Samsung has marketed the Galaxy S7 as a 'waterproof' model that will be resistant to water in certain circumstances.
This seems quite a feat for an electronic device, and indeed there are stipulations as to the conditions the phone itself can be "used" underwater.
Various tests have been carried out on the device since its release, especially after Samsung touted it as a water-resistant model. And the proof is in the pudding.
So, is the Galaxy S7 waterproof?
The Small Print
The marketing for the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge brands it with the label of "toughest" smartphone ever. This is always good to hear, as phones have a notoriously bad habit of being easily broken.
Taking the term "waterproof" literally, it seems that you should be able to drop the phone into a bath or a river and it still be able to function without the need for repair.
The small print for the Galaxy S7, however, does stipulate the conditions in which the phone will "survive" if coming into contact with water. Early small print claims that the phone is water-resistant to submersion in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes
This has since been contradicted by Samsung themselves, who launched the model online with a stipulation that they will only be able to handle water of 1 meter deep for 30 minutes.
This is less than four feet of water - and so seems appropriate for baths or sinks of water, but not if you were to drop your phone into a pool or the ocean.
This makes it NOT waterproof, but instead "water resistant to immersion up to 1 meter".
Where waterproof ratings are concerned, Samsung is claiming that the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge are category IP 68 certified. This, technically, isn't quite accurate. It would be better suited to an IP 67 rating instead.
What's the Difference?
Something that is IP 67 certified, according to the International Electrotechnical Commission, means it has a combined protection "from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction" AND that it is "protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for up to 30 mins".
This is what the "waterproof" Galaxy S7 SHOULD be classed as. Instead, it's categorized by Samsung as being "protected from immersion in water with a depth of MORE than 1 meter".
These details are solely based on what Samsung claims in the specifications, however. What about the tests?
The Proof is in the Pudding
Various independent outlets have tried and tested Samsung's claims that the S7 is able to withstand water.
In their "torture tests", gadget-warranty outfit SquareTrade submerged the phones in 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. Both the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge came out of the water and were still usable. However, once they had dried out, there were notable issues.
The phones' audio functions were affected, producing muffled sounds rather than clear sounds, therefore making calls, messages, and media distorted and hard to listen to.
In what are perhaps more grueling tests, independent reviewing body Consumer Reports slams Samsungs bold claims that the S7 models are waterproof, slating the fact that they are listed as IP 68.
Consumer Reports placed a pair of Galaxy S7 Active handsets in a tank of pressurized water. The pressure reading was 2.12 pounds per square inch, the equivalent of just under 5 feet of water.
They remained in there for 30 minutes. Once retrieved, the touchscreens were drastically affected and did not work correctly. The company's precise analysis was that they were "unresponsive and showing green lines, and bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front and rear cameras".
They added: "For a couple of days following the test, the screens of both phones would light up when the phones were plugged in, although the displays could not be read. The phones never returned to functionality."
This test, therefore, means that instead of a simple issue with audio distortion, the cameras and the entire functionality of the phone's touchscreen panel don't work if they are placed in IP 68 water conditions.
Samsung responded to these tests, saying: "The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be."
Of course, there's an argument here that if you drop your phone into water and realize right away, you're unlikely to leave it for 30 minutes until you retrieve it.
Reviewers speaking to theinquirer.net explained day-to-day circumstances in which they dropped the phone in water for a brief period of time and found that it still worked.
One wrote: "I dropped my S7 Edge into Lake Michigan, and pulled it out of 2 feet of water quite promptly. It had no effect on the phone so I was satisfied."
Another commented: "My Galaxy S7 Edge has fallen into the dog's bowl of water for about 5 Seconds and the toilet for at least 60 seconds. The water did NO DAMAGE to my phone. I am very satisfied with the waterproof claim."
Is the Galaxy S7 Waterproof?
Looking at the specs, the small print, the industry definitions, and the physical tests themselves, is the Galaxy S7 waterproof?
As stated, the term "waterproof" is misleading, and the short answer is that technically, no, it's not. So what happens if you drop yours into water? Simple: Get in touch with iFixOmaha right away.
FixOmaha has saved tens of thousands of customers time and money since opening our doors in 2012. We've been voted First Place Best of Omaha for Smartphone Repair every single year and local schools and businesses trust us for a wide variety of repair services.
iFixOmaha repairs consumer electronics including smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, and more by manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, and LG. Our smartphone repairs take 30 minutes, in most cases, and come with a lifetime warranty on all parts and labor.