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Best water-resistant smartphones

Posted: , by Florin T.

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Best water-resistant smartphones
Most smartphone users seem to agree that water-resistance is a very important feature, or at least a nice extra capability. This probably explains the fact that we now have more water-resistant handsets than ever, including expensive, flagship models.

Sure enough, for folks wanting a phone that can withstand more than just submersion in water, truly rugged devices have been available for quite some time. But we’re not going to talk about them right now, because not many customers would buy one of those to be their everyday phone. 

What we are going to present you is a list of normal smartphones that are water-resistant. They’re not extra-bulky or extra-ugly, and don’t cost more than other devices in their price category. And we think they’re the best choices you have if you’re in need of a new smartphone that isn’t afraid of water.

In no particular order:

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony was the first major company to launch water-resistant flagship smartphones, starting with the Xperia Z from early 2013. The Z1 sequel was released not long after that, and now we have a second sequel: Xperia Z2, which is available in lots of markets since the first quarter of the year. The large, yet thin Xperia Z2 is IP58-certified, so water will never damage it - unless you submerge it at depths lower than several meters. With a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a powerful Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a good 20.7MP rear camera, the Xperia Z2 is seen by many as Sony’s best smartphone thus far. The handset is available in the US unlocked, for $699.

Sony Xperia Z2 Review.


Samsung Galaxy S5

Yep, Samsung’s 2014 flagship smartphone is on the list, too - and you probably aren't surprised to see it here. The Galaxy S5 is IP67-certified, meaning it’s better protected against dust than the Xperia Z2, but it can be submerged only in up to 1 meter of water, for no more than 30 minutes. The advantage of the Galaxy S5 is that it’s widely available, and most US mobile carriers are offering it (for prices from $199 on contract to $$649 without any agreement). Like Sony’s flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S5 offers a wide array of high-end features, plus some extras like fingerprint scanner, and heart rate monitor.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

We know: both the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 may be too large for some users. But the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is probably just perfect, size-wise, as it sports a 4.3-inch 720p display. Other than the smaller screen (and smaller overall dimensions), the Xperia Z1 Compact is a very capable handset. Its features include IP58-certification, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 20.7MP rear camera. The smartphone is sold unlocked in the US for $549.99.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

The Galaxy S5 Active ditches the fingerprint scanner of the original S5, but adds a sturdier case around its internals. Thus, the handset is shock-proof, in addition to being water-resistant (IP67-certified). Behind its rugged appearance, the Galaxy S5 Active is still an S5, so it costs $199 on contract, or $659.99 sans agreement. The smartphone is available exclusively at AT&T.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Review.


Kyocera Hydro Vibe / Hydro Icon

Kyocera’s been making water-resistant smartphones for years. The Hydro Vibe is one of its latest offerings, being available in the US via Sprint and Virgin Mobile. It’s certainly not a high-end device, but that’s why it’s offered for free with a 2-yr Sprint contract, or for $149.99 off-contract at Virgin Mobile. The handset is IP57-certified, and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Other features: LTE, a 4.5-inch qHD display, 8MP rear camera, quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, and microSD card support. A different-looking version of the Hydro Vibe, called Hydro Icon, is available at Boost Mobile.


Kyocera Hydro Elite

Released by Verizon last year, the Kyocera Hydro Elite was (and still is) promoted by Bear Grylls - that’s him in the first photo of this article, carrying a Hydro Elite. The smartphone runs Android Jelly Bean, and is IPX7-cetified. That aside, it offers a 4.3-inch 720p display, LTE, dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB of expandable internal memory. The Hydro Elite is free with a 2-yr Verizon contract agreement, but costs $349.99 off-contract.

Kyocera Hydro Elite Review.

31 Comments
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posted on 27 Jul 2014, 22:36 22

1. techperson211 (Posts: 710; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Xperia z2 z1c z1 z and zr for the win.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:31 4

26. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6727; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


All the XPERIA Z models win. includes the Z TABLET.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:48 2

27. akki20892 (Posts: 3652; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Go team xperia

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 22:40

2. Birds (Posts: 1027; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


Mmmmm Bear Grylls...

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 10:36 5

28. nexusdude (Posts: 151; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


That sounds creepy...

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 22:42 1

3. GreekGeek (Posts: 845; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


LOL the face of a phony.

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 22:58 2

4. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3715; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Are any of these phones really water resistant like they advertise? I've heard too many horror stories about people getting their "waterproof" phones wet and ruining them.

It would seem Sony's design is superior to Samsung's for water resistance as there is no fussy back cover to place exactly right. But does the Sony have other issues?

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:30 2

6. kent-gaga (Posts: 118; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


sometimes the flaps can pop out without the users noticing them

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 00:01 8

12. Miracles (Posts: 560; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)


That is hardly an issue. You have to close them securely. And the only port that is constantly being opened is headphone jack.

