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The Best Waterproof Phones 2017 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Ever had those butter finger moments where your belongings just don’t seem to stay fixed in your hands? Worse yet, those moments where you pose for a selfie and your phone magically finds its way to the bottom of the pool or your drink?

As always, we here at All Things Waterproof have got your back. After countless hours of research and interviewing the experts we’ve compiled a list of the best waterproof and water-resistant phones the market has to offer. Waterproof phones are the future as more and more brands introduce smartphones you can take with you in the pool or you can use to make snapshots during your snorkel trip.

Best waterproof phone 2017 - Waterproof and Water-resistant Smartphones (Android, iOS, Windows)

Our Editor’s Pick: Top of our list is the Samsung Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 combines power, style, and functionality in a waterproof smartphone with a bright, unbeatable display. Its ability to stay submerged in up to 5ft of water for 30 minutes is only one of the reasons it has earned its spot as our Editor’s Pick.

Keep reading to see all our top choices in waterproof and water-resistant smartphones. If your budget is rather low, fear not! We’ve also reviewed the best waterproof cases that allow you to make your current smartphone waterproof and shockproof.

The 12 Best Waterproof Phones of 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Best Waterproof Smartphone Editors’ Pick

Our Rating: 4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

Samsung Galaxy S8 - Best Waterproof Android Smartphone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Large infinity screen display
  • Smoother & better OS
  • Sleek & classy design
  • Phenomenal resolution
  • Screen layout great for movies & gaming

Cons:

  • Serious risk of damage if it’s dropped
  • Screen: 5.8” Quad HD and Super AMOLED screen w/ 2960 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 8 MP
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ TouchWiz user interface
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor/Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB – expandable up to 256GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh
  • Weight: 5.3 oz

This is it, our Editor’s Pick – the Samsung Galaxy S8. It’s curved sides and rounded edges give it its sleek and classy appearance, and with its infinity screen, with no bezel, you get nothing but clean, clear, large content.

It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor – the world’s first 10nm processor, and boasts the smooth and improved Android Nougat OS. A 12 megapixel rear camera will keep your Instagram photos top of the line, and an 8 megapixel front cam will keep your selfies equally as awesome.

It’s IP68 rating allows the S8 to survive in water, almost 5ft deep, for up to 30 minutes. And, like icing on the cake, it is designed to be easy to hold in one hand despite it’s size.

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Our Rating: 4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Larger display than the S8
  • Increased battery capacity & efficiency
  • Sleek & classy design
  • Fast & powerful processor

Cons:

  • Serious risk of damage if it’s dropped
  • Screen: 6.2” QHD Super AMOLED w/ 2960 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 8 MP
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ TouchWiz user interface
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor/Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB Storage – expandable up to 256GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,500 mAh
  • Weight: 6.1 oz

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ bears a striking resemblance in both appearance and features to the S8. Common features among the two are the infinity display, 4GB RAM, Android Nougat OS, and its 12 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera. The world’s first 10nm processor makes it fast and powerful, and increases battery efficiency.

However, where the S8+ defines itself above the S8, is in its increased screen size – from 5.8” to 6.2”, and its 3,500 mAh battery.

LG G6 – Waterproof Android Smartphone

Our Rating: 4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

LG G6 Waterproof Android Smartphone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Nice, large screen
  • Good camera
  • Great performance
  • Wireless charging

Cons:

  • Mono color flash
  • Reported average battery life
  • Screen: 5.7” QHD+ 18:9 Full Vision w/ 2880 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 13 MP, Front: 5 MP
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB Storage – expandable up to 2TB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,300 mAh
  • Weight: 5.71 oz

Although lacking in the latest specs as the Galaxy S8 & S8+, the LG G6 still holds its own in our list of waterproof phones. Featuring last year’s technology, its Snapdragon 821 processor is still fast and reliable.

Aesthetically, the G6 features a flat display, unlike the curved features of the S8, with a 5.7” QHD display – perfect for browsing and watching online content. It also features 32GB ROM, 4GB RAM, and can support up to 2 terabytes via MicroSD.

