Smartphones come with a resistance certification called an Ingress Protection Code or IP rating. This rating specifies the type of protection offered by the device, and what kind of environments the device can be used in. The rating is assigned to each device after multiple tests have been run. Device manufacturers do not assign the ratings - it is up to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). (For those of you who are new to this, an IP rating is completely different from Internet Protocol IP addresses - which have nothing to do with water resistance.)
The IP rating is made up of "IP" followed by 2 numeric digits. The first number indicates protection against solids (dust), and the second number indicates protection against liquids. The higher the rating, the better the protection. Keep in mind that water pressure also comes into play, and damages will be more significant if a device is under pressure like deep water or at the mercy of a jet, as opposed to raindrops or a quick splash in the toilet bowl.
Even if a smartphone is completely protected against dust, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily water resistant - especially not under pressure. A device with a IP67 rating is not any better than a IP58 rating - The IP67 can withstand dust, but the IP58 can be immersed under water for longer. It all depends on your specific needs. Current "waterproof” smartphones usually feature an IP rating of IP68 and use either physical seals or a nano-coating of ultrathin polymer that acts as a hydrophobic barrier. There are numerous companies researching and providing liquid-repelling nanocoating and this technology will no doubt continue to improve in the near future.
A quick guide to IP ratings, as defined in international standard IEC 60529:
First Digit - Solids (From X to 6)
- X Not tested yet
- 0 No protection against any contact and ingress of objects
- 1 Protection against solids measuring up to 50 mm
- 2 Protection against solids up to 12 mm
- 3 Protection against solids up to 2.5 mm
- 4 Protection against solids up to 1 mm
- 5 Protection against dust contact, but ingress of dust is not entirely prevented.
- 6 Complete protection against dust, and no ingress of dust.
Second Digit - Liquids (From X to 8)
- X Not tested yet
- 0 No protection
- 1 Protection against dripping water (condensation or vertically falling drops)
- 2 Protection against dripping water when vertically tilted at 15°
- 3 Protection against spraying water at any vertical angle up to 60°
- 4 Protection against splashing water from any direction
- 5 Protection against water jets from all directions
- 6 Protection against powerful water jets against the enclosure
- 7 Protection against immersion in liquids between 15 cm and 1 m in depth
- 8 Protection against immersion in liquids for long periods, and also in deep water pressure
- Most resistance testing is done in fresh water. Devices aren't guaranteed to survive salt water, unless specifically stated.
- Temperatures lower or higher than 15-35 degrees Celsius (60-95 Farenheit) could also cause damage
- Make sure any flaps or ports on the device are closed before submerging! Also avoid pressing any buttons while the device is submerged or water could enter and cause damage.
- Make sure any device is completely dry before charging!
- Not all IPX8 rated devices are created equal! Consult the manufacturer’s specifications if this is an important feature for you.
Below is an (incomplete!) list of some of the devices with dust and water resistance. If you want to add anything to list, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- CAT S30 - IP68
- CAT S60 - IP68
- Crosscall Trekker X2 - IP67
- HTC Bolt - IP57
- HTC Butterfly 3 - IP67
- iPhone 7 - IP67
- iPhone 7 Plus - IP67
- Kyocera DuraForce PRO - IP68
- Kyocera DuraForce XD - IP68
- Kyocera Hydro AIR - IP57
- Kyocera Hydro Reach - IP57
- Kyocera Hydro Shore - IP57
- Kyocera Hydro View - IP57
- Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S5 - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Active - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S7 - IP68
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge - IP68
- Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 - IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Active - IP68
- Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) - IP68
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) - IP68
- Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) - IP68
- Sony Xperia Z - IP57
- Sony Xperia Z1 - IP58
- Sony Xperia Z2 - IP58
- Sony Xperia Z3 - IP68
- Sony Xperia Z3 - IP68
- Sony Xperia Z5 - IP68
- Song Xperia Z5 Compact - IP68
- Sony Xperia X Performance - IP68
- Sony Xperia XZ - IP68
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium - IP65/IP86