I have had my xperia z for 1.5 years and I have washed it under tapwater every week to clean it off and it still works flawlessly.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 00:11 8

13. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3715; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Thanks. This is good to know. With Sony's recent support for easily unlocking their bootloaders, the Z2 looks like a great overall phone.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 01:38 1

15. ManusImperceptus (Posts: 683; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)


Perfect excuse to get a bluetooth headset...! :-)

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 05:34 2

21. billgates (banned) (Posts: 555; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Also with the z2 or z1 there isn't a flap for headphones

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 07:32 1

22. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1184; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


My sister has a Samsung S5 and she likes it. But recently her phone became wet because of the rain and the S5 kept saying headset connected/disconnected. Only after a minor dry with a hairdryer (hers not mine ;)) it stopped. There is no flap on the headphone jack btw.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 13:00 1

29. tacarat (Posts: 213; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)


It stopped with the error or stopped working? Usually a good shake is needed to get the water out of the jack.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 13:08 1

30. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1184; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


It stopped with the error, sorry for the confusion. Perhaps she had just some bad luck, but I read that it happened with several users. I don't think it's a biggy, since it was solved (and would have solved itself when it dried up by itself). Just a bit of a nuisance.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:06 3

25. buccob (Posts: 1556; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I have been very careful but I have 1 year and 6 months with my Xperia Acro S and is still pretty much waterproof... even after constant submersion to pools and sea water, and many falls to hard floor.

What I usually do before taking it to the pool or beach, I apply some dielectric grease to the rubber inside the flaps.

Definitely getting another waterproof Xperia after this one.

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:18 11

5. fzacek (Posts: 2194; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


I wish there was a Google Play Edition Sony Xperia Z2. That would be an awesome phone...

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:33 5

8. Randy_g (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Jul 2014)


I like gpe and sonys ui

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 00:20 5

14. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Sony launcher is very light weight, and very close to nexus launcher. Or you could rooting the Z2, or install other launcher

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:31 12

7. guzza (Posts: 15; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


I've been using my Xperia Z for almost 2 years now and I find absolutely no reason to replace it, even if it was the Z2, although I've been thinking about it a lot. The quality of the build is just unbelievably good. I've submerged it in a swimming pool, threw it around at home (With a TPU bumper) charge & recharged it several times a day for almost everyday since I've owned it and still its running extremely well. Until I got the Xperia Z, I've never thought Sony made such good phones. The Xperia Z has turned me into a Sony fans.

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:38 1

9. Randy_g (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Jul 2014)


I was going to get the 1+ 1 but its big so I'm going for the xperia z1s but I hear it scratches very easily

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 23:50

10. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3715; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Yep. I believe the Z2 is the first Sony screen that doesn't have the built-in plastic screen protector. The glass back can also scratch fairly easily, but a slim case is good enough to protect the phone.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 00:00 1

11. na7noo7 (Posts: 274; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)


Xperia Z2, Z1 compact, and Galaxy S5 Active (because the S5 is ugly) for the win.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 01:50 1

16. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)


Took a galaxy s5 to shower what I noticed the phone is not functional when wet(screen). don't know why it's like this but I'll try it again,..

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 03:18 2

17. fzacek (Posts: 2194; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


That's normal. The water conducts electricity like your fingers so you can't use the phone when wet...

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 03:39 2

18. LikeMyself (Posts: 302; Member since: 23 Sep 2013)


And the active variants of Samsung to never get updates!

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 08:39

23. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)


S4 Active is running 4.4.2 KitKat...dot.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 03:57 2

19. josephnero (Posts: 325; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


Z2 FTW

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 04:02 1

20. Symon_Fleece (Posts: 125; Member since: 30 May 2014)


Z2 is the best !!!!
And all the water-proof xperia-phones :)

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:03 2

24. jerrycutshaw (Posts: 28; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


Just bought my wife the Sony Z1 Compact. We immediately took it to the beach in florida. Took it in the pool and on the beach getting trounced by waves that would go over my head and never had an issue. We've tried the LG G2, HTC One, Galaxy S4, iPhone 5S and the Sony BY FAR takes the best pictures of all of them. For my wife its been the perfect phone. Small enough to fit in her feminine hands, good overall batter life, snappy and takes great pics. The water resistance is a bonus we didn't expect and love. A must have phone for a mom with kids. Also did I mention you can takes pics with this phone from a dedicated camera button? I've always bought flagship phones but I'm tempted to grab this lil guy because its simply too useful as a daily driver.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 18:52

31. Daytonadave17 (Posts: 54; Member since: 26 Oct 2013)


Hopefully nokia starts making theirs waterproof soon :)

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