Consumer electronics like smartphones and wearables are getting deeply rooted in our every day and full-day routines. If you are accident-prone like me and even if you aren’t, we spend a lot on our much loved and ultimately personal devices, for that you definitely expect the device to withstand the test of time and keep on giving its best daily. Well, who doesn’t want a more durable smartphone or wearable and don’t lose faith, people because your favourite technology companies are listening.
There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about major flagships being IP67/IP68 certified or something like that. Have you ever found yourself looking at a new smartphone or wearable, wondering just what that IP68 rating means? How does that affect you as a potential customer or user? Does it differ from an IP67 rating? If so, how?
Can I use my IP67 or IP68 devices while swimming?
The iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2 are IP67 certified, which is similar to the original Apple Watch. The Samsung Galaxy S8 meanwhile, is IP68 certified. What do these things mean, and which is best? Of course, It has something to do with water and dust resistance, If that’s so will the iPhone 7 and 8 owners will be going swimming and take some cool marine photos maybe? Or maybe a glass of water on your smartphone would plunge you into the journey towards smartphone service stores, well not so fast pal. Let’s find out what that IP rating means and how it compares to others out there.
What is IP Rating in smartphones?
IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and is an International standard developed to specify the levels or degree of protection that the device possesses from water and dust. In simple terms, ‘Ingress’ or ‘Entering’ capacity of your device is defined by an IP rating, signifying the degree to which your smartphone is capable of handling dust and water poured on it or if it is immersed into some.
IP rating is of the from IPXX, where the last two digits vary with the degree of protection available. For example, IP67.
Let’s go into some more details, shall we?
In our example, the first digit after IP specifies the resistance or capacity to deal with dust and the second digit states the level of resistance to water. As of now, there are maximum 6 levels of protection from dust and 8 levels of protection from water as stated below.
IP Chart for Dust Resistance Levels
|IP Rating||Protection Level|
|IP0X||No special protection from dust.|
|IP1X||Protection against solid|
|IP2X||Protection against solid objects greater than 12.5mm in diameter|
|IP3X||Protection against solid objects greater than 2.5mm in diameter|
|IP4X||Protection against solid objects greater than 1mm in diameter|
|IP5X||Protection from Dust but some penetration may be there (no harmful deposits).|
|IP6X||Complete Protection from Dust. Totally Sealed unit.|
*Here the X is a placeholder for any number from 1 to 8 that is used to denote IP rating for fresh water.
IP rating for waterproof phones are specified only for fresh water that includes rain water, lake water, river water etc.. It is not applicable to saline water.
IP Chart for Water Resistance Levels
|IP Rating||Protection Level|
|IPX0||No special protection from water|
|IPX1||Protection against dripping water|
|IPX2||Protection against dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees from the normal position.|
|IPX3||Protection against spraying water|
|IPX4||Protection against splashing water|
|IPX5||Protection against low-pressure water jet spray for at least 3 minutes|
|IPX6||Protection against heavy jet spray for at least 3 minutes.|
|IPX7||Protection against the effects of immersion of device at depths of up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.|
|IPX8||Protection against the effects of continued immersion of the device in water at depths greater than 1 meter. The exact conditions are specified for each device by the phone manufacturer.|
*Here the X is a placeholder for any number from 1 to 6 that is used to denote IP rating for dust particles or solids.
IP68 vs IP67 Comparison
In terms of dust resistance, both IP68 and IP67 fall under the category of IP6X and are fully protected from dust, like a completely sealed box.
But there is a difference in terms of water resistance, IP67, is protected against damages/effects of immersion of the phone up to a depth of maximum 1 meter for 30 minutes, while IP68 rating is protected against the effects of continued immersion of device in water for depth greater than a meter. For IP68, the exact conditions are specified by the manufacturer of the smartphone,
So, What is the best IP Rating?
The maximum and the best IP rating you can get on your device is IP68. Any device you come across with an IP68 rating, stay assured! The device is completely resistant to dust and is protected against water to depths of up to 1 meter. Samsung Galaxy S8 and Motorola Moto X4 are some of the IP68 rated devices in the market.
And, isn't there something like IPX7?
Well, you know it all about IP ratings now, don’t you have a hunch about this. Yeah, you got it right. IPX7 means that the device is protected against immersion in water up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes and no protection against dust particles. One of the very popular IPX7 devices is the original Apple Watch, well isn’t that a beauty? yet every beauty has its flaws.
For the Apple Watch, which is IPX7 certified, Cupertino boys say:
“Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended.”
That’s all changed with the Apple Watch 2, which has a resistance rating of 50 metres underwater. That’s great, Apple.
So, What does IP certification mean in real-life scenarios?
All it means is that your iPhone 7/8 can be submerged in depths of under 1m for 30 minutes and won’t sustain any damages. If it doesn’t? go take a bite at the Apple Service.
And it also means that you can essentially take a bath while using your Samsung Galaxy S7/S8 and it will work just as fine or If your kid wants to take revenge on you by putting your IP67/68 rated device in the toilet, don’t worry, just smile and get it out of there and make peace with the kid or If you jump in the pool with your device still in your pocket there is a much greater chance it’ll survive. This applies to every smartphone or device claiming to be IP67/68 certified.
Some popular IP certified smartphones in the market
IP68 Certified Smartphones in India
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Motorola Moto X4
- Sony Xperia XZ1
- LG V30
- LG G6
- Motorola Moto Z2 Play
IP67 Certified Smartphones in India
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7
- HTC U11
- Huawei Mate 10
- Google Pixel 2
Somethings to STILL Keep in Mind
Water resistance testing is subjected to fresh water; saline water can have an altogether different effect on the smartphone. Beware! your IP-rated smartphone isn’t guaranteed to handle saline/Ocean water quite well enough. So don’t try your odds by going into the ocean with your smartphone.
There are some devices in the market which require you to cover ports (headphone jack, charging, etc) to ensure that the water doesn’t make it into the body. Temperature is also a major factor, too hot or cold temperatures could affect your smartphone very severely. So again, avoid carrying your device into saunas, steam rooms or into artic ice caps for that matter. Oh, and try to avoid pressing hard buttons on your smartphones such as Volume rockers and power/sleep, as every time a button gets pressed, it makes room for water to seep in. These points are for some extra cautious people, who definitely love their devices more than anything else.
In the end, we won’t recommend you to put your prestigious devices worth thousands at risk by trying out how much resistant it is to water. IP-ratings are meant to protect you and your smartphone from unintentional acts, accidents and special circumstances. These are electronic devices after all, and water is not a friend. Please take care of your devices and they’ll perform at their A-Game.
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