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Sink or swim: The right way to use your waterproof smartphone

Tony Ibrahim | Sept. 3, 2015
The ACCC has put smartphone makers on notice for boldly advertising products as ‘waterproof’. Manufacturers are in part to blame for hiding relevant info in the fine print, but let’s not burn them at the stake for making smartphones resistant to some of the elements. Doing so could stunt progression in the industry as the fear of consumer backlash would outweigh the drive to innovate.

Finding this information involves going to the source. Buried in the fine print of Motorola’s website is the exact circumstances in which this smartphone can tolerate water. It reads:

“Designed to withstand immersion in up to 3 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes provided the back cover is properly sealed. Not designed to work while submerged underwater. Do not use while swimming, or subject it to pressurised streams of water. Not dust-proof.”

Sony’s flagship range of smartphones and tablets often have two IP ratings. The Xperia Z4 Tablet, which went on sale yesterday, has an IP65 and IP68 rating. The constant in both of these ratings has to do with the ‘IP6’, which asserts the slate is dustproof.

The IP65 rating protects it “against low-pressure water jet spray for at least 3 minutes,” while the IP68 rating certifies it can be used in freshwater 1.5-metres deep for 30 minutes.

Every smartphone will have a paragraph, if not a dedicated webpage, detailing its precise waterproof credentials. Be sure to check it out before exposing it to the elements, or if you can, before buying the smartphone altogether.

And, finally...

Go through the routine checklist before exposing your smartphone to the elements. Make sure the back cover is on tightly and that all the seals protecting the ports are closed properly.

Some people may have dropped their smartphone and caused damage to the chassis. If there is a bulge or a gap in the chassis, then there’s a good chance that waterproof design can be breached by amorphous liquids.

Smartphone waterproofing has come a fair way in only a few years and no doubt it will continue to improve. Stick to the rules and it’ll be a blessing, making it possible to take photos of your children swimming in the pool or to answer an important call when hands are wet.

Forget them and the worst case can be realised: an unrepairable phone with a void warranty and the shackles of a long-term contract.

 

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