Top Pick for
All-round waterproof phone
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While water resistance – commonly called "waterproof", but for reasons we'll explain below that's not really the right term for this article – is a feature typically only found in mid-range and premium phones, there's still plenty of choice when it comes to picking a phone that can survive an inadvertent dunking or accidental swim session. We've reviewed hundreds of phones and picked through them to find the very best for our selections.
Google's flagship phones have generally offered IP-rated water resistance, and the Google Pixel 6 is no exception, with IP68 water resistance on board. We're rating it slightly higher than the very similar Pixel 6 Pro simply because it's a touch more affordable, hitting that sweet sub-$999 price point, but also because it's a little smaller.
Why does smaller matter when it comes to water resistance? Simply because if you're fussed about water resistance, you're probably worried about dropping your phone in order for it to get wet. The smaller 6.4-inch frame of the Pixel 6 makes it easier to hold, and less prone to drop incidents than larger handsets.
What you get along the way isn't just water resistance, but also Google's own Tensor processor, a clean Android UI with guaranteed upgrades and a 90Hz capable display. The camera benefits from Google's AI-driven approach, although notably for a flagship it's missing out on a dedicated telephoto lens. If you want that feature, you'll need to jump up to the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
Apple's flagship phones have offered water resistance for years now, and you'd expect that at the price points that Apple demands for them. The iPhone 13 Pro gets our nod for best camera phone with water resistance baked in, because it packs the same camera module that you'll find in the premium iPhone 13 Pro Max, but in a smaller, less expensive frame.
Like the Pixel 6, that means you're less likely to drop it in the pool, or have it slide out of your fingers in the rain.
That means it's a decent option if you do need to wander off the beaten path to get your photos in, with an impressive triple lens array at the rear covering everything from ultrawide through to close-up macro work, as well as best-in-class low light photography. Apple's own ProRAW format gives camera pros plenty of flexibility for post-shot processing as well.
You're also getting the fastest mobile processor in a phone today with the A15 Bionic. However, you sure do pay for it. The Apple iPhone 13 Pro is less expensive than the Pro Max, for sure, but it's still a premium priced phone that ships with absolutely fixed storage and no included charger.
Samsung started dabbling with crossing the streams between its Galaxy S and Note lines with the Galaxy S21, but it's in the Galaxy S22 that it fully committed to the idea of a flagship phone that could be both a camera powerhouse and a productivity platform. That includes building the S-Pen directly into the body of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, so you've always got it with you.
Like so many Samsung flagships, it's IP68 rated for water resistance, and while we wouldn't advise you try using the S-Pen underwater, it's still got a lot going for it if you want a more productive phone as a result. Samsung's back in the premium camera game with the S22 Ultra which delivered good low light and telephoto results in our tests. Samsung's over-hyped "100x" Space Zoom is still pretty gimmicky, however.
While its water resistance is right up there with the best, it is a pricey proposition, and it's one that doesn't compare all that favourably when it comes to battery life. It's not bad, but Samsung's competitors do offer better battery endurance in our experience.
Like the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6 Pro offers IP68 rated water resistance, so it should be good for up to 30 minutes of immersion in up to 1.5m of clean lab water.
It's a tad more expensive than the Pixel 6, although it's still quite affordable by flagship phone standards. With its 6.7-inch 120Hz capable display, full 5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave) and excellent battery life, it's also a bit of a bargain.
It's also a very capable camera phone, with Google's AI giving it unique in-built features, some of the best low light performance of any camera and good telephoto performance to boot.
So what's not to like? The larger size does make it slightly less easy to hold. We know now that the Pixel 7 Pro is incoming, and that may well iron out some of the performance quirks of Google's own Tensor processor.
Nokia – or really, HMD Global, the company with the rights to produce "Nokia" branded phones – has mostly stuck to budget phones for much of its existence.
At $879, the Nokia XR20 is not a budget phone by any stretch of the imagination, but if your needs for water resistance also encompass overall durability, there's simply nothing like it.
Outside its IP68 rating for water resistance, Nokia also rates it for 1.5m drops thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass Victus front cover. Nokia is so confident of the XR20's durability that if the screen does break within your first year of ownership, it'll replace it for free.
That's a huge jump from the warranties of any other phone maker, where events such as water ingress are typically not covered, even for IP-rated handsets!
However, while the XR20 is a truly durable device, the price you pay beyond that sticker shock is for a phone that's markedly slower than anything else in its price bracket, with an older, slower processor on board. If you don't need premium performance, but you do work in a more hazardous environment on a regular basis, this is the phone to buy.
Low cost and Apple aren't usually words you can use in the same sentence, because iPhones are premium handsets, right? The exception to that rule is the company's iPhone SE line. With IP68 rated water resistance, the 2022 iteration of the iPhone SE should certainly be able to survive a few accidental splashes without incident.
