IEEE Access, , 2019, DOI:10.1109/ACCESS.2010.2094654

Water-resistant Smartphone Technologies

Quanqing Yu 1, Rui Xiong 2, Chuan Li 3, and Michael Pecht 1
1 CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA
2 National Engineering Laboratory for Electric Vehicles, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
3 National Research Base of Intelligent Manufacturing Service, Chongqing Technology and Business University, Chongqing 400067, China


Smartphone manufacturers have begun to market their products as water-resistant to gain market share. However, many consumers report that these smartphones are not actually waterproof as many of the advertisements suggest, and water damage is not included in the warranty policy. To understand how companies are attempting to protect their smartphones against water damage, this paper evaluates three popular smartphones (iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung S7 Edge, and Huawei P9 Lite). The phones were disassembled to assess the use of gaskets, glues, and other adhesives and emerging high-end technologies including water-resistant coatings and breathable fabric membranes. In addition, failure causes of water-resistant smartphones are discussed in terms of limitations of the ingress protection (IP) tests within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60529 standard. Warranty issues are then presented and recommendations given.

This article is available online here.

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