The Best Waterproof Android Phones – November 2018
The latest generation of smartphones has earned widespread admiration and praise for its numerous water-resistant designs. Everything from the more recent iPhone models to the latest and greatest Android phones tend to feature water-resistant builds that protect against everything from the occasional spill to more serious cases, in which a phone has to battle a full-on rainstorm.
While these water-resistant innovations have come as a welcome change for the more accident-prone smartphone users among us, they have done relatively little to mitigate the fears and concerns of the more adventurous smartphone users, who require true waterproofing instead of purely water-resistant construction.
Although it may seem like a subtle distinction, the difference between waterproof smartphones and their water-resistant brethren is in fact quite pronounced. While water-resistant smartphones can only withstand the occasional splash or spill, truly waterproof smartphones can be fully submerged in water for extended periods of time without being damaged—making them all but necessary accessories for people who find themselves working on or around water on a regular basis.
Here are five of the best waterproof Android phones money can buy.
One of the inevitable issues with purchasing a waterproof smartphone is that they almost always cost more than their water-resistant equivalents. Although this is an understandable reality, it can make it difficult to walk that delicate line between quality and affordability.
Another problem with waterproof smartphones is that their waterproof casing makes them inherently larger and bulkier than the average non-waterproof smartphone—meaning that they take up more space in your pocket and are less likely to feature the screen maximizations that we’ve all come to know and love.
With these two notable-yet-understandable downsides in mind, we’ve decided to award our number-one spot to the CAT Phone S61, which manages to combine truly exceptional waterproofing with a relatively compact design at a reasonable price point.
This phone was truly meant for the intrepid traveler and worker, and although it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon or Sprint, it’s fully compatible with more global services such as AT&T and T-Mobile. It also works seamlessly with GSM SIM cards (including H20 and Straight Talk), and has the ability to switch seamlessly between approved networks when you’re traveling overseas.
Even the best and most reliable waterproof smartphones can’t afford to host a sub-par camera, and the S61 doesn’t disappoint, thanks to a fully-integrated thermal camera that can locate a heat source at up to 400-degrees C, and works in complete darkness—allowing its user to diagnose and fix problems having to do with dampness, draughts, leaks, shorts, blockages, and more.
This phone also features an impressive laser-assisted distance measuring feature, which can document measurements and record the layout of an area all in a single screen, which makes on-site work estimates infinitely easier.
There’s also an indoor air quality monitor that can alert you to unhealthy levels of indoor air pollutants like paints and solvents, and you’ll be able to quickly grab temperature and humidity readings as well.
And as for the feature that earned this phone a place on this list, the S61 is fully waterproof at up to 3M depths for up to 60 minutes—making it a military-grade smartphone when it comes to waterproofing and overall damage resistance.
We realize that despite the supreme waterproofing, global connectivity, and all-out diagnostic power of the CAT S61, its hefty price tag may make it out of reach for the average buyer. It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to award out runner-up spot to the RugGear RG702, which offers a slew of great Android features alongside a full-fledged waterproof certification.
We’ll start with the downside: This phone isn’t compatible with most go-to carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, since it’s not a typical 4G phone. This means that you’ll need to have a SIM card that works with 2G GSM and 3G WCDMA frequencies in order to reap the full benefits of this phone’s connectivity and reach.
With the negatives out of the way, let’s focus on what makes this waterproof phone such a great option for budget-minded travelers who crave durability and functionality on the go: This phone features dual SIM technology, a blazing-fast 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, an incredibly responsive touch panel that doesn’t seem to mind getting too cold, support for USB OTG, and U-driver compatibility.
This phone also comes loaded with an 8MP camera in the rear and a 5MP camera in the front—making it one of the most powerful waterproof smartphones we’ve encountered when it comes to more traditional photography.
You’ll also enjoy a powerful 3600 mAh lithium-ion battery and an external memory capacity of 4GB ROM plus 1GB RAM.
And although it may lack the extreme waterproof depth rating of the CAT S61, this phone can be fully submersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 1 hour. It’s also fully dust-proof and shock-proof—making it ideal for adventurers who need their gear to survive even when the going gets rough.
Next up, we have the uniquely-sleek and compact BLU Tank Xtreme 4.0 phone, which packs an impressive punch for below $100. Although we wouldn’t recommend replacing your standard Android device with this far more streamlined and barebones model, this phone is more than capable of reliably carrying out a wide range of essential functions in less-than-ideal environments.
This phone features an IP65 waterproof rating thanks in no small part to dual rubber injections that also protect against most drops and unexpected impacts.
There’s a nice 4-inch display alongside a 3.2MP front camera that features flash, and you’ll have 4GB of fast internal memory along with 512MB or RAM on a micro SD card that can be expanded up to 64GB for faster performance. This phone’s speed is also aided by a Mediatek 1.3GHz quad-core GPU.
Perhaps one of the most important elements of this waterproof phone is that unlike its more expensive equivalents, it’s fully capable for working with virtually every major US carrier, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, Straight Talk USA, and others.
With military-grad shock, dust, and waterproofing, this smartphone should appeal to buyers who want a rugged build with a slightly more contemporary design. This LG phone comes with a 5.2” full HD display with Glove mode, and features physical buttons for easy, on-the-go use.
There’s a rear-facing camera that features a whopping 16 MP resolution, along with a front-facing camera that comes with a 5 MP lens. The battery life on this unit is also fairly impressive given its price point—thanks to a 4100 mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 technology—and 32 GB of ROM paired with 2 GB of RAM means that you won’t be disappointed with this phone’s speed while it runs most apps.
Perhaps most impressively, this phone can be fully submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, even though it technically holds only a water-resistance rating as opposed to a full waterproof certification.
Rounding out our list is another BLU device, although this one comes with a bit more kick than its little brother on our number-three spot. Of course the inevitable downside of having more power and functionality is that your pay a higher price, but for more high-end users who may want to run more advanced and power-consuming apps, the extra cost may be well worth it.
With an IP68 water and dust-proof rating, this phone can easily be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. It features a bright, 5” HD display with Corning Gorilla glass, along with an 8MP autofocus camera that comes loaded with and LED flash.
You’ll also enjoy 16GB of internal memory (as opposed to the factory standard of 4GB that comes with the model on our number-three spot), and full compatibility on all major US networks.
But it’s in the performance that this more expensive model truly shines, thanks to an expanded, second-generation 1.5 GHz processor that allows users to easily stream a wide variety of rich media content, and download content at a higher rate of speed.