The G6 is IP68 rated, which means it offers protection against water immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters. In a nutshell, the LG G6 is a waterproof phone with a sleek design, big screen, and comfortable grip – even better, it features wireless charging.

Apple iPhone 7

Our Rating: 4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)

Apple iPhone 7 - Water-resistant phone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP67

Pros:

  • Exceptional low light camera
  • Great performance
  • Good battery life
  • Stereo speakers

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • Screen: 4.7” Retina HD w/ 1334 x 750 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 7 MP
  • OS: iOS 10
  • Processor: A10 fusion chip
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32/128/256 GB
  • Battery: 1,960 mAh
  • Weight: 4.87 oz

The iPhone 7, by Apple, features a reengineered enclosure in its entirety that allows this smartphone to be water resistant. Additionally, the Home button on the iPhone 7 is durable, responsive, and pressure sensitive, and can be customized to suit your needs.

The iPhone 7 also features 3D touch – making the phone more responsive. The 12MP rear facing camera delivers amazing pictures, especially in low light conditions. Selfies are captured in great quality with the 7MP front-facing HD camera. Optical image stabilization reduces blur and Quad LED true tone flash assists in brighter, sharper photos.

Although IP67 rated, it’s not recommended you expose the iPhone 7 to permanent splash, water, and dust conditions. It’s a versatile smartphone that, when coupled with a reputable waterproof case, can withstand the wettest of environments just like any other waterproof smartphone would.

Apple iPhone 7+

Our Rating: 4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP67

Pros:

  • Improved camera with bokeh effect
  • 2x optical zoom
  • Upgraded battery life
  • Powerful processor

Cons:

  • Does not feature a headphone jack
  • Screen: 5.5” Retina HD w/ 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 7 MP
  • OS: iOS 10
  • Processor: A10 fusion chip
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32/128/256 GB
  • Battery: 2,900 mAh
  • Weight: 6.63 oz

The differences between the iPhone 7 and 7+ may not seem that significant. However, the 7+ apart from its higher resolution and larger display, boasts an unparalleled improvement in the camera.

The 7+ features two lenses – one telephoto system for 2x optical zoom, which is quite rare in smartphones, and Apple Portrait Mode for blurred backgrounds (bokeh effect).

Its A10 fusion chip keeps the operating system running smoothly throughout your day to day activities, and the bigger battery allows for longer standby and talk times than the iPhone 7.

HTC U11 – Water-resistant Phone with Edge Sense Squeeze

Our Rating: 4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)

HTC U11 Water-resistant Phone with Edge Sense Squeeze

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP67

Pros:

  • Edge sense squeeze activation
  • Exceptional camera quality
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Great speakers
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Serious risk of damage if it’s dropped
  • Screen: 5.5” QHD w/ 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 16 MP
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB – expandable up to 256GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh
  • Weight: 5.71 oz

Boasting the highest-rated smartphone camera ever – at 16 & 12 megapixels front facing and rear facing camera respectively, the HTC U11 features sleek curved glass wrapped around a sturdy metal frame.

Rated IP67, this phone is water resistant up to 1 meter in freshwater for up to 30 minutes.  The HTC U11 features a 5.5” Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Quad HD display with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with octa-core processor.

Apart from it’s notable camera qualities, this water-resistant smartphone also incorporates the world’s first edge-sense squeeze – allowing you to merely squeeze the edges of the phone to gain access to it’s amazing features.

