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Waterproof vs Water-resistant vs Splash-proof: What’s the Difference?

02 July 2018 | MJ Mendoza

Some five to ten years ago, accidentally dropping your phone in a tub full of water, sink, or the toilet could mean its demise. You try everything to revive your now soaked-phone, and even taking it to the repairman only to be disappointed that it can’t be raised from the dead. Thankfully, many smartphone manufacturers took the extra step in making mobile phones today “waterproof”. With the phones that we have now, you can now surprise-throw people in a pool and still remain friends afterwards.

But how waterproof can a phone get? Even with all the certifications, many Filipinos are still skeptical about throwing their phones into a body of water. We hear a lot of stories from our friends going swimming with a certain “waterproof” phone only to find that it won’t work anymore. So, how true can “waterproof” phones be?

What is an IP Certification?

Image courtesy of AndroidAuthority.com

To make sure that your phone is indeed waterproof, the first thing you should look for is an IP Certification. “IP” stands for “Ingress Protection” and is followed by two numbers which determine what the device can withstand. The IP code or scale comes from the International Electrotechnical commision based in Geneva, Switzerland. Before any phone brand could advertise that their phone is a certain IP, it needs to undergo testing to see if it really is waterproof.

To properly understand what a certain IPXX means, you need to look at the two digits on the scale. The first digit represents how resistant a gadget is to solid particles. It is indicated in a scale of 1 to 6 with 1 representing no protection and a 6 being completely sealed up. Typically, most brands won’t advertise this scale if it’s below 5 or 6.

The second number, however, is where it gets interesting. With the topic of waterproofing, the second digit signifies how resilient the device is against liquids which can vary from a spray of water to full submersion for a certain period of time. This scale ranges from 0 to 8 with the inclusion of 6K and 9K, however most gadgets today would play around IPX5 to IPX7. Modern phones like the iPhone X have an IP67 rating which can survive to a half-meter of water for 30 minutes; any longer or deeper than that could have repercussions.

So, when you see a gadget that’s advertised as “waterproof”, it’s always a good measure to find an IP rating before submerging it in water. This begs the question, what’s the difference between waterproof, water-resistant, and splash-proof?

Waterproof vs Water-resistant vs Splash-proof

This is where it gets tricky. When someone says “waterproof” it typically means that it can survive full submersion in a toilet but there are also other classifications such as “water-resistant”, “splash-proof”, and we can even throw in “weatherproof” in there.

When a gadget is advertised as “waterproof”, it typically has an IP67 rating which means it can survive in the shallow end of the pool for 30 minutes. However, it may not survive for anything longer or deeper than that, unless it’s a GoPro Hero6 which can survive as deep as 10 meters without compromising performance.

If it’s anything other than “waterproof” try to keep it out of the water or shouldn’t be fully submerged for longer periods of time on any depth.

Tell us more about your experience regarding “waterproof” gadgets in the comments!

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