TechRadar has something of a love-hate relationship with the summer. While most of the rest of the world seems to think that lying on a beach while slowly baking in the sun is the pinnacle of their year, a few of us would rather be cooped up inside playing videogames and tinkering with gadgets.
After all, in the words of the late, great Bill Hicks, "What's the big deal about the beach? It's where the dirt meets the water."
But never fear, being outside in the sunshine is now a geek-friendly pastime. The rampant miniaturisation of tech means that there are now plenty of hardy little computers, games consoles, smartphones and must-have peripherals to keep the most hardcore gadget freak happy while they put in their annual two weeks time in on the beach and/or sipping cocktails poolside.
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If you have already booked your summer hols, read on for TechRadar's essential top five bits of summer holiday kit.
Absolute no-brainer. The new Nintendo DSi – the latest refresh of the world's most popular handheld gaming console – is a hand luggage essential.
Since it arrived in the UK back in April, we generally don't tend to leave the house without it. Indeed, it is impossible to consider the idea of a whole two weeks without the joys of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Wario and – more recently – Rhythm Paradise and Professor Layton and co for quick fixes of gaming on the go.
And if you want to mess around with the new in-built digi-cameras to stretch and 'Mario-ify' your holiday snaps of your family and friends, then you can even do that too.
Add to this the regular DSi store downloads of games and fun utilities; the new slightly brighter screen (which means that this is one of the best gaming consoles ever designed that you can properly play in bright sunlight); the matte finish and the extra slim design (due to the removal of the unwieldy old GBA slot in favour of SD card support) and you have the sexiest DS to date.
For more check out TechRadar's fully-detailed Nintendo DSi review.
MSI Wind U115
The problem with netbooks is, as everybody knows, their annoyingly limited battery lives. Oh. Hang on. The new MSI Wind U115 Hybrid has just successfully proven that to be a complete fallacy, boasting a ten-hour plus battery life perfect for computing on the go.
The new Wind packs in everything that was good about MSI's original mini computer – the well-designed form factor, the solid, nicely-sized keyboard, the decent screen and so on – but throws in Intel's new GMA 500 graphics chip, for improved HD video decoding and an Intel Atom Z530 CPU.
The U115's real killer USP is the fact that it has not one, but two storage drives - an 8GB SSD which stores the XP OS and basic program files, as well as a 160GB HDD to pop all your data on. What this means is that the power-sapping HDD is used far less frequently than on standard netbooks, hence the far-extended battery life.
We've made sure to test the MSI U115 thoroughly on hols recently, with the machine easily powering all the way through long, hot days and balmy evenings with plenty of battery-life to spare come nightfall. The only minor gripe we had was the the tiddy little trackpad could be a tad bigger. Otherwise, you're looking at the ideal netbook for travellers.
In terms of the best bargain to be had out there right now, you can pick an MSI U115 hybrid netbook up now for a shade over £460 from Oyyy.co.uk