Waterproof technology: Guide to the gadgets

Whether you’re at the beach or it’s a rainy day, waterproof tech will see you through. Here’s a guide to waterproof gadgets and the best ones out there…

15 Apr 2015


Are there different levels of waterproofing?

Yes - some gadgets are water-resistant while othersare waterproof. And it doesn't stop there, as different waterproof gadgets can handle very different amounts of water. It all comes down to how much water pressure a piece of tech can withstand.

While one gadget might be fine with a few drops of rain on it, it wouldn't last long completely submerged in water as the pressure is too high.

The deeper the water, the higher the water pressure. That's why waterproof levels are expressed as how deep underwater a gadget stays waterproof. A watch may be waterproof up to 1 metre, which is fine for wearing in the shower. But a camera built for diving could be up waterproof up to 40 metres.

What is an IP rating?

IP ratings tell you how dust- and water-resistant a gadget is. They're always presented as a 2-digit number - the first relates to dust, the second to water.

A lot of smartphone companies are now competing on this. The Samsung Galaxy S5 showed off its IP67 rating, which trumped Sony in terms of repelling dust and water. Apple, though, keeps its IP ratings secret - so it's not known how much water and dust the iPhone 6 could deal with.

How is a gadget made waterproof?

Usually it's by taking it and putting it in a waterproof case. These casings don't limit you using the gadget, though, which is essential of course for smartphones, camcorders and cameras.

A water-resistant gadget might fend off drops of water thanks to its materials or a thin coating on the device's surface. But these types of gadget usually can't handle depths of over 1 metre, or more than a few seconds submerged in water.

Some even more advanced waterproofing technology might be on its way. At the 2014 and 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, a few companies showed off nanocoatings 1,000 times thinner than a human hair that could keep smartphones bone-dry.

Waterproof Action Cam

3 of the best waterproof gadgets:

1.    Film underwater with a waterproof camcorder

Waterproof camcorders are great if you're an adrenaline-junkie who wants to film their exploits. So the next time you catch a wave, kayak down a fast-flowing river or dive deep into the ocean, it can all be captured on film.

One we love: Sony HDR-AS30V action camcorder.

2.    Take holiday snaps at the beach with a waterproof camera

Don't worry about your camera getting wet as you take pictures of family and friends by the beach. If you're looking to take pictures of underwater life while scuba diving or snorkelling, look for a camera that's waterproof to at least 10 metres.

One we love: Fujifilm FinePix Xp80 tough digital camera.

3.    Take your music outside with waterproof portable speakers

Planning a barbecue or day out at the park? You might want to add a soundtrack by bringing your portable speakers. If they're water-resistant, a bit of rain won't break them.That gives you enough time to bundle them into your bag if the weather turns on you.

One we love: UE Boom portable speakers.