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Understanding “Water resistant” and “Dust resistant” Smartphones

Why would Smartphone companies invest so much to make “dust resistant” or “water resistant” Smartphones? Do Smartphone users need these features on their devices or are the manufacturers adding these new features just to stay relevant and ahead of competition.  These are a few questions that I have been asked a number of times and am going to try to explain what they mean to the best of my knowledge.

First, let’s look back at the Sony Xperia Z which was the ultimate game changer when it comes to waterproof and dust proof Smartphones. The Xperia Z was unveiled early last year and was the first high end Smartphone to get the dust and water-resistant certification. Even though it was among the first Smartphones to have this “cool” new feature, Sony failed to capitalize on this to drive more sales.

Since then, a lot has changed and we have seen other Smartphone markers joining the party and unveiling their dust and water resistant Smartphones. If you have followed these devices closely, you may have noticed the IP certification these devices get. For example, the Xperia Z is IP57 certified while the Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified. What do these numbers mean? Are the devices any different given the fact that both these certifications mean they are water and dust resistant?

The simple answer to the second question is ‘Yes’, these devices are a bit different. As for the first question, we will have to explain the IP certification code if we are to make sense of the numbers.

What does the IP rating mean?

The IP stands for Ingress protection, a rating system developed by International Electrotechnical Commission to classify the different degrees of protection against intrusion and immersion.  The IP rating (for example IP67 for the Galaxy S5) has two numbers (6 and 7); the first number refers to protection against solid objects (dust) while the second one refers to protection against liquids.


For the first number

0              – No protection

1              – Protected against solid objects up to 50mm³,

2              – Protected against solid objects up to 12mm³

3              – Protected against solid objects up to 2.5mm³

4              – Protected against solid objects up to 1mm³

5              – Protected against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit)

6              – Totally protected against dust

For the second number

0              – No protection (Sometimes X)

1              – Protection against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation)

2              – Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical

3              – Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical

4              – Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted

5              – Protected against low-pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted

6              – Protected against low-pressure jets of water, limited ingress permitted (e.g. ship deck)

7              – Protected against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m

8              – Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

9K:         -protected against close-range, high pressure, high temperature spray


By looking at these numbers, we can determine the level of protection the Galaxy S5 (IP67) has compared to Xperia Z2 that has a rating of IP58. With the first number being “6”, we conclude that the Galaxy S5 is totally dust proof and with “7” as the last digit, the S5 can be safe under water as long as it is not 1M deep.

As for the Xperia Z2, the IP58 rating shows that it is slightly protected against dust, limited ingress but not harmful deposit and can stay under water for long periods of time. This means you can go underwater and take that underwater ‘selfie’ you always wanted.

In my opinion, dust and water resistant Smartphones are necessary in this day and age where we want to take our phones everywhere we go. The phones need to be protected if by bad luck we are texting next to the pool and it accidentally falls off into the water or when eating and accidentally spill water all over it.

It is important to note that there is nothing like completely water proof, these devices have varying degrees of resistance against water and are not completely waterproof.

What are your thoughts on water and dust resistant Smartphones? Share with us on the comments section below.

sources { Trusted reviews, Aceeca}

About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email:
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