Top Pick for
Overall waterproof phone
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Finder's team sifted through dozens of waterproof phones on offer here in Australia to find the best picks for anyone who needs a mobile with a bit of splash protection. We decided on these picks after checking out hundreds of customer reviews and reading through detailed product information.
Apple has come a long way since its first attempt at making a water-resistant phone. The latest-generation iPhone 12 is the company's best yet, with the device boasting industry-leading water resistance ratings on top of stellar performance. With a retail price of $1,349, the base model iPhone 12 is the best overall waterproof phone you can buy.
Apple wasn't the first manufacturer to release a water-resistant phone, but its latest phones are way better around the pool than its competitors. Apple says the iPhone 12 can survive under 6 metres of water for 30 minutes without a sweat. For comparison, Samsung says the Galaxy S21 Ultra can endure half an hour at a depth of 1.5 metres.
On top of its impressive water resistance, the iPhone 12 boasts Apple's powerful A14 Bionic processor. Apple says it's the fastest chip in a smartphone, and in our testing, it handily beats the Galaxy S21 Ultra, along with many other Android phones, in CPU performance.
The iPhone 12 has an impressive dual-camera setup, with an ultrawide and standard wide-angle lens on the back, but it's not the best setup that Apple has to offer. You'll have to drop an extra $350 for the iPhone 12 Pro if you want that extra telephoto lens.
Traditionally, iPhones have had impressive battery life despite having tiny batteries. But now other manufacturers are cramming bigger batteries into their phones, Apple is getting left behind. In our full review, we found the iPhone 12 would last about a day, but that's all it has in the tank. Our tests showed it performs worse than last generation's iPhone 11 Pro Max, too.
The iPhone 12 is incredibly popular amongst its owners, with the base model earning a rating of 4.5 out of 5 from more than 11,000 reviews on Google. Many were happy with the look and feel of their new device, and the new OLED screen impressed others. Some were less impressed with the iPhone's price, especially when that price doesn't include many of the accessories you'd once find in the box.
If you're committed to the Android ecosystem, it's hard to go past a Galaxy phone. The premium S21 Ultra boasts an incredibly sharp and responsive 120Hz display, a fantastic quad-camera setup on the back and IP68 water resistance, making it the best waterproof phone for Android users.
Galaxy phones have always had spectacular screens, and Samsung's latest flagship is no exception. The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the sharpest and smoothest panels you can find on a smartphone today. It's significantly upgraded over the last generation S20 Ultra, too, with the display capable of a 120Hz refresh rate at its full Quad HD+ resolution.
Samsung poured extra effort into the cameras on the S21 Ultra. On the front, there's an ultra-sharp 40-megapixel camera capable of taking some fantastic selfies, and there are 3 shooters around the back, too. You get a 108-megapixel main camera, as well as 1 ultrawide and 2 telephoto cameras. In case that wasn't enough tech, Samsung's 100X Space Zoom technology lets you take close-up shots from a distance with 100 times zoom. You can check out the sorts of photos the S21 Ultra is capable of taking in our full review.
Unfortunately, all of that great tech comes at an astronomical cost. You'll have to say goodbye to $1,849 of your hard-earned dollars to pick up an S21 Ultra at retail. And to rub salt into the wound, you don't get expandable storage anymore either, so if you need more space than the base 128GB, you'll have to spend even more.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the highest-rated phones on this list, with buyers awarding it with a 4.6 out of 5 rating from more than 55,000 reviews on Google. Users loved the high refresh rate screen and were impressed with the device's outstanding cameras. Some found the phone heavy (especially with a case) and others were unimpressed that there were ads in some pre-installed Samsung apps.
Waterproofing is typically reserved for flagship phones, but over time manufacturers like Samsung have begun to include it on more budget-friendly devices. The Galaxy A52 is one of the first A-series phones to be water-resistant, and given its great specs and remarkable cameras for an asking price below $600, it's the best budget waterproof phone you can buy.
If you're looking for a great value phone, the A52 packs in plenty of hardware for not much cash. Decent processing power should make the A52 great for everything from surfing the web to scrolling through TikTok, and 128GB of internal storage gives you plenty of space for apps and photos. Battery life shouldn't be a problem, either, thanks to the sizeable 4,500mAh battery.
As far as water resistance is concerned, the A52's IP67 rating means it can cope under 1 metre of water for half an hour. That's less impressive than the 1.5 metres Samsung's flagship phones can do, but it also costs less than half those devices.
