Digital Life: Your holiday camera just got tougher
Bend me, shape me, any way you want me -- you don't get many pieces of tech begging to be abused. But Panasonic's Lumix FT2 camera can take a beating and still come up smiling.
If the manufacturer is to be believed, the FT2 is shockproof, waterproof, dustproof and freezeproof. Undoubtedly, it's a rugged customer, solidly built without being heavy and, crucially, still capable of terrific image quality, still and video.
We tried our best to maim the camera by handing it to two experts in destruction -- my sons. But even they were hard-pressed to put a dent in it with their usual horseplay in the garden and on the street.
The Panasonic came with us on a snorkelling trip and performed just as well underwater.
Nicely chunky controls make for fuss-free picture-taking -- such as when that six-foot shark is bearing down on you.
Painted in dayglo colours (yellow, orange or blue), the FT2 may not be beautiful but it is eye-catching -- all the better, presumably, to locate it when you accidentally drop it on the seabed or in the grass.
Compared to Sony's similar TX5 camera, recently reviewed here, the Panasonic scores higher for usability and sheer durability.
It's rated to depths of 10m and for falls of up to 2m. The TX5 wins on battery life and low-light performance, however.
Panasonic Lumix FT2, €400 www.panasonic.co.uk
High hopes turned to dust for Palm's big comeback last year with the Pre phone. Universally praised by reviewers (what do we know, eh?), it flopped like a dying fish in the marketplace dominated by the iPhone.
Since then, Palm has been bought by HP mostly for the slick WebOS software that powers Palm phones.
While HP decides what to do next, Palm has pushed out an update, simply called the Palm Pre Plus.
Incorporating subtle tweaks to the hardware, such as a redesigned QWERTY keyboard and some extra on-board storage, the Plus is still essentially the same phone more or less rejected by consumers late last year.
You get the same smooth "pebble" design. The same polished touchscreen operating system, pleasingly different from that of iPhone.
Now, however, the Palm app store is healthily stocked with thousands of programs.
But you're also lumped with the same abominable battery life and, oddly, the reworked keys feel a step backwards for typing with.
Palm Pre Plus, €50 on €40pm O2 contract for 18 months