How water resistant is your smartphone?

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With the recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7, there is plenty of discussion on how water resistant each phone is. Both phones use mechanical seals to physically prevent water ingress. As experts in liquid protection, we thought we’d explain what it means to be truly water resistant and how it impacts the user experience.

The IPx scale

When it comes to protecting devices, there’s a clear rating in place that dictates just how water resistant they are, but this scale is a physical measure of the force required for water to get into the device.

The IPx (International Protection, but interpreted as Ingress Protection) scale is used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness and how good a device is protected against intrusion from foreign bodies (such as dust) and moisture.

There are two numbers within the scale, with each having a specific meaning. The first indicates the degree of protection from solid objects, typically dust. The second number defines the protection level from various forms of moisture, for example drips, sprays and submersion.

What does this mean for our phones?

The iPhone 7 states it has an IP rating of IP67. From the second number, we can see it’s protected against temporary water immersion up to 1m for a period of 30 minutes although Apple’s website states “splash and water resistant”. For the Galaxy S7 Edge, the rating of IP68 shows each device is protected against long periods of immersion under pressure although their website states “up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5m under water”. Neither devices are protected for liquid damage under the manufacturer warranty.

So not quite as water resistant as you may have initially thought. Both Apple and Samsung are very careful to be clear this is not waterproof.

Creating true water resistance

P2i believes that to create true water resistance, you need to protect more than by just adding physical barriers to the product, as these can be assembled incorrectly during construction, compromised during use when dropped or perish as they are exposed to the elements and a wide variety of liquid challenges from everyday life. All of which will lead to corrosion damage and device failure.

Once water gets into a device, with nowhere to escape, it can cause serious damage, and once corrosion begins it cannot be reversed. The problem may not be evident when the exposure first occurs!

With our innovative nano-coating technology, we coat every essential part of the device inside and out. Our water repellent coatings are bonded to the surface of the phone at the molecular level and, as it is hydrophobic, water will easily exit the device, so it isn’t sitting around causing harm.

The level of water resistance and protection from damage that is afforded by P2i’s nano coating technology is unrivaled. It means that even if the seal is broken and water gets into the device, it is repelled from the internals, minimising the opportunity for corrosion to start.