The truth about water resistance

September 11, 2015

You might be excited by the ‘water resistant’ attribute for your Galaxy S5 and S6, but it’s not at all what you might think. In fact, just a few days ago my S5 got ‘water damage’, which is what the folks at the Samsung store told me. And what’s more, my warranty doesn’t cover water damage! Which I think is just hugely hypocritical. Actually, it turns out the fault lies mainly on myself, given that it is rated IP67.

So, what is IP rating?

Well, simply, it’s a rating for how resistant a device is to both dust and water. The first two initials, IP, stand for Ingress Protection, a measure invented by the International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC, to determine the degree of protection. The initials are followed by two digits, the first for dust protection and the second for water. Dust resistance is scaled from 1-6 and water from 1-9. So when my S5 is rated IP67, this means it’s fully dust proof and good at water resistance, not completely water resistant. That’s why my phone got water damage.

IP67 only assures your device’s safety from water damage if submerged in water for 30 minutes and only in water up to 1 meter. The deeper in the water you go, the less time you can leave it there.

This got me to thinking, what is it all about, these time and depth limits? Turns out, water pressure is the devil in the details. However much the folks at Samsung try to seal all the ports using rubber seals at the USB and micro-SIM ports, water is likely to enter if it’s ‘strong’ enough. This means the stronger the water current, the less chances your device will survive.

I had had the habit of washing my phone under a faucet, instead of wiping the phone. The pressure of water from a faucet is way higher than the device can handle, which was probably the reason the device was damaged. Some people have also been known to shower with their phones, which is also risky, although it all depends on the pressure of the water.

Keep this in mind

Samsung hasn’t allowed you to do ‘stupid’ stuff with your phone, merely just a safeguard in case you’re in a wet situation. Which means dropping your phone in the toilet or in the pool won’t damage your phone, but anything more is risky.

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