Are waterproof smartphones as safe as you think?

af | 23. apr, 2019 | Most popular, News

36% of all smartphones will be liquid damaged in their lifetime. With waterproof phones this should be a thing of the past – but is that reality? We have taken a look at the protection system and we think you will find the results interesting.

First let us get the definitions in place; waterproof and water resistant – two words, same thing, you might think but there is a big difference. If your phone is water resistant it can survive small splashes of water, you can talk on it when it rains, sweat on it at the gym or drop it in snow. Waterproof phones can take a dive in water and will stay fine after being completely submerged. But the IP protection systems decides the degree of water resistance. 

What is the ingress protection system?
The IP rating system will tell you just how waterproof your phone is or if it is only water resistant. Ingress Protection (IP) is a world standard for device shields against dust/dirt and water. 

The first number refers to the protection against solid objects, that is how resistant is the device to dust and dirt. This scale goes from 0-6 where 0 is no protection and 6 is dust tight. The devices are tested to avoid dust for 8 hours.

The second number of the IP rating system refers to the protection against liquids. This scale goes from 0–9. 0 indicates no protection while 7 refers to protection against immersion in up to 1 meter of water in up to 30 minutes. IPx8 is immersed in up to 1,5 meter still water in up to 30 minutes.

Is this the end of liquid damages?

No – this is not the end of liquid damages. Only a small percentage of the damaged phones are submerged in still water, other liquids like cola, coffee, wine and so on act differently and therefore they are not covered by the IP rating system. 

A recent survey showed that 63% of the respondents had had a liquid damage within the last year, of which 44% had dropped their phone in pool or salt water, and 33% dropped it in another liquid than water. Furthermore, if your phone has a small crack in the screen or has a small bend, liquids will be able to get past the waterproofing.

Complete waterproofing of phones is still in the works, and until then repair centers have a task at hand to prevent devices from being total loss cases, and thereby risk data loss and increase amount of e-scrap.