Neowin's top 5 gadgets for summer

UK readers of will have noticed that we seem to be at the end of a heatwave, but there is no guarantee it will stop there. I spent today on the beach and though readers may be elsewhere with the sunny weather still to come, do pay attention!

Summer is always an exciting time for gadget lovers. It's the time of year when our favourite companies release their next surge of technology for us to cast our sweaty eyes upon. The following is our list of the very best gadgets the tech world has to offer this summer.

Before we get properly started I'd like to make something clear. When asking my editor for some advice with this article, he decided he didn't want this article to be just the first ten nifty pieces of kit which I happened to come across. To this end, I have meticulously devised a certain set of rules - think of them as the "Summer Gadget Commandments". These rules are what the devices must at least partially adhere to in order to make it onto the list. While some gadgets may not have a screen, for example, the Commandments are designed to cover a wide spectrum of devices, needs and attributes. Note also, the items chosen are listed in no particular order of preference; one can hardly compare a camera to a solar powered speaker.

Summer Commandments
1. If it has a screen, the screen must be readable in glare
2. No cables - we want a wireless summer, people!
3. Splash, knock or better still, "summer" resistant - we don't expect miracles, just some sturdiness
4. Design simplicity - nothing to get sweaty fingers confused on
5. Lightweight and ultra-portable - something which can easily be carried about one's person.
6. Good battery life - no dead batteries, please
7. Affordability - we want you spending your money on booze and barbecues, not a re-mortgaging for the sake of the latest camera

Our Gadgets
1. Cool Reader - The cool-er book reader. Making reading cool again. Having a study on the beach is a must for many people in summer, just sit on a deck chair with a stiff gin and get reading. Don't worry about the kids, the lifeguard will alert me if they begin to drown. I've chosen this above other e-book readers simply due to its multitude of colours and its promise to be legible in bright light. Think of the space it will save in your suitcase where the paperbacks used to be.

2. Flip Camera - When thinking about video recording equipment for this article, I begun looking at all of the HD camcorders popular in many electrical retailers. I found them a bit too delicate to have amongst the sand on a beach or hanging round a neck whilst on a walk. Instead I've decided to go with Flip's video recording products. They're pocket sized, and come in a range depending on various budgets, they're available in HD or not, ranging from 2GB - 8GB internal storage, and also in some nifty colours and designs. This is the way to video your bike ride or the construction of your giant sandcastle.

3.Gorillapod (Tripod) - Need a tripod without all of the hassle of extending and setting it up? It's been around for a while now but I think it's a worthy addition to this list. The 'Gorillapod' is a single or three legged unipod/tripod which can be wrapped around railings, to body parts or just balanced anywhere, regardless of the flatness of the surface. It supports the camera in pretty much any place and it's this level of versatility, combined with its miniature size, that wins a place on our list this year.

4. Portable Speakers Sitting around in a park with your mates having an illegal barbecue and drinking copious amounts of cheap cider is great fun, but it can be made into really great fun with some music. I had this problem today on the beach with my friends; one of the first questions asked, before "who's got the suntan cream?" was "what are we going to do about music?" Obviously none of us had any portable speakers and we thought we could make do with the speakers in-built to our iPod touch or and iPhones. Sorry, Steve, but the speakers in these just don't cut it. I did a little bit of research when I got home and discovered a wireless solar powered speaker. Atop the canister sits a solar panel that soaks up energy and uses it to pump out tunes through its five-watt speaker. It's not the most powerful speaker in the world, but you wouldn't want to alter the direction of the longshore drift with your superior wattage. Additionally, a complimentary wireless (albeit battery-powered) transceiver allows any music source with a 3.5mm millimeter output to be beam music to the solar speaker from "up to 150 feet away."

5. Waterproof cases - This is the final gadget. Well, it's not necessarily a gadget, though it will help with some "gadget coming into contact with water" problems. A little company named 'Overboard' design and make 'waterproof gear for beach, boat and life'. Perhaps their most interesting and also surprisingly expansive range of products comes under the heading of 'technology cases'. Coming in an array of sizes, these cases allow you to completely submerge, let's say, your mobile phone. Yet they will still allow you to make and receive calls, or even play your PSP on the beach, without the splash or sand risk. This range also extends to submersible casing for valuables such as credit cards and money. One final thing: don't worry about it sinking if you drop it, as they also float.

These are my five gadgets. Obviously the list not exhaustive, but I did want to keep it brief for some more heavy discussion in the comments section. Please do comment with your recommendations for the list. After the article's life has been exhausted, the list will be updated with your suggestions, so that we can see the our community's favourite gadgets. If you've had the pleasure, or indeed displeasure, of using one of these gadgets, I'd love to know about your experiences - let us know its worthiness to hold a place on this exclusive list!

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