There seems to be some confusion about devices that are shown seemingly surviving on the beach and work perfectly fine after a swim in the pool. YouTube clips showing how these devices are fully submerged in water and still seem to function without a problem. Yet, we are being told that these devices can still suffer water damage and void warrantee which has us confused.
So the bottom line: Are the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z1 water-proof or water-resistant ?
Some clarification of the Water terms
There are two terms that are being used : Water proof and Water resistant.
When something is said to be Water proof it is said that the item can be fully submerged in water for a period of time and at varying depth. During this time, no water is able to penetrate. A boat’s hull is waterproofed, submarine are waterproof, a diver’s dry suit is water proof allowing the diver to remain 100% dry inside the suit whilst he/ she dives.
Water Resistant is when an item remains relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified condition. So when we talk about electronic devices such as mobile phones as being water resistant or water proof we need to remember the specific conditions – ie. items which may be used in wet environments or under water up to specified depths. This is expressed by the device’s IP rating.
The IP Rating explained
When companies such as Samsung and Sony refer to their devices as being water resistant they are quick to quote the IP ratings. Samsung Galaxy S5 has a rating of IP67 and Sony Xperia Z1 has a rating of IP58.
This is key.
Ingress Protection or IP rating is the method that the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) uses to grade devices. The grading works to measure how resistant a device is against varying degrees of dust intrusion or immersion of water.
The grading is made up of two digits.
The first digit outlines the effectiveness of the device against dust. This is measured on a scale from 0 up to 6. The higher the number, the more the device can resist dust.
The second digit measures the effectives of the device to protect itself against water. This is graded on a scale from 0 to 9.
So if we look at the Galaxy S5 with its rating of IP67, it means that it is Dust Tight as 6 is the highest on the dust-scale and it has a rating of 7 for water which means that it it protected against the effect of immersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. It is NOT waterproof. It will not survive underwater for over 30 minutes at depth of over 1 meter.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is rated at IP58 which means that it scored a 5 on the dust scale showing that it is protected against dust but limited ingress (no harmful deposit). On the water scale it scores an 8 which means that it is protected against the effect of continued immersion in water at depth greater than 1 metre. However, even this comes with exact conditions. For Sony the conditions are that all the flaps for the microUSB and SIM ports must be closed and then the device may be fully submerged in FRESH WATER up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. So even this device has a limitation of 1.5 meters.
The water damage warrantee
Do not think that you will never have to pay for water damaged phones again. Both the Samsung and Sony devices state that all flap and covers must be closed to keep the water out. On the Samsung S5 there are continuous graphics every time you switch on the device reminding you to ensure that the batter cover is secure and every time you finish charging your phone, there is a graphic to remind you to close the microUSB protection flap.
If you do not close these flaps and water gets into the device, the warrantee is not valid and you will not be protected.
Does Samsung ADH cover water damage ?
Yes the ADH warrantee on the Galaxy S5 still covers water damage, however if it was determined that the flap or back cover was not closed properly then the insurance might not cover it.
There are many companies offering various covers and protectors for phone to make them waterproof. Typically you would insert your dry phone into the cover or a bag which is then sealed and the bag is waterproof so no water can enter and therefore keep your device safe and dry.
There are loads of cases and bags. Here is one I found on Amazon.com of a waterproof case with IPX8 Certificate for Apple iPhone 3G, 3S, 4G, 4S, iPod Touch 3, 4, 5 Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, S4 Mini plus 1 Stylus and 1 ECO-FUSED Microfiber Cleaning Cloth:
So in summary
The bottom line is that Samsung and Sony have made their devices resistant to water and to dust. This is meant to protect us from the inconvenience of having your phones damaged in a rain storm or when they accidentally fall into the toilet or when someone spills some wine at the dinner table.
So take the phone to the beach, it will survive the sands and the wet hands. It will also survive being rinsed under the tap to clean it from the sand. Take the phone into the shower it will survive a couple of water drips just fine as you change tracks. Keep it in the kitchen as you pause and start the YouTube recipe without worrying about getting the phone wet. I keep it on the boat as we get skiers and wake boarders in and out of the water without worrying about the phone getting dripped on. All of these are perfectly fine and in fact make the phones more enjoyable as you worry less about them getting damaged.
Taking photos underwater is also fine HOWEVER we aware of the depth and the time the phone is submerged. Ignore the warnings at your peril and your phone will be swimming with the fishes as you scramble for the old faithful bag of rice.
*image from Shutterstock.com