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To help you find the best waterproof phones, we spent several hours identifying the top features you should look for when purchasing a new device. Then, we sifted through 20+ different smartphones and ranked them based on how well they performed with these features and functionalities. We recommend purchasing a waterproof phone with at least IP68 dust and water resistance. You should also get a phone that complements that certification with durable glass on the display and sturdy metal frames. We also measured options based on their display quality and processor performance.
With all of these features and functionalities in mind, we selected the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as our top pick for the best waterproof phone. Keep reading to learn more about this powerful waterproof cell phone and how it stacks up against the best smartphone.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Offering a truly premium experience with tons of cutting-edge technology, this waterproof is the best of the best. The main features to look out for here include a large, beautiful display, an innovative S Pen stylus, leading processing power, and all-day battery life.
If you want everything modern smartphones have to offer, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. When it comes to making a solid waterproof phone, Samsung really knows what they’re doing. This is the best phone for power users who aren’t afraid to get their hands (or phones) wet. With a gorgeous 6.9-inch curved display, you’ll get Quad HD+ quality (3088 x 1440) with a 496 PPI pixel density. There are virtually zero bezels here due to the Infinity-O display design. The display is also compatible with the included S Pen stylus, which feels like an actual pen on paper during use. Even better, the display features a smooth motion handling rate of 120Hz, so everything looks buttery smooth. If you want to keep your connection strong during calls, check out the best cell phone signal booster.
On top of the IP68 certification, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also features durable Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the strongest the glass has ever been. It’s more resistant to scratching and shattering, but these things are still possible. We would still recommend wrapping the Note 20 Ultra in a protective case, especially since it’s so big. You’ll also get a powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset in this phone, which creates a very responsive user experience when it comes to multi-tasking, gaming, or casual browsing. This processor also powers the Note 20 Ultra’s amazing camera array, which offers amazing optical zoom up to 100x and a powerful 108MP sensor. On top of all of that, you’ll also get a large 4500 mAh battery, which keeps the phone up and running throughout your entire day.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This waterproof smartphone features a durable overall design, 6.5-inch OLED display, and blazing fast A13 Bionic processor for an incredibly smooth user experience. Plus, it’s cutting-edge camera includes the best low-light photography capabilities available on any phone available today.
There’s not much more to be said about the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max than what you’ve probably already heard, but it’s worth reviewing all of the amazing features this waterproof smartphone has to offer. For starters, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is built to last. It features a simple design that hasn’t changed much in the past few years, but it looks good and feels good in your hand. Of course, the iPhone is dust and water-resistant with an IP68 rating, but it also features a durable glass display and metal unibody for extra protection. Plus, with the extra-bright and colorful OLED display, you’ll be able to see everything you’re doing in vivid, sharp detail.
Another big selling point for the iPhone 11 Pro Max is its amazingly fast internal processor. The A13 Bionic chipset is produced directly by Apple and features some of the best benchmark test results around. It’s snappy, responsive, and works seamlessly with Apple’s user-friendly iOS operating system. The Bionic processor also does well in powering the next-gen camera featured on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, making it one of the best phones for vlogging on the list. This is especially true for the revolutionary Night Mode that the camera provides. This mode allows you to take clear photos and videos in low-light environments with ease. The iPhone does have some downsides, mainly in limited storage options and the distinct lack of a dedicated headphone jack, but these are minimal trade offs when you look at all the good things you get with this powerful waterproof phone. If you want a phone you can use with any plan or provider, check out our review of the best unlocked phone.
Award: BEST FOR ANDROID USERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This smartphone focuses on the best parts of the Android operating system and enhances them with a simplified user interface without all the bloat. Plus, with innovative features like Motion Sense gesture recognition, a 90Hz display, and a high-quality camera area, you’ll be able to get amazing performance out of this waterproof smartphone.
The Google Pixel 4 XL is one of the best affordable waterproof phones available on today’s market. It does a lot to improve upon the downfalls of previous Pixel iterations, and also includes a lot of new functionality that is sure to impress. Like all of Google’s smartphones, the Pixel 4 XL features a streamlined approach to the user interface it layers on top of the Android operating system. You’ll be impressed with how simple and responsive this UI is, especially when compared to many other Android phones. The Snapdragon 855 chipset in this phone isn’t as fast as other flagship cell phones, but it still provides snappy, reliable performance because of the simplified UI.
We were also impressed by the Pixel’s overall feature offering. Its 6.3-inch OLED display is colorful and smooth with its 90Hz refresh rate. We do wish brightness levels were a little higher, but this is only really noticeable when compared directly to another, brighter smartphone. We were also impressed by the Pixel’s camera setup. It can produce detailed, sharp, and colorful images and videos with minimal effort on your end. Plus, with the IP68 rating, you can even take photos underwater. The Google Pixel 4 XL also offers an innovative Motion Sense technology, which allows you to control many of the phone’s functions with simple hand gestures. Time will tell if this functionality will stick around for the long run, but it’s cool to see Google innovating in ways like this. You might also like our best Chromebooks guide for more Google-friendly technology.
