Smartphones are so omnipresent in our lives that we want to have them almost everywhere. It is from this need that waterproof smartphones and rugged phones are probably born. Exactly – there are water-resistant smartphones, even though they are electronic devices. They are nothing more than devices protected by special materials and a body that makes it impossible to penetrate the liquid inside. Depending on the degree of resistance to water, indicated by the IP certification (the most famous are IP67 and IP68) you can use them in the rain, in the shower or even dive with them underwater swimming. Someone more experienced will already be thinking that you can make any waterproof phone using an underwater cover.
But since we are talking about special phone bodies, the use movement are affected a lot, and the device may not be easier to use. For this reason, having a waterproof and underwater smartphone without the use of external accessories is the best alternative if you want to put it in contact with water. From Samsung to Huawei, even though Apple’s iPhone, most of the manufacturers (even if the Chinese ones are not many) has made at least one smartphone resistant to water. Then we will go to see what are the best waterproof and water-resistant smartphones with IP68 certification, but first, we will present all the details on the impermeability of a phone.
Are waterproof smartphones always water resistant?
With great bitterness, we must answer no to this question. Waterproof smartphones, even those with the highest degree of impermeability and therefore totally waterproof, are so resistant to water, but only under certain conditions. For example, if you dive them to an excessive depth, they can be damaged, as if you leave them underwater for too long. There are always limits, established by the certification of impermelihood. Furthermore, even if a device is waterproof, this does not mean it is specially made to be submerged underwater. The IP certification is only protection, so even if you put waterproof smartphones in contact with the water while respecting the limits, you must still pay attention. In short, we would avoid putting the devices in contact with water on purpose – better to do so only when strictly necessary, and not just for fun, because the risk of damage is always around the corner.
Comparative degrees of impermeability – significance of certifications from IP68 downwards
It is important to identify the degree of impermeability when buying waterproof smartphones, in order to understand how much a device can withstand water and how far you can push in putting your terminal in contact with the liquid present to a greater extent than all on our planet. You can recognize the degree of impermeability by viewing the official technical data sheet or the manuals of waterproof smartphones as IP certification have because this is what officially confirms that they are waterproof. The degree of certification consists of 2 letters (I and P), and 2 numbers to follow or an X in place of one of the 2 numbers (for example IP68 or IPX7 ). The first number indicates the level of resistance to dust (or solid bodies), while the second, which is what interests us most, indicates the degree of resistance to water. The degrees of impermeability, represented by the second number after IP, range from 1 to 8 (when there is X there is no protection) and are as follows.
- Protection against perpendicular drops of water.
- Drops of water on the device with an inclination of 15 degrees.
- Water spray on inclined devices up to 60 degrees.
- Splashes of water, splashes and rain.
- 6.3 mm nozzle water jet.
- Powerful water jet from 12.5 mm nozzle.
- Immersion up to one meter deep.
- Immersion at more than one meter of depth.
Here are the degrees of resistance to solid bodies (the first number after IP), ranging from 1 to 6, where X stands for no protection.
- Protection against objects with a diameter greater than 50 mm.
- Diameter greater than 12.5 mm.
- Objects with a diameter greater than 2.5 mm (screwdrivers and tips).
- Particles with a diameter greater than 1 mm (e.g screws and nails).
- Partial protection against dust, which enters but does not cause malfunctions.
- Total protection against dust.
Do waterproof devices resist salt water and other liquids?
If you intend to buy them, it is good that you know immediately that the waterproof resistance is not guaranteed to the salt water. We therefore advise you not to dip them in the sea, because they could be damaged despite the presence of IP certification. Resistance to other liquids other than H2O is not guaranteed: fresh water is the only liquid to which waterproof smartphones are officially resistant. For example, it is impossible for a smartphone to emerge immune after being immersed in acid. However, there are so many liquids that waterproof smartphones can still withstand, even though IP certification is only about fresh water. However, protection is not officially guaranteed for liquids other than water, so everything is at your own risk when it comes to different liquids.
Is a broken smartphone still waterproof?
If your waterproof smartphone breaks down, it could lose its water resistance. The waterproof terminals are in fact sealed, and protected by special materials that prevent water from coming into contact with the internal components. The moment in which waterproof smartphones are damaged importantly and open cracks in which water can enter, they may no longer be waterproof. So if you expect to be pretty clumsy or to subject your device to extreme conditions, it is more appropriate to buy a rugged smartphone. These are more robust and shockproof devices for which a simple fall or a bump does not suffice to damage them. Examples are those of Caterpillar or some versions of Samsung devices (XCover and Active). In these cases, however, the price rises compared to other waterproof smartphones with similar characteristics.
