Do you plan to purchase a mobile device such as a portable speaker or Bluetooth headsets? It is therefore essential to know the resistance of this product to various elements, including water.
Indeed, many brands communicate that their products (smartphones, tablets, activity bracelets, connected watches, cameras, digital cameras, even wireless speakers) are “waterproof”. But what exactly is behind this term? Does this mean that it can be used in the rain, in the shower or even in the pool? Manufacturers’ information can be purely technical and confusing.
The Ingress Protection (IP)
One of the first things to look for on a device is its international protection index, commonly known as the protection index: IP. IP codes are standards established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which are based at https://www.iec.ch/.
This is a code consisting of the letters IP followed by one or two digits. The two most common indices for electronic devices are IP67 and IP68 (or IPX7 and IPX8). This index makes it possible to know the level of protection offered by a material against the intrusion of liquid or solid bodies (dust).
The index format is IP XX, where the XX are two digits that represent the level of resistance to dust (left X) and liquid (right X) intrusion. Each of these X can take a value between 0 and 8, depending on its resistance level (the higher the number, the stronger the resistance). For example, IPX4 means that the device is protected against water splashes from all directions.
If no number corresponds to define the level of resistance to dust and/or liquid or if it has not been tested, either X is not replaced by a number and remains in place. This is the case with IPX7.
The Protection Class IPX7
The IPX7 standard therefore states:
· Protection against untested dust
· Liquid protection against the effects of immersion in a maximum depth of 1m and for a maximum of 30 minutes
More concretely, this means that if you use an IPX7 watch to swim or if you immerse a Bluetooth speaker in your pool or bath, you risk damaging it and the warranty will not work. This CNet article investigates this in greater detail.
If you are looking for more protection, you can buy IPX8 certified equipment: this guarantees protection against immersion beyond 1 m. The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions to be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this means that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with some types of equipment, water can enter but it does not produce any harmful effects.