A "waterproof" phone or other device can make all the difference if you rip or laugh at the water, if your drink falls off, or if someone drops cannonballs into the pool. Waterproof phones are much more common these days, which is great because you do not have to buy a bulky waterproof case. Apple has introduced in the iPhone 7 ($ 280 at Amazon) (and newer) all the way to the iPhone XS Max ($ 1,100 at Amazon) ) and water resistance features Samsung's water resistance features for Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ($ 51
But not every phone is water repellent and not all water seals are equivalent. IP68 and IP67 are the most water-repellent, while IP54 should create a healthy fear when taking photos in the hot tub or on a boat. It turned out that some information on waterproofing actually describes the splash water resistance. It's worth knowing the differences – and what the ratings mean for using your phone, tablet, activity tracker, smartwatch, and even some wireless pool, rain, or shower speakers.
Let's split that up.
The first thing to look for is the Ingress Protection Class (or International Protection Rating) of a device, although this is more commonly referred to as IP rating. Rating codes do not contain hyphens or spaces and consist of the letters IP followed by one or two digits. Two common ratings for consumer devices are IP67 and IP68. Read on to find out what that means.
IP codes are a standard established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). According to the organization, the codes are designed as a "system for classifying the degrees of protection of electrical equipment enclosures".
The first number in the rating code indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of foreign objects to objects such as fingers or dust. These protection levels range from 0 to 6.
The second number indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of moisture, with protection levels from 0 to 8.
An IP code with an "X" instead of the first or second number means that a device has not been tested to protect against intrusion of solid objects (the first number) or moisture (the second number). For example, an IPX7 rated device is inadvertently submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, but has not been tested against dust ingress.
Below is a table Describing all protection levels defined by the IEC.
IP code for fixed protection
|0||No protection||N / A|
|1||Protection against contact with a large body surface, e.g. B. a back of the hand, but no protection against intentional contact with a body part, z. B. a finger||Less than 50 mm|
|2||Protection against fingers or similar objects||Less than 12.5 mm|
|3||Protection against tools, thick wires or similar objects||Less than 2.5 mm|
|4||Protection against most wires, screws or similar objects||Less than 1 mm|
|5||Partial protection against contact with harmful dust||N / A|
|6||Protection against contact with harmful dust||N / A|
As an example, an IP22 rated socket (usually the minimum requirement for electrical accessories intended for indoor use) is protected against insertion by fingers and will not be damaged by vertically dripping water.
Speaking about our gadgets, you only need to pay attention to IP values above IP5X or IP6X (for resistance or dust protection).
For example, the iPhone X and the iPhone XR ($ 750 on Amazon) are IP67 rated, which means that they are completely protected from dust (6) and even up to 30 Immersed in static water (1 m) for a few minutes). Then there's the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the iPhone XS ($ 1,000 on Amazon) and XS Max, which have IP68 protection.
This means that, like the iPhone XR, IP68 rated phones can not be dipped in static water. The specific depth and duration, however, must be specified by the company. In this case, the upward height is 1.5 meters to 30 minutes.
Not too complicated, right? Unfortunately, not everything is cut and dried. The devices do not have to pass every test that leads to the highest rating, though they are tested by many companies at different levels. However, in some cases a telephone has not been tested with dust protection levels 1 to 5 or water protection levels 1 to 6.
|IP Code||Protection||test time||use|
|0||No protection||N / A||N / A|
|1||Protection against vertically dripping water||10 min||light rain|
|2||Protection against perpendicular dripping water when the unit is inclined at an angle of up to 15 degrees||10 min||light rain|
|3||Protection against direct water splashes when tilted by up to 60 degrees||5 min||Rain and spray|
|4||Protection against splash water and splash water in all directions.||5 min||Rain, spraying and spraying|
|5||Protection against low-pressure water, which protrudes from a nozzle with an opening of 6.3 mm in each direction||3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters||Rain, splashing water and direct contact with most kitchen faucets|
|6||Protection against water emitted in powerful nozzles from a nozzle with an opening of 12.5 mm diameter in each direction||3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters||Rain, splashing water, direct contact with kitchen / bathroom fittings, outdoor use in rough sea conditions|
|7||Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes||30 minutes||Rain, splash and accidental submersion|
|8||Protected from immersion in water deeper than 1 meter (the manufacturer must specify the exact depth)||Varies||Rain, splash and accidental submersion|
For example, since the iPhone 8 does not contain the IPX5 or IPX6 rating for water from a jet, you should not take it in the shower or under the sink unless Apple has specifically stated otherwise In fact, the company has said that fluid damage does not fall below the phone's standard warranty.
