They're pretty well set-up in terms of hardiness... Image quality is very good and the auto exposure settings are decent... You'll want to look at some of the websites that provide tips on settings to use for various applications.
I've used mine handheld, on a skipole while snow skiing, handheld down to 6 feet under water, on a bike, on the dashboard of my truck, on the railing of a jetboat and on the tail of a biplane.
The accompanying iphone app (I think they also have an android version) is very handy for setting up the camera in a given situation so you can see what you're going to get.
Definitely get one or two extra batteries. Batteries seem to be good for a couple or three hours depending on what you're doing with the cam.