Ever since Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone, their flagship S and Note smartphones have all been IP68-certified to be dust- and water-resistant.
Let’s take a look at the engineering behind the Samsung’s IP68 rating, and clarify its limitations, so you can enjoy your Samsung smartphones for many years to come!
Samsung IP68 Engineering
The challenge with making smartphones water-resistant isn’t just ensuring that water won’t get inside. Before the Galaxy S7 edge, a number of devices already did that, like Samsung’s own Galaxy S6 Active smartphone or the Kenxinda Flattop ruggerdised smartphones.
What Samsung introduced in their flagship smartphones from the Galaxy S7 edge onwards was IP68 dust- and water-resistance without prior preparation.
Unlike prior water-resistant smartphones, you don’t need to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water. There is no need to cap the earphone and USB ports. It is dust- and water-resistant 24/7.
To achieve this feat, Samsung introduced a number of engineering improvements :
- An unspecified “new type of water resistance technology” was used to seal the unit internally against the ingress of water,
- An “exclusive type of water protective tape” was added to the back of the front and rear glass, as well as other internal parts,
- Rubber linings were used on parts like the USB port, the earphone port, and the SIM card tray to prevent the ingress of water
- Anti-corrosive materials like nickel and platinum and corrosive-resistant coating were used for all external metal parts and connectors like the earphone and USB ports,
- The USB port has a short circuit sensor to cut-off power when it detects a short circuit due to water contact
- Portable electronic vents were used to ensure a good flow of air and outflow of water and humidity
As you can see, a lot of engineering went into ensuring that Samsung smartphones are dust- and water-resistant, while remaining ultra-slim.
Teardowns by iFixit also showed considerable use of adhesive in subsequent models, all the way to the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, to maintain this IP68-rated dust and water-resistance.
Is The Samsung S Pen IP68 Rated Too?
The S Pen of IP68-rated Galaxy Note devices are also IP68-rated against dust and water. However, the S Pen requires slightly different techniques to achieve such water-resistance :
- its printed circuit board (PCB) is covered with a special epoxy material
- rubber seals are used to seal off vulnerable passageways
- important components like the pen pressure switch are also covered by rubber seals
This allows the pen tip to move as needed, while preventing the ingress of water that will damage the internal components of the S Pen.
Samsung IP68 Rating Clarified
All Samsung smartphones that are IP68-rated can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes.
This means you can take it for jogs in the rain, or reading in the bathtub. However, we must point out that IP68 is a rating for water immersion.
IP68-rated devices are NOT designed to withstand water pressure. We therefore do not recommend you take it into the shower or while you swim.
The IP68 certification is based on a specific set of test conditions :
If you exceed those conditions, Samsung’s IP68 measures may not prevent the ingress of water.
In fact, if you check your User Guide, you will see that Samsung warns against exposing their IP68 smartphones to “water moving with force“.
This means you should not place them under running water from a tap or a waterfall. Even ocean waves may exert enough force to drive water into their chassis.
Summary : IP68 = Water-Resistance, NOT Waterproofing
The takeaway message is this – Samsung IP68 smartphones are water-resistant, not waterproof. You need to be gentle with them when they are exposed to water.
The biggest problem is water pressure, not depth. You can leave it at the bottom of a swimming pool without worry, but the force of water from a tap can exceed the IP68 pressure rating.
Let’s consider a real-world scenario – taking photos and videos while snorkelling.
You won’t reach a depth of 1.5 m when you snorkel. But swinging your device underwater could literally force water into the chassis!
That doesn’t mean you cannot use your device underwater. You can, but you must make sure not to exert too much force. Take it in and out of the water gently, and if you have to move, do so gently.
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