The Best Waterproof Phones For Every Budget

The Best Waterproof Phones For Every Budget
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A smartphone’s IP rating determines how resistant it is to environmental conditions like sand and water. In Australia, where beachgoing is a way of life, this is a very handy feature to have.

With that in mind, here are seven great phones that can survive frequent trips underwater – with prices starting at just $400!

Whether you’re a keen surfer, an occasional pool goer or just like the idea of using your phone in the bath, a high IP rating is a handy feature to have. These days, all but the cheapest smartphones are ‘splash’ resistant – but if you want to get your device wet for extended periods, you’re going to need something a bit more watertight.

One option is to buy a waterproof case for your existing handset. However, these tend to be bulky and detract from the overall aesthetic of your phone. Instead, you’re usually better off buying a new model with inbuilt water proofing – especially if it’s time for an upgrade anyway.

In the IP rating system, resistance to liquids is rated on a scale of 0 to 8 – with ‘0’ providing no protection and ‘8’ allowing total immersion in water for up to 30 minutes at a minimum depth of one metre.

Here’s the level of water protection each number guarantees.

IP/Ingress Protection Ratings

0 No protection from liquids
1 Dripping water for 10 minutes
2 Dripping water when tilted at 15 degrees for 2.5 minutes
3 Spraying water for a minute at a rate of 10 litres per minute at a pressure of 50–150 kPa
4 Splashing of water
5 Water jets at a rate of 12.5 litres per minute at a pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3 m for 15 minutes
6 Powerful water jets at a rate of 100 litres per minute at a pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m for 15 minutes
7 Immersion in water up to 1m in depth for 30 minutes
8 Immersion in water up of 1m or more in depth for 30 minutes

As a general rule of thumb, you’re going to want an IP rating of IP67 or more. (Note: The preceding digit refers to protection against solid objects and particles.) You can learn more about how waterproof and dustproof ratings work here.

How Do IP Ratings Actually Work?

Many gadgets come with claims of how they are waterproof and resistant to damage from dust and other contaminants. But those claims are sometimes quite nebulous. After all, what does waterproof really mean? Does it mean a device can survive a splash? Or that it can be dunked in a bath? That's why the IP rating system was created. It provides a quantifiable measurement of how resistant a device is to environmental conditions. Let's look at how the ratings work.

Read more

Here are seven smartphone models that fit the aforementioned criteria.

Telstra Tough Max 2: IP67


The Telstra Tough Max 2 is a re-branded ZTE smartphone that offers protection against drops, knocks, dust and yes, water. The ruggedised casing boasts an IP67 rating which means it can survive in water for up to 30 minutes provided you keep it above a depth of one metre. In terms of specs, it’s pretty standard fare for a sub-$450 Android: you get a 5-inch HD display, 32GB of inbuilt storage and a 16-megapixel camera.

Here are the best available plans:

iPhone 7: IP67


The iPhone 7 might have launched way back in 2016, but it remains an excellent smartphone that happens to have IP67 water resistance – this means it will survive for 30 minutes in depths of up to one metre. It’s also cheap (for an iPhone) with pricing starting at $749.

Here are the best available plans:

Google Pixel 3: IP68


The Google Pixel 3 is an excellent smartphone that benefits from instant access to Android OS updates. It also comes with a set of beefy speakers (an impressive 40% louder than the Pixel 2) and a very decent camera. It starts at $1199 and comes with IP68 dust and water protection.

Here are the best available plans:

iPhone XR: IP67


Apple’s 2019 “mid-range” phone is missing a few features found on the iPhone Max, but you do still get a waterproof case. It’s rated IP67 under IEC standard 60529, which equates to a maximum depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes. Other noteworthy specs include a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display, a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, 4K video recording and all the software goodies that come with Apple’s iOS operating system. Pricing starts at $1229.

Here are the best available plans:

Samsung Galaxy S10: IP68


The Galaxy S10 was recently superseded by the Note 10 as Samsung’s premiere flagship phone – but it contains most of the same components and features, including a spectacular triple-camera array and an IP68 water and dust resistance rating. It provides ingress protection against water and dust to a maximum of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. Pricing starts at $1349.

Here are the best available plans:

Huawei P30 Pro: IP68


Once a critical darling, the Huawei P30 has suffered a reversal in fortunes in recent months due to a controversial US trade dispute that saw Huawei briefly banned from Google Android. If you’re willing to overlook all this (and the $1599 price tag), the P30 Pro remains one of the best smartphones that money can buy. It excels in all the areas that matter including battery life and photography. It’s also IP68 certified which means it can survive complete, continuous submersion in up to 1.5m of water for 30 minutes.

Here are the best available plans:

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+: IP68


The new big boi on the bloc, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+ is arguably the best smartphone all-rounder on the market – especially for fans of stylus-optimised UIs. It’s also one of the few IP68-rated phones without an external case. This translates to submersion in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. The Galaxy Note 10+ isn’t out until next week when it will cost you a minimum of $1699 to buy outright.

Here are the best available pre-order plans:

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