Ruggedised phones are starting to take off, particularly since the launch of the Galaxy S4 Active and the new Sony Xperia ZR, with one of the main selling points in this area usually being the special IP or Ingress Protection rating. For example, the Galaxy S4 Active is IP58-rated while the Xperia ZR is IP67-compliant.
So what do those numbers mean?
The first of the two digits refers to what’s called the ‘solid particle protection’, which basically means boulders, rocks, dirt and dust. The higher the number, the smaller the particle the device is protected against.
Level 0 means no protection at all, equivalent of enough space to drive a block of flats through.
Level 1 means protection against anything larger than 50mm.
Level 2 provides protection against anything larger than 12.5mm.
Level 3 can take anything larger than 2.5mm.
Level 4 is rated for particles larger than 1mm.
Level 5 is ‘dust protected’, which means some dust may enter but it won’t muck up the operation of the device.
Level 6 is the highest level of protection and basically means it’s dust-tight or dust-proof.
The second digit refers to its ‘liquid ingress protection’ or how water-proof the device is.
Level 0 is zero protection – be prepared to find it on the bottom of the ocean providing a haven for sea life.
Level 1 is equivalent to ‘dripping water’ protection.
Level 2 takes Level 1 and adds a 15-degree angle to the water dripping and protects against that level of water inundation.
Level 3 refers to water spray at an angle of up to 60-degrees have no ill effects on the device.
Level 4 provides protection against water splashing from any direction.
Level 5 can withstand water jets up to 6.3mm diameter.
Level 6 water jets up to 12.5mm diameter.
Level 7 can survive immersion in up to one metre of water for less than 30 minutes.
Level 8 is the top level and offers protection against for than one-metre of water but it usually depends on the manufacturer to state exactly what protection. Normally, this means its water-proof – no water will get into the device but you need to check with the manufacturer.
With the Xperia ZR rated to IP58 for example, that means its dust-protected but offers the best water-protection you’ll get.
So next time you’re looking at specs and they mention a two-digit IP-code, you’ll have a much better of what it actually means.
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