Video: how did Samsung make the Galaxy S7 water resistant?

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 7, 2016

galaxy s7 water resistance 2 JerryRigEverything

One of the coolest features of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge is their water resistance. The phones can be safely immersed in water, within certain limits: in line with their IP68 certification, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are guaranteed to resist submersion in up to 1.5 meters (roughly 5 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. But how is this water resistance accomplished?

Xperia ZSee also: IP ratings explained12

YouTuber JerryRigEverything took it upon himself to explain exactly what makes the Galaxy S7 water resistant (note that, contrary to the title of the video, the Galaxy S7 is not waterproof, it’s just water resistant, a point that is made very clear in the video itself).

In the video above, you can see some of the technical measures Samsung implemented to make sure water stays away from the Galaxy S7’s sensitive innards. Mostly, it’s rubber seals: there are several gaskets strategically placed around weak spots like the power button, the SIM card tray, or the headphone jack.

Samsung also made use of glue and tape to ensure that components are sealed and held firmly in place so moisture from the outside can’t seep in. It doesn’t hurt that all the components of the Galaxy S7 are compact and tightly assembled: in particular, the two glass panes on the front and rear of the device are glued tight, rendering most of the surface area of the phone waterproof.

How about the speakers, you ask. For this component, which needs to be in contact with the air in order to work, Samsung’s engineers found a very ingenious solution: a fine mesh screen that allows air to reach the speaker, but keeps the water out thanks to its surface tension.

That said, there’s a reason why Samsung does not market the Galaxy S7 as waterproof – put the device through enough abuse and it will get damaged. That’s why there are two water detection stickers inside the device – normally these are white, but if moisture (steam and sweat included) seeps in, they turn pink, potentially allowing Samsung to deny warranty.

How is Samsung able to market water resistance and deny warranty based on water damage at the same time? The key thing to remember is that Samsung makes very specific claims: 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Using the S7 in any other way can void your warranty.

For instance, if you drop your device to the bottom of a pool that is deeper than 1.5 meters, water pressure is higher than what the certification mentions, so water could theoretically find a way in. Similarly, very hot water could soften the rubber gaskets, while water with high content of chlorine or detergents could potentially damage the rubber or tape used to seal the phone.

In short, keep in mind that your phone is not waterproof and is not sold as waterproof. While the occasional dip or splash is perfectly fine, prolonged exposure to water in more extreme conditions can damage it.

  • Degus Jacoby Pradana

    Still love it

  • People that thought the phone was waterproof and not water resistant need a helmet.

  • Nallaikumaran

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  • BarKohba

    “Samsung’s engineers found a very ingenious solution: a fine mesh screen that allows air to reach the speaker, but keeps the water out thanks to its surface tension.”

    You mean Samsung found this solution 3-4 years ago, gave it to Sony, who has been using it in their Z series ever since, and only now decided to use it?

    This article almost sounds as if the S7 is the first waterproof smartphone, even though Sony has pioneered this technology a while back and has been using it in their smartphones ever since.

    This article sound like paid PR by Samsung, since if you’d open up an older z3 or 2, you’ll most probably realize where Samsung found the “inspiration” for their ingeniousness.

    • john

      Doesn’t Sony use thin membrane instead of a mesh? I remember one of the waterproof sony headphones head a very thin membrane that transmits vibration but keeps the water out. I’m guessing their phone does the same thing.

      • BarKohba

        thin membrane / mesh means the same thing. Actually, the correct word is mesh, as the so called “thin membrane” that sony has been using on it’s speakers ever since the first waterproof phone they made is riddled with small holes, which is logical since sound needs to get out through somewhere.

        • Sahib

          Agreed Bro , sony started IP 68 in with z3 with covered ports then z3 plus witjout ports and thin membrane is same as mesh
          But samsung enhanced it with keeping it more tight and compatible. Used both phone for a year samsung is better

    • sonybru

      Sony has flaps for its openings.

      • BarKohba

        a) Read the article and my comment again. It was in referral to the way water doesn’t get to the drivers.

        b) Sony only has “flaps” for the sim/microsd slot (just as most smartphones, waterproof or not). Xperias have ditched the audio jack flap 5 generations ago, and the microsd jack 2 generations ago.

        Get with the times.

        • RunningGreat

          You’re so hurt. Guess what. Sony is not the best at the moment. That’s the bottomline. Cry and cry about waterresistance rofl. You look so sad right now. If you want to be on the winning side, no one’s stopping you.

    • RunningGreat

      Let it go man. Who cares who’s first. (Edit: Just found out Samsung is first in water-resistance) Samsung has many firsts as well and probably more than Sony if you want to go that route. It’s about who does it best, and Samsung does it best with style and without ugly flaps.

    • Davey

      samsung had a water resistant phone long ago when active came out. The mesh method is not really applicable when the back panel of the phone was removable. however, now Samsung has integrated this into the S lineup. Samsung has been in making waterresistant phone longer than Sony and, as you already mentioned before, Sony actuallu got the original water isolating technology from Samsung. S6 was already IP68 proofed but not certified. The only difference is this year Samsung make the feature clear for the buyers.

      Just because someone dedicate an article praising Samsung for a job well done doesn’t mean it is a paid PR. They did not get to this position by bullshitting it through and ask people to write them fate articles. If you dont like Samsung phone thats ok, Sony also makes good phones. But please dont come into a article accusing writter for writing paid PR because the company you like sells a similar phone feature. Leave that to the iFanBoys.

      • RunningGreat


    • Jeff Martinez

      Current S7 owner, love it. But I agree with this comment. Long before the S7, remember a similar article about my Z1 Compact a few years back and enjoying pictures underwater.

  • jcamachott

    Is it true that all water resistant phones over time, lose their water resistance? The user won’t know until it is too late, no?

    • Richard Giles

      My S5 is two years old and got a dunk last week. All good ever since. Ten years might make a difference though

  • Buck Macklin ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    The S5 (February 2014) was also water resistant. Additionaly the back is removable so that the user can replace the battery. There are some very ingenious terminals visible as well. This allows the user to add some extras like wireless charging.

  • sauna guy

    How about sauna? Can I use my phone while sauna?

  • Jose Lugo

    Nice! Glad my S7 Edge is safe from any accidental spills. Great info!

  • Daniel Herrera

    Hey guys, don’t worry, I swim with my Galaxy S7 for hours while watching Netflix and it’s perfectly fine. Happy swimming everyone!

    • Linked Devices

      It’s hilarious calling people though video chat while under water. It really freaks them out. I used to do that all the time with the S5. Can’t wait to try it again with my S7

  • Richard Giles

    The Nokia 5210 was “waterproof” back in 2002. The rubber seals and fine mesh idea is not new. My two year old GS5 has mesh over the speaker and a plug in the charging port

  • Wolvie

    As we all know, glue can wear off, rubber can become soften or harden after certain period of time, and those rubber/glue assembly still got chance to be wrongly placed, etc.

    Customers always at the weak side. once the water detection stickers change color then it is bye bye for the samsung warranty.