Android developers are the best. Watch them for long enough, and they'll come up with tools that you didn't even know were possible. For example, this little app claims it can tell you whether the water-resistant seals in your phone are still intact. Water Resistance Tester is a free download in the Play Store.
For years, OnePlus has refused to IP rate its phones, even as its prices creep up. The company has attributed this to a cost-saving measure, telling us that a real IP rating would add $30 to the cost of each handset, even though they are already ostensibly water resistant. In a preemptive move, the company is letting us know that its next device also won't have an IP rating. Instead, OnePlus made a video spiking a phone into a bucket of water — because, of course, marketing is better than a real IP rating.
For the past 4 years, I've been wearing a Fitbit device of some sort. I started with the One, which stuck with me for the better part of 3 years, then I tried the Blaze, the Alta, and the Charge 2. My main complaint with each of these trackers was the lack of water-resistance, which meant that I couldn't wear them in the pool or track my swims with them. I've tried several swim trackers including the Misfit Shine 2 Swim Edition and Amiigo, looking for something that could replace Fitbit, but the best that I found was the Garmin vivoactive, which has excellent swim tracking and can send the main stats to Fitbit through MyFitnessPal.
The Active variants of Samsung's Galaxy phones on AT&T are sold as a more rugged option than the standard version. However, Consumer Reports found that the Galaxy S7 Active didn't even stand up to water as well as advertised (or as well as the regular GS7). Samsung was at first unconcerned, but now says it has identified the problem in its manufacturing process and corrected it.
Looking for something to help you justify that whopping $649 Nexus 6 price tag? Yeah, us too. Well, how's this: the Nexus 6 will be water-resistant. Probably not submersible, but at least splash-proof like the new Moto X.
Sony has announced the Xperia M2 Aqua, a variant of the M2 that it's marketing as "the waterproof smartphone for everyone." It's Sony's first water-resistant phone with mid-range specs, and it's apparently ready to swim with the best of them.
In the small print, we see that the Xperia M2 Aqua is IP65 and IP68 compliant, meaning that it can withstand dust and survive being kept under 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. These recommendations don't quite match up to how Sony is marketing the phone in its videos, where it shows the phone floating rather safely to the bottom of a pool.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is a water-resistant phone, and it may just be more humble than it puts on. One reportedly managed to survive for six weeks on a sea bed more than 10 meters deep. It didn't come out of the deal without a fair bit of damage, but the phone was still able to boot up and make calls.
Swedish reports speak of a man from Gothenburg who, while water-skiing with a friend on vacation, lost his mobile phone in the water. The Xperia Z2 reportedly sank more than 10 meters to the bottom of the salty sea bed.
Do you like the idea of water and ingress protection on the Galaxy S5, but don't feel like ponying up for a flagship phone? Then Kyocera hopes you'll consider its Hydro Vibe smartphone, at least if you're a potential Sprint or Virgin Mobile customer. The "ruggedized" Android phone will be launching on Sprint on May 9th and Virgin on May 27th. Sprint is talking up its "Easy Pay" payment plan, where the phone costs ten bucks a month for two years, but Virgin will sell it outright for $149.99.
That will get you a decidedly low-end phone, though you might have to look hard to tell.
With more and more smartphones featuring water resistance as standard, particularly Samsung's Galaxy S5, it seems like weatherproofing may be on the uptrend in the smartphone world. It's easy to see why - countless phones are lost to moisture-related incidents, whether it be a pool, toilet, or washing machine. Building phones designed to withstand the elements only makes sense, as nearly ever-present companions in our daily lives, our phones are bound to end up exposed to some less than electronic-friendly conditions during their lifetime.
So, with that in mind, how important is water-resistance, in particular, going to be for you when you make your next smartphone purchase?
Hardware demos don't get much worse than this one. Archos CEO Loic Poirier wanted to demonstrate just how much punishment one of his company's smartphones could take, but he didn't get quite the results he wanted. He was able to drop the phone just fine, but when he placed the device in a glass and filled it with water, apparently the handset had taken all it could handle.