Best cheap waterproof smartphone
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
Thanks to the IP68 standard, the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) can withstand diving up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes. It also offers the maximum degree of dust resistance. It is one of the very few smartphones in the world ever to have this degree of resistance to water and at the same time a price of less than € 200, because usually for a device to have a similar certification there is a need to bear very high costs.
Excluding the compact design with glass shell protected by Gorilla Glass 4 and metal profile, for the rest this device is a medium-low-end smartphone. It has a 4.7-inch HD screen with Super AMOLED technology that is definitely a leader panel for its price range thanks to its beautiful colors. It has an Exynos 7870 processor, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of memory, a very good 13 Megapixel camera, and a battery that despite its only 2350 mAh really lasts a lot and comes to a day of autonomy even using it continuously.
Although the Cat S31 is IP68 certified as the model above, the level of water resistance is slightly different. In this case, we talk about safe dives up to a maximum depth of 1.2 meters, while the dive time is always 30 minutes, and also the resistance to dust is of the exact same degree.
Cat S31 is a smartphone that belongs to the low-end, but buying it is really worth a lot because of its price. It has a 4.7-inch HD screen and physical buttons that make it easy to use even underwater. Its processor is a Snapdragon 210 supported by 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of memory. Not much like a chipset, but performance does not give any particular problems in everyday use. Among other things, it is a processor with very low power consumption, and if you consider that this smartphone has a huge battery of 4000 mAh, you can understand that its autonomy is something impressive. Even if it is used continuously, it is able to last 2 working days without discharging.
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
The IP68 standard of Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) allows water immersion without damage up to a depth of 1.5 meters, for a maximum time of 30 minutes. The smartphone is also dustproof in the greatest degree there is. Its design is very similar to those of Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9, with a glass back, a high screen-to-body ratio and a metal profile.
With Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) you go up in terms of technical specifications but remains in the mid-range because it is one of the few waterproof smartphones that are the top for value for money. The design is the prerogative of the top of the range, with glass shell, metal profile and Infinity Display. It has one of the best screens in its range, with a 5.6-inch diagonal, Full HD + resolution and SuperAMOLED technology. Brilliant colors, maximum viewing angles, and great detail are just some of its merits. The camera’s 16-megapixel is another prominent component and shoot well in all lighting conditions so that it is sometimes indistinguishable from high-end when it comes to photos. The Exynos 7885 processor, 4 GB of RAM and the 32 GB of memory makes it excellent even when it comes to hardware, while the 3000 mAh battery always provides enough autonomy to get to the end of the evening.
It is not known as a rugged smartphone LG G6, however, it has some of the same properties as the “site” devices, and is, therefore, one of the best cheap smartphones as a build quality. Launched as a top of the range, it is devalued a lot over time, and now you can find it at a price from the mid-range. It has the IP68 certification which, as you know by now, allows diving up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes. Plus, it also has the MIL-STD-810G military certification that helps it to resist shock and falls. A device that you can use without protective cover and in risky situations without making a heart dive.
The build quality is not all that LG G6 offers – there is much more. We have a spectacular 5.7-inch Quad HD display with HDR, first of all. Then there is a Snapdragon 821 processor combined with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory, for performance from the speed unprecedented compared to almost all devices with the same price. There is also an innovative dual 13 MP camera with wide-angle lens and optical stabilizer, certainly one of the most interesting cameras. And then there is a good 3300 mAh battery that keeps off the problems of autonomy found with many other waterproof and not top-of-the-range smartphones.
Best top-of-the-range waterproof smartphones
If we talk about construction, LG V30 shares the same characteristics as its predecessor LG G6, but it is much more powerful and equipped. It has the IP68 standard for resistance to diving with a maximum depth of one and a half meters and a maximum time of 30 minutes. And it also has military certification, which makes it very resistant to shocks and falls along with Gorilla Glass 5 for the screen. If a smartphone is broken, its impermeability may also fail due to the damage, and that’s why things like military certifications can also prove important in terms of water resistance.
LG V30 winks at those users who want a perfect smartphone from all points of view because it has a bit ‘of everything. In addition to the build quality, other details on which it dwells not present on many other devices are the audio, thanks to its B & O Play speakers and Hi-Fi technology with Quad DAC, and artificial intelligence. It has a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB UFS 2.1 memory. This component allows incredible performance; the smartphone is never impatient, it is always fast and is perfect even for gaming. It has a beautiful 6-inch OLED screen in Quad HD +, with HDR technology. One of the best displays for multimedia use. And there is an excellent double camera, with a resolution of 16 MP and wide-angle lens, able to shoot with an immeasurable degree of detail. The battery is 3300 mAh, has Quick Charge 3.0 support and always holds the workday.
