As you probably know, mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, watches etc. are very delicate by their nature. Sometimes all it takes is a small amount of liquid and you have to say goodbye to your brand new device you have been enjoying for so long. What a shame… In order to reduce the risk of the device’s premature death, more and more manufacturers make their products water-resistant or even waterproof. Both terms sound very similar and at first thought seem pretty self-explanatory. But do we really know their meaning and what is the difference?
What means waterproof and water resistant.
In their essence both water-resistant and waterproof are almost identical and mean that an object shouldn’t suffer damage when it comes in contact with water. The key difference is the amount of water that may cause damage. Let’s discuss the terms one by one.
Water resistance means that a device can survive contact with small amounts of water for a limited period of time. For example, a smartphone should still work just fine when you take it out to make a call in the rain. A few drops of H2O on display shouldn’t cause any problems either. Water resistance may be the result of a water repellent coating that pushes the liquid away from sensitive elements. Waterproof, on the other hand, means that a device, or any other object for that matter, can withstand total immersion in water without any damage whatsoever.
Water resistance is determined by IP or Ingress Protection Code which distinguishes 9 levels of liquid ingress protection, with level 9 indicating complete protection. As an example let’s take the Sony Xperia Z Ultra which is rated IP58. The first digit signifies high level of solid particle protection. In other words, it means that the Xperia Z Ultra is dustproof. The second digit refers to liquid ingress protection. Level 8 means that the phone or tablet is waterproof and can take a dive in 1.5 meter of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.
As you can see, it is very important to understand IP rating and difference between waterproof and water resistant which can save your phone or tablet from premature death. For example, Archos CEO Loic Poirier just took the lesson in a hard way while demonstrating at Mobile World Congress how durable Archos Quenchua smartphone is and… killing it in the end. He sink it’s water resistant phone in a jar filled up of water and apparently the poor handset had taken all it could handle and died leaving surprised CEO in embarrassed situation.
Archos CEO just took the lesson…
The Archos Quenchua was designed with active users in mind, especially those who like hiking, biking or mountain climbing. The CEO must have assumed that since it’s the Quenchua, it can withstand any kind of rough treatment. But can it really? The phone survived a drop to the floor all right, but then came another test.
Poirier put the device in a glass container and filled it up with water. A few seconds later the phone was pronounced dead on scene. Can you guess why? The answer is IP rating. Apparently, Poirier didn’t do his homework, because if he did, he would have known that the 5″ Quenchua phone was rated at IP54 meaning high resistance against dust, but as far as water is concerned, the device can’t take more than splashing.
Even though there was one casualty while filming the demo, the look of total astonishment on Poirier’s face was priceless. It’s safe to assume that from now on the CEO will carefully check IP rating of every single device before taking it for a swim. We recommend you to do that the same before you head to the beach.