Seal of ap­proval

Ex­actly how dunk-proof is your tech? Here’s how to un­der­stand those wa­ter­proof rat­ings

T3 - - Slam Dunk -

If you’ve bought a smart­phone or e-reader lately, in its spec you may have spot­ted an IP rat­ing for wa­ter­proof­ing and de­bris pro­tec­tion. IP stands for ‘im­mer­sion’ or ‘ingress’ pro­tec­tion, and the higher the num­bers the bet­ter the in­ter­nals are sealed and pro­tected from the el­e­ments. IP is usu­ally fol­lowed by two dig­its: the first refers to the level of pro­tec­tion from for­eign bod­ies like dust and dirt, and the se­cond digit re­lates to wa­ter­proof­ing. Most mod­ern gad­gets carry a rat­ing of 6 for dust pro­tec­tion, which means they are com­pletely dust tight. A wa­ter rat­ing of 7 equates to sub­mer­sion sur­vival down to one me­tre for 30 min­utes, while an 8-rated gad­get can han­dle 1.5 me­tres for 30 min­utes. You may also see IPX rat­ings do­ing the rounds (for ex­am­ple, as found on the IPX8-rated Ama­zon Kin­dle Paper­white). This means the gad­get can with­stand full sub­mer­sion. For the ex­act depth and du­ra­tion, al­ways check the man­u­fac­turer’s spec.

An IP67 wa­ter­proof and dust-proof rat­ing means the Me­gablast is ca­pa­ble of sur­viv­ing a 30-minute dunk­ing at a depth of one me­tre. I crank out a pool party mix and sink the Me­gablast to the bot­tom of the tank, just as the cho­rus of Young Blood by Naked & Fa­mous kicks in. Alexa is un­able to hear my barked com­mands at the bot­tom, but I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing it to pick me up any­way. I pull it out after 30 min­utes to hear the dul­cet tones of Ru­pert Holmes’ Es­cape (you know, the ‘Pina Co­lada song’). Re­sult!

20,000 leagues

That’s the hol­i­day playlist sorted, but what about pool­side read­ing? It used to be that your sum­mer page turner would ar­rive on hol­i­day in per­fect con­di­tion, but re­turn dog-eared, with pages wrin­kled by pool wa­ter and sun cream. Swap in Ama­zon’s new­est Kin­dle Paper­white ereader and not only do you bag your­self up to 32GB of stor­age for ebooks and au­dio­books, but an IPX8 rat­ing means it can with­stand 60 min­utes of fresh­wa­ter im­mer­sion to a depth of two me­tres.

While low­er­ing the de­vice into the tank, I imag­ine do­ing the same to a paper­back and laugh aloud, rais­ing looks of con­cern from the nearby T3 pho­tog­ra­phy team (maybe they think all this ice wa­ter has some­how ad­dled my brain?). One hour later and the Paper­white is out of the wa­ter. It fires up with­out is­sue, so I wait for the numb­ness of my frozen arm to sub­side by read­ing a chap­ter of Moby Dick.

Splash hit

If you rely on a lap­top to work on the go, the big­gest threats to your tech are a drink spillage on a busy com­mute, or be­ing caught in a down­pour when work­ing al fresco. To avoid fried cir­cuit boards I’ve en­listed Len­ovo’s 14-inch ThinkPad T480 lap­top, com­plete with spill-re­sis­tant key­board.

A hearty splash of wa­ter across the keys does noth­ing at all to de­rail its per­for­mance, with the liq­uid flow­ing out of the built-in drainage holes just as Jack Ryan takes out some bad­dies on the lush 14-inch FHD screen. You’d be fool­ish to take this lap­top for a swim, but it’ll keep on truck­ing should your lunchtime latte take a tum­ble.

In our con­trolled test­ing en­vi­ron­ment these wa­ter­proof gad­gets lived up to their claims, but there are big­ger threats, and deeper wa­ters, out there in the real world – salt wa­ter also tends to be more dam­ag­ing than fresh wa­ter, so the sea would be riskier to long-time dunk­ing. Keep­ing a tight grip on your tech is still the best form of pro­tec­tion, but who knows, as tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, in ten years time we might be tak­ing calls from the bot­tom of the sea.

FAR LEFT The Me­gablast has more fun un­der­wa­ter than SpongeBob and his crew LEFT The Ap­ple Watch can take an­other 50 me­tres of this. Our writer’s hand can’t

above The i360 player is per­fect for our wa­tery megamix: Seven Seas of Rhye, Pur­ple Rain, Cry Me a River, Wa­ter­falls…

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