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LG: Waterproof phones are ‘just not that useful’

Luke Johnson


Sony Xperia Z
LG turns its back on the idea of waterproof phones

Despite water resistant coatings now coming on a range of flagship handsets, LG has claimed that waterproof phones are ‘just not that useful’.

With the LG G3 having been formally unveiled yesterday, the Korean manufacturer has defended its decision to overlook a waterproof coating for its latest high-end offering, despite the 5.5-inch handset featuring a plastic construction.

Basically we think that waterproofing on smartphones is not that useful,” Chul Bae Lee, Vice President of LG’s Mobile Communications Design Lab said speaking exclusively with TrustedReviews.

He added: “It is a matter of strategy choice. Instead of waterproofing we have put a much better screen and a much better camera [in the G3].

“We have put our resources in to that area instead of just making it waterproof.”

The LG G3 entered the realms of reality following countless leaks, with the phone’s 5.5-inch QHD display packing a stunning 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.

Further highlights of the LG G3 specs sheet include the phone’s 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and its 13-megapixel rear-mounted camera which itself benefits from a dual LED flash and inbuilt laser auto focus.

Further discussing the Korean manufacturer’s decision, Lee was keen to highlight that the G3’s lack of waterproofing is down to choice rather than a lack of ability.

“The reason for us not doing waterproofing on the G3 is not because we don’t have the technology but because of our strategy choice – it’s just not that useful,” he told us.

“We are launching phones in Japan that are waterproof so we do have the technology.

“What will be the real life user case of these features, we don’t know yet.”

Read More: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Tim Sutton

May 28, 2014, 12:23 pm

I'm very much in agreement with Mr Lee on this.

I look on water and dustproofing as essentially a backup in the event of extreme stupidity on the users part.

I don't care how waterproof my phone claims to be, if there's a chance I'm doing something where my phone will get wet then I don't take it with me.

(oh and two separate hands-on reports on the ultra high resolution screen say that when next to a 1080p phone screen of the same size the two displays are indistinguishable)

Prem Desai

May 28, 2014, 12:37 pm

Waterproofing is more than just insurance against accidental damage.

It means you can use the device on the beach, by the pool, etc.

Not sure where Mr Lee gets his figures from, but ask any warranty claims company and the number of devices that are water damaged are mind boggling.

Waterproofing is a bit of a no-brainer on a mobile device - especially as it cost something like 46p (slight exaggeration) to do .....


May 28, 2014, 2:45 pm

I guess you have never been caught out in the rain or use your phone while on vacation.
I would take waterproofing and a 1080p display, rather than this QHD display.

He should have just said that being the first with a QHD display was more marketable in North America/Europe than being the 3rd or 4th with waterproofing.

Edward Uwechue

May 28, 2014, 4:56 pm

I had a sony xperia z, and as long as there is a pull out flap covering the usb port on any 'waterproof' phone, the phone will not stay water proof for long. If you are on a 2 year contract that will suck.

Tim Sutton

May 28, 2014, 6:31 pm

I've been caught in the rain many times, I live in England... yet my entirely normal phones have never been harmed by that in anyway. Every phone is designed in a way that means it won't die if it gets splashed.

But if I'm going surfing I leave my phone on the beach, I don't take it in with me.

I'm not saying phones should be made from potassium, just that for 99% of the market true waterproofing is highly unnecessary, and imposes limits on design that I think aren't warranted.

Tim Sutton

May 28, 2014, 6:48 pm

I'm not anti waterproofing per se, I just would rather have a phone designed around other priorities since I think it very unlikely I would need waterproofing.

I wouldn't want to lose a dedicated shutter button or have a cover on my headphone socket, for example, as I use those all the time.

I've had a mobile phone for 12 years and haven't once had water damage.. it's just not a priority.


May 28, 2014, 7:57 pm

they dont need cover on headphone jack for waterproofing anymore, also why would they put less button on the phone because of waterproofing


May 28, 2014, 10:49 pm

If the choice was better screen and camera or waterproofing I would take the better screen and camera any day of the week. I haven't used the phones in question though so I don't know for sure. I am sure there are many people who find this useful, so I can't say it is a gimmick... but it is not a trade off that I would make.


May 29, 2014, 7:38 am

And 99% of the market for pointless screen resolution hikes is likewise highly unnecessary. So they have traded one useless innovation for another.

Tim Sutton

May 29, 2014, 9:13 am

True that.

If LGs next phone is a waterproof curved 4k display with 3D and eye tracking then I am SOLD.


May 29, 2014, 10:21 pm

The usb port will be an issue for waterproof phones. I got some fluff stuck in mine, that was enough for the phone to think it was intermittently going on/off charge, and that switched the screen on each time. First I knew about it was my pocket getting warm. I guess anything vaguely conducting across the contacts will do that.


May 31, 2014, 6:56 am

1. non-waterproof LG G3
2. water
3. dead
4. ????
5. replacement handset
6. profit

Of course they think "it’s just not that useful".

In theory it's literally just a nano-coating over the components and a flap on the USB. Then again, I don't know how the process works.


June 3, 2014, 10:26 am

I have to admit, at first I thought "Yes! IP rated!" But that soon turned to... aww man, crappy port flaps everywhere, and for what, in real terms? Something else to go snap after a few months and void the IP rating anyway.

Agreed wholeheartedly on the screen comment. As far as I'm aware they haven't yet marketed the multi-million dollar cyborg-eye upgrade you'd need to invest in to see the difference in pixel density on a screen that size.


June 3, 2014, 10:27 am

Absolutely, shower selfies on a display you can't appreciate with the human eye have never looked better! Bollocks.


June 25, 2014, 11:40 am

People seem to think that waterproofing isn't needed because who is going to use their phone in a wet area. It doesn't take much moisture to ruin these things. I had a phone go dead because I had it in my pocket when I was mowing the grass, a little sweat killed it.

Paul Brown

July 26, 2014, 9:13 am

There are a number of videos online that show this phone *is* waterproof. It's handy if you live in a country where it rains all the damn time, or when you least expect it - like here in the UK.
As a side-note, I took this with me to a theme park yesterday and like an idiot went on a log flume that soaked me completely three times... and the phone still worked, to my relief. \o/

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