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?
IP ratings explained
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.