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Waterproof smartphones haven’t become the norm yet, but there are still some great handsets that can brave a walk in the rain or a drop in a pool. You’re out of luck if you want an iPhone with these abilities, but Android has plenty of options.

The term “waterproof” is contentious. A truly waterproof phone would keep all the water out no matter what. Most phones are water-resistant, in that they can withstand a certain amount but will buckle under extreme circumstances. Think of it like the term “scratch-free glass” — yes, in most day-to-day cases it works, but if you take a fine diamond across it, you’ll see a lovely scar on your screen.

For the sake of this article, we are going to use the terms “waterproof”, “water-resistant” and so on interchangeably, much to the ire of pedants everywhere. In our dictionary, here’s what we mean: The phones listed below can be used if they get wet in normal circumstances like rain, the pool, or even the shower. If you drop it in the ocean and watch it sink, or subject it to the sustained pressure of a water cannon, chances are the phone won’t turn on again.

Each of these phones has a different level of water-resistancy, which is noted in their IP rating. You can learn more about how IP water-resistant ratings on the IP ratings website.

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony was the first major company to launch a waterproof flagship handset, and the latest iteration is fantastic. The Sony Xperia Z3 has top-of-the-line specifications, and it can withstand taking calls in the rain as well as photos underwater.

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In fact, the Z3 is among the few which makes underwater photos easy because it has a dedicated camera shutter button. Touchscreens don’t work well (or at all) underwater, so the physical button is a great way to make use of the waterproofing for some adventurous images and videos. Just remember, you need to shut the flaps protecting the ports, or it won’t be waterproof any more.

  • Screen: 5.2-inch IPS (1920x1080px) with shatter-proof glass
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Memory: 16GB, microSD up to 128GB
  • Camera: 20.7MP rear, 2.2MP front
  • Battery: 3100mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Water-resistant rating: IP65 and IP68

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

A smaller version of the flagship, the Z3 Compact does everything that the Z3 does. We loved the Xperia Z1 Compact Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review and Giveaway Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review and Giveaway The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a different take on what a small Android phone should look, feel, and cost like. Read More , and this model picks up where that left off. The screen is 4.6 inches compared to 5.2, and it has HD resolution instead of Full HD. But honestly, at this size, Full HD is a waste.

The Compact also has stellar battery life — one of the best in any phone out there. The small size makes it easier to hold and use with one hand, which we found to be better in daily usage for environments like rain; you’re probably holding an umbrella in the other hand after all. Hey, your phone is waterproof, not you.

  • Screen: 4.6-inch IPS (1280x720px) with shatter-proof glass
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Memory: 16GB, microSD up to 64GB
  • Camera: 20.7MP rear, 2.2MP front
  • Battery: 2600mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Water-resistant rating: IP65 and IP68

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung’s current flagship phone, the Galaxy S5 is a great waterproof phone Samsung Galaxy S5 Review and Giveaway Samsung Galaxy S5 Review and Giveaway The S5 can no longer be considered brand-new -- but it is Samsung's flagship, at least for the next few months. Read More . Like the Sony phones, it has flaps to cover its ports with little rubber gaskets — do that, and your phone is safe from things that can make it wet. Of course, you also get great hardware to go with it and all of Samsung’s software additions.

There is no doubting the Samsung brand and its worldwide reach, so not only would it be easy to get this device, but you will also find enough after-sales support for it, whether in the form of service centers or online discussion forums. You also get Samsung’s Touchwiz skin on top of Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More , which you may or may not like.

The details below come from the main G900F model, but there is also a G900H model that features no LTE connectivity but adds an octo-core What Does "Dual Core" & "Quad Core" Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Does "Dual Core" & "Quad Core" Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains] At one point, our computers had a central processing unit (CPU) with a single core. These days, most CPUs you'll come across are dual core, quad core, or even octo core. We'll explain exactly what... Read More Exynos processor.

  • Screen: 5.1-inch Super AMOLED (1920×1080 px) with Gorilla Glass 3
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Memory: 16GB or 32GB, microSD up to 64GB
  • Camera: 16MP rear, 2MP front
  • Battery: 2800mAH
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Water-resistant rating: IP67

If you want a sturdier version than the S5, try the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, available only on AT&T. Along with the same water protection, you also get a rugged body that can take shocks and falls. Hey, if your fingers are wet, there’s a good chance of that.

Kyocera Hydro Elite

Kyocera might not be a huge global brand, but it has developed a reputation for good waterproof phones. The Hydro Elite is available through Verizon Wireless. Amazon specifically mentions that this phone is not factory unlocked, and we know that buying unlocked phones can save you money Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never buy a smartphone from a carrier—ever. Most consumers don't know that they can purchase their phones from retailers and pay less than if they did from the carrier. The key word that you're looking... Read More , so this doesn’t feature high in our recommendation list.

