How important is water resistance in smartphones? For some people, it is undoubtedly an indispensable feature. For others, it is a luxury. Water resistance can act as a built-in safe for smartphones, protecting your investment in case of an accident. But, as an insurance, it can come at a considerable cost. But is it really worth the water resistance?
What is a waterproof smartphone?
When we talk about waterproof smartphones, what we refer to are water resistant phones. The common waterproof definition is “waterproof”. Smart phones are not really waterproof, but they are water resistant under certain circumstances. What you may also be surprised to learn is that these circumstances can be quite specific.
The highest water resistance rating on a smartphone is IP68, which means that certified devices can survive in 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, although many manufacturers set their own testing parameters. This rating may evolve over time, and new types of resistance may emerge, but that does not mean that smartphones will become “immortal” to water damage.
This is because IP classifications are most often used only as a guide. It is not yet possible to leave your phone in a pond overnight and expect it to be fine the next morning, although these stories certainly exist, but if a phone is in the water for 31 minutes as opposed to 30 it is likely to still be well in accordance with the current water resistance.
However, even with water resistance as a specific property of your smartphone, there is no guarantee that it will survive water attacks in all circumstances. And even some phones that are not sold with an IP rating are quite resistant to water, which can make a marketing facing water resistance something irrelevant.
Costs of a Water Resistant Phone
Therefore, your phone is not waterproof, but with water resistance, it can survive liquid encounters that could ruin a non-water resistant device. The next question, then, is it worth it for both the manufacturer and you as a consumer?
Applying water resistance to a phone is believed to be expensive. Not simply thanks to the cost of bonding protective rubbers inside the device, but while developing the product with water resistance in mind. It is believed that water resistance will add 20% to 30% to the cost of your phones. The price, of course, will vary depending on the manufacturer, but they will always increase the production costs of the device.
Now, that does not mean that all water-resistant phones are more expensive than all non-waterproof phones. It simply means that you will pay more for the privilege of extra protection.
Before we go any further, consider that IP classifications do not cover underwater use. You are not paying a premium for fun, the benefit is merely concerned with protection in case of accidents. So if you want a waterproof device or you need to buy a cover for it or buy a device designed to be waterproof.
To try to contextualize the benefits of an IP rating in relation to its cost, let’s look at some numbers.
What are the chances that you need a waterproof smartphone?
In fact, it is quite difficult to find concrete data on the number of phones that have fallen into the water. It is not always reported to manufacturers and statistics are often provided by companies that have an interest in generating concern for users. With this in mind, the data available from the 3 most comprehensive surveys on the subject provide the following results:
- 10% chance of liquid damages
- 19% chance of liquid damages
- 30% chance of liquid damages
Based on the above findings: the chance of your phone getting damaged by the net is about 10% to 30%. Or, on average, 20%.
The price of the water-resistant smartphone
The price you pay for water resistance will depend on the phone. In a new smartphone, assuming an increase in production cost by 25%, this means that in a device of $ 1000 would have a cost of $ 250 for water resistance as a resource. Of course it is not an exact number, but it can give us an idea of how much we paid the most for the feature.
The cost of repairing your smartphone
Repairing a telephone with water damage is often expensive as it requires disassembly. An estimate puts the values between 1/4 to 1 minimum wage, but note that not all cases of water-damaged smartphones are repairable.
How to choose a waterproof smartphone?
The numbers indicate that there is a 20% chance that your phone becomes liquid damaged, and you can probably afford the value of the feature that offers this protection. And it is this chance of prevention that is crucial here: there is no guarantee that the device would be protected in any situation with present water. It is likely that he would survive by having something spilled on him, but he is not sure that this will happen. So you have the option of having a smartphone 20% more expensive, or having to pay 1/4 to 1 minimum wage to repair it, which can be up to more than half the cost of the smartphone, noting that maybe the device.
Adding water resistance may not only affect the costs of a device, but how it is used. The insulation of a phone can affect its size, thickness, weight and perhaps the audio quality of its speakers. There are third-party waterproofing technologies that you can add to a device like waterproof covers, and may be cheaper solutions than pay more for a water-resistant smartphone.
What we describe here is based on estimates using a variety of sources. There is no definitive answer to how much water resistance you need, how much it can save or how likely it is to be.
In addition, the above data may not necessarily be accurate. However, water-resistant phones still tend to be more expensive than non-water resistant competitors.
Anecdotal evidence may better corroborate the frequency of the situation than these studies: you probably have, or know someone who has damaged your phone with liquid. It seems common and in such cases you may have to discard the device or repair it, which can be expensive. Resistance to water can help prevent this. It totally depends on how the water damage occurred.
Should You Always Buy A Water Resistant Phone?
Although we do not think it’s a bad idea, we would not say it’s essential: chances are still in your favor when it comes to whether your phone will be damaged by water. Fortunately, a greater number of water-resistant phones are being launched all the time and this number will probably continue to grow, so “overpaying” will not necessarily even be a consideration soon
What I think is a more relevant issue, however, is whether or not you should buy a hood for your smartphone.
Most studies on damaged phones indicate that they are more often harmed by a fall than by water damage. With this in mind, you need to ask yourself whether you want to prioritize water resistance or a relatively cheap protective cover.
Survival depends on the type of cover as well as depends on the type of water that damages the phone. But really, if your goal is to protect your device and save money, a hood is a form of insurance that is more likely to benefit you than water resistance. And they do not cost much.
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