Avoiding That Sinking Feeling
I blurted out a cuss word and then hoped no-one had heard me. It was two years ago and I was in a restroom cubicle at work. I’d just watched my Galaxy smartphone slide off the toilet tank and fall into the commode. I did grab it quickly and remove the battery. Then when I got home, I put it in a bag of rice in our hot Texas garage.
The next day, it was working again, but the monitor app always reported an excessive electricity current drain and the battery life was terrible. Since then, I’ve always tried to buy models that have some water protection. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, for example, came with some waterproofing, but had a poorer screen than the regular S4. Then at one point, I switched to the Sony Xperia, though I never actually used it underwater (see the photo above). The Galaxy S5 was the first model in the regular model line to come with descent waterproofing, provided of course that users always obeyed the reminder graphic that prompted them to seal the data/charging port every time it was unplugged.
Until now, it’s always seemed strange to me that smartphones that are worth as much as my laptop computer, but much more prone to being dropped in the sink, have not been designed to survive a brief immersion in water. So, I’m now very happy with the new generation of smartphones on offer from Verizon Wireless and other carriers.
The S8 comes with a 5.8-inch screen, while the S8 Plus features a 6.2-inch screen. Both have Gorilla Glass 5 screens with very skinny bezels, making these phones still slim enough to be held in one hand. The data/charging port is sealed, so there is no port cover that requires to be closed to enable the waterproofing.
These days, phone waterproofing is defined by IEC/ANSI standards for ingress of particles and water into electrical devices. Samsung claims that the S8 has protection to IP68 standards. The digit 6 means that no dust whatsoever can penetrate the phone, while the digit 8 implies that the phone can withstand continuous immersion in water over 1 meter. Samsung actually quotes a maximum of 30 minutes at 1.5 meters (5 feet).
Like the Samsung S8, the LG G6 is also a beautiful phone. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, it has a slightly poorer performance than the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy, when measured in the lab, but few of us would notice. Both phones are also similar in that neither have removable batteries, and both have screen real-estate of 80% of the front face. The LG has “only” a 5.7-inch diagonal screen; however, it is a standard 16:9 aspect ratio, whereas the Samsung has an odd 18:9 aspect ratio that may add black bars left and right of some video content. Most important to me, the LG G6 claims IP67 and water resistance of up to 30 minutes at 1 meter in depth.
HTC used to be a leader in build quality, performance and even audio quality, but it took a hit with several unpopular models. HTC is hoping that the U11 will turn things around for the Taiwanese manufacturer. The U11 does not have the thin bezels or curved screens of the Samsung and LG, but it does have a punchy Snapdragon 835 processor, matched with 4GB of RAM – the same as the Galaxy S8. For reasons that perplex me, there is no 3.5mm audio jack. Instead the phone comes with micro-USB earbuds and a USB to 3.5mm adapter, both of which connect to the data/charging port. Like the Samsung and the LG, the HTC U11 comes with water resistance. In this case the waterproofing is specified as IP67 again, up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water.
I’m personally not concerned whether my next phone has IP67 or IP68 waterproofing, just as long as the next time I – or one of my kids – drop it in the sink, it will suffer no ill effects.
Want more information on the Samsung S8, LG G6, HTC U11, or any other Verizon products and services, please visit ConectUS Wireless at www.conectus.com.