Do Waterproof Smartphones Live Up To The Hype?



Over the years, cell phones have become more and more expensive with the rise of waterproof smartphones . How it might have been safe in the past to jokingly push a friend in the pool, their phone would say otherwise now. Electronics have advanced to becoming all in one devices. We rely heavily on these all-in-ones for communication, taking photos, emails, browsing the web; basically everything. We keep entire photo albums all in one place, and don’t even second guess the possibility of losing absolutely everything in one splash.

Considering the amount of birthday parties around swimming pools, vacations near water fronts and typical kitchen mishaps, water damaging your iPhone or smartphone is bound to happen for some. If there’s a problem, then there is a market to fix that problem. Case makers such as Otterbox and LifeProof have developed specific cases to help prevent these issues. The “waterproof” cases even promote the use of submerging your phone under water. There goes the worry of losing those precious pictures of a family get together or birthday party. No more hesitation to take your phone with you on the trip to the beach.


With this advantage also comes the possibility of user error. The manufacturer of the cases can only do so much to design a waterproof case, offer instructions on how to attach the case to your device and expect the customer to read said instructions prior to installation. It relies on the person who is installing the case to know the limitations of this case. How deep does the case allow your phone to go before it risks the possibility of water leaking inside? Is the case installed well enough to test? If you happen to test the case for the first time and experience a manufacture defect, then what? Much is to be considered on the contrast of protecting your phone in a waterproof casing.

Not everyone likes the fit of a case on their sleek new phone they just dished out all their hard earned money on. Smartphone makers such as Samsung and Sony are attempting to answer the call for a durable phone when it comes to liquid damage. This introduces the potential to eliminate the opportunity of user error from a waterproof case, right? Not necessarily.

One of the better known devices among a waterproof smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. The S4 active is marketed to be a rugged device that is waterproof, dustproof, drop proof; basically an all around sturdy device leaving an extra protective case for the phone unnecessary. Another device making an entry into the same waterproof market is the Sony Xperia Z. Unlike the S4 active, the Sony Xperia Z is marketed only to be waterproof and dustproof. Sony has claimed that the Xperia Z can remain fully submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. While the S4 Active doesn’t have claims to keep your phone under water for long periods of time, it does offer camera options for underwater pictures. Aqua, which is a new mode in the Galaxy S4 Active camera that is specific for your phone to take pictures while underwater, this mode can currently only be found on the S4 Active.


Purchasing a waterproof phone provokes the thought, do you want to push your expensive device to the limit? How far do you want to push the capabilities of the resistance this phone has to water? From personal experience, here at uBreakiFix, we have already had plenty of customers who have not only water damaged their S4 Active phone, but also shattered the glass on the front display. Obviously when the glass display becomes damaged, it compromises the ability of the phone remaining waterproof. However, most of the S4 Active’s that were water damaged had no damage to the front glass. How these became water damaged isn’t entirely known. User error, manufacturers defect; it’s hard to say exactly per case. Our experience isn’t alone. Managers and employees of AT&T have also told us many stories regarding customers water damaging the S4 Active within days of owning the device. Clearly when customers purchase this device, they plan to put it to use and test the boundaries of it’s protection against water.

The question to consumers, smartphone makers, and casemakers will remain; is this the future of smartphone technology? Will this be a trend that is here to stay and become just another staple to what is already an obvious option among popular brands of smartphones? Or is this simply a fad that will die off? Weigh your options, consider your choices, or keep your phone out of the risk of water damage in the first place. Please let us know what you think in the comments below and stay dry!

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