Both the Pixel and the Pixel XL come with IP53 certification, so what does it actually mean? The two phones offer impressive features, but waterproofing is a missing one.
Water Resistant Features
When you compare the competition, the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus as well as the Samsung S7 and the S7 Edge have excellent water resistance and can survive a dunking in the rain without problems. However, the Pixel and the Pixel XL can only sustain a little dust or moisture.
IP53 – What Does it Mean?
Both the Pixel and the Pixel XL have IP53 certification, or International Protection. The number 53 indicates the protection device has against dust and water. The number 5 shows protection against dust and the number 3 shows the protection against water.
Dust Rating on Pixel Phones
A dust rating of 6 would mean that the device is completely sealed, whereas the number 5 shows that it offers enough protection, so that even if some dust enters, the operation of the phone will not be affected. In case you carry the Pixel phones and get face a sandstorm, the phone will continue its operation but some dust or sand might get inside it.
The dust rating on the Pixel phones is not the issue, but the water rating is. The rating in this case is just 3, which means that it is barely enough. It just might withstand a spray of falling water, so the phones are likely to be fine if the user gets caught in a light shower. However, it is not advisable to run about with your phone while it is raining or dropping the phone into the toilet, the sink or the pool.
Comparing with IP68
When comparing the IP53 certified Pixel phones with the IP68 rated Samsung S7 and the S7 Edge, The latter phones have an advantage. You can fully immerse the Samsung phones in about three meters water for about half an hour. The iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus have a rating of 67, which means that they can also withstand the same.
Using a Waterproof Cover
The solution for those using the Pixel phones would be to put it in a waterproof cover. There are waterproof covers available from Lifeproof on its website. With this cover, you can immerse the Pixel devices in up to two meters in water for an hour. The cases are expensive at $90 each, but they also offer protection against a drop of about 2 meters.
Using a Pouch
A cheaper solution for waterproofing the Pixel phones would be a phone pouch or bag. It costs around $10 but may not look very attractive. The cheapest solution would be to use the Ziploc bag solution, but you need to recycle it every time and keep a check out for any leaks.
Google originally had the intention of offering high water proof abilities to the Pixel devices, but ran out of time. The company revealed the news in the WIRED podcast, when it mentioned that they had only nine months for designing and producing the device from scratch. Thus, the waterproof features were omitted as the company had focused more on its core features.
However, though the rating is not very impressive, recent water tests have shown that the Pixel phones can survive an immersion in water for about thirty minutes.