One trend we’ve seen growing in the smartphone market is water resistance. As users take their handsets with them almost everywhere they go, it’s great to know that they can live through an accidental dunk in the pool. Here are our picks for the best water resistant Android phones that you can buy as of September 2017.
First, a quick explanation of how the market determines a phone’s water and dust resistant level. These come in the form that look likes “IP68.” The “IP” stands for Ingres Protection, a standard created by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The first number, in this case, ‘6’, means the level of dust resistance. Most smartphones have this level, and it stands for “No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight).”
The second numerical number represents the water resistance. In many cases, we’ll see smartphones tout either a ‘7’ or ‘8’ rating. The ‘7’ rating is set as “Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion).” The ‘8’ ranking bumps that up to 1.5m of submersion for up to 30 minutes.
One last thing to remember is that these phones are marketed as water resistant, not waterproof. Although both the OEMs and carriers will advertise the use of these devices underwater, if any water damage does take place, you will be held liable, and your warranty will most like be voided.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Galaxy Note 8 is at the top of our list because it’s the newest and most premium, but it’s also the most expensive smartphone. Samsung has been a leader in getting its flagship phones high IP ratings so that its customers can use the devices almost anywhere they go. Samsung continues this trend by making the Note 8 IP68.
What really sets the Note 8 apart from the crowd is its built-in stylus called the S Pen. With it, users can take handwritten notes, capture specific sections of their displays, and navigate around the interface without having to use their fingers.
This is also the first flagship from Samsung to feature dual rear-facing cameras. Samsung uses the secondary telephoto lens to create depth and background blur (bokeh) effects. This works in conjunction with the Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display.
You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 from the following outlets starting around $930:
The LG G6 also comes with an IP68 water and dust resistant rating. The best part about this phone is that its price has dropped to the point that it’s half of the cost of the Note 8.
Unlike last year’s LG G5, the G6 drops the company’s attempt at modularity and comes swinging with a “bezel-less” display called FullVision and a premium looking all-glass design.
Besides that, the G6 is pretty much identical predecessors; it features LG’s skinned version of Android, has dual rear-facing cameras with a 125-degree wide angle lens, and an appropriately placed fingerprint sensor located below the camera array. Its biggest drawback is the fact that it shipped with a slightly slower Qualcomm 821 processor.
You can purchase the LG G6 from the following outlets starting at around $450:
Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
If the Galaxy Note 8 is either too big or too expensive, you might want to check out the Galaxy S8 or S8+. Both of these handsets have almost identical specs to Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone, but you will be missing out on the dual rear-facing camera setup and 2GB of less RAM.
Both of these handsets are also IP68 rated and will be able to handle taking photos and videos underwater.
You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ from the following outlets starting at around $700:
At the end of August, LG took the wraps off of its second flagship smartphone of the year: the LG V30. This device has everything that people loved about the G6 but included performance improvements, a 32-bit Quad DAC, high-sensitivity microphones, and a 16MP camera sensor featuring an f 1.6 aperture.
The LG V30 is unfortunately not available for purchase just yet, but when it is, it’ll feature an IP68 rating. As it will hopefully be available in the coming weeks, it has been added to this list. Links to purchase the handset will be added as soon as possible.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
As stated previously, Samsung has been a leader in smartphone water and dust resistance. One of its most “durable” and protected devices has been the Active line, made in conjunction with and for AT&T. This hasn’t changed this year as Samsung has released the S8 Active, featuring the exact same internals as the other two S8 variants.
The biggest difference with the Active is its build materials such as rubber bumpers which gives it a US Military Standard (MIL-STD) rating. This means that beyond being water and dust resistant, it can resist extreme weather and can take a beating.
The other big difference is that unlike the curved glass found on the S8 and S8+, the Active features an entirely flat display. This can be seen as a plus for those who dislike accidentally tapping on things when palm rejection doesn’t work.
You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active from the following outlets starting at around $850:
HTC has been shaking things up with its smartphone design this year. While in years past, the company has been known for making premium handsets made out of metal, it chose to start from the ground up and introduce phones with an all-glass backing with highly-reflective color schemes.
Just like almost every flagship released in 2017, the U11 features a Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, and a top-of-the-line camera. Its main differentiating feature is its squeezable frame that acts as an input method for launching any of your applications or hardware functions.
Unlike the rest of the devices on this list, the HTC U11 is only rated at IP67, but that should still be enough to protect it from the rain and taking a quick shot under the surface of your pool.
You can purchase the HTC U11 from the following outlets starting at around $650:
And if none of these handsets fit your fancy, you can always check out LifeProof’s collection of water and dust resistant cases. These cases do add a bit of bulk to your phone but are handy if you’re ever heading somewhere where your handset might get wet or dirty.
Lastly, if none of these phones are what you’re looking for, make sure to check out our other Best Phones guides.
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