After an almost unforgiving Summer, Indians look forward to the monsoon season. It not only brings much needed respite from the heat but is also the source for the crops to flourish. However, there’s a lot more to the Indian Monsoon. Famous author Khushwant Singh described it well, when he wrote:
To know India and her peoples, one has to know the monsoon. It is not enough to read about it in books, or see it on the cinema screen, or hear someone talk about it.
And even though it might be a good season to romanticise and rejoice on beaches, it is perhaps the worst season for your gadgets. Any liquid damage to your smartphone can cause it to stop working or introduce a plethora of glitches. However, smartphone makers haven’t been oblivious to our predicament. They’ve released quite a few water resistant and waterproof smartphones in India in 2017, and even in the past.
We’ve shortlisted the top smartphones with some amount of water protection, from the really premium ones to the most affordable. But first, let’s understand what the Ingress Protection (IP) rating is all about
What is IP rating?
The International Protection (IP) or Ingress Protection is a code that signifies the degree of protection that a device has to offer. For smartphones, the IP rating is used to show exactly how much water (or any liquid damage) can the phone survive. Just a splash, a dunk in a shallow pool or just about anything? That can be judged by looking at the number against the IP Rating.
The chart above explains exactly what do the numbers signify, for protection against dust and water. The first signifies how well a device is protected against dust with 0 being no protection and 6 being fully dust proof. The second digit signifies protection against water with similar levels from 0 to 9.
1. Apple iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
Apple’s newest iPhone has finally embraced the added protection that premium smartphones deserve. With no headphone jack there are now fewer ports where water can make its way into the guts of the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus. CNET even dunked the newest iPhone in a swimming pool and it survived without so much as a squeak.
So if it’s a premium phone with great protection against our Indian monsoon you seek, there are very few better than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.IP Rating: 67
2. Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
Korean giants Samsung have done well to put the nightmare of the Galaxy Note 7 behind them and re-invigorate the interest in their smartphones with the beautifully designed S8 and S8+. And even though it has a headphone jack, its IP rating is still higher than its Apple rival.
You can rest assured that using an S8 or S8+ in rains will not affect it. It’s built for it, although Android Central reported it might not be able to withstand other liquids.IP Rating: 68
3. LG G6
LG’s latest flagship has already seen a price drop in India to tempt you to consider it first. It sure is a great value for money device, considering it has a beautiful display, excellent camera and a pretty decent software experience too. To top that, it has the same IP rating as the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+.
And if you’re still unsure if you should invest in a flagship from LG, here’s renowned Tech YouTuber Michael Fischer arguing the pros of the G6 against the Galaxy S8.IP Rating: 68
4. Sony Xperia XZ
Sony has had its share of ups and downs in the smartphone market. But they’ve never been criticised for their sturdy build or design, on smartphones. Which is why we recommend you taking a look at the Xperia XZ, their latest flagship which has the same IP ratings as its Android rivals mentioned above. In my own testing of Sony smartphones of the past, I’ve had no complains of water seeping into any port and causing damage.
Even though Sony claims these IP ratings are solid, DIY YouTuber JerryRigEverything found that the internals of this Sony phone aren’t covered with the same materials found on Samsung and Apple phones. So that’s something to be a bit concerned about.IP Rating: 68
5. Google Pixel & Pixel XL
Google’s very own Pixel and Pixel XL have the least IP rating on paper: a mere 53. That might feel like a big difference but in practical use, it might not be such a big deal. I’ve seen plenty of water test videos where the Google Pixel was splashed and dunked in water. It managed to survive all such tests without any setbacks although we’d recommend being a bit careful in pouring rains, if you do pick the Pixel.
The reason? Because there is no mention of protective coating on the innards of the Google Pixel from teardown experts iFixit. But hey, timely Android OS updates for a little bit of extra care is worth the trade-off, right?IP Rating: 53
6. Moto Z2 Play
Motorola were once leaders in making phones with sturdy builds. But now they are part of Lenovo and not quite the same. However, for the midrange price they ask of you, their products are decent value for money. The Moto Z2 Play is a solid choice to go for, however the protection from rainfall is only in the form of a nano coating on its display. No real IP rating to report here but hey, we’re trying to give options in every price segment.
So what exactly is this nano coating? It’s a layer of protection that can repel water, similar to materials you must’ve seen on certain cushion covers or in high-end cars. Does it work? Not as effectively as an IP 68 rated smartphone but still much better than no protection at all.IP Rating: Nano-coating
7. Moto E3 Power
For those looking at the budget segment, the options are few and thin. Of all the phones in the market in the sub Rs. 15,000 price range, we can only recommend one. That’s the Moto E3 Power with its nano coating. The same arguments we’ve made for the Z2 Play also applies to this device.
It also happens to have an excellent battery powering it. Which is just as well as you might find yourself stranded in some cases when the rain gods don’t cease to bless us with their offering.IP Rating: Nano-coating