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The robust Cat S60 is the most waterproof smartphone of all, and to make matters worse is a rugged device. It is something virtually indestructible and can be given the title of a more resistant terminal. Although its certification is identified IP68, it actually resists much more than all other Android and iPhone smartphones on the market. It can, in fact, go out immune to diving up to a depth of 5 meters and can stay underwater for an hour without suffering damage. A great help in this is given by 2 mechanical levers that have the task of sealing the speakers so as not to put them in contact with water. This smartphone also has military certification and can fall from almost 2 meters in height without getting damaged. And it has many other protections including that for thermal shocks and extreme temperatures.
Often rugged waterproof smartphones are low-end, but in this case, we have something more. Below the 4.7-inch screen in HD resolution of this terminal are a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory. Hardware certainly not entry-level and able to satisfy even advanced users who open multiple apps at the same time and stress their device. In addition to a good 13 Megapixel camera, this device is also equipped with a FLIR thermal chamber, which measures the temperature of objects. As usual with Cat waterproof smartphones, we have a huge battery here too. It has 3800 mAh capacity and offers a noticeable above-average capacity of 2 days even for continuous use.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 8
We return to the traditional IP68 standard with Samsung Galaxy Note 8, also able to withstand scuba diving up to a depth of 1.5m, for a maximum limit of 30 minutes. This device, with glass shell and metal frame, resists dust in a complete way.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a crazy smartphone, the most suitable for those who work with the phone. This is because it supports the S Pen, and thanks to it you can draw and write on the display as if you were holding a sheet of paper, with 4096 levels of pressure. It also has one of the best screens on the market, if not the best along with those of the S9 series. With a diagonal of 6.3 inches, it shows images in Quad HD + resolution, it has Super AMOLED technology and also HDR. Its brightness is incredibly high and the colors very faithful. It has a Samsung Exynos 8895 processor, 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of memory – few smartphones in the world are able to achieve its reactivity and stability. It also has a dual camera with high detail, and a 3500 mAh battery.
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Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact
Even Sony’s flagship models are waterproof smartphones, but in this case, the company talks about IP65 / 68 certification. This type of standard is only mentioned for Sony Xperia smartphones, and in theory, it should be better than IP68. In fact, it is a certification that guarantees protection against both diving (1.5 meters deep at most, up to 30 minutes) and against water jets and “showers.”
Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are both tops of the range smartphone, although the latter is very small compared to the competition, and in fact, it is the most powerful smartphone with a 5-inch display. While the former has a 5.7-inch Full HD + screen, the latter is 5 “and only in HD +, but the higher pixel density does not notice differences. Screens both with faithful colors, complete with HDR. Both smartphones have Qualcomm’s most powerful processor for 2018 – the Snapdragon 845, combined with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of memory. They are impeccable regarding performance, their speed is supersonic, and they do not slow down with any app or game. They have a 19 Megapixel camera with photographic performance unmatched by almost all smartphones on the market, and batteries that are the best optimized and end the day with a lot of remaining charge.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 +
Among Samsung’s waterproof smartphones could not miss its most powerful device – the Galaxy S9 Plus, also with an IP68 standard. Now even the Samsung devices of the A series that are inexpensive are waterproof smartphones, and S9 Plus offers the same protection. It is waterproof, that is, immune to immersions up to 1.5 meters deep for a maximum of 30 minutes, and it is resistant to dust.
Being the flagship of Samsung does not save on any of its technical specifications. Under its glass and metal body has a SuperAMOLED 6.2-inch Quad HD + screen with HDR technology that we can consider the best panel on the market, with an irreproachable color rendering, a phantasmagoric detail, and all the parameters pushed to the maximum. As SoC, there is an Exynos 9810 that is as powerful as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (considered the best), and the RAM is 6 GB. No defiance even with performance, and along with Galaxy Note 8 is one of the few waterproof smartphones that can also be transformed into a PC, through an additional accessory called DeX that connects it to the monitor. S9 Plus has the first dual camera with variable aperture, and together with the camera of Huawei P20 and P20 Pro is the best in the world in our opinion. It is 12 Megapixel, and in all light conditions, it snaps with a stratospheric detail. Close the technical card a 3500 mAh battery.
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