Unlike some other flagship phones, Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are not officially water-resistant - their Ingress Protection rating is a mere 53, much less capable than some Samsung and Motorola designs. If you're left feeling a little exposed, LifeProof has a case to sell you. Previously only available on the manufacturer website, the FRĒ series of cases are now being sold on the Google Store alongside the phones themselves. The good news is that the cases have an IP68 rating, meaning they're dust-proof and submersible for up to two hours in 2 meters of water. The bad news is that the cases cost $89.95, for either the Pixelor Pixel XL.
For the past 4 years, I've been wearing a Fitbit device of some sort. I started with the One, which stuck with me for the better part of 3 years, then I tried the Blaze, the Alta, and the Charge 2. My main complaint with each of these trackers was the lack of water-resistance, which meant that I couldn't wear them in the pool or track my swims with them. I've tried several swim trackers including the Misfit Shine 2 Swim Edition and Amiigo, looking for something that could replace Fitbit, but the best that I found was the Garmin vivoactive, which has excellent swim tracking and can send the main stats to Fitbit through MyFitnessPal.
Hopes of highly water-resistant Pixel phones have, according to a reliable source we've trusted in the past, been dashed. Google's new handsets will be advertised as having IP53 dust and water resistance, which essentially amounts to almost no enhanced water resistance at all. For reference, the HTC 10 also has this rating, and is not marketed as being water-resistant.
The "3" in IP53 means a device will not experience damaging water ingress when upright at an angle not to exceed 60 degrees from vertical while being sprayed by relatively low-pressure (somewhere between 7-20PSI or 50 to 150kPa) water. This probably means very little to you phrased this way, but IPX3 is essentially saying the device will not experience water ingress (i.e., water won't get inside) when held at a relatively upward angle in your hand during use in very heavy rain or when lightly splashed.
With Bluetooth speakers so common these days, it is pretty easy to find one that fits in almost every price bracket. One of the more popular ones that I see around my hometown is the UE Roll line, due in no small part to its portability and water resistance (Colorado folks like to go outside, what can I say). The Roll 2 brought some improvements, including a longer range and louder output than its predecessor, but it maintained the utter simplicity that makes this speaker iconic. Coupled with the UE Roll app, you can set up an alarm, adjust EQ settings, remotely power on the device, and connect up to three phones to it.
There are a lot of sports-oriented tech products, but not many are aimed squarely at surfers, skiers, and snowboarders. Which is why this new Android Wear smartwatch from Nixon – a major Californian manufacturer of watches and accessories – is so fascinating.
The Nixon Mission is a $400 smartwatch unabashedly aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts, and as a consequence, has been designed with an emphasis on durability. It packs a vivid AMOLED screen which is protected by a layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, and a chassis constructed out of rugged stainless steel and polycarbonate.
The Nixon Mission is no slouch in the performance department either.
Saygus, the company that really will have an actual smartphone for sale any day now, they totally promise, has some more promises for you. A press release issued at Mobile World Congress lays out a series of improvements to the crowdfunded V-Squared phone, which should be easy to implement since the phone still isn't finished despite a first quarter manufacturing target. No less than four, count 'em, four new features have been introduced since... last year's Mobile World Congress. The fact that Saygus has missed multiple ship dates between now and then is conspicuously absent from the press release.
Those features are "waterproofing" (an interesting claim, since every other manufacturer has the sense to cover their asses with the term "water-resistant"), Android 6.0 software, dual-SIM card slots (a popular feature for unlocked and low-cost phones outside the US), and a USB Type-C port, a la that OnePlus 2.
The Galaxy S5 was water-resistant, one of the most hyped features of that particular Samsung generation. The Galaxy S6... wasn't. While the S6 and S6 Edge were huge leaps forward for Samsung in terms of both style and engineering, the loss of water resistance (not to mention expandable storage) was a bummer for some. T-Mobile employee Des would seem to agree, since he took advantage of the Ingress Protection 68 rating on the new Galaxy S7 to unbox the phone underwater. It sure beats the usual blogger's desk, right?
Kyocera is one smartphone manufacturer that could care less about beating the competition on specs. It makes cheap phones that either won't receive updates or won't get them until long after you've given up hope. But the handsets are affordable, and many of the later models tend to be pretty rugged.
Both of these hold true for the Kyocera Hydro Wave, which is now available from T-Mobile and on its way to MetroPCS. This 5-inch qHD phone comes powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal memory. Fortunately, there's a microSD card slot for extra storage.
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly three years since we reviewed Soundfreaq's original Sound Kick portable speaker. Over that period of time, we've seen a slew of new offerings from the company, including a few ultra-portable options, an alarm clock speaker, and a handful of others. The Sound Kick was really a groundbreaker for us though - it had standout features unlike any other speaker at that time.
Fastforward to today, and the SK's successor is finally here. The SK2 takes a lot of what made the original so great, including a tilting design and UQ3, and improves on that.
Sony has just announced the follow-up to its flagship device, the... why does it feel like I've written this story before? Oh, because I have. So a month after making its Xperia Z4 official in Japan, Sony is taking that device and releasing it with a more appropriate name for the global market: Xperia Z3+. Let's face it, the changes compared to the Z3 are minimal enough not to warrant a full number increase, so the switch back to the Z3+ is more honest on the company's behalf.
On the outside, the Z3+ looks almost exactly like the Z3, give or take a few slots and speaker grill placements.