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Waterproofing your smartphone during sports

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Mobile devices are become very much a part of our life these days. Voice calls aside, we use our smartphones to keep in touch with our friends through messaging apps, and to share our thoughts, photos and even videos on various social media platforms. When heading out for a jog or to the gym, they double up as a portable music player, and with the right app, can even function as a pedometer.

Unfortunately, smartphones are electronic devices that are susceptible to damage when accidentally dipped into water. This could happen at the beach, at the pool, or even in an unexpected downpour when cycling round-island or on a hike. With this in mind, we want to highlight some tips on how to protect your mobile phone from water.

Built-in water protection

The best way to not have your phone damaged by water is to get one rated as being waterproof in the first place. The Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Ultra, for example, are rated as such and can even be used to take photos underwater. Of course, it is important to point out that all exposed ports must first be closed before getting them into water. It is for this reason that manufacturer warranties typically do not cover damage from water – even if the devices themselves are advertised as waterproof.

Get a waterproof case

The other solution would be to purchase a special water-proof case. On this front, reputable case makers such as Griffin, Incipo (above) and Otterbox (below) offer waterproof cases for popular devices such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The downside is that these cases typically add substantial bulk, and also sport an additional layer in front of the screen that inadvertently makes them less sensitive. 

To address these problems, at least one brand has come up with an innovative case that is reasonably sized, and allows direct contact with the screen of the smartphone. Popular in the United States, the LifeProof Nuud series of waterproof cases (below) is available for devices such as the Samsung S4 and various iPhone models in Singapore.



Finally, as any Singapore guy who has gone through national services will tell you, zip lock plastic bags are a cheap and effective way to protect items from water. This helps when you’re on a budget, or don’t engage in activities that requires dedicated water protection regularly anyway. Some zip lock bags also come with fasteners for additional protection; or you can just use two separate zip lock bags.

What to do when water gets in

Perhaps the case wasn’t closed properly, or the seams were worn off from repeated use. But what do you do when water gets to your smartphone despite your best efforts? The first step to do is to switch off the phone if it’s still on, and to remove the battery if possible. This is to reduce the chances of shorts on the internal circuit board that could permanently destroy delicate electronic components.

The next would be to dry it out. Here is where the general advice gets varied, and ranges from very careful use of a hair dryer set to its coolest setting, or putting your device in a small bag of rice to soak up the moisture overnight. If rice sounds too yucky for you, Kensington sells an EVAP kit (below) that contains a special drying agent that it says is 700% more effective than rice at removing moisture. In addition, the EVAP kit also and comes with a humidity indicator to let you know when it’s ready. 

Do you have any tips with regards to protecting – and rescuing – smartphones from water? Feel free to share about them below.

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