Water resistance used to be a feature reserved for rugged phones designed for outdoor enthusiasts, but now it’s become a standard feature in most mainstream smartphones, including the latest models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. The value of water resistance is undeniable, as it can save you from costly repairs or replacements when accidents happen. However, not all phones are created equal when it comes to water resistance, and understanding the IP ratings can be confusing. In this article, we’ll break down the jargon and explain what the IP67, IP68, and IPX8 ratings mean, as well as provide some insights into how waterproof your phone really is.
The IP ratings, or ingress protection ratings, are a standardized system set by the International Electrotechnical Commission to classify the degrees of protection provided by electrical equipment enclosures. The first number in the rating represents protection against solid objects, while the second number represents protection against moisture or liquid. We’ll dive into the details of these ratings and explain the differences between them. Additionally, we’ll address common questions like whether you can go swimming with your IP68-rated phone and what options are available for phones without an official IP rating. So, let’s get started and demystify the world of smartphone water resistance.
The Importance of Water Resistance in Phones
Water resistance used to be a feature reserved for rugged phones designed for extreme conditions. However, nowadays, most mainstream phones, including the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra, come with some level of water resistance. Even Google’s affordable Pixel 7A boasts this feature. The value of water resistance is evident to anyone who has accidentally spilled liquid on their phone. It can mean the difference between a quick clean-up and an expensive trip to the phone store.
Understanding IP Ratings
When shopping for a phone, you may come across terms like "water resistant" and IP67, IP68, or IPX8 ratings. These ratings, known as Ingress Protection ratings, are set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to classify the level of protection provided by a device’s enclosure. The first number in the rating indicates protection against solid objects, while the second number represents protection against moisture or liquid. An IPX8 rating means the device is submerged water-resistant but may not have a specific rating for dust protection.
The Difference Between IP68 Ratings
Although both the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra have IP68 ratings, they have different capabilities when it comes to water resistance. The IEC requires devices with an IP68 rating to withstand being submerged in at least 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. However, manufacturers can go beyond this threshold. The Galaxy S23 Ultra can handle up to 1.5 meters of water for the same duration, while the iPhone 14 Pro can withstand up to 6 meters. It’s essential to check the specifics of your phone’s water resistance capabilities.
Limitations of Water Resistance
While the iPhone 14 Pro may have an impressive 6 meters of water resistance, it’s important to note that the IP rating is tested under controlled conditions. Moving your phone in water increases the pressure, increasing the risk of water entering the device. Additionally, the tests are conducted using fresh water, so chemicals in pools or saltwater can affect the resistance. Even with the highest IP68 rating, it’s advisable to treat water resistance as a backup feature for emergencies, such as accidental spills or making calls in the rain.
Phones Without IP Ratings
Not all phones have official IP ratings due to the time and cost associated with testing. Some budget-focused models, like Motorola’s Moto G50, may use terms like "water-repellent" or "water-resistant" without a specific IP rating. These phones may have features like rubberized seals or water-repellent nano coatings, but they are not designed to be fully submerged in water. If your phone doesn’t mention water resistance, it’s best to assume it has none and take extra precautions around liquids.
In conclusion, water resistance has become a common feature in mainstream phones, providing protection against accidental spills and exposure to moisture. Understanding IP ratings and the specific capabilities of your device is crucial to ensure you don’t exceed its water resistance limits. While water resistance is a valuable backup feature, it’s important to remember that phones are not designed for swimming or underwater photography. Always exercise caution around liquids and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to keep your phone safe and functional.