Award: BEST EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you need a reliable waterproof that’s easy to use, look no further than this option. With a snappy A13 Bionic processor, a simplified operating system, and ergonomic form factor, this water-resistant phone is an excellent model for users of any skill level.
If we could choose the best thing Apple does right with its iPhone 11 Pro phones, it’s the fact that they’re incredibly easy to use. This is a staple of most Apple devices, and it’s increasingly apparent here, as well. The iOS operating system is overlaid with an incredibly simple and easy-to-learn operating system. As soon as you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to operate virtually anything on this phone with ease. This even goes for the innovative triple-lens camera, which includes Apple’s new, impressive Night Mode for low-light photography.
The iPhone 11 Pro is also designed incredibly well. With rounded edges and a nearly bezel-less OLED display, you’ll be able to hold and operate this phone with one hand. This is helpful for when you want to use the phone underwater or in wet environments like rainy days. More than anything, though, we were impressed by the iPhone’s extra-responsive A13 Bionic processor. This is the brain behind the phone, and it does its job incredibly well. You’ll hardly ever experience lagging or stuttering on this reliable iPhone. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for the best phones for kids and want some extra durability.
Award: BEST DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This waterproof phone offers the best when it comes to display quality with its 120Hz, QHD+ touch screen. The phone is also snappy and responsive, and it functions on 5G networks for blazing-fast wireless speeds.
The OnePlus 8 Pro improves upon years of previous OnePlus flagship phones to present the most well put together and high performing phones to come from the company to date. The first thing you’ll notice when you unbox this powerful smartphone is how well it’s designed. The phone’s display is its best quality and it gives you a ton of shiny functionality to gawk at. The QHD+ AMOLED display features a 3168 x 1440 pixel resolution and HDR10+ support, but really shines when it comes to how smooth it is. With 120Hz of motion handling, everything you do on the OnePlus 8 Pro looks buttery smooth, even action-packed video games.
This water-resistant phone also offers a high level of internal performance with its Snapdragon 865 chipset. It’s not as powerful as the Plus version of the same processor, but it gets the job done in a way that prevents stuttering and lagging. This is the first OnePlus phone to offer IP68 certification, and the added water resistance is a really nice touch. You can charge this phone wireless and even use the device as a wireless charging pad for other phones due to its reverse wireless charging capabilities. The camera here is excellent, as well, although you might be disappointed by the lackluster zoom quality. For that, you’ll want the best webcams for Skype.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This waterproof phone meets in the middle on performance and affordability, offering high-tech functionality in most aspects without the astronomical price tag. Its best feature is its design, though, with a tough outer casing, a beautiful display, and waterproof certification.
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ is a premium smartphone without the premium price tag. It’s designed with care and precision in every aspect of its form factor, which is apparent from the moment you take it out of the box. The first thing you’ll notice is the huge 6.7-inch display with nearly zero bezels. It features a punch-hole design for the front-facing camera and high resolution for a really detailed, bright picture. It features a 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution and AMOLED lighting. The one design aspect here we wish could be improved is the in-screen fingerprint reader, which isn’t as reliable as other phones.
You’ll also get 5G connectivity with the Galaxy S20+, which is a huge plus now that wireless carriers are starting to upgrade their networks. When connected to 5G, you’ll get blazing fast wireless speeds when browsing the web, downloading content, or streaming movies from your favorite streaming platform, making it one of the best gaming phones on the list. The Galaxy S20+ also features a quick Snapdragon 865 processor, so everything feels smooth and responsive on-screen. You’ll get a quad-camera setup on this phone, which is another nice addition. The camera allows you to take super crisp photos and videos, even underwater thanks to its IP68 certification.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking to get waterproof capabilities without paying flagship pricing, then this is the phone for you. While it’s not current-gen, it still offers a snappy processor, surprisingly good camera, and beautiful display, all at an affordable price range.
If you’re looking for the best of cheap waterproof phones, then look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S10e. This reliable and powerful waterproof phone is last year’s model, but it’s still packed to the brim with reliable and fast components. For starters, you’ll get the Snapdragon 855 chipset in the S10e, which creates a smooth overall user experience, even when it comes to multitasking or gaming. This processor also helps power the impressive camera setup on this Galaxy phone. We were surprised at how good the Galaxy S10e’s camera is. It can produce detailed pictures with good color accuracy and sharp resolution.
This budget waterproof phone also provides a number of other impressive features worth mentioning. Its 5.8-inch AMOLED display is both bright and colorful, and it offers a good pixel density with a 2280 x 1080 pixel resolution. You get slim bezels here for an infinity display effect. On top of the IP68 certification, you’ll also get Gorilla Glass 5, which creates an even more durable build. We also really liked the Galaxy’s PowerShare function, which allows you to charge other devices with the phone acting as a wireless charging pad. Great if you’re looking for the best cell phones for seniors that can take a day at the pool.
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Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for an extra-compact waterproof phone experience while still getting all of the premium features you’ve come to expect from a flagship phone, then this is the best choice for you. With a 5.5-inch OLED display, fast processor, and a solid camera, this phone certainly packs a punch in a small package.
The Apple iPhone SE is one of Apple’s newest offerings, which takes a more affordable approach to get into the company’s extensive iPhone line up. As such, it’s a smaller device than the main iPhone line with other smaller tradeoffs here and there. However, you’ll still get amazing overall quality with this phone, especially when it comes to the user interface, ease of use, and camera quality. The iPhone SE features the same high-quality OLED Retina display that has become a staple of the iPhones. It’s bright, sharp, and colorful. Plus, the glass is tough enough to handle most bumps and bruises you may experience throughout the day.
We were also impressed by the SE’s overall performance and reliability. It features a reliable internal chipset in the A13 Bionic processor. This helps create an extra-smooth user experience with Apple’s award-winning iOS operating system. Plus, the dual-lens camera system is still capable of producing high image quality and 4K video, even without the now-standard third lens. The only thing you don’t because of this is the ultra-wide-angle function. It’s a great option if you’re looking for the best small phones with water-resistant features.
Award: BEST RUGGED DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This phone takes durability and waterproofing to the next level. It’s the only smartphone with IP69 certification, which means the phone has water resistance at high pressures, plus it features a rugged external casing for added drop resistance.
If you’re looking for durability and ruggedness, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Caterpillar Cat S61 waterproof phone. At first glance, you can tell that this phone is dedicated to adding an extra level of protection. Its external casing is made from tough polycarbonate plastic and rubberized components for added shock absorbency to protect the phone from drops and bumps. You’ll also get a metal frame for added structure and stability. You’ll also get IP69 certification, which is truly a rarity in smartphones. This rating is usually reserved for industrial machinery. It means the Cat S61 can withstand exposure to high-pressure water jets.
On top of its durable design, the Cat S61 also features relatively good, reliable performance. It only features a Snapdragon 660 chipset, which isn’t the latest and greatest, but it still does well for what this phone needs. The display is a little smaller at 5.2 inches, and only features full HD resolution, but it looks good and works well. Plus, it’s made from Gorilla Glass 5 for added durability. We were also impressed by this phone’s camera functionality. It features a 16-megapixel sensor on the rear camera, as well as a unique FLIR thermal camera. You even get an incredibly handy measuring tool with laser assistance. A great option if you’re in the market for the best rugged smartphones.
Award: BEST UNIQUE DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This flagship waterproof phone is slim and powerful, with an incredibly unique design that allows it to have two separate displays with the added Dual Screen case. Plus, it features a long-lasting battery and even includes a headphone jack, which is becoming rare in today’s smartphone industry.
The LG V60 is a powerful waterproof smartphone that features high-end specs and performance to impress even the pickiest tech enthusiast. The best thing about the V60 smartphone is its unique design. It features a tall, narrow display and a curved back. The design feels good in the hand and looks good, too. However, the most unique aspect of this phone’s design is the fact that you can purchase the additional Dual Screen phone case to create access to an additional 6.8-inch OLED display. This second display offers the same level of quality found in the LG V60’s display.
When it comes to performance, the LG smartphone features a powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset that keeps things running smoothly and reliably, even with the Second Display attached. You’ll also get a triple-lens camera setup, but the overall camera functionality isn’t anything to write home about. You’ll want the best low light camera phones for that. It works well enough, but it won’t perform to the same capacity as Samsung or Apple’s flagship phones. The LG V60 also features durable Corning Gorilla Glass that complements the IP68 water resistance rating.
As we started the process of scoring and ranking the best waterproof phones, we started with the most important consideration: each phone’s IP rating and certification. We only included phones on this buying guide if they were IP68 certified. This way, you know you’re getting the best and most-protected waterproof phones. This means any phone you purchase from our guide above will be completely protected against dust ingress and will stay dry, even when fully immersed in water for a period of time.
Next, we looked at each phone’s overall performance and reliability. We preferred phones that featured the latest and greatest in processor technology but didn’t restrict our selections to phones with the newest chipsets. The ultimate determination here was if the phone’s processor could make the phone and user interface run smoothly without stuttering or lagging.
Finally, we ranked each option based on all of the other usability features they offered. We awarded bonus points to phones with high-quality cameras that could still work underwater and get good shots. We also looked at display quality, scoring options higher if they provided more resolution, higher pixel density, and more brightness. In the end, we based our rankings on how well each waterproof phone could provide a comprehensive solution to fit the needs of most consumers.
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