12 waterproof phones you’ll want right now – CNET


Reason No. 297 why waterproof phones are handy.

Luke Westaway/CNET

A few years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find an elegant, premium phone that was also waterproof. Aside from Sony’s Xperia phones, most waterproof phones were clunky-looking with mid-tier specs. 

These days, however, most high-end flagships come with some level of protection against water. In addition to the recently announced iPhones from Apple, Samsung and LG both have waterproof marquee handsets that satisfy the IP67 (or higher) standard.

With so many companies diving into this feature, waterproofing may soon become an industry standard, and gone forever are the days that mere water-resistant coatings and seals were exclusive to bulky, rugged phones. Instead, it may be soon come down to how much more protected one device is over another. (Get a deeper dive on IP ratings and what they mean for waterproof gadgets.)

If your phone can’t take a dip in a pool, companies such as P21 and HzO make coatings that go way beyond the military spec for 30 minutes and three feet of water — in fact, way back at MWC 2014, we saw a treated handset submerged for an hour and a half.

Until every phone is water-friendly, we’re looking forward to the day we can all go to the beach, pool parties, rafting trips and water parks without fearing for our handsets (or triple-wrapping them in plastic baggies). In the meantime, here are 12 splash-sustaining phones that have impressed us.

Editors’ note: This post updates whenever swim-friendly phones surface. It was originally published August 6, 2013.


The X is the most advanced and expensive iPhone to date.

James Martin/CNET

Apple iPhone X

As a shakeup to Apple’s whole iPhone lineup, the tenth-anniversary iPhone X is a standout in many ways. It has a larger, 5.8-inch OLED display, super-slim bezels and optical image stabilization on both its dual rear-cameras. But all these fancy features come at a high price and with a starting price of $999 in the US, £999 in the UK and AU$1,579 in Australia, it’s the most expensive iPhone yet. Read the iPhone X hands-on.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

The S8 Active can survive a dunk and a hard drop.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

If you want a premium phone that can endure more than just water, consider the S8 Active. As a rugged version of the S8 (see below), this phone is has a metal body, is shock resistant and has a higher-capacity 4,000mAh battery (compared to the S8’s 3,000mAh). Unfortunately, it’s only available in the US with the carrier AT&T for now at about $850. Read the Galaxy S8 Active review.

LG V30

The V30 is LG’s best-looking phone in recent memory.

Sarah Tew/CNET

LG V30

With its generous 6-inch screen, thin bezels, and two rear cameras (including a wide-angle lens), the V30 is LG’s most promising phone this season. But aside from hardware, it has a few software tricks up its sleeves too, like a handful of new video-recording tools, facial and voice recognition and a shortcut “Floating Bar” tab for your favorite apps and contacts. Read the V30 hands-on.

iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are sensible upgrades to last year’s iPhones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

As anticipated updates to last year’s pair of Apple flagships, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have a few upgrades you might want to consider. They have a new, steel-reinforced glass backing, better cameras with a new image signal processor and sensors and wireless charging. Sure, they’re not as flashy as the aforementioned X, but they are cheaper, starting at $699, £699 and AU$1,079 for the iPhone 8 and $799, £799 and AU$1,229 for the iPhone 8 Plus. Read the iPhone 8 review.


With its big screen and stylus pen, the Note 8 is the Android phone to beat.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (and S8 and S8 Plus)

Albeit pricey, the Galaxy Note 8 tops Samsung’s already excellent Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus with dual cameras and a boatload of stylus tricks. It’s the most feature-rich Android phone you can buy and is the ultimate Android phone for now. But if you’re not into its S Pen or large screen, consider the previously mentioned phones in this year’s Galaxy line. In addition to being pool-friendly like the Note 8, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus feature Samsung’s new digital assistant, Bixby, the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset from Qualcomm and facial unlocking. Read the Galaxy Note 8 review.


The G6 is one of the more affordable high-end phones.

Sarah Tew/CNET


Some may be bummed that the G6‘s waterproofing comes hand-in-hand with a nonremovable battery. But LG hopes that its slight bump in capacity (to 3,300mAh) and wireless charging feature (for US customers) will offset any disadvantages. Plus, it has two rear cameras, Google Assistant and a tall 5.7-inch display. Read the G6 review.


In addition to its sleek looks, the XZ Premium has super slow-motion video capture.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Though the XZ Premium‘s has a familiar design, it’s still an elegant-looking phone. It features a brilliant 4K display, a 19-megapixel camera with smooth, slow-motion video capture and a supercharged Snapdragon 835 processor. And because it satisfies IP68 standards, you can splash around the pool with it, and leave it submerged in up to 5 feet (or about 1.5 meters) of water for 30 minutes. Read the Xperia XZ Premium review.


Motorola’s affordable G series includes two water-friendly phones.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Motorola Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Though Lenovo ditched full water resistance for its latest, metal-clad Moto G5 Plus (that phone is “splash friendly” but you shouldn’t dunk it underwater), last year’s Moto G4 and G4 Plus can take a dive without any problems. The G4 Plus has a beefed-up camera (16-megapixel compared with the G4’s 13-megapixel) and a fingerprint reader, but both feature 5.5-inch displays and eight-core processors. Read the Moto G4 review.

This article also appears in Spanish. Read: 8 teléfonos resistentes al agua y las salpicaduras

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *