Waterproof should be a standard feature by now

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: February 1, 2014

Companies are always searching for the next big feature that will draw in the most interest for their next smartphone. Over the past few years it doesn't seem like anybody is ever truly short on features, although they might be a little underdeveloped. 2013 in particular was an interesting year in features for smartphones, as there were a couple of models that particularly piqued my interest with "waterproof" technology. Although waterproof phones were destined for niche devices, I think that waterproofing phones should become a main feature for companies to improve upon and use in all phones.

The two devices released last year that actively advertised being waterproof, to an extent, was the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and the Sony Xperia Z. Both devices used some of the most advanced waterproof technology available for phones, but in my opinion the Sony Xperia Z was able to pull it off better. Not only was the device just about as normal looking as a phone can be, but it was also just a feature included in a regular, run-of-the-mill device; the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, on the other hand, was released later and targeted towards a specific demographic of people who were more active outdoors. That isn't to say that people who work in rougher environments don't deserve a nice phone that can face the elements; however, I think everybody (outdoorsy or not) is in danger of having their smartphone liquid damaged in one way or another, and waterproofing a device shouldn't just be limited to one demographic of people.

Nobody is exempt from the danger of dropping their phones in water. We're constantly around sinks, toilets, tubs, cups of liquids that can spill, in the rain, etc. By actively trying to improve waterproof technology in every smartphone, we could help to eliminate one of the most dangerous threats to our smartphones: liquid damage. 

It's a feature that I hope to see included in more flagship smartphones this year. Samsung and Sony did take the first couple of steps of incorporating that into their phones; however, both phones had limited access to them. The Sony Xperia Z was only available on T-Mobile in the U.S., where the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active was only available through AT&T. This left CDMA users in the dust when it came to having enhanced protection on their smartphones for an issue that everybody is in danger of getting into. 

Waterproofing devices shouldn't be a niche feature - it needs to be something widely used across the board, because it just makes sense. While I do appreciate what Sony and Samsung brought to table last year, it's a trend that I hope doesn't die with the new year. I don't care if the devices are a little thicker than we're used to seeing these days, given that having the "thinnest" and "lightest" devices seem to be the new trend. As for me? I'd rather have a somewhat clunky device that can take somewhat of a beating, because there is a lot of important stuff in my phone that I need to protect. I do think design is important, but you can make a thicker device that still manages to look good too. 

I just want to make sure my device can take more than just a sneeze droplet to render it liquid damaged. Something - anything - is better than nothing. Everybody could use some waterproofing on their smartphones.

Readers, what do you think about smartphones with waterproof features? Would you like to see more phones with the feature? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!