You can tell how waterproof phones are by checking the IP rating of the phone, which is included in phone descriptions, specifications, and reviews. IP stands for International Protection Rating or Ingress Protection Standard.
The IP is made up of two numbers such as IP68. The first number indicates its level of protection against particles such as dust. The second number indicates its level of protection against moisture, water, spray, or freshwater submersion.
In the case of mobile phones, the first digit is nearly always 6 (IP68) and this lets you know that the phone is protected against dust and particles that may harm the device or cause it to malfunction. The second digit often varies from one phone to the next and this number is the one to pay attention to.
The second digit (IP68) in an IP rating are as follows:
- 6 - protects against low-pressure water jets
- 7 - protects against waves and strong water jets
- 8 - protects against temporary immersion
- 9 - protects against prolonged periods of immersion under pressure
Typically, in the case of IP68, which is the most common rating issued to a mobile phone, you can submerge the phone for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 metres. However, this is still as specified by the manufacturer, so it could vary from one phone to the next.
Motorola is an oddball and its Moto phones that are waterproof are identified as having a P2i nano coating. This is applied inside and out to the entire product and protects against humidity, weather, spills, splashes, and accidental submersion.
We now know what waterproof actually means and we know that the IP number clarifies if the phone is waterproof or simply splash resistant. Even when a phone is highlighted as waterproof, many manufacturers still recommend that you don’t submerge a phone, just to be on the safe side.
Best waterproof phones on the market
It is time to take a look at the best waterproof phones on the market in 2019.
- The Samsung Galaxy S10e is IP68 certified for freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 1.5 metres. This is the entry level phone for those who want a Galaxy S series phone. The s10e is great and runs on the Google Pie operating system, has an Infinity-0 Display and a small dot for the camera lens.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 is IP68 certified for freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 1.5 metres. This Samsung phone has an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor and with a triple lens camera, it is a master at capturing low light photos.
- Samsung Galaxy S10+ is IP68 certified for freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 1.5 metres. With a massive 6.4” screen and a vapour chamber cooling system, this phone is perfect for those who like rich experiences, such as high-end gaming or TV streaming.
- Samsung Galaxy J4 is not waterproof and does not have an official IP rating. This budget phone is popular and many unofficial tests indicate good resistance against rain and splashes. We do not recommend getting this phone wet but if an accident occurs, you might just get away with it.
- Apple iPhone XR is IP67, Apple claim that the XR can survive freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 1 metre. However, the phone is technically water resistant. The iPhone XR is the entry-level phone from Apple and it has the most advanced LCD display in the smartphone industry.
- Apple iPhone XS is IP68 certified for freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 2 metres. This latest iPhone has faster Face ID and a dual 12MP camera that captures brilliant photos and advanced bokeh effects.
- Apple iPhone XS Max is IP68 certified for freshwater submersion for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 2 metres. This iPhone has a bigger screen and battery to the iPhone XS.
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro is IP68 certified but Huawei only goes as far as stating that the phone is splash and water resistant, with no depth or time guidance. This Huawei phone goes well beyond call and text with its on-screen fingerprint sensor and a Leica triple camera with an incredible 40MP resolution.
- Google Pixel 3 is IP68 certified with Google only stating that the phone has water protection. The phone boasts an AI dual-pixel camera that gets incredible results. This high-end phone is available without a contract so if you have a SIM only deal, you can upgrade to the Pixel 3.
- Google Pixel 3XL is IP68 certified with Google only stating that the phone has water protection. The phone is similar to the Pixel 3 but you will enjoy a larger screen and a larger battery, which are ideal for those who are big on media or gaming.
- Sony Xperia XZ3 is IP68 certified and Sony gives very clear guidelines on the level of water resistance. You can use the phone in the rain or wash off dirt under the tap. You should not submerge the phone under water. This Sony phone has the loudest stereo speakers yet and the camera uses AI and Motion Eye to focus before you shoot or when there is fast-paced action.
Upcoming Waterproof Phones
There are a few phones that have been officially announced that are waterproof and these will be released in the near future.
Nokia 9 PureView is IP67 water and dust resistant, so it can withstand water spray or jets. This Nokia phone will have five cameras, so it is sure to be a big hit with novice photographers.
Sony Xperia 1 is IP68 certified for splash and rain resistance. Once again, you can wash the dirt off under a tap but not completely submerge the phone. This smartphone will have the world’s first CinemaWide display and this is wider than any screen seen before. There is a triple camera and you can shoot video at a professional level with LOOK colour settings.
2019 is certainly a year where you will have more choice than ever when looking for a waterproof phone. You will easily be able to find a phone that suits your needs and with the knowledge of IP ratings, you can identify the level of water resistance that is on offer.