Best Waterproof Phones

23 September 2016

Durable phones are finally starting to come in to vogue, with protection from liquids being high on the agenda. Fully functional, top-tier devices are hitting shelves that are not only water-resistant, but waterproof.

We’ve collected our favourite waterproof and water-resistant smartphones on the market right now. These are not huge ‘rugged’ phones either, but sleek, pocket-friendly handsets with some of today's best features.

Click here for a quick guide to the waterproof ratings used in this guide.

iPhone 7

Rating: IP67

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are Apple's first two water-resistant smartphones. Much like Samsung, Apple has used internal protection, so there's no need to cover the charging port when the phone is submerged.

It's worth noting that while the phones are water-resistant, water damage isn't covered by your warranty. As such, you think of it more as a safety feature rather than an excuse to use your phone while swimming. If you do get your iPhone 7 wet, be sure to give it a few hours to try out before you charge it again. 

Other key features on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus include improved cameras with better low-light performance, bumped up battery life, a brighter screen, stereo speakers, and two new black finishes.  

Samsung Galaxy S7

Rating: IP68

Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are some of the year's best phones -- and they're waterproof! Better yet, Samsung has used an internal coating for the hardware which means that you don't need to cover the charging port with a pesky flap. Anyone who owned a Galaxy S5 will know exactly what we're talking about.

Of course, extra protection is great, but it is the S7's hardware that makes it such a compelling smartphone. Samsung use a 5.1-inch QHD resolution screen with its popular AMOLED screen technology and the results are stunning. There is a octo-core processor under the hood and a huge 4GB RAM. 

The camera is the standout feature, with a 12-megapixel sensor, super fast auto-focus and stunning low-light photos. 

Samsung Galaxy S5

Rating: IP67

The Galaxy S5 is over two years old now now, but it's a good bang-for-buck device if you're after water-resistance on a budget.

It is rated IP67, which is the same rating as 2013's rugged Galaxy S4 Active. It can survive in up to 1m of water for up to half an hour on paper (safe for trips in to the kitchen sink), but in reality people have tested it with even greater success. We wouldn't recommend purposefully repeating the experiments yourself, however.

Speaking of the sink, it's not advisable to run any direct water pressure over the S5. Its rating is for immersion, not water jets; no holding it under a running tap.

The GS5 rocks a 16MP camera, powerful internals, Android 4.4 KitKat, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and a 5.2 inch 1080p display.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Rating: IP68

Available in black, white, yellow and coral, the Z5 Compact is the smaller mid-range entrant that debuted alongside the flagship Z5. The Compact has just a 4.6 inch screen with 720p resolution, 2GB of RAM and a huge 2700mAh battery for a phone this size.

Other than that, it's essentially the same phone as its bigger, more-expensive sibling. It rocks a powerful octo-core 2GHz CPU and a 23MP camera that can be used underwater.

If you're after a smaller underwater experience, or perhaps don't want to drop top-dollar on a phone, then the Z5 Compact is definitely worth considering.

Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen)

Rating: IPX7

The latest addition to the Motorola family, the third-generation Moto G, is the only to be blessed with an IPX7 rating, meaning it can be dunked into shallow water and keep on functioning.

There is plenty more to like here, too. It has a capless USB charging port so there are no pesky flaps to fiddle with. You can also remove the back cover and replace it with a different coloured cover, which is awesome. All of the metal parts, like the SIM slot and MicroSD card reader are coated in nano-coating, so these can be wet and still work.

Motorola packs in a fair amount of phone here, despite it having a relatively cheap price tag. For under $400, you get a 4G phone with a 5-inch screen; a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel camera on the front; the latest Android OS and a number of excellent Motorola software tweaks.

If you're looking to buy one in Australia, you'll want to get it from Motorola's online store. You won't be able to buy one through the telcos, but you can stick in a cheap monthly SIM card once you've purchased the Moto G outright.

A quick guide to IP Ratings

Protected devices are judged by the Ingress Protection Rating (IP rating). In an IP rating the first number always refers to dust protection, while the second refers to water resistance. For example, a rating of IP54 would mean a dust protection rating of 5 and a water resistance rating of 4.

The maximum dust protection is 6; the maximum standard water protection is 8. To keep things simple, we only need to pay attention to dust protection from 5 and up, and water resistance from 5 and up.

Water resistance by IP levels:
  • 5: protected from jets of water, like holding it up the tap in your kitchen sink.
  • 6: protected from more powerful water jets.
  • 7: can be submerged in water of up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes. 
  • 8: can be submerged in water of up to 1.5 metres,  and for periods up to 30 minutes.

Understand Ingress Protection Ratings? Click here to go back to the top.

Smartphone in water image and splash via Shutterstock

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