How Waterproof Are iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 And Smartphones?

Will your device survive in the toilet? What does “IP67” actually mean and how do smartphones compare to waterproof watches? The iPhone 7 is Apple's first waterproof device. It joins a collection of similar water-resistant smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Sony Xperia XZ. But how waterproof is it?

How waterproof can a phone be?

Waterproof, water-resistant and splash-proof, these words did have a meaning once upon a time, but their meanings have been blurred by marketing rhetoric. Basically, if a phone is waterproof or water resistant, a toilet dunk isn't going to kill it. Along with marketing messages, you should use what's called an IP rating – a number that assigns the level of water and dust protection to IEC 60529.

What do IP codes mean?

The international protection marking or IP code consists of two digits. The first indicates the resistance of the device to the ingress of dust and the second represents the resistance to the ingress of water.

Typically labeled IP67 or similar, there are different levels of resistance, usually marked by depth and time rating for water and particle size for dust.

For dust: 4 = particles wider than 1 mm5 = preventing dust interference for satisfactory operation6 = no dust ingress for at least eight hours For water: 4 = splashing water do not harm the appliance5 = protection against water jets from a 6.3 mm nozzle6 = protection against more powerful water jets from a 12.5 mm nozzle (6K is highest pressure rating)7 = protection against immersion in fresh water up to 1 m depth (typically for 30 minutes)8 = protection against immersion in fresh water to a depth of at least 1m (typically 1.5m for 30 minutes)9K = protection against short range high pressure water jets

How does the iPhone 7 compare to many other waterproof smartphones?

iPhone 7 and 7 plus are IP67 rated, marked in 1m of fresh water for 30 minutes. Samsung's latest high-end smartphones such as the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and Note 7 are IP68 rated. They are therefore technically better protected against water infiltration. Sony's Xperia Z range, launched in 2013, is one of the first widely available premium handsets to claim to be waterproof. With an IP57 protection rating at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. Sony's latest range includes waterproof models, including the Xperia XZ, which is waterproof to IP68 standards.

Can you go swimming with your smartphone?

Yes and no. When a device is rated to IP67 standards, it really means that it can withstand water pressure under 1m depth for 30 minutes, provided it is stationary. IP68 is rated at higher pressure, slightly higher than IP67 under 1.5m depth of water for 30 minutes. However, when you move through the water with your phone or when you dive into a swimming pool, the pressure can be much higher. Your device might not resist.

What about watches, they are waterproof, right?

Before electronics mixed with water, watches were the gold standard for waterproofing. From simple “water resistant” watches that don't mind splashes when washing hands, to diving watches that can survive depths of 100m or more. Although 50m or 100m underwater might seem a bit extreme to most people, it does mean that the watch seals will withstand relatively high pressures. Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said, "You can wear it if you're swimming, surfing, or doing the occasional cannonball."

Can you go swimming with a smartwatch, or a fitness tracker?

Most smartwatches are waterproof to some degree. While Apple's second series of watches are resistant to a depth of 50m, many other smartwatches like the Huawei Watch only meet IP67 standards. Rugged smartwatches often have higher ratings. The Casio WSD-F10 Android is water resistant to 50m, while the Nixon The Mission is water resistant to 100m. The smartwatches from Pebble's Time and Time 2 are waterproof up to 30 m deep. While many fitness trackers are sweat resistant, which in most cases equates to splashes, some are relatively waterproof. The Misfit's Shine 2 Speedo, for example, is 50m waterproof and designed to track swimming activity.

Is it covered by a warranty?

This is where waterproofing gets tricky. Some manufacturers warrant some of their products against water ingress, but only if there are no signs of other damage. Impacts and shocks can break the seals and void the warranty. Other manufacturers simply do not cover waterproof damage under warranty, despite IP ratings. Neither the Apple iPhone 7 nor the Samsung Galaxy S7 are covered against water ingress damage. So even though they are supposed to be waterproof, the consequences are up to you in the event of an accident.

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