In fact, there are many high-tech toys that could enhance your backyard downtime, whether it's the latest in barbeque gadgets, capturing memories in the pool, radio-controlled fun for kids (and kids at heart) or speaker docks for lazing in a hammock.
Here's a look at five hot summer-ready considerations.
Music is an essential part of barbeque season. The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm ($349.99) is a premium, portable and powerful audio system for your iPhone, iPod or other portable music player (via auxiliary jack). Built with FSC-certified Birch wood and durable canvas, this awesome-looking and great-sounding boom box for the 21st century delivers some serious umph thanks to its powerful amplifier, twin 1-inch (25mm) tweeters and twin 4.5-inch (114mm) high-definition woofers. Whether it`s plugged into an AC socket or battery-powered (requiring six D-cell batteries), the Bag of Rhythm also charges up the iPod or iPhone when docked.
Up, up and away!
Calling the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 ($299.99) a simple R/C toy would be a serious understatement. This radio-controlled "quadrocopter" is made up of four propellers arranged in a cross-type design, allowing it to take off vertically, hover and fly in all directions. In fact, you control it all via a free, downloadable smartphone app for iOS or Android (and the drone's built-in Wi-Fi). The AR.Drone 2.0 also features a 720p camera (1280 x 720 resolution) that transmits high-def video in real-time to your device, plus it supports various multiplayer games and its flight path can be programmed, as well. The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 runs on a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery (included).
If all the action happens in and around the pool, why aren't you immortalizing all these memories? Oh yes, you don't want to get your smartphone wet, nor can you risk damaging your pricy digital Single Lens Reflex (dSLR) camera. Instead, the FujiFilm Finepix XP150 ($279.99) is a fully waterproof 14-megapixel point-and-shoot camera with 5 times optical zoom, intelligent image stabilization and the ability to shoot 1080p HD video.
Available in multiple colors, this camera also sports GPS, so it will automatically "geo-tag" your photos so you can see where they were taken when imported into mapping software later on. Along with being waterproof to 32 feet, this pocket-sized digicam is also drop-proof to 6.5 feet, freeze-proof to -10°C and dust-proof, as well.
Not everyone likes their meat cooked the same way, and now there's an accessory and app that can help you check the temperature of sizzling food on the 'que. The aptly-named iGrill ($79.99) is a Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer and accompanying app available at the iTunes App Store. Stick the silver probe into your beef, poultry, pork or lamb, and the temperature of the meat is displayed both on the tabletop unit connected to the probe as well as the free app for iPhone, iPod touch or iPad (up to 200 feet away). Additional features of the iGrill: timer, alerts, a smoker option and colored graph to see BBQ history, of course.
Just because you're relaxing in your outdoor hot tub on a summer evening doesn't mean you need to miss your favorite television shows. The extra bright 55-inch SunBriteTV 5560HD outdoor television ($3,995) features an all-weather exterior that protects internal components from rain, dirt and insects, along with a quad-fan airflow system that keeps the television cool and dry (in temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit) and an internal thermostatically-controlled heater to safeguard the television from temperatures as low as -24 degrees.
The cable entry system is also waterproof in order to keep the cords dry, along with the wireless remote and optional stainless steel wall mount. The detachable 10-watt speakers are water-resistant. The California-made LCD HDTV also impresses under the hood, delivering a top-of-the-line 1080p widescreen picture, 120Hz refresh rates and 5000:1 contrast ratio.