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Can Samsung’s Galaxy S7 be Used When Wet?

March 21, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

When Samsung announced the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, they did so surprising very few of us. We knew that Samsung were simply going to introduce an evolution of last year’s Galaxy S6 line, but we were all pretty happy to see the return of a couple great features from past Galaxy S devices. With the Galaxy S5, Samsung introduced a flagship with water-resistance, and of course it retained the microSD card slot from previous flagships, but the Galaxy S6 had neither of these features. This year, with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge however, Samsung have added IP68 water and dust-resistance as well as a microSD card slot, too. That makes the Galaxy S7 duo spill-proof and essentially life-proof, but is it any use when it’s wet?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is no, it isn’t. This is the same answer that applies to the Sony Xperia Z line of devices that have been water-resistant since the first launched back in 2013, as well as other devices. The water on the display causes the touchscreen to register extra taps and touches, which as PhoneArena discovered in their video below, renders the touchscreen difficult to use in heavy rain and a complete no-go when submerged underwater. This is because, just like the tip of your finger, water conducts electricity. Today’s touchscreens figure out where you’re tapping by registering a small charge across a grid of super-thin electrodes, and water droplets work similar to the tips of our fingers, which is why water confuses your touchscreen.

So, just because the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are water-resistant this time around, doesn’t mean that they’re any use in the rain, just like every other smartphone or tablet out there. There is, however the ability to take photos underwater using the volume button or some other hardware-based shortcut. Unfortunately though, this won’t allow for any changes to white balance or whatever when you’re underwater, as the touchscreen essentially shuts off when it detects that it’s underwater. So, as we thought, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge aren’t any good to use when wet, but at least they’ll stand up to that beer or glass of wine you accidentally split on your phone after one too many.