When summer days come knocking, so-called “waterproof” phones have been a recurring trend in in the mobile phone sales over the last few years. But should you buy into the ideas that a mobile phone, a condensed device of technologies and electronic components could really as fit as a gold fish in plain water? In this article, we try to establish whether such a purchase makes senses or not with 4 things to consider prior buying a waterproof smartphone.
1 – You will pay more for a waterproof smartphone
It’s no surprised that the “waterproof” feature on smartphones come at the cost with price-tags varying between $729 and $1350 (US) as of writing (May 2021). The feature is kind of brand new and is presented as some sort of a breakthrough at this time. Therefore, brands are capitalizing on this newness factor, as they should. But what worth wondering here, is whether or not all that added glue (because really, it just comes down to that) is worth the extra premium on the price of your new phone.
2 – A waterproof smartphone isn’t… really waterproof
So, as mentioned about, waterproofness of such of smartphone relies on… glue. Yes, that revolutionary invention is actually pretty old (by milleniums, actually)! And the way the whole thing is made possible by phone-makers is by adding sealant around buttons, ports, speakers and any other parts exposed to Earth’s elements. You have to keep in mind that, no matter how
advanced electronics technology gets, it still relies on circuits and processors that need power to operate. Basically these are pretty exposed by nature to the harms of… nature. And water in particular.
That’s why the whole trend is sometimes called a lie by consumer groups. To make things worse, in the early days of the technology (back in 2010) there was no nuance to-be-made as soon as a brand would market their devices as waterproof. The advertising should show phones floating in pools, sinking deep in the ocean and so on, and it was t-be-assume that it was true! You could take your smartphone and pitch into deep water… Just because you could!
Fortunately over the years, consumer groups and specialized media has brought this craze to some sort of reason by establishing that devices could only cope with a certain level of exposure to water and humidity until dying off. Like Samsung, Sony has faced the chance of compensating consumers over the claim the Xperia phone was waterproof. Today, as far as advertising goes, phone-makers are only claiming that phones can cope with up a certain amount of time in water and up to a given depth as well. Yet, few of them are called “water- resistant” (as they should) and most are still defined as “waterproof”.
3 – That waterproof smartphone won’t last
So we know by now that what makes these smartphones cope with water is glue. But that prompt to think about the durability of this (for lack of a better word) technology. Indeed, adhesive for itself doesn’t cope very well with heat, friction and exposure to chlorine, sand or salt. Therefore, the lifespan of that layer of protected within the device is highly questionable. Actually, overall wear and tear from everyday will affect the quality of sealings overtime.
Some manufacturers like Apple have switched to some higher quality sealant like silicon. But again, there is the question of humidity, condensation that forms in-between the device, and how each component react chemistically to corrosive agents. To that sense, maybe rice is the next big thing in making phones waterproof? … Irony here. Never plunge your smartphone into a bowl of rice.
4 – Consider good accessories instead
A better way to insure that your phone is properly protected the next time you go by the water is by equipping it with the right accessories: like case and watertight pockets and bags. Also, if you don’t absolutely need your phone the next time you go dip your toes into the water, just leave it safe and go enjoy the water by yourself. Your phone will be grateful.
Whatever the brand, whatever the specifications, and whether the sealing being glue, silicon (or rice…), it is very important to keep in mind that your smartphone can only cope with water so much until it doesn’t anymore. Water and electronic components are no good friends and nothing can change that. It’s just the plain nature of things. As a result, the specification of a new phone being “waterproof” is far less important than any other of its features. Meaning, there is fewer sense for this particular criteria being at the top of your list when choosing a new smartphone. Alternatively, a smarter choice is having the set of protecting accessories wrapped up around the device to protect it.