional divers. The Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500m Ceramic (S$3,800) is subjected to an anti-reflective treatment that ensures that you can read the watches face underwater. It is water resistant up to 500 metres and has, as a safety feature, has a unidirectional bezel (the ring which surrounds the watch face). Because the bezel moves in only in one direction, even if it gets accidentally shifted, you will not over-estimate the time you have left because it only reduces the indicated remaining time.
Make Memories Underwater
If your mobile phone is not the sort you can take underwater and you want to be able to make memories while you are wet and wild, opt for underwater cameras. Almost every major brand has at least one model that you can dunk in water.
Harvey Norman has the Olympus TG-320 Digital Camera (S$129) that can capture quality still pictures with its 14 megapixel sensor, HD video and even pictures in 3D. It is waterproof up to three metres underwater; shockproof, with the ability to withstand a drop of up to 1.5 metres; and freezeproof, able to function at temperatures as low as -10°Celsius.
Courts has the Nikon Coolpix AW100 (S$479) which has similar tenacity but lets you take it 10 metres underwater and has full HD recording with slow motion and macro modes.
At Sony Stores, you can get the Sony Cyber-shot DSC TX20 (S$599). This one can be taken down to five metres underwater, and has an advanced BIONZ image processor that accommodates pictures in low light.
For the same price, Best Denki has the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4. It can go deeper – 12 metres – than the Sony model, has a barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, and in-built GPS. This is a tough travel companion.
Finally, if you do not yet want to commit to an underwater camera, then get your regular camera an underwater casing. Courts has the Olympus Underwater Casing for the PT054 (S$398) and TG610 / TG810PT-051 (S$298) models.
So, technology is really catching up. You can listen to music, send messages on your mobile, check on the time and take pictures underwater. Who knows, it may not be long before you can take your notebook or tablet with you while you take a dive beneath the surface!
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