For the music favorites, it features dual BoomSound Hi-Fi Speakers with personalized audio profiles. Overall it’s a nice-looking phone with stunning features.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active – Rugged Waterproof Smartphone

Our Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active - Rugged Waterproof Smartphone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Durable & shatter-resistant
  • Useful outdoorsy features
  • Great battery life
  • Fingerprint security
  • Wireless charging

Cons:

  • A little bit bulky
  • Screen: 5.1” QHD Super AMOLED w/ 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 12 MP, Front: 5 MP
  • OS: Android 6.0.1
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB – expandable up to 256GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh
  • Weight: 6.5 oz
  • Additional Features: Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, HR, Proximity, RGB, Fingerprint, Light Sensor

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is the rough-and-tumble waterproof smartphone of the Samsung fleet. Its waterproof rating of IP68 means the device is water-resistant in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The S7 Active is geared to the outdoorsy type and is engineered to be shatter-resistant, offering extra protection against accidental drops.

This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice screen quality or speed, as the S7 Active features a 5.1” Quad HD Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. It also includes front-mounted fingerprint access, accelerometer, gyro, barometer, and a heart rate monitor.

A 12MP primary camera will produce top notch photos and 4K videos, while a 5MP secondary camera will keep your selfies well connected to social media. This waterproof smartphone used to be exclusive to AT&T users but can also be found on sale unlocked.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Our Rating: 4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP65/IP68

Pros:

  • Amazing 4K HDR display
  • 960 fps super slow motion videos
  • Compatible with Sony PS4
  • Dual Sim

Cons:

  • Should not be submerged completely underwater
  • Screen: 5.5”4K HDR w/ 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 19 MP, Front: 13 MP
  • OS: Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB – expandable up to 256GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,230 mAh
  • Weight: 6.73 oz

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium combines a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, world’s first memory-stacked Motion Eye image sensor and a 19MP camera into a compact, sleek, metal body with a crystal clear 5.5” 4K HDR display.

The XZ Premium is IP68 rated, but Sony advises against putting the phone completely underwater or exposing it to salt water, clorinated water or liquids such as drinks. The phones metal body offers resilience in the event that it’s dropped.

For the gamers, the device compatible with the Sony Playstation 4 gaming console for remote play.

Caterpillar Cat S60 – Thermal Imaging Rugged Smartphone

Our Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

Caterpillar Cat S60 - Thermal Imaging Rugged Smartphone

 

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Durable & built to withstand harsh environments
  • Thermal imaging technology
  • Very good water resistance
  • Solid battery life
  • Great for climbers, hikers, construction workers

Cons:

  • Bulky and not very stylish
  • Screen: 4.7” a-Si AHVA HD w/ 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 13 MP + FLIR Thermal Camera, Front: 5 MP
  • OS: Android 6.0
  • Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB – expandable up to 128GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh
  • Weight: 7.8 oz

The Cat S60, by Caterpillar, is everything you’d expect from the Caterpillar company. Another rugged waterproof smartphone geared for outdoor use, the Cat S60 is the first thermal imaging smartphone to hit the market.

Its IP68 rating allows for it to be fully submerged in 16ft of water for up to 60 minutes (with unique lockdown switch), this along with its MIL-STD-810G rating, to protect against radiation, dust, and shock (drop-proof to 1,80m), make the Cat S60 the ideal waterproof smartphone for harsh, rugged environments. Working alongside its 13MP camera, is a thermal imaging camera designed by FLIR, that works with an app to show temperature hot spots, etc.

The Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor runs the internals of this smartphone and keeps everything running smoothly. A modest, yet decent, 4.7” HD display with 1280 x 720 resolution allows you to enjoy pictures and videos. Overall, this phone doesn’t say fancy, but it does scream survival.

Ulefone Armor – Military Design Rugged Waterproof Phone

Our Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ulefone Armor - Military Design Rugged Waterproof Phone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP68

Pros:

  • Military Rugged Design
  • Great for outdoor and rough terrain use
  • GPS and GLONASS support
  • Low and high temperature resistant
  • Good Battery
  • Dual Sim

Cons:

  • Can be a bit bulky
  • Screen: 4.7” display w/ 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 13 MP, Front: 5 MP
  • OS: Android 6.0 optimized for energy efficiency and GPS navigation
  • Processor: Octa-Core MediaTek 1.3GHz
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB – expandable up to 128GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 3,500 mAh
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

Another hardcore, rugged waterproof smartphone is the Ulefone Armor. With its IP68 rating for water-resistance, shock-resistance and dust-resistance, this waterproof phone is built for the outdoors. The device can be submerged in water up to 4 ft for up tp 30 minutes.

