Who says electronics and water don’t mix? Smartphones that can handle the rain, a dunk in the bath, or a tumble into a puddle aren’t the rarity they once were, and we’re not only talking about underpowered, basic phones covered in chunky rubber either. It’s entirely possible to buy a good-looking, capable mid-range phone, and even an amazing flagship smartphone which isn’t afraid of the wet stuff, too.
Related: What makes a smartphone rugged?
Maybe you work outdoors; you’re always at the pool; or you just want to Tweet while you shower in the morning. Whatever the reason, we’ve got your back. Here’s our list of the top picks for anyone seeking a waterproof phone right now, along with a quick overview of what those IP numbers really mean.
Have you heard of the Ingress Protection scale?
When we talk about waterproof hardware, we often refer to an IP rating. This stands for Ingress Protection, and is usually followed by a number, which refers to its ability to withstand water and dust. The first digit relates to solid particle protection and the second digit to liquid. Here’s a complete breakdown of what the IP codes mean, but we’ve added the details you need to know with each phone, so you don’t have to go and work it out.
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It’s worth pointing out that while some of these phones get close to being labeled waterproof, we probably should treat them as just resistant to water. In other words, we don’t advise you to deliberately submerge them. But it’s still nice not to have to worry.
Here’s what that IP number means
If the IP number starts with a six, then the device features complete protection from dust, and must ward off particles to the extent where none can find their way in. If the number is a five, then the device is protected against ingress, and any particles that do get inside won’t stop it from working.
To meet the IPx8 standard, the device must continue to function normally after being left in water “continuously,” although the exact details are down to the manufacturer. In the case of the Xperia Z5, for example, Sony says it’ll withstand low pressure jets from all angles, and 30 minutes underwater at a depth of 1.5-meters. It’s about as good as it gets for consumer electronics, but you do have to realize that its touchscreen isn’t going to function perfectly while underwater.