Summer is in full swing and the beach has never been more appealing, but with its mix of sand, sun and sea it’s not a very smartphone friendly environment.
However some phones are far better equipped for beach use than others and the following selection are among the best.
With its IP68 certification the Sony Xperia Z3+ is one of the most dust and water resistant smartphones around. In fact it’s completely dust tight, so you don’t need to worry about it getting full of sand and it can withstand being dunked up to 1.5 metres deep in water for up to 30 minutes, so it should be able to survive getting splashed with sea water.
We wouldn’t advise actually taking it swimming with you in the ocean, as the water resistance mostly refers to fresh water and so the salt in sea water could still do it some harm, but that’s a problem just about every phone faces.
The Sony Xperia Z3+ is also a true 2015 flagship. It might not be a massive upgrade on the Xperia Z3, but with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a 2.0GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, a powerful 20.7 megapixel camera and a stylish design you won’t find it lacking.
If you want something smaller consider the Xperia Z3 Compact, which has the same beach benefits but with a smaller screen, a lower price tag and slightly worse specs.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has many of the same beach-friendly selling points as the Sony Xperia Z3+. It’s IP67 certified, meaning that it too is dust proof, but it’s only water resistant for depths of up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes.
As with the Xperia Z3+ that only refers to fresh water too, but that plus being dust tight should protect it from a little sea water and all the sand you can pile on it.
Like the Xperia Z3+ it also has a very bright screen and being a Super AMOLED display colours are vibrant too, making it easy to use in direct sunlight.
It’s not as powerful as the Sony Xperia Z3+ though and it’s been superseded by the superior but far less waterproof Samsung Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy S5 was the first waterproof Samsung flagship, but before that the company produced the more specialist Galaxy S4 Active. This has similar tech to that which would ultimately make its way to the Galaxy S5 – specifically IP67 certification for water and dust resistance.
But it’s even designed for limited exposure to salt water- just make sure you rinse it off with fresh water afterwards.
However it doesn’t fare quite so well overall as its TFT screen isn’t as bright and its specs are somewhat more dated than the Galaxy S5. On the other hand you should be able to pick one up for a lot less money.
If you like the sound of a rugged phone but want something a little more powerful you could always hold out for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, which has been announced but not yet launched in the UK.
The YotaPhone 2 is a real oddity and at first glance you might not think it would make a good fit for the beach. After all it’s neither water nor dust resistant and while its 1080p screen is fairly bright it’s hardly class leading.
But flip it over and you’ll find another screen on the back and it’s this that makes it a good fit for the beach, as that second screen is an Electronic Paper Display (EPD), a lot like the e-ink screens found on e-readers.
That means sunlight is no problem and it’s actually kinder on your eyes than a normal smartphone screen, plus the secondary screen can stay powered for up to 100 hours, so you don’t need to worry about your battery dying.
It’s not a colour display but it supports many of the same uses as the main screen, so whether you’re reading a book, checking Facebook or sending a message you can do it all from the EPD screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 is a seriously rugged beast. Not only is it IP67 certified dust and water resistant, but it’s also military standard 810G certified salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock resistant.
In other words this is a phone that you’ll have to work a bit harder to break and that’s clear just from looking at it, with its rugged design.
Its specs take a bit of a back seat as you might expect, but even then they’re not terrible, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and a 4.5-inch 480 x 800 display. It’s not a phone to rival a flagship but it won’t feel lacking in more day to day usage scenarios and you’ll be glad you have it next time a wave rolls into you on the beach.
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua wears its waterproof credentials on its sleeve, or at least in its name. With IP68 certification it’s every bit as water and dust proof as the flagship Sony Xperia Z3+, but at a fraction of the price.
The design isn’t as premium and it’s less powerful, but it still has a 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 screen, a 13 megapixel camera, a 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor and 2GB of RAM, so it’s no slouch.
In fact it strikes a great balance between price and performance and is one of few affordable water resistant phones, so it’s the ideal partner for your next day at the beach.
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