Nothing ruins a trip to the beach like dropping your expensive smartphone into the water. As the price of smartphones seems to rise, consumers are now demanding that their precious slabs of silicon be protected against mishaps and moisture.
Not too long ago, the only way to ensure your phone could survive a brush with h20 was to buy a bulky and expensive waterproof case.
Have waterproof cases become redundant?
Happily, many devices are now guarded against minor spills and splashes and should survive the odd bit of unwanted moisture.
We can get an idea of how good ‘waterproof’ our device is by checking the “IP” rating; IP, in this case, stands for “ingress protection.”
Ingress simply describes something unwanted entering a system, so IP will also refer to dust and other foreign bodies that we don’t want to enter the internals of the phone. The IP rating of a device is displayed as “IP” and two digits, for example, an iPhone 11 Pro Max has an IP rating of IP68.
So, what do the numbers mean? The first digit refers to the protection against dust, with a rating from 0 to 6, with 0 meaning no specific protection, and 6 meaning completely sealed from any ingress from dust.
The second digit tells us how resistant the device is to moisture, with a rating given from 0-9. Using our previous example of the iPhone 11 Pro Max gold 256 GB, we can see it’s virtually impervious to dust and has the second-highest-rated protection from moisture.
Most modern electronics should have a dust ingress protection rating of 6, meaning that they are sealed from the factory and aren’t designed to cope with ANY dust in the system.
If you are looking for a smartphone you can take to the beach, pool, or even in the shower, the second digit in the IP score is what you need to pay attention to.
Anything over a 7 on the moisture protection rating will ensure your device can survive full immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15 cm and 1 meter.
That’s pretty nifty; it means you can drop your precious iPhone 11 pro max gold in the pool and have plenty of time to retrieve it before it fails.
The popularity of waterproof cases has declined in recent years as more manufacturers moved to increase the IP rating of their devices.
Now it’s possible to get a device that can sit under several meters of water for half an hour before it fails, now that’s amazing.
Can I trust you?
I remember buying waterproof housing for my iPhone 4s and balking at the cost of the case.
As I unboxed it, I remember thinking how worryingly flimsy it felt. I only used it several times before it was retired. There was something untrustworthy about its construction, and I never felt confident that it would protect my phone against moisture.
I feel very differently about my new iPhone 11 pro max gold. The peace of mind attained for knowing the inbuilt moisture protection was designed by Apple is hard to beat.
I’m not normally the type to believe whatever I hear, so I had to find out more and whether I could trust this IP rating. After a few hours of research, I found a startling video that showed some iPhone XR’s being submerged in 8 meters of water for nearly an hour before they failed. What was most shocking about the video is the devices tested were rated at IP67!
An IP rating can be trusted and relied on, much more so than an expensive and ungainly waterproof housing, and has a manufacturer’s warranty to boot.
As more and more phones rated at 1P68 and above, the need for waterproof housings has sharply dropped, and it begs the question; Have waterproof cases become redundant?