Despite their eminent portability, tablets may seem destined to be left inside the house this summer, but with these accessories, slates can be just as useful outside as they are on the couch.
ON A PARK BENCH
• What: NuShield DayVue Screen Protector.
• Who needs it: Anyone who wants to browse the Web, watch movies or read outside on a tablet or smartphone without squinting against sunlight glare.
• What it does: Using a clear, adhesive film, the DayVue provides a scratch-resistant cover that also reduces reflections and filters out glare so screens are easier to read in direct sunlight.
• Works with: Any touchscreen-equipped tablet or smartphone.
• Price: Varies by device but ranges from $22 (Apple iPad) to $25.50 (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) per cover.
• Website: www.nushield.com.
AT THE DECK OFFICE
• What: Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760.
• Who needs it: Weekend workaholics and telecommuters who would prefer to multitask on light office work while getting a tan.
• What it does: Using a Bluetooth signal, the compact K760 will work up to 40 feet away, all powered by the sun (or indoor lighting). The board features Mac-specific function keys, can be paired to up to three Apple devices and will last up to three months on a full charge, even when used in the dark.
• Works with: Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
• Price: $80.
• Website: www.logitech.com.
ON A ROAD TRIP
• What: TouCoul CoulVue iPad Car Mount.
• Who needs it: Parents who would prefer a SpongeBob SquarePants-induced silence to endless questions from the backseat during long drives.
• What it does: The CoulVue attaches to any headrest that has two steel rods. After a minimal installation, the mount snugly grips the iPad with an inner lining that won't cause scratches. The flexible arm twists 360 degrees for use in landscape or portrait mode and can tilt and swivel to achieve an ideal viewing angle.
• Works with: Apple iPad.
• Price: $66-$70, depending on iPad model.
• Website: www.toucoul.com.
IN THE BACKYARD
• What: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0.
• Who needs it: No one needs a tablet- and smartphone-controllable helicopter with four rotors, but kids will love it (under adult supervision, of course).
• What it does: Using a three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, the AR.Drone remains stable while being controlled wirelessly via an app on supported devices. The onboard, 720p camera provides an in-flight video feed, and pilots can attach the included rounded hull for indoor flying.
• Works with: Apple and Android devices.
• Price: $300.
• Website: http://ardrone2.parrot.com.
AT POOL PARTIES
• What: Jawbone Big Jambox.
• Who needs it: Hosts who want to provide a soundtrack to their poolside gatherings without shelling out for a permanent outdoor speaker system.
• What it does: This follow-up to Jawbone's original Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker is more than three times larger than its tiny predecessor but delivers a more robust sound to devices up to 33 feet away. The Jambox can also be used as a super-size conference system for answering phone calls to a paired device and lasts 15 hours per charge when used at moderate volume.
• Works with: Any device with Bluetooth support.
• Price: $300.
• Website: www.jawbone.com.
AT THE BEACH
• What: DryCASE Waterproof iPad, Kindle and Tablet Case.
• Who needs it: Amateur photographers or shoreside multimedia users who want to keep their devices dry but still usable near or underwater.
• What it does: Allows the under-water use of a device with a touch-screen by vacuum sealing it in a clear bag by mouth or by using the included hand pump. The device will remain waterproof to a depth of 100 feet.
• Works with: Any brand of tablet or e-reader (a smaller model is available for smartphones).
• Price: $60 ($40 for smartphone-size model).
• Website: www.drycase.com.
IN A BOAT
• What: Deeper Smart Fishfinder.
• Who needs it: Smartphone- and tablet-owning anglers who don't want to pay hundreds or more for a dedicated sonar just to know where to cast.
• What it does: A sonar-enabled device the size of a tennis ball floats on the surface and detects nearby fish as well as water temperature and depth. It then transmits that data via Bluetooth signal to a compatible device up to 160 feet away.
• Works with: Apple (iOS 4.0 and later) and Android devices (Android 2.2 and later).
• Price: Under an ongoing crowd-funding campaign until July 12. Available later this year for a $150 preorder/donation, assuming the $49,000 goal is met.
• Website: www.buydeeper.com.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...