In the mid-range, it's also the most powerful phone you can buy, thanks to the inclusion of Apple's A15 bionic processor. Others are not even close, and Apple's iOS offers a massive range of applications to keep it busy, too.
However, there are issues. Because it's a smaller phone based on an older design, battery life is well below the competition in the mid-range, and that's even worse if you do use 5G extensively. It's only got a single rear camera where competing models go triple or even quad-cam, so it's not the most flexible in that regard either. It's also still built on the much older 4.7-inch display, which is tiny by modern standards.
At just $599, the Samsung Galaxy A33 is one of the cheapest phones you can get with proper IP-rated water resistance. At IP67 it's not quite up there with the best in class IP68 phones, but the reality here is that you shouldn't be deliberately immersing smartphones anyway. If you're after a phone that should survive accidental dunks without issue, the Galaxy A33 is a smart choice.
For a phone that sits in the lower edge of the mid-range price zone, it's a nicely equipped option, with a 6.4-inch 90Hz capable Super AMOLED display, Samsung's own Exynos 1280 CPU, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Samsung's also promising 4 years of OS upgrades for the Galaxy A33, which is a big vote of confidence in its long-term viability.
It hasn't got the best battery life within that lower mid-range class, however, and you'll need to have a charger on hand when it does drop low, because there's no included charger in the box.
When it comes to foldable phones, durability usually isn't something we can talk about in a positive way. The needs of folding plastic screens haven't historically lent themselves towards any level of durability, let alone water resistance.
So it was surprising when Samsung announced both the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 as IPX8 rated. That means that if you did drop either of Samsung's current-gen foldables in clean water, they should survive.
We've got to say should, because unlike other phones in this round-up there's no dust resistance – that's the X in IPX8 – so you've still got to be careful. The Z Flip 3 is cheaper than the Z Fold 3, but we reckon the Fold is the model to go for, simply because you can do a whole lot more with its expanded display screen. It's effectively a small Android tablet and smartphone in one phone body, complete with S-Pen compatibility and the first in-display camera of any phone you can buy.
There are some issues, of course. Foldables are still super expensive, so you're paying as much for the novelty as the usability here. While it's S-Pen compatible, you can't use some older S-Pens with it at all, for risk of damaging its flexible display.
You can't usually get "cheap" and "waterproof" together. Except where you can, as with the Aspera R40. It's a pretty shameless clone of Nokia's 800 Tough Phone, except the older Nokia is rather hard to find these days.
Either way, it's a feature phone with water resistance features, which marks it out as unique in this list. If you only need a mobile phone as an actual phone, but you're concerned about durability, it's in a class of its own for its admittedly low price point.
However, that does bring with it the limitations of feature phones. Apps aren't non-existent, but trying to scroll Facebook with a phone keyboard is challenging, and the entire experience is very slow indeed. If you just need a basic phone that can take a beating on a budget, though, it's a worthwhile buy.
Water resistance generally remains a feature only found in mid-range or premium phones, with plenty of phones to pick from that offer proper IP-rated resistance. We considered phones from dozens of brands, including:
In the premium space, we very much take IP-rated water resistance for granted, and it's become more common in upper mid-range phones too, though you can't absolutely assume it.
For every phone on this list, we've extensively tested it – including immersion in water – to assess its overall capabilities, because nobody's buying a phone just for water resistance. You also need to consider build, style, camera features, application performance, battery life and value for money.We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. However, Finder may receive compensation when you click some links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners and why you can trust our guides.
The Motorola Moto G82 is an odd hybrid of the cheaper aspects of Motorola's G-series phones and the select features from fancier Edge phones.
The Motorola Moto e32 is a cheap phone that outperforms its budget rivals and for those on a strict budget it’s a fair buy.
The Motorola Edge 30 improves on the Edge 20 in a lot of important ways – but not when it comes to camera features.
The Motorola Moto G22 is one of the company’s more basic phones, but it does have surprisingly good battery life for a budget handset.
The Oppo Find X5 Pro is a gorgeous and powerful phone that’s a delight to use. But with a steep price can it compete with Apple & Samsung?
The TCL 30+ hits the basics for a mid-range phone, but it never really goes any further than that, lagging well behind the best phones in this price space.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 is an entirely adequate phone, but it doesn’t compare well against other phones in its price class – or even cheaper options like the Galaxy A33 5G.
It’s not quite Samsung’s cheapest Galaxy A series phone for 2022, but it might just be Samsung’s best value A series phone this year.
Oppo’s Find X5 Lite impresses primarily on the strength of its exceptional battery endurance.
Quick verdict: The Oppo Find X5 is a pretty good phone, but for the asking price it needs to be great. And it doesn't quite manage that.
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