The Ulefone Armor features a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, that deliver good quality pictures. The high capacity battery with 3500mAh lasts the whole day with frequent use or up to two days with normal use.

Like the Cat S60, the Ulefone Armor doesn’t focus too much on a sleek design, but more on survival. An Octa-Core 1.3GHz processor runs the internals, allowing it to run fast and smooth.

It is equipped with 32GB storage and 3GB RAM, runs with Android 6.0 and offers dual sim support. For the relatively low price you get a really good and sturdy phone, perfect for people who work outdoors or need a phone for hiking and adventure.

HP Elite X3 – Water-Resistant Windows Phone

Our Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

HP Elite X3 Water-resistant Windows Phone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP67

Pros:

  • Large, clear 6” display
  • Great for business people
  • Compatible with Windows apps & programs
  • Long lasting battery

Cons:

  • cheap appearance due to plastic body
  • very bulky
  • slow camera
  • Screen: 6” QHD w/ 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 16 MP, Front: 8 MP
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Quad-Core Qualcomms Snapdragon 820
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery: 4,150 mAh
  • Weight: 6.8 oz

The only Windows phone worth mentioning, the HP Elite X3 resembles that of a small tablet – or a very large phone, with its 6-inch display. It can be used as an alternative to a PC or laptop, if you are using it together with the desk dock. With a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 16MP rear camera and a 8MP front camera, and it’s big and long lasting 4,150 mAh battery, the Elite X3 still holds its own in our list.

The Elite X3 has a IP67 dust and waterproof rating, which means that it can be submerged in water for short periods of time. Unfortunately this windows phone is quite bulky, has a cheap plastic body and the camera is pretty slow and delivers only average quality pictures.

Alcatel One Touch GoPlay – Best Low Budget Water-Resistant Android Phone

Our Rating: 3.6 Stars (3.6 / 5)

Alcatel Onetouch Go play - Low Budget Water-Resistant Android Phone

Price: Check Price at Amazon

Water-Resistance Rating:  IP67

Pros:

  • Ideal for those on a low budget
  • Durable phone, great for kids
  • Glonass support

Cons:

  • Mediocre camera
  • Low RAM
  • Screen: 5” HD w/ 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Camera: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 5 MP
  • OS: Android 5.0
  • Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB Storage – expandable up to 32GB (microSD)
  • Battery: 2,500 mAh
  • Weight: 5.3 oz

If you’re looking for the best, low-budget waterproof phone, the Alcatel GoPlay is just the smartphone you’ve been looking for. The GoPlay features a 5” touchscreen display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory (expandable to 32GB via microSD). Performance is quite smooth, thanks to a almost stock-like android with almost no bloatware.

An IP67 certification protects against inadvertent spills or drops in the kitchen sink. The 8MP camera delivers average quality pictures in good light conditions. A physical camera key even allows you to take snapshots underwater. If you are looking for a cheap water-resistant phone that can take a beating and is ideal for kids, we can only recommend the GoPlay.

Alternative To Buying A Waterproof Phone – A Waterproof Phone Case

At All Things Waterproof, we understand that it might not always be cheap, or convenient, to buy a waterproof phone, so we’ve included two top shelf waterproof phone cases for your smartphone or mobile device.

LifeProof FRE – Waterproof Phone Cases

Click here to find a LifeProof FRE case for your Phone

Available for the Galaxy S5, S6, S7, and S8 along with all iPhone models from the iPhone 5, plus Google Pixel phones and other models, the LifeProof FRE offers full screen coverage from scratches and damage, offers complete access to your device’s ports, controls, and inputs, and doesn’t interfere with your pictures, videos, or sound quality.

It boasts the “4 Proofs”: Waterproof, Dirt-proof, Snow-proof, and Drop-proof.

