Best Waterproof Phones 2017: IP Ratings Explained & Buying Advice

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Your buying guide for the best waterproof phones in 2017

If you’re accident-prone (or simply want to give your phone to a child without worrying they will drop it down the toilet or throw it into a pond) then a waterproof phone is a great purchase. We explain what IP rating mean so you can choose the right one. Also see: Best kids’ phones 2017.

Also see: Best Phone Deals

Most Sony phones are waterproof unless you’re buying lower-tier devices, and you can also get waterproof Samsung phones and even iPhones. Sadly the new Google Pixel phones are only splash-proof so don’t make it into this list. Also see: Best phones of 2017.

The problem is that not all waterproof phones are created equal and different devices will offer different levels of protection. Having doesn’t always mean you can watch TV in the bath or take photos underwater.

Some will be simply ‘splash proof’ while others can be fully dunked in water and continue to work. Because of this, we’ve explained the IP rating system which is used for electronics that feature dust- and water-protection.

This chart only includes phones we’ve reviewed and we’ve included some older phones since there still aren’t many waterproof phones. Read: Best new phones coming in 2017.

What does a waterproof IP rating mean?

IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and is used to define the sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.

The first number refers to how the device sealed against solid particles like dust; the highest you can get is ‘6’ meaning total protection. The second digit is for water protection and the best you’ll see on most is ‘8’, going by the original IEC standard 60529 (6K and 9K are not part of this).

It’s worth noting that ratings water ingress are not cumulative beyond 6, so a device with a rating of 7 doesn’t have to compliant with the water jet element of 5 and 6.

If an IP rating has an X in it, don’t misinterpret this as the device having no protection. It’s likely to have good protection for particles if it’s IPX6, but the rating has not been formally allocated.

Here’s a full listing for particles and water:

Dust

•    0 – No protection.
•    1 – >50 mm, any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand.
•    2 – >12.5 mm, fingers or similar objects.
•    3 – >2.5 mm, tools, thick wires, etc.
•    4 – >1 mm, most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
•    5 – Dust protected, Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented.
•    6 – Dust tight, No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact. A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.

Water

•    0 – No protection.
•    1 – Dripping water shall have no harmful effect.
•    2 – Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect with enclosure is tilted at 15°.
•    3 – Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical.
•    4 – Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction.
•    5 – Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction. 
•    6 – Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) from any direction.
•    6K – Powerful water jets with increased pressure.
•    7 – Immersion, up to 1m depth for up to 30 minutes.
•    8 – Immersion, 1m or more depth (exact details vary).
•    9K – Powerful high temperature water jets.

The next generation of waterproof phones

According to IDC, liquid is the second most common cause of damage in smartphones accounting for 35.1% of all devices repaired. However, that might change considerably in 2018 thanks to a new generation of waterproof phones with better protection.

At the moment, phone makers either use physical seals or a nano-coating to keep water out. While the latter is limited to splashes, P2i – a leader in the technology – is working on an improved version of its plasma protection which will be IPX7.

A nano-coating to this level will give partners more freedom with design and could even mean we see more handsets with removable covers and batteries again. We certainly hope so.

Best waterproof phones 2017 UK – best waterproof phone reviews


1.

Samsung Galaxy S8



2.

LG G6


LG G6


3.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium


Sony Xperia XZ Premium


4.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus


Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus


5.

Apple iPhone 7


Apple iPhone 7


6.

HTC U11


HTC U11


7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge


Samsung Galaxy S7 edge


8.

Samsung Galaxy S7


Samsung Galaxy S7


9.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus


Apple iPhone 7 Plus


10.

Sony Xperia XZ


Sony Xperia XZ


11.

Sony Xperia Z5


Sony Xperia Z5


12.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact


13.

Motorola Moto G (3rd gen)


Motorola Moto G (3rd gen)


14.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua


Sony Xperia M4 Aqua


15.

HTC 10 Evo


HTC 10 Evo

  • Reviewed on: 22 November 2016
  • RRP: £0


16.

Nomu S30


Nomu S30


17.

Ulefone Armor


Ulefone Armor

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