If you check the specs before buying a new phone, you must have noticed that one feature that almost all mainstream flagship phones share is that they come with an official IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.
But why is it that we get annual increases in almost all aspects including performance, camera, battery life and more, but when it comes to IP ratings, we are stuck with IP68? What does an IP68 rating actually mean? Is it the tallest a smartphone can hold? What comes after IP68? We explain this and more to you.
What is an IP68 rating? What does it indicate?
An IP68 rating indicates a certain level of dust and water resistance on your smartphone or other smart gadgets. For example, in Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, the first number represents protection against solids and the second number represents protection against water.
Not all mainstream flagship phones have an IP68 rating. For example, Samsung’s foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4, have an IPX8 rating. Here the “X” indicates that the devices have not been officially tested for solids protection, but this does not necessarily mean that they are not dust resistant.
Simply put, having an IP68 rating gives you the peace of mind that your phone can survive exposure to water and solids according to the rating’s specifications; You can also claim under your warranty in the event of water damage. But if there is no IP rating, your phone may or may not survive the same and you will not be able to claim your warranty if there is water damage.
Brands sometimes don’t have their devices tested, even if they have a dust and water resistant coating. OnePlus famously avoided IP ratings until the OnePlus 8, saying that skipping the tests allowed it to cut costs and keep its phones cheaper, and as many reviewers and fans have tested, the phone was fairly water resistant.
What is the highest rating for ingress protection?
IP69k is the highest Ingress Protection rating, not IP68. We’ve explained in detail how IP codes are measured if you’re curious about the specs of each rating, but a device gets an IP68 rating if it’s completely dustproof and can be submerged in water over a meter deep for at least 30 feet. minutes without any interference.
Keep in mind that not all phones with an IP68 rating have been tested equally well. For example, both the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max have an IP68 rating, but the former is tested to 1.5 meters, while the latter is tested to six meters.
In comparison, the IP69k rating means that the device is completely dustproof and can withstand high pressure and temperature water jets. As you can imagine, this is a bit of an exaggeration for regular smartphone users, which is why you don’t see IP69k on regular smartphones because they just don’t need that level of ingress protection.
That said, some of the most rugged phones have an IP69k rating.
An IP rating only tells you about a phone’s resistance to water and dirt. It does not indicate how durable or scratch resistant the phone is. Before that, reviewers often use the Mohs hardness scale to rate how easily a smartphone glass can be scratched.
Check the dust and water resistance using the IP rating
An IP rating is a useful indicator of exactly how resistant your phone is to dust and water, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it shows how strong your phone is. Resistance to external elements and durability to tearing are two different things.
An IP68 rating is essentially about peace of mind. Even if a phone has a slightly worse IP rating, that’s no reason not to buy it. IP testing is expensive, so don’t be surprised if the budget phone you’re eyeing doesn’t have an IP rating. And even if your phone has an IP68 rating, it is not recommended to test it yourself by placing it in extreme conditions.