April 19, 2009
What it is: A swim mask with a waterproof 5-megapixel video camera for recording your close encounters with underwater life.
How it works: Strap on the camera mask and press a button. A lens above the bridge of your nose captures your exploits at about 20 frames a second (with no audio ... but then, how long could you listen to "gurgle, gurgle, gurgle?"). Store about a minute of video in the camera or nearly 2 hours on a 2-gigabyte (or smaller) microSD card that you purchase. Use the included software to download and edit your video on a Mac or a PC.
The good: Swim or snorkel hands-free—to a depth of 15 feet—capturing video that is colorful and clear. See for yourself at liquidimageco.com (keep in mind that the video on that site has been compressed for the Web and doesn't look as good as what you'll shoot). The camera records still images too. Cross hairs on the goggles help you line up your shot and record what you see.
The bad: The batteries can drain quickly (Liquid Image recommends Energizer lithium batteries to combat this.). Prescription goggle lenses aren't available. The camera resolution is good (VGA quality) but not outstanding. A high-definition version is expected in April or May for $250.
Available from: hammacher.com
-- Eric Gwinn