If you have a waterproof smartphone, you can use it in a variety of settings without losing peace of mind. You can even take underwater pictures — but even if you don’t want to take it snorkeling, you can get it wet without having to worry about replacing it. Even when you buy warranty replacement coverage, you can still end up having to pay $150 or even more as a deductible to get your new phone, so a waterproof device can be your best bet.
There were more choices in terms of waterproof phones in 2014 than in 2015, because Samsung took the waterproof covering off the Galaxy S6. However, there are still five attractive choices available going into 2016 that provide you with some flexibility. Before we look at those, though, it’s important to note the difference between “waterproof” and “water-resistant.” A phone that is “water-resistant” can deal with it if you splash it while washing dishes or while it’s sitting next to the pool. A “waterproof” phone can be underwater for up to half an hour as deep as six feet of water. Knowing that difference can be crucial when choosing your new phone.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
This is a more heavy duty version of the standard Galaxy S6. You can take it as far as five feet underwater for as long as thirty minutes. This protects your phone if you accidentally keep it in your pocket when you go swimming or if you drop it into the bathtub. You can take it to the beach or the swimming pool without worrying about getting it wet. The design is also sturdy enough to earn it a military-grade IP68 rating that describes its ability to deal with extremes in heat, vibration and humidity as well as dust and shock. So you can drop this out of your pocket without worrying about what will happen when it hits the floor. A lot of waterproof smartphones don’t offer as many features as the regular versions, but the Galaxy S6 Active is an exception, with a 5.1-inch Quad HD display, 32 GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. The rear camera has 16MP, and the front camera has 5MP. The battery is also one of the longer lasting in the waterproof segment of the market.
iPhone 6 with LifeProof
You can’t buy an iPhone that is waterproof all by itself. However, the LifeProof case allows you to hold it as far down as 6 1/2 feet underwater, and there are three different LifeProof case choices that provide different choices. For $79.99 you can buy the LifeProof Fre, which has a screen protector and offers basic waterproof protection. For $89.99 you can get the LifeProof Nuud. Tis leaves the iPhone 6 screen completely visible while still keeping the phone waterproof. For $129, you can get the LifeProof Fre Power which also offers an extended battery. All three of these cases come in a variety of colors.
Samsung Galaxy S5
If you have a limited budget or you just need an extra smartphone that can hold off water damage, the Galaxy S5, which came out in 2014, is water-resistant. You can drop it into three feet for a short amount of time, and it’s a good phone to use while sitting around the hot tub or the pool, as well as at the beach. However, using the camera underwater doesn’t yield good results. The back does come off, which means you can put in a new battery. The HD display functions even when you are wearing gloves. You can pick this up for free on contract.
Sony Xperia Z4v
Verizon is offering service on the Sony Xperia Z4v, which is not only waterproof but also can play games for the PS4. The camera has a robust 20.7MP and an actual shutter button, making it a little easier and quicker to take pictures. The phone runs on Android Lollipop and features a 5.2 inch HD display. Pairing a PS4 controller to the phone lets you stream the games from the console to your phone, and the audio is high resolution. The phone comes with Quick Charge 2.0 for dual wireless charging support and a shorter charging time.
Are you looking for a rugged phone? This does fit the bill – and it’s waterproof. However, it is an older model that doesn’t have all of the features of the competition. That’s one thing that you run into with tougher phones – they don’t come out as often. However, if you don’t want a case and want a phone that you can drop into six feet of water without worrying, this phone can last half an hour in those conditions.