Android Headliner: It's Finally Hit Me; Waterproof Smartphones are More Than a Gimmick


When I reviewed the Xperia Z last year – Sony's first in a longline of waterproof Android smartphones – I enjoyed the novelty of being able to rinse it in the sink or show off to friends, but ultimately I was fairly unimpressed with the Xperia Z. I wasn't exactly taken with the Xperia Z's washed out display and noisy camera, but overall it was a decent offering, however because of those shortcomings I overlooked its party trick of resisting water. However, over time I have come to realize that waterproofing a smartphone is actually a genuinely good idea and it's about we should see more of them.

Sony's first attempt meant that there were flaps, flaps everywhere. Over the headphone jack, over the microUSB port and over the microSD and SIM card slots. Sure, these are obviously necessary, you'd have be an idiot to think you could expose a USB port to water and have it work flawlessly afterwards. Since then thugh, Samsung entered the arena with their Galaxy S4 Active and now the Galaxy S5 which is waterproof without being bulky and only has one flap at the bottom of the handset (well done, Samsung!). Still, I kept on wondering why people like Sony and Samsung weren't giving up making their phones impervious to spillages, a drop in the tub or just you know…dropping it down the toilet. Then, it hit me.


On holiday in Greece, I saw a group of girls – of various ages, obviously a family on holiday together – with what I assumed to be either a white Sony Xperia Z of some sort or a Galaxy S5. This family was playing in the pool, taking photos of each other on said smartphone and having a great time. They were laughing, trying out different poses and (as I would assume) thanks to the free WiFi sharing pool selfies with their jealous friends. As much as I genuinely love technology because, well, I'm geek it's heartwarming to see a family just enjoy technology like this. They clearly didn't care why it worked, they just cared that they could have fun in the pool and I'm guessing throughout their everyday lives not having to care about it getting soaked in the rain, or spilling drinks on it.

Today, it's an understatement to say that our smartphones are big parts of our lives. I'm not "big" on social media, and frankly a good chat over a few pints will always be preferrable to spending hours on social media (however, connecting with our readers on Google+ continues to be one of my greatest ways to relax). Even so, my smartphone is the hub of my "digital life". I use it to access thousands of songs, it hooks up to my HiFi in the office, it feeds my smartwatch, I connect with family and friends with it, it wakes me up in the morning and it helps me tame my email. If I were to get my Nexus 5 wet though; that's it, game over. I'm good at keeping my technology clean and out of harm's way, but being on holiday around beaches (which dustproof devices like the Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 also protect against) with sand that continues to get absolutely everywhere it makes me think; should I be worrying about my phone like this?

It's about time we saw more mainstream devices go waterpoof and dustproof like the Galaxy S5 has. Sure, the plasticky exterior isn't too appealing, but Samsung's displays are fairly hardwearing and we have to hand it to Samsung, the Galaxy S5 is waterproof without reminding you every five minutes. I had a fetching Copper Gold Galaxy S5 to try out when it launches and I enjoyed it, it was grippy in the hand, charging it wasn't too fiddly and thanks to said charging port being the only thing covered by a flap the Galaxy S5 was quietly waterproof. Personally, I don't like Samsung deivices and that's not something I'm going to apologize for but the Galaxy S5 is a great device and LG, HTC (especially HTC), Motorola et al should all take after the Galaxy S5. Our smartphones are central to our everyday lives these days, and we shouldn't have to worry about them getting wrecked every time we spill a beer, slip up while playing Fruit Ninja in the toilet or when taking family memories while having a dip in the pool or by the beach.

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Former Editor-in-Chief

For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.

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