One of the more interesting discussions to come out of yesterday’s Samsung briefing on the Galaxy S7 range (besides playing with some of the accessories) was how Samsung achieved the waterproofing on the new flagship phone, and more importantly, the consequences of the phone taking a dip.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S5, and unlike last year’s Galaxy S6 range, the Galaxy S7 (and the Galaxy S7 Edge) water IP68 rated, and that means a thing; the 6 refers to dust protection and it’s the best available, whereas the 8 refers to water ingress. IPx8 means that the phone’s internals will stay dry beyond one metre for a period (about half an hour). While it is waterproof, this means it’ll survive the accidental dip into a pool, a toilet, or the bath. What we don’t recommend (and Samsung strongly countenance against) is deliberately immersing the phone in a pool, salt water, or anything other than fresh water. Water is one thing, but chlorine, salt, and other fun things found in various types of water can wreak havoc on electrical components, and the last thing you want is corrosion of your charging contacts, or your phone will soon be dead.
Anyhow, Samsung have some smarts in their charging hardware to minimise the risk of you (the user) doing something silly. While the USB port is uncapped, and thus exposed to water when it takes a swim, the internal circuitry will actually prevent the phone from charging via USB if there’s water or moisture detected in the port area. In fact, it may take some hours before it will take a charge again, to prevent short circuits as a result of any moisture on the charging contacts. Exactly how the Galaxy S7 detects this moisture hasn’t been disclosed, but these protections remain interesting to note.
Our advice? The IP68 rating should be seen as a safety feature, and not an invitation to go swimming with your phone.
If you do somehow get your phone wet, and you need to charge it, and you can’t wait, you could try wireless charging (as there’s no risk of a short this way), but from what we heard yesterday, even wireless charging may not be immediately available after your Galaxy S7 takes a swim.
If you do get it wet, dry it thoroughly, and try to remove as much moisture as you can from the charging port, and be prepared not to be able to charge your phone for a little while.
If you really want to use your phone in the wet, and frequently, like say at a water park or while swimming at the beach, invest in a proper waterproof case or bag, and just avoid all the issues completely. We sell some good ones on the Ausdroid Shop.