It's fair to assume that electronics and water aren't the best of friends, but in recent years the idea of a phone falling into a body of the wet stuff isn't necessarily a death sentence anymore.
Manufacturers have been exploring ways to make their products more resistant to dirt, shock, extreme temperatures and moisture for years - GoPro cameras were born out of such a need - and nowadays there are established methods that help guarantee tech is more resilient.
Originally, you had to look the likes of LifeProof and other specialist phone case makers to gain the necessary protection against the elements for your mobile; adding bulk to their otherwise sleek, lightweight designs and complicating accessing ports and controls in the process.
More recently phones - particularly those in the flagship space - have benefitted from internal design changes and additions that help make them hardier, without impacting on their overall dimensions or aesthetics.
Motorola and Sony have led the charge in the mobile space when it comes to water-resistant phones. The use of both seals and hydrophobic coatings are essential to keeping your tech water and dust-free, and nowadays everyone from the likes of Apple and Samsung, to OnePlus offer up at least one device with certified levels of ingress protection (also known as IP ratings).
Based on the capabilities of the phone in question and the degree to which they are able to withstand contact with water (and dust), we've assembled a list of the best water-resistant phones you can get your hands on right now.
As mentioned, most reside within the flagship space but competent ingress protection has made its way into the mid-range market too, so keep your eyes peeled for more affordable devices that also cite an IP rating if you can't find what you're looking for here.
Best waterproof phones 2020
1. Apple iPhone 11 Pro
You might notice that Apple holds both the number one and two spots on this list, but we promise this isn't a case of brand favouritism.
While the Android phones further down all adhere to IP68 certification, like the iPhones, Apple has gone above and beyond with the 11 Pro (and 11 Pro Max) boasting resistance in up to 13 feet for fresh water for up to 30 minutes.
As for the rest of the phone, while we're not fully on board with the 'Pro' naming, there's no doubt this is the best iPhone to date for various reasons.
We like the matte finish which provides more grip than standard glass and helps negate fingerprints. The OLED screen is stunning, especially with iOS 13's Dark Mode, the cameras are excellent, performance is slick and battery life is better than ever - there's a lot to like.
Still, it's a lot more expensive than the regular iPhone 11 which has the things that most people want and doesn't really break any new ground. It's not even 5G capable.
Read our full Apple iPhone 11 Pro review
2. Apple iPhone 11
While not quite as well-adapted as its Pro-branded siblings, the base iPhone 11 still totes above-average water resistance that works at up to 6.5 feet/2 metres of freshwater for 30 minutes.
The iPhone 11 didn't need to rewrite the smartphone rule book to be a winner. It simply needed to build on the success of the XR and it has done exactly that.
It features a nice design which comes in various colours. Face ID has been improved and the telephoto lens has been swapped for a more useful wide-angle lens. The screen still isn't OLED but offers a decent experience anyway and performance is top-notch - even when playing the very demanding games.
All of this for a cheaper price than the iPhone XR, when it first arrived. Apple has done it again.
Read our full Apple iPhone 11 review
3. Samsung Galaxy S20
As mentioned earlier, the rest of the devices in this lineup, including the S20, are listed as being able to withstand the exact standards of IP68-certification - submerged in up to five feet (1.5 metres) of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.
The base Galaxy S20 is the best phone in Samsung’s S20 series and simply the best phone the company makes right now.
It’s compact, powerful and packs a versatile camera system that may not match the top-tier S20 Ultra on zoom or detail, but meets - and sometimes beats - it across the rest of the board, which means it's more than a match for just about any other phone out there too.
The wider 5G ecosystem isn’t quite there yet but will be within this phone's lifetime, making it almost worth the upgrade.
Battery life remains a slight concern, that’s really the only major fault here. The Android ecosystem offers more for less elsewhere, but usually without Samsung’s level of prestige or polish and in this case we think that’s worth paying for.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 review
4. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is arguably the company's first full flagship, finally incorporating long-requested features like wireless charging and an IP68 waterproof rating to make it a genuine contender with Samsung's finest.
Understandably the price has gone up accordingly, but at £799/$899 for the base model - no slouch at 8GB RAM and 128GB storage - it still represents serious value by flagship standards, meaning you will save at least some money by opting for OnePlus over most other manufacturers. You can save even more with the £599/$699 OnePlus 8, though you'll have to give up a few features and downgrade the display and cameras.