And the excellenthost phone has no IP rating, but the company has this a water-repellent coating.
As a small step backwards example, the Sony Xperia XZ ($ 279 on Amazon) is IP65 and IP68 rated, which means that it is protected from dust and dust by low pressure water jets , such as B. a faucet when all connections are closed. The company also states that the phone can be submerged in 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.
If someone tells you that a watch is waterproof, that's a lie. No watch is really waterproof. The International Organization for Standardization and the Federal Trade Commission prohibit watches being designated as "watertight". While a watch can withstand a certain amount of water, the water pressure is always limited before it runs out. The term "waterproof" means that a device remains intact even under the most difficult circumstances.
In order to regulate and explain the watertightness in watches, the ISO has set standards that have been adopted by many traditional watchmakers. However, most smartwatches and activity trackers do not comply with these standards and are therefore not ISO certified. Consumer electronics usually follow the IP code, although some companies like Garmin, Pebble and Polar test their products independently to determine how much pressure they can endure.
Pressure tests are measured at ATMs (atmospheres) then converted to water depth to make the measurements more understandable. Each ATM corresponds to a static water pressure of 10 meters. Below is a table that describes the basic water resistance values.
|1 ATM||Withstands pressures that correspond to a depth of 10 meters||Improved resistance to rain and splatter. No showering or swimming.|
|3 ATM||Withstands pressures that correspond to a depth of 30 meters.||Rain, spraying, accidental submersion and showering. Swimming prohibited.|
|5 ATM||Withstands pressures that correspond to a depth of 50 meters||Rain, spraying, accidental submersion, showering, swimming at the surface, shallow snorkeling|
|10 ATM||Withstands pressures that correspond to a depth of 100 meters||Rain, spraying, accidental submersion, showering, swimming and snorkeling. No diving in deep water or high-speed water sports.|
|20 ATM||Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 200 meters (656 feet)||Rain, spraying, accidental submersion, showering, swimming, snorkeling, diving and water sports. No deep-sea diving.|
Since there is no universal testing method, the use in practice varies from device to device. For example, while the Garmin Forerunner 735XT ($ 316 on Amazon) has a water resistance rating of 5 ATM, Garmin states that the watch can be worn both in the shower and while swimming . Fitbit, on the other hand, recommends that users remove the device before swimming, even though it has a rating of 5 ATM.
It should also be noted that although 3 ATM is designed for a certain depth, the depth is measured in static pressure. The water pressure can change quickly, eg. For example, if you move your arm to start swimming. While you may only be 10 feet away, the pressure generated by your arm movement may be equivalent to that of a few ATMs.
As Garmin explains on its website, "Even if a device is above a depth, it will be rated because it could still penetrate water when subjected to activity that creates a pressure above that depth estimate."
As I said before, it's not all dry and dry. You should check the device's website for what the company recommends before using a smartwatch or fitness tracker in the shower or in the pool.
Things to remember
- Most resistance tests are done in fresh water. There is no guarantee that appliances will withstand salt water unless specifically stated by the manufacturer.
- While showering with IP devices is not recommended, the device will not break if you forget to remove it. However, the device could leak and be damaged by prolonged exposure, and water damage may not be covered by the warranty.
- Unless otherwise stated, most tests are performed at temperatures between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius (60 to 95 Fahrenheit). Higher temperatures in saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools can damage the unit. For example, the pebble was tested to work in the temperature range of -10 to 60 ° C.
- For obvious reasons, leather bracelets are not water resistant.
- Make sure all flaps are in place (eg for charging ports) before closing the device.
- Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, do not press the buttons on the device under water. This could cause water to enter the housing and damage the device.
- Make sure that the device is completely dry before you charge it.
- Always read the manufacturer's website before taking a phone, smartwatch, or fitness tracker into the shower or using the pool.
This article was originally published in April 2015 and is regularly updated to include new devices.
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