Water resistant smartphones making splash

By Lauren Sweeney, Special Projects Producer, lsweeney@clickorlando.com
Erik von Ancken, Anchor/Reporter, evonancken@clickorlando.com
Published On: Sep 22 2013 11:04:12 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 23 2013 12:15:40 AM EDT

All of the major wireless companies are selling water resistant smartphones, so Local 6's Erik Von Ancken tested a few out.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

AT&T saturated airwaves this summer with the slogan 'whatever-proof' to drive sales of the Samsung Galaxy S-4 Active.

The phone is water resistant up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water, and dust resistant. 

The commercials show it going from sand to surf to SpaghettiOs. It retails for around $595, but AT&T is offering it for $199 with a new 2-year contract.

That's not the only water-resistant smartphone making a splash this year.

T-Mobile offers Sony's Xperia Z also boasts the same exact water-resistant specs. It costs $499.99 with a regular contract, or T-Mobile will allow you to pay it off at $20 per month over two years. 

Both phones take top quality photos and videos in and out of water. The Samsung phone actually encourages underwater photos with an aqua-mode feature. This allows a dedicated shutter button for when the screen is confused by water droplets.  

To take pictures under water with the Sony Xperia Z, either a timer must be set or an app that allows for a shutter button must be downloaded.

The XPeria Z's camera is a little higher quality with 13.1 megapixels to Samsung's 8.1. However, in a real-world test scenario, the difference was not noticeable.

The differing looks of the phones is noticeable. Both are sleek and slim, but the Sony Xperia Z is completely self-contained with no flaps that need to be secured before the phone can be immersed in water.

The Samsung Galaxy S-4 Active needs to have all it's ports and flaps secured before it can get wet. 

|WEB EXTRA: See S-4 Active soaked in SpaghettiOs|

The S-4 Active did appear a little more durable though than it's competitor because the back is made of a strong plastic. The Xperia Z has glass on both the front and back.  

Nonetheless, a flat drop on a concrete surface would easily crack both screens. Online reviews for both phones confirm how easily this can happen. 

Verizon and Sprint offer water-resistant smartphones that are a little more rugged.

The Casio GZ'one Commando, available on Verizon, apparently meets military standards for water immersion, dust and drops. It's similar to the Kyocera Torque offered by Sprint.

These phones are heavier and are built more for a backpack or toolbox than a clutch or wristlet. In fact, Sprint has recruited "Man Vs. Wild" star Bear Grylls to maket the Torque.

The GZ'one Commando comes pre-quipped with all the tools for a world explorer including a built-in compass and the Gz'gear tool.

Gz'gear builds a database of the world around you, including mileage to landmarks by water or land, tide measurements, movements of the sun and moon, and even the constellations in the area you are facing.

Verizon is offering the GZ'one Commando free with a new two-year contract or eligible upgrade. The Torque is $99.99 after a mail-in rebate with a new two year contract or eligible upgrade.

Kyocera's Hydro line of phones is also available on both Verizon and Sprint which are water resistant in up to 3 feet of water.  

The Hydra elite is a simpler phone with a 'starter-mode' Android user interface and a much smaller screen. Verizon began selling it in August for $349 or $49.99 with a new two-year contract.

The Kycera Hydro Edge comes equipped with Android Jelly Bean 4.1 like the higher-end smartphones and is available for free with a qualifying Sprint contract. 

The Hydro Edge is also available through Boost mobile which offers pre-paid plans for $149.99. 

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