IP68? Mil-Spec? Rugged phone standards defined!

How durable is your phone? Or better yet, how confident are you in your phone’s ability to survive daily lifestyle abuse? Do you use your phone “naked”, or is a case a mandatory accessory when leaving the house?

We’re seeing some progress with manufacturers advertising more durable build quality for consumer facing devices. No longer just the ultra-tough construction site gadgets, many flagship phones now champion improved drop protection or enhanced water resistance. We currently have the Galaxy S7 Active in house to review, and that’s a perfect time to revisit the topic of “ruggedness”.

Samsung and Sony both feature water resistance prominently in their respective ads and commercials. We’ve also seen LG recently flirt with a more durable build on the V10. HTC delivered specifics for how much abuse the HTC 10 could take, even though it isn’t a particularly rugged phone. More conversation surrounding durability is great, and it’s always going to be helpful for consumers to understand what they’re actually buying.

We see labels and badges asserting a certain level of protection, or describing capabilities like underwater survivability, but what do those labels mean? How are these classifications verified? Let’s take a look at the IP scale for water damage, and the Mil-Spec certification process for drop and shock resistance.

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About The Author
Juan Carlos Bagnell
Juan has been geeking out on personal computing since before PCs had GUIs. After studying Theatre in college, Juan worked with a contractor that supported servers and mobile devices for Department of Energy facilities. After moving to Los Angeles California, and working as a commercial casting director, he now dedicates his time to discussing the tech landscape as a consumer advocate. You’ll often see him pop in local news broadcasts. Passionate about mobile content creation, he recently published his first book on smartphone photography.