Budget phones can be great at taking photos and videos, which the A52 proves with its quad-camera set-up. Samsung went with a 64-megapixel main camera on the phone, a step up over the A51's 48-megapixel sensor. It's also got optical image stabilisation, which should help you take sharper photos more often. There's also an ultrawide, depth and macro camera.
While the A52 is fantastic value, there are a few things you'll miss out on by going for Samsung's cheapest water-resistant phone. There's no wireless charging, and the screen isn't 120Hz like the Galaxy S and Note-series devices. You also won't be prepared for the future of our mobile networks, either, unless you want to cough up an extra $150 for the 5G model.
Samsung's budget-centric phones have a fantastic reputation, and the A52 is no different. It boasts a remarkably high rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 7,000 reviews on Google, the same rating as significantly more expensive phones like the iPhone 12 mini and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Users loved just how much life you can squeeze out of the phone's battery and appreciated the fantastic cameras too. Some were disappointed by the lack of wireless charging, and others experienced issues with speaker quality.
Samsung's Galaxy S-series phones have always been pricey flagships, but the company's new S20 FE brings many of the line's premium features to a device that'll set you back less than $1,000. With exceptional water resistance and a stellar 6.5-inch screen, the 2021 edition of the S20 FE is the best mid-range waterproof phone you can buy.
The colourful S20 FE is available in 6 different shades and boasts an impressive 6.5-inch Infinity-O display that's actually bigger than the screens on the S20 and S21. The FHD+ panel is even the same resolution as the S21, too. It's not afraid of the water, with an IP68 water resistance rating that means it can handle being under 1.5 metres of water for half an hour.
While the S20 FE first launched in late 2020, Samsung chose to refresh the phone smack-bang in the middle of 2021. The refreshed model is almost the same device as before, except it's using the more powerful Snapdragon 865 processor (also found on the 5G model we reviewed here) instead of a Samsung-made chip.
Since the S20 FE is basically just an S20 on the inside, the phone gets a little cheaper on the outside. You won't find the same premium glass back that the S20 wears. Instead, there's a plastic backplate, and while it won't feel as fancy to hold, it won't shatter like glass. The cameras are a little worse on the FE, too, and 5G isn't included.
Buyers were impressed with the Galaxy S20 FE, awarding the phone with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 from more than 72,000 reviews on Google. Customers praised the phone's snappy performance and high refresh rate screen. Some experienced issues with the fingerprint reader and others didn't love the speaker quality.
Apple has always made high-end, high-quality phones, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max represents the pinnacle of its current lineup. It sports a stunning OLED display, stainless steel construction and crucially, best-in-class water resistance, making it the best premium waterproof phone on the market.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the go-to phone if you want an iPhone with a massive screen. The 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display is the best iPhone screen, with the OLED panel capable of outputting beautiful, vibrant colours. It's also super sharp, sporting an impressive 458 pixels per inch.
Like the other iPhones on this list, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has Apple's top of the line IP68 water resistance. It'll handle being in up to 6 metres of water for a half hour, far more than the Galaxy S21, which can go 1.5 metres deep for the same amount of time.
If you're not into bulky phones, the iPhone 12 Pro Max isn't for you. At 226 grams, it's one of the heaviest phones on this list, and as we mentioned in our review, its larger size could make it a little uncomfortable to hold for those with smaller hands. It's also not a great value purchase. It costs a whole $500 more than the base model iPhone 12, even though they're powered by the same technology on the inside.
The most expensive phone in Apple's lineup is one of its most-loved devices, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max earning a solid rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 12,000 reviews on Google. Users were stoked with the power of the A14 processor and were amazed by its camera quality. Several customers were seriously unimpressed that Apple no longer includes accessories like headphones and charging bricks in the box.
Samsung's Note series has always had a reputation for its massive screens, and the Note20 Ultra 5G takes that to new heights. With its staggering 6.9-inch screen and mind-blowing cameras, it's the best big-screen waterproof phone money can buy.
The screen is the main star of the show for the Note20 Ultra. Not only is it bright, beautiful and high-resolution, it's also the biggest we've ever seen on a Note device at 6.9 inches. It's not that much larger than the S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it's still got a smidge more screen real estate.
While the sheer size of the Note20 Ultra is hard to go past, the cameras deserve a lot of praise too. At the front, you've got your standard 10-megapixel selfie camera baked into the glass. Turning it over, you'll find 3 more cameras capable of taking plenty of sharable snaps. The primary camera is a giant 108-megapixel wide-angle shooter, and there's also a 12-megapixel telephoto and ultrawide camera. You can check out what sorts of images you can get from the phone by checking out our full review.
