A geek's guide to summer survival

    Consumer Reports News: June 30, 2013 08:08 AM

    Find Ratings

    Summer is upon us—and for most people, that means hitting the beach, going swimming, and catching some sun. For nerds, however, summer means we're more likely to be dragged away from the security of our computer and TV screens. Never fear! Using this guide, you can take your geekiness on the go.

    Of course, you must have your smart phone with you, and there are plenty of apps to keep you busy. Listening to music is a great option too, but you might have trouble picking up a Wi-Fi signal in the great outdoors. So if you plan on using a streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify, and you don't have an unlimited data plan, you'll want to stream in moderation.

    You'll need some good portable headphones, too—the enormous over-the-ear cans you use at home may not travel so well. The JVC HA-FX300 insert earphones delivered very good overall sound quality in our tests and are a CR Best Buy at just $60.

    One more thing your smart phone can do is help you keep up with friends on your social network of choice. You never know: Maybe one of them is at the beach, and you can talk to them in real life!


    If you're a reader, I would suggest bringing a tablet or e-book reader along, because trying to read on a phone can be torture on your eyes.

    The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader (shown at right) is a good option: The paper-like display combined with a backlight is great for reading in the sun with minimal glare.

    Of course, you could always bring an actual book, but let's face it: Those "Game of Thrones" hardcovers aren't exactly space savers. (And an e-book reader screen might have less glare than actual paper!)


    Gamers can get by on the beach with portable console, the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita. (The 3DS is shown at right.)

    The 3DS is good for traveling, because it has a wider game selection, and the clamshell design makes it easier to protect: You can just throw it in a beach bag and not worry too much about the screens getting scratched.

    Any of the Pokemon titles are fun for gaming on the go. They're addictive, but the slow-paced gameplay makes them easy to put down in case a Frisbee is flying in your direction.

    Oh, and don't forget that bright light in the sky that makes you squint when you leave the house—people call it "the sun." Since most of the light geeks get is from a TV or computer screen, make sure you put some sunscreen on that pasty skin!

    Matt Ferretti

    Find Ratings

    E-Book Readers Ratings

    View and compare all E-Book Readers ratings.

    Tablets Ratings

    View and compare all Tablets ratings.

    E-mail Newsletters

    FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
    Already signed-up?
    Manage your newsletters here too.

    Electronics News


    Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
    Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

    See your savings


    Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
    while you shop

    Learn more