As a boy growing up in a coastal city, one of the coolest things you could own was a water resistant watch. It made games in the pool or at the beach that much more fun. You could be a spy on a top-secret aqua mission where, MacGyver-like, your watch was your only tool to save the world. Or you could simply time you and your friends swimming laps, or who could hold their breath under water for the longest. And not much has changed since then.
Okay, I don’t time how long my friends can hold their breath under water for anymore, but I still think one of the coolest things you can own is a water resistant device – especially when it comes to our beloved smartphones.
Think about it. How often do you have the impulse to check your phone while you’re in the shower or bath? And your phone is often with you while you’re cooking or prepping food on the kitchen counter – a surface that seems to act as a magnet for random drips and spills.
And let’s not forget about wet bar counters, getting caught in the rain, or drooling pets and children… Wouldn’t it make life that much easier to not have to worry about protecting your phone from getting wet all the time? Well, it seems like the big phone manufacturers are listening. And while their devices may not be 100% waterproof (yet!), they are at least water resistant…
Before you read any further, you should know that protected devices are judged using the Ingress Protection (IP) Rating. The first number refers to dust protection and the second is what we’re after, water resistance. And for our purposes, we need to pay attention to water resistance from levels 5 and up (in this article, we’re omitting the first number in order to focus on water resistance, however most phones will not have an X in their IP rating)…
IPX5: This type of protection is against low-pressure jets of water for up to 3 minutes.
IPX6: This type of protection is against strong jets of water for up to 3 minutes.
IPX7: This type of protection is up to 1m of water, for up to 30 minutes.
IPX8: This type of protection is for further than 1m under water, for up to 30 minutes. Also, remember that exact conditions for your phone’s use will be specified by the manufacturer.
So What Are The Best Water Resistant Phones?
Probably the best phone of 2016, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 features a 5.1” Quad HD display and a 12MP camera. Plus you can happily take those high-quality photos around the pool without worrying about it getting wet! Samsung actually has a great selection of phones that are water resistant; check out the Galaxy S7 edge, S7 active, S6 active, as well as the S5.
Sony was the first to bring out high-end water resistant phones and this legacy continues with the Z5 range. Boasting a 23MP camera, this is your go-to choice for getting the best snapshots and video while you have fun at the beach. Also, have a look at the more affordable Z5 Compact and M4 Aqua which come with lower specs but still offer the same IP Rating!
Motorola’s third generation Moto G has a cap-free USB charging port like the Sony phones – these are much better at keeping water out than those pesky plastic flaps. Plus all the metal parts like the SIM slot and MicroSD card reader have nano-coating, so these can get wet and still work without any trouble.
Remember to be sensible with your particular gadget and don’t do more that what its IP rating suggests. Drops of rain, spilt drinks and wet fingers are okay, but you should avoid trying to use your phone under water. And don’t think that it’s going to be entirely invincible to liquids – especially with prolonged exposure to chlorine and salt water, which can erode the parts that protect your device from H2O in the first place.
Water resistance is tested in labs, and manufacturers don’t offer warranties on all of the real world scenarios you may put your phone through… At the end of the day, remember that it’s not a bath toy, but a phone!