  • Waterproof – Submersible to 6.6ft for 1 hour
  • Dirt-proof – Sealed from dirt & dust
  • Snow-proof – Closed to snow & ice
  • Drop-proof – Survives drops from 6.6 ft

Catalyst Waterproof Phone Cases

Click here to shop for Catalyst Waterproof Cases

Catalyst produces amazing waterproof cases for iPhone, iPad and Apple watch. Tested to IP68 levels and a depth of 33ft (10m), the cases protect against water, snow, dust, and dirt. The new line of Apple Watch cases are even waterproof to a depth of 328 ft (100m)!

Winner of multiple awards such as; CES Innovation Award 2016, Patent Tested Parent Approved 2016, and International Design Award 2017, it’s virtually impossible to go wrong with Catalyst cases.

Best Waterproof iPhone Case

Image courtesy of Catalyst

Waterproof Phone Buyer’s Guide – What You Need to Know

Let’s take a look at some of the key points to bear in mind when looking for a waterproof smartphone.

Water-Resistance Rating

IP ratings have a tale to tell in the world of waterproofing, and the same can be said with regards to waterproof phones. A detailed look at the IP rating standards and what each number represents can be found here. Not only will a good waterproof smartphone be protected against splashes and water, but it’ll make for epic underwater footage.

Display & Resolution

As with any smartphone, the greater the resolution the clearer and crisper the images and content on your display would appear. While ultimately this boils down to a matter of preference, you should consider what you’ll be primarily be using your waterproof smartphone for.

For example, if you’re big into images and video content, then a smartphone with higher display resolution would prove more beneficial and worth your buck.

RAM & Processor

You would’ve definitely seen these two pop up within our reviews, especially in the Tech Specs of each phone. We like to look at the RAM & Processor of your smartphone as the direct line attached to your frustration nerve. Why?

Well, essentially, a faster CPU results in faster operations like opening apps, click response, scrolling etc., while more RAM results in better multitasking. While there are many other variables that can decrease the performance and efficiency of these two, RAM & processor still play an optimal role in how well your smartphone will be able to easily do what you want it to do.

Camera

Similar to resolution, the megapixels of the camera on your waterproof smartphone will determine whether your underwater shots – it is a waterproof phone after all, will be Sundance Film Festival quality, or barely good enough to post to Instagram.

The majority of rear-facing cameras will have decent megapixels in the 12-16MP range, but if you’re big into selfies, it may be a bit more difficult finding a camera with a high-quality front-facing camera. Smartphones like the iPhone 7, 7+, Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ are well known for their quality “selfie shots”.

Looking for a cheap waterproof camera? Check out the best ones here…

Aesthetics

Like any other phone, pay attention to the aesthetics based on your personal needs. If you like sleek designs featuring wrap around glass faces, but you also like sky diving, hiking, and rock climbing, you’ll have to find a compromise with a waterproof phone that can withstand some wear and tear while maintaining its classy, sleek look.

If you’re big into watching movies and videos on your smartphone, consider choosing one with a large display – like the HP Elite or iPhone. Conversely, if you’re just interested in making calls, shooting a couple texts, and staying up to date on emails while you hike the mountain trail, then a more outdoorsy phone, like the Cat S60 or Ulefone, may be a better option.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it – our list of the top waterproof smartphones on the market. Don’t take shortcuts when choosing a phone. Follow our Buyer’s Guide and you’ll be well on your way to snapping those epic underwater photos, or confidently posing by the pool or ocean with your newly bought device.

Remember, if you feel like the phones we reviewed don’t quite fit your budget, consider buying a cheaper, less expensive phone and pairing it with one of the waterproof cases we mentioned. What are you waiting for? Quit reading and go buy the phone – it certainly won’t buy itself!

Further Reading: Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone 7 Plus Water Resistance Test | Samsung Galaxy S8 Review after 3 months of use

Image credits: Title image by pixabay, all product images courtesy of the respective manufacturers

The Best Waterproof Phones 2017 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
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