Tough mud­ders

Plenty of gad­gets claim to be tough, but how many will sur­vive water, shock, mud and electricity? Nathan Mawby took these gad­gets through a 26- ob­sta­cle, 20km ul­ti­mate gad­get road test in Melbourne’s re­cent Tough Mud­der event.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E GUIDE TECH -

GARMIN FORE­RUN­NER 910XT Garmin $ 399 ($ 449 with HR mon­i­tor and ANT con­nec­tion)

When run­ning en­durance events or ridicu­lous ob­sta­cle cour­ses, a train­ing watch to record vi­tal signs is a good idea, even if only for the coroner’s later use. De­spite lit­er­ally drip­ping with mud and be­ing ex­posed to dan­gling live- wires cours­ing with 10,000 volts of electricity, the Fore­run­ner sur­vived in­tact. Un­for­tu­nately, a few dif­fi­cul­ties arose with its use. The Fore­run­ner picked up data from the heart- rate belts of other en­trants, but not the one strapped around my chest. But it did record other data, from the el­e­va­tion of the hill I slid down face- first to the time spent wait­ing in line.

OLYM­PUS TOUGH TG- 820 Olym­pus $ 399

This isn’t Olym­pus’s first tough cam­era, but with a 10m dive re­sis­tance, 12- megapixel res­o­lu­tion, the abil­ity to cap­ture full high- def­i­ni­tion video and grab au­dio even un­der­wa­ter, it’s prob­a­bly one of the best, tough­est cam­eras around. Even a pad­dle through icy water didn’t slow it down. It earned bonus points for con­tin­u­ing to film af­ter be­ing jolted out of my hand while I was slid­ing down a hill. But it wasn’t in­vin­ci­ble – the pro­tec­tive screen cover suf­fered some scratch­ing when it was crushed un­der me as I crawled through mud, dirt and gravel.

GARMIN RINO 650 Garmin $ 599

The Rino aims to com­bine easy, re­li­able com­mu­ni­ca­tion through a twoway ra­dio sys­tem with in- built GPS to let you know where you are, and where friends us­ing the same de­vice are. Sadly, it doesn’t like cold water, which wasn’t ideal given the fifth ob­sta­cle in the course in­cluded a short sub­mer­sion in al­most frozen water. The de­vice went into a hi­ber­na­tion mode. It did come back on­line later in the course, though water pre­sum­ably got to the speak­ers be­cause the walkie- talkie was so quiet voices couldn’t be un­der­stood. With more time, voices could be heard more clearly. It will sur­vive, but don’t plan on us­ing it at short no­tice if you fall into a river dur­ing win­ter.

HUAWEI DIS­COV­ERY Voda­fone, $ 199

There are plenty of tough phones on the mar­ket, but this phone is the tele­phonic equiv­a­lent of Chuck Nor­ris. Huawei is ul­tra- cau­tious with its ‘‘ water- re­sis­tant’’ claim. Mo­ments af­ter a 30m swim that fol­lowed a 4m dive into a dam, Voda­fone’s net­work had me talk­ing with a friend wait­ing at the fin­ish line. The glow from the screen could even be made out through caked- on mud. It also re­ceived the least amount of dam­age of any of the de­vices with its anti- scratch Go­rilla Glass screen emerg­ing un­scathed af­ter my 83kg weight pressed down on it. With in­ter­net ac­cess, Twit­ter and Face­book apps, it has ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect in a smart­phone other than a touch­screen.

olym­ garmin. com/ au voda­

garmin. com/ au

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