The 8 Pro camera is OnePlus' best yet, and while it still lags behind rivals slightly in some software the hardware is among the best around, which has helped to close the gap considerably. Throw in 5G, a great design, and the best Android skin around and the OnePlus 8 Pro is easy to recommend to anyone who can afford it.
Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review
5. Oppo Find X2 Pro
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is a phenomenal phone by any measure. The 6.7in, 10-bit, 120Hz, QHD+ panel is the best display in any phone right now, and Oppo backs it up with the fastest wired charging around at 65W, and a top-tier camera that boasts two 48Mp lenses and up to 10x hybrid zoom.
You’ll have to live without wireless charging, and the choice between bland grey ceramic or garish orange vegan leather finishes might leave some struggling to find a design that suits their style.
For pure performance though, the Find X2 Pro can’t be beat right now, with all of the above plus a Snapdragon 865 5G, 512GB storage, and 12GB RAM - you just have to be willing to pay the price, as at £1,099 it doesn't come cheap.
Read our full Oppo Find X2 Pro review
6. Samsung Galaxy S20+
There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S20+ is both an exceptional flagship and one of the most well-rounded phones on the market right now, but ironically it stands in the shadow of its smaller sibling, the standard Galaxy S20.
If you prefer the larger 6.7in display that the S20+ offers up, you'll also enjoy its WQHD+ resolution, HDR10+ visuals and most exciting of all, the new 120Hz refresh rate. Performance is also top-notch meaning it's great for enjoying media and gaming, there's 5G onboard and 25W fast charging means you can refill the phone's 4500mAh battery in little over an hour.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20+ review
7. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Like all of Samsung's flagships, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra brings IP68 dust and water resistance to the table. Better yet, it has some of the nicest build quality of practically any phone currently on the market.
It also happens to be the first phone out there with Corning's newest Gorilla Glass Victus, meaning it's tougher than other glass-bodied phones against scrapes and drops.
There's also the fact that this is just a superb smartphone, brimming with features and sporting the power to back them up. Provided you can get past its large size and price, the Note 20 Ultra is a formidable phone worth considering.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review for more.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
8. Google Pixel 4 XL
Both Google's Pixel 4 and 4 XL offer innovation in spades. The larger 4 XL skirts around one of the smaller models main issues in its underwhelming battery life but it still suffers from some odd decision making elsewhere.
You'll likely fall in love with the super-smooth 90Hz display, the newly enhanced and incredibly responsive Google Assisant, and the astounding astrophotography skill baked into the new dual-sensor main camera. Quirks like the phone's weak maximum display brightness and middling longevity are less appreciated.
If you're yet to join the Pixel family, the Pixel 4 XL is a wholly capable jumping-on point, however, unless you're after the latest Android experience as Google intended, other manufacturers' devices offer more bang for your buck.
Read our full Google Pixel 4 XL review
9. LG V60 ThinQ 5G
A niche hit, the V60 ThinQ 5G excels in areas like battery life, video capture and audio but lacks mainstream appeal, with LG's 'quirky' user interface and the love-it-or-hate-it optional Dual Screen accessory.
LG has made some surprising decisions compared to the competition but a little thought does reveal that such choices collectively make a lot of sense. There's no high refresh rate display, for example, instead, the V60 actually sports a lower resolution (Full HD) panel compared to its predecessor, but as a result, it offers great longevity - even when using that second screen. There's also something to be said for the phone's raw speed, courtesy of a Snapdragon 865 chip and 5G connectivity.
The only other challenge is its availability, with just three major US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) being the only places you can pick the V60 up (at the time of writing).
Read our full LG V60 ThinQ 5G review
10. Sony Xperia 1 II
Sony's latest flagship doubles down on the unique attributes of 2019's Xperia 1, with an enhanced 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, a wealth of audio technologies (including a 3.5mm headphone jack) and a Sony Alpha-influenced triple-camera module.
It's augmented but clean take on Android includes meaningful improvements and despite not looking as competitive on paper as other Android flagships, its performance and battery longevity proved more than capable in testing.
Read our full Sony Xperia 1 II review
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