What's the best waterproof phone?
|Best waterproof phone||RRP||Key specifications|
|Samsung Galaxy S7 edge||£639||Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Exynos 8890, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5.5in Quad-HD, 3600mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy S7||£569||Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Exynos 8890, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5.1in Quad-HD, 3000mAh|
|Apple iPhone 7||£599||iOS 10, Apple A10 Fusion, 2GB RAM, 32/128/256GB storage, 4.7in Retina, 1960mAh|
Having a waterproof phone is handy for a lot of different reasons but it can be hard to know which handsets offer this and what the levels of protection mean. You can't always get a waterproof case for your handset so here are the best waterproof phones of 2017. Also see: Best phones of 2017.
Also see: Best Phone Deals
If you're accident prone (or simply if you want to give your phone to a child without worrying they will drop it down the toilet or throw it into a pond) then a waterproof phone is a great purchase. It also means you can do some more luxury things like watch TV in the bath or take photos underwater. Also see: Best kids' phones 2017.
Most Sony phones are waterproof unless you're buying lower tier devices and you can also get waterproof Samsung phones and even iPhones. Sadly the new Google Pixel phones are only splash-proof so don't make it into this list. HTC has finally launched a waterproof phone, the 10 Evo, so we'll add that once we've given it a full review.
The problem is that not all waterproof phones are created equal and different devices will offer different levels of protection. Some will be simply 'splash proof' while others can be fully dunked in water and continue to work. Because of this, we've explained the IP rating system which is used for electronics which feature dust and water protection.
This chart only includes phones we've reviewed and aren't too old. Read: Best new phones coming in 2017.
IP ratings explained: What is IP68?
For starters, let's take a look at what an IP rating is and what the numbers mean. IP stands for 'Ingress Protection' and is used to define the sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.
The first number refers to how the device sealed against solid particles like dust; the highest you can get is '6' meaning total protection. The second digit is for water protection and the best you'll see on most is '8', going by the original IEC standard 60529 (6K and 9K are not part of this). It's worth noting that ratings water ingress are not cumulative beyond 6, so a device with a rating of 7 doesn't have to compliant with the water jet element of 5 and 6.
If an IP rating has an X in it, don't misinterpret this as the device having no protection. It's likely to have good protection for particles if it's IPX6, but the rating has not been formally allocated.
Here's a full listing for particles and water:
• 0 – No protection.
• 1 – >50 mm, any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand.
• 2 – >12.5 mm, fingers or similar objects.
• 3 – >2.5 mm, tools, thick wires, etc.
• 4 – >1 mm, most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
• 5 – Dust protected, Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented.
• 6 – Dust tight, No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact. A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.
• 0 – No protection.
• 1 – Dripping water shall have no harmful effect.
• 2 – Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect with enclosure is tilted at 15°.
• 3 – Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical.
• 4 – Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction.
• 5 – Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction.
• 6 – Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) from any direction.
• 6K – Powerful water jets with increased pressure.
• 7 – Immersion, up to 1m depth for up to 30 minutes.
• 8 – Immersion, 1m or more depth (exact details vary).
• 9K – Powerful high temperature water jets.
- Reviewed on: 12 January 17
- RRP: £639 inc VAT
The Galaxy S7 edge is no longer the semi-gimmick it was before. Although some of the main features are things from the Galaxy S5 – Micro-SD and waterproofing – Samsung has given fans what they want. It's now a refined, sophisticated and highly desirable piece of technology. The battery isn't removable but the phone lasts longer than before and has seriously powerful specs under the hood. It has almost everything you could want from a phone even though the IR blaster is gone. We're also very impressed with the new camera and unless the screen is too big for you (despite some software features to help out) we think it's worth getting the S7 edge for the extra £70 with its gorgeous looks and extra functionality. Right now, this is the best smartphone money can buy.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review.
- Reviewed on: 12 January 17
- RRP: £569 inc VAT
The Samsung Galaxy S6 was the best phone of 2015 and, although it’s still early days, the Galaxy S7 is a serious contender for best phone of 2016. Samsung has taken into account what its fans want, addressing the three main areas of concern: removable storage, waterproofing and battery life. It’s also upgraded the core hardware and photography gear, added an always-on display and some useful software. Right now the Galaxy S7 is simply unbeatable.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 review.
- Reviewed on: 4 October 16
- RRP: £599 (32GB), £699 (128GB), £799 (256GB)
The iPhone 7 is an evolution of the 6S, so if you were expecting a revolution you’ll probably be slightly disappointed. However, aside from the underwhelming battery life, it is an excellent phone. It’s waterproof, has fantastic cameras and performance, and the new stereo speakers sound great. There’s now 32GB of storage as a minimum, which helps to mitigate the higher prices.
If you have an iPhone 6s, it’s hard to justify upgrading (even for some people with a 6) but if you’re out of contract and want a small phone, it’s the best Apple has made yet.
Read our Apple iPhone 7 review.
- Reviewed on: 31 October 16
- RRP: £539 inc VAT
The Xperia XZ is an attractive phone in design if you can get on with the angular style and while it's cheaper than rivals such as the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, you can get better value with some older phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7. While the hardware is decent, we can't help but mention the very similar Xperia Z5 will save you a lot of money.
Read our Sony Xperia XZ review.
- Reviewed on: 29 April 16
- RRP: £549 inc VAT
There's no doubt that the Xperia Z5 is a solid flagship smartphone from Sony and an improvement on the Z3+. We certainly like the new frosted glass rear cover and the addition of a fingerprint scanner in that slim power button. The camera isn't great compared to the best phone cameras out there though, and you can get a better phone for similar money. The price has dropped, and it's now a decent-value waterproof flagship with a Micro-SD card slot. However, you can't use it underwater, and there are newer rivals which are better value, take better photos and have better performance.
Read our Sony Xperia Z5 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 October 15
- RRP: £429 inc VAT
The Xperia Z5 Compact is the best small phone around, but then there's not much competition in this area anymore and there are a number of phones offering decent specs for a lot less. Those looking for Z5 design and specs in a smaller frame will be pleased but it's a shame about the chunky design with the sharp edges. The fingerprint scanner is a great addition and the Snapdragon 810 with almost stock Android provides slick performance. However, the camera isn't as good as Sony makes it out to be.
Read our Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review.
- Reviewed on: 18 May 16
- RRP: From £149 inc VAT
With various upgrades including a waterproof design, great cameras and stock Android, the new Moto G 2015 is a great affordable phone. The device is still a bit chunky and it's a shame to see the stereo speakers gone. It's worth opting for the model with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Now with a price cut to £149, the Moto G 3rd-gen is the best budget phone you can buy.
Read our Motorola Moto G (3rd gen) review.
- Reviewed on: 30 July 15
- RRP: £230
The mid-range smartphone market is always tricky, especially with budget devices getting so good. If you are looking for something around this price, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a solid choice although the Honor 6 is worth a look for extra features. It offers flagship-like design, a great camera and a user-friendly Android Lollipop.
Read our Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review.
9. HTC 10 Evo
- Reviewed on: 22 November 16
- RRP: £0 inc. VAT
Although HTC hasn't confirmed the price yet, it says the 10 Evo will be the best in its class - of £450 to £500 phones. However, that conveniently ignores cheaper phones such as the OnePlus 3 which has a faster processor, more RAM and more storage, and it certainly makes the newcomer appear overpriced even considering its IP57 rating and its clever headphones. However, we'll update this with a definitive conclusion once we've spent more time with the phone.
Read our HTC 10 Evo review.