However, if you are comfortable looking up instructions online to unlock the phone on your own or you’re stuck with Verizon for one reason or another, it’s still a good option. Kyocera has unique sound technology that is able to pick up your voice more clearly despite the sound of rain or other elements in the background — a feature that multiple reviewers considered noteworthy.

  • Screen: 4.3-inch (1280x720px) with scratch protection
  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon
  • RAM: 1.5GB
  • Memory: 16GB internal, microSD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 8MP rear, 1.3MP front
  • Battery: 2100mAh
  • OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Water-resistant rating: IP57

Lenovo S750

Most of these phones are quite costly when you buy them unlocked, so if you want a budget buy that is still water-resistant, check out the Lenovo S750. You won’t get hardware that blows you away, but if the primary criteria is an IP67-certified phone that doesn’t break the bank, this is what you need.

One warning though: it has only 4GB of internal memory, which has proved to be a bottleneck for installing apps on Android KitKat and upwards. The S750 runs Jelly Bean, so you should be able to install apps on the microSD card easily.

  • Screen: 4.5-inch IPS (960x540px) with Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core Mediatek MTK6589 Cortex-A7
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Memory: 4GB, microSD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 8MP rear, VGA front
  • Battery: 2000mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Water-resistant rating: IP67

Huawei Honor 3

The Huawei Honor 3 is not an easy phone to find, and Huawei has recently had some security concerns about user data as well. But if that doesn’t bother you and you can get this handset, then you get bang for your buck. The specifications are good enough for average users, although power users will find it limiting.

It looks run-of-the-mill, but for less than $200, you can’t be complaining about that when you’re getting a water resistant phone. The video above isn’t the best, but it’s good enough to demonstrate the waterproof capabilities.

  • Screen: 4.7-inch IPS (1280x720px) with Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 1.5GHz quad-core Huawei K3V2E Cortex-A9
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Memory: 8GB internal, microSD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP rear, 1.3MP front
  • Battery: 2150mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Water-resistant rating: IP57

How Do You Keep Your Phone Dry?

Given a choice, would you pick a great rugged smartphone with water resistance over adding a waterproof case Waterproof Your iPhone With These Top 5 Cases Waterproof Your iPhone With These Top 5 Cases What do you do if you want an iPhone that isn't afraid to be dunked, submerged, showered on or attacked by a moisture-monster? Well, there's a case for that! Read More to a great smartphone? At what price does “waterproof” become a feature that a phone must have?

Which is your favorite device on this list? Any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Satyrs
    May 3, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Current cellphone waterproof technology is a joke! When the manufacturers decide to incorporate the same wireless charging technology my waterproof toothbrush has had for about a decade, then we can all have true waterproof cellphones. Not like the current marketing gimik of today.

  2. George
    March 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I got a Conquest S6 (http://bigrugged.com/rugged-cell-phones/conquest-s6) in this winter and love it! I threw it at a concrete wall and it still worked.

  3. Gregory
    December 29, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Beware of the new Sony X3. I and many others are experiencing screens cracking and also water getting in when all the covers are closed. The original Xperias were fantastic, the new models do not have the resilience to knocks nor resistance to water.

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Oh really? This is news to me. Thanks for the update, much appreciated!

  4. Ellie Darnell
    November 28, 2014 at 1:13 am

    The USA getting waterpriof phones is great. However, the technology for a water proof phone has been available for at least 5 years in Japan. A.k.a Sharp aquous phone

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Totally agree. Japan is easily a generation ahead in smartphones.

  5. Samson
    November 27, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Motorola Moto E is another best water resistant smartphone that is targeting budget users and based on many reviews, Moto E performances outperform Samsung Galaxy S5 due to stock Android and no bloatware.

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Sorry no, the Moto E does not outperform the Galaxy S5. It's not even close :)

      It is water-resistant though, so you're right there. I'm just hesitant to recommend it now with the Moto E 2nd gen around the corner. People will feel ripped off :)

  6. alan trinder
    November 27, 2014 at 12:36 am

    It is good to see the Sony phones up there. Why the Xperia range do not seem to rate as highly as others is a mystery to me.
    I have a previous model to the Z3, one of the main reasons for the purchase was the waterproofing. I live in Thailand and the traditional new year, Songkran, involves a lot of water throwing. Having a waterproof phone with an excellent camera was high on my must have features. I hope Sony have fixed the problems in wireless communication with Windows 8.1 on these phones so that you rarely need to open the ports.
    Thanks for the info on the other brands, good to know there is more than Sony and Samsung.

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

      I'm a huge fan of the Xperia Z series, so I'm with you there :)

  7. dragonmouth
    November 27, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Ahhh, finally phones for those searching for that elusive actual 24/7/365 connectivity. The ability to take/make phone calls at the bottom of the pool.

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

      If you aren't going to Instagram the shark that's about to eat you, what's the point of technology?

    • Anonymous User
      March 2, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Or, you know, those that want to take their phones outside in normal Scottish winter weather. Not everyone sits on their @rse on their sofa all day...

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