Samsung's storage solution for its lenses and sensors was to shove it all into a giant camera bump that sticks out from the glass back of the Note20 Ultra. It's not the most visually stunning design ever (the S21 Ultra does a better job of handling all of that tech), but if you prefer function over form, you'll still appreciate the phone.
The Note20 Ultra isn't afraid of being splashed. It's got IP68 water and dust resistance, which means it'll cope under the water for around half an hour, as long as you don't take it deeper than 1.5 metres.
All of the Note20 Ultra's features come at a cost. With its retail price of $1,999, the base model is the most expensive phone on this list. Fortunately, since it's not a super new phone anymore, you can find decent discounts for it online that make it closer to the cost of a Galaxy S21 5G.
Users were pretty happy with the Note20 Ultra, awarding it a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 51,000 reviews on Google. Many praised the phone for its extraordinary screen, and others loved the S Pen. Some were disappointed with the screen not running at 120Hz at its full resolution.
Phones seem to be getting bigger with every generation, but if you want something a little smaller, Apple's iPhone 12 mini might be for you. The smallest phone in Apple's lineup keeps the powerful processor found in its larger counterparts and comes in a little cheaper than the other models, making this the best compact waterproof phone you can buy.
The iPhone 12 mini is the smallest iPhone you can get your hands on. Its 5.4-inch OLED screen is significantly larger than the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone SE, but the phone is still much smaller thanks to its tiny bezels. Looking at the numbers, the iPhone 12 mini is 0.69 centimetres shorter than the iPhone SE. It also weighs 15 grams lighter than it.
Despite its tiny size, the iPhone 12 mini is powered by the same A14 Bionic processor found in all the other iPhone 12 models. The chip is one of the fastest you can find in a smartphone today, eclipsing the performance of competing devices like the S21.
While the iPhone 12 mini is significantly smaller than the iPhone 12, it's not that far off in price. You'll only save $150 by cutting off 0.7 inches of screen real estate, and losing that space means you lose battery capacity. In our review, we found you could squeeze around a day's worth of life from the phone, but not much more.
Compact phone users love their iPhone 12 minis, with the pocket rocket earning a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 4,800 reviews on Google. Buyers were blown away by the phone's tiny size and overall portability, with many saying it easily fits into their pockets without them even noticing the lightweight device is there. Customers weren't so thrilled with the iPhone 12 mini's battery life.
Modern smartphones are fragile slabs of glass, but that's not the case for the CAT S62 Pro. The hefty phone is designed to handle substantial drops and keeps everything from water to sand out of its internals. While it might look different to all the other devices on this list, its unconventional design makes it the best rugged waterproof phone on the market.
The S62 Pro comes into its own out in the field. The chunky phone can weather drops of up to 1.8 metres, and that Gorilla Glass 6 screen should hold up against a few scrapes, too. While it's not scratch or shatter-proof, it's significantly more durable than most with its ruggedised exterior. It'll last around half an hour in 1.5 metres of water, and as a bonus, it's also vibration, sand, salt mist and pressure resistant.
One of the phone's more unique features is its FLIR thermal camera, which lets you see the world from an entirely different perspective to most smartphone cameras. If you take tons of photos with your fancy new thermal camera, you might need more storage than the 128GB of included space. Luckily, the S62 Pro has a Micro SD card slot capable of boosting your storage space by up to 256GB.
While the S62 Pro handily beats similarly priced phones in the durability department, you shouldn't expect it to produce mind-boggling performance numbers. The Snapdragon 660 processor powering the phone lags behind the blisteringly-quick Snapdragon 888 chips found on high-end Android flagships like the Zenfone 8 or the US version of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
If you're big into watching shows and movies on your phone, you should look at the other options on this list. The S62 Pro's 5.7-inch display is quite a bit smaller than most phones on the market today, and it's not that sharp either. Its 2,160x1,080 resolution is lower than you'll find on less rugged phones like the iPhone 12. At least it works with gloves and wet fingers.
The beefy Cat S62 Pro commanded a strong 4.2 out of 5 rating from more than 80 reviews on Google. Many buyers were over the moon with its build quality and robust design, and others were super impressed with its battery life. Some didn't love the phone's audio quality, and others experienced issues with mobile reception, too.
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