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Holi 2020: Understanding your smartphone’s water resistance rating

You would’ve definitely come across terms like ‘IP68’ or ‘IPXX’. So in case you are wondering, here’s a short explainer on what it means and how it determines the water and dust resistant levels of your smartphone.

Xiaomi smartphone.
Xiaomi smartphone. (Xiaomi)

The festival of Holi is right here and amidst all the water splashes it is important to protect your smartphone, which at today's date has more secrets about you than any other person in real life. But a major question here is that if your smartphone is IP rated or not, meaning if it can resist water or not. If you have been following the smartphone industry closely, you would've definitely come across terms like 'IP68' or 'IPXX'. So in case you are wondering, here's a short explainer on what it means and how it determines the water and dust resistant levels of your smartphone.

What is IP rating in smartphones?

IP or what you call 'Ingress Protection' is a rating that determines the dust and water-resistant level of your smartphone. Basically, they tell you the quality of sealing and its effectiveness from foreign particles. So, while that explains the IP part, what do the numbers mean? Each number denotes the device's level of water and dust (moving foreign body) resistance. For instance, if your smartphone is IP68 rated, it means that the dust resistance level is 6 while the moisture or water resistance level is 8.

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Here, level zero (0) means no special protection at all in both dust and water resistance. Level 6 means that the device is totally dust tight and has a vacuum sealing, protecting the internal components. Level 9 in moisture resistance means protections against water even if immersed fully, high-power jet sprays and steam cleaning procedures.

Some websites also write ratings like 'IPx5'. It means that while the resistance from foreign particles doesn't have a set level, the moisture (or water) resistance level is at 5.

How to know if your phone is IP rated?

There is no way by simply looking at the handset what level of IP rating does it have. Also, you cannot find the IP rating level from inside the handset via Settings app or anywhere else. Unfortunately, you would have to hit the search engine for it. That said, most smartphones these days have IP66 rating on an average. The premium ones however have IP68 rating.

Also read: Family gets back iPhone 11 that fell into a lake. Guess what? It still works

Then what is 'Splash proof' coating?

This is slightly different from IP ratings. Smartphone with 'splash proof' coating means they can resist moisture or water only if they fall on a wet floor for instance. These can't be submerged in water like IP rated smartphones and are not as resistant to dust particles. This is not specific to budget smartphones though as some premium handsets are also 'splash proof' these days. The build and the design make a lot of difference here.

So, if in case your smartphone is IP67 or IP68 rated, it is still fine to go out this Holi and click some amazing, colourful images since there is no fear of your handset getting wet.

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