Best water-resistant smartphones

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.

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32 Comments

1. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Xperia z2 z1c z1 z and zr for the win.

26. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

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

27. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Go team xperia

2. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Mmmmm Bear Grylls...

28. nexusdude

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

That sounds creepy...

3. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

LOL the face of a phony.

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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?

6. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

sometimes the flaps can pop out without the users noticing them

12. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 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.

13. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

15. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

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

21. billgates

Posts: 555; Member since: May 29, 2014

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

22. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

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.

29. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

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

30. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

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.

25. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

5. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

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

8. Randy_g

Posts: 70; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

I like gpe and sonys ui

14. WahyuWisnu

Posts: 1001; Member since: May 29, 2014

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

7. guzza

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 06, 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.

9. Randy_g

Posts: 70; Member since: Jul 10, 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

10. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

11. na7noo7

Posts: 278; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

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

16. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 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,..

17. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

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

36. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Waterproof Xperia devices usually includes Wet Finger Tracking that allows you to use the touch screen by discerning between your fingers and small drops of water... I can use my Acro S on the shower even if its cover with droplets as long as they don't get bigger than say, 3mm... when they do, I wipe the phone with a nearby towel and continue to use. CAT phones also include this tech

18. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

And the active variants of Samsung to never get updates!

23. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

S4 Active is running 4.4.2 KitKat...dot.

19. josephnero

Posts: 779; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Z2 FTW

20. Symon_Fleece

Posts: 351; Member since: May 30, 2014

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

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