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The OnePlus 7 doesn't have a water resistance rating, and here's the company's excuse

OnePlus has always had to make strategic cuts to its phones in order to hit extremely enticing price points, and one of the handful of places it hasn't budged is in water resistance ratings — commonly seen as an "IPXX" number. As flagships have standardized on ratings like IP57 and IP68 across the board, OnePlus has stuck with its approach — and that will include the upcoming OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro.

The company posted a short and typically snarky video explaining why: it just costs extra to get an IP certification. So instead, it saved some money by buying a bucket, filling it with water, and dunking a OnePlus 7. The inferred claim being that the OnePlus 7 series is water resistant like the other phones, but it simply hasn't been certified as such.

What do those IP ratings mean?

There's far more involved in IP ratings than just dropping a phone in a bucket of water, of course. IP, or ingress protection, certifies for both water and dust ingress to a device that affects its function under very specific circumstances. Different ratings certify different levels of protection, of course, but in general the testing will involve prolonged submersion in water, submersion at different depths, protection against powered water jets at various angles, and being exposed to dust particulates of various sizes. It costs money to get the certification, yes, but it's not all smoke and mirrors — there's actual testing involved.

So OnePlus could have paid to get a certification, but instead it bought some buckets and did its own testing. Testing that has yet to be explained or elaborated on, and with results that are implied but not confirmed. At the same time we don't know exactly how much money has been saved (for us or for OnePlus) by skipping the IP certification, but we can guess it's rather significant. Whether you think it would be worth the extra cash on a phone that's expected to retail for $600 or more is another question altogether.

Knowing it would be in deep water with the lawyer types if it actually claimed water resistance without the rating, its video has a common bit of fine print:

Products not IP certified. Water resistant under optimal test conditions. OnePlus makes no guarantees regarding water/liquid resistance. Water/liquid damage not covered under product warranty.

Even phones that have an IP rating typically don't warranty against water and dust damage, but OnePlus is obviously trying to walk a tight line here between inferring that the OnePlus 7 is water resistant and making sure that people don't go too far in trying to test its capabilities. Will the OnePlus 7 survive a splash or a trip to the beach? Probably. But so will most other phones that neither have an IP rating nor claim resistance. We just don't know what the functional difference between those phones and the OnePlus 7 actually is.

The bottom line is that if the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro do not have an explicit IP rating, you're purely taking the company at its word rather than taking the word of a standardized testing mechanism that has been used across the industry for decades. Different people may trust a company at different levels, but I certainly will not be exposing the OnePlus 7 to water and dust with the same level of confidence I do a Galaxy S10. Perhaps that's a fine trade-off for saving a few hundred dollars.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

36 Comments
  • Lol they want to charge flagship prices yet skip out on many flagship specs. #NeverSettle lol 
  • Yeah, if they want to charge premium prices, they better fork over the cash to get the IPXX rating. I won’t be buying one for that very reason.
  • My understanding is that the independent certifying companies charge a big up-front fee, and then an additional royalty per phone sold with their certification logo on the box. Something in the neighborhood of $35 per phone. So yeah, it's not insignificant, and with OnePlus' super tight margins they would likely have to tack that on to the base price of the phones to continue making any profit.
  • that i understand but if rumors are correct then the prices that they will have on these will be comparable to that of flagships and you gotta pay to play. The Samsung s10e as far as i am concerned is the benchmark. for 750. you get water resistance, wireless charging, stereo speakers and color options. if one plus wants to compete at this price point then they have to have comparable features. otherwise they should stay in their sub 600 prices
  • You people baffle me. You lament the high cost of flagship model prices but roast a company that dares to bring a phone to market with high end features with a lower price point. Latest flagship model prices are 850 (galaxy/pixel) and a whopping 1100+ for the iPhone. Is 6p0 less than 850? Check! 600 < 1100 ? Check. Check. Nitwits. Blog. Blog. Whine... Whine. Whine. Blog.
  • Yet the pro model (which people are discussing) is rumored to be $700+. Nobody is comparing it to the iPhone or s10. It doesn’t change the fact that they are charging flagship prices while missing features in those other flagship devices. 
  • Love people's comments. They don't have a rating, worst phone ever! Meanwhile in Samsung GALAXY Fold world, it's not water resistant and that's alright.. It's Samsung!
    All for a rating that will be meaningless in 99% of peoples' hands.
  • Did you know 85% of all stats are made up on the spot?
  • Such as yours?
  • *whoosh* That's the sound of his point going right over your head
  • Difference being the galaxy fold is a first gen product. But yes, just let one plus off the hook, I mean it’s not like they are said to be charging flagship prices or anything... 
  • Not sure where I see the "worst phone ever" comments. It's a simple trade-off. If you're going full screen with a mechanical camera, you're going to lose the IP rating (hell they didn't have to lose the jack either). No waterproof in 2019 does make it lack in features yet they want to charge a premium. The complaints are pretty reasonable.
  • I don't think either is alright, especially considering what they're charging for these devices. It's not the same as a PC or a laptop, as both of those stand a far smaller chance of being exposed to the elements. Smartphones OTOH will definitely see such exposure, and if they're going to charge the prices they are, when other competing products have the rating, then they should absolutely have the rating. If they were charging $200 less I might agree, but they're in the upper-midrange/lower-flagship price range. And when you use a slogan like #neversettle, and then turnaround and ask people to do exactly that, expect some push back. And Samsung is no exception. Charging an ungodly amount for a device that fragile is ridiculous. I get it's a first gen product, but to me it's ironic that the same people defending the Fold are the ones who call Nexus or Pixels beta products. Of the issues they've had, most were an inconvenience, but the devices were at least still usable for the most part. Add to that Samsung has a lot more time as a hardware manufacturer, there is no excuse. If they don't want the plastic over the display to be removed, make it HARD to remove. Doing that might've also solved the dust issue.
  • I'm not interested in the One Plus, but frankly I don't care about IP ratings. I don't expose my phone's to moisture so it's not something I worry about. I even find it amusing that people act like it would be a disaster to have a phone without it when you consider that many of them owned phones in the past without it.
  • People used to own cars without seat belts and doors so what's your point?
  • I still own a car without seatbelts, so what's your point?
    (BTW, that's a pathetic analogy. But I guess in your mind 40,000 people died last year because their phone wasn't IP68 rated.)
  • The analogy has to do with the safety of the intended target. Seatbelts were made to save people, not the cars. IP ratings are meant to save the device being certified, nothing else. So it is a solid analogy. P.S. I'd bet 40,000+ phones bit the dust last year because of water damage.
  • It's not a solid analoflgy since the phone is built water tight. It's like saying a some sort of company isn't advertising that the car has seat belts, even though it does.
  • Did you notice in their disclaimer that the results came about under ideal conditions? That right there is like saying we made a few phones specifically for this test and they worked, production phones may not. The point of his analogy wasn't that there wasn't any waterproofing at all, but the IP certification. That says that someone besides the company is saying if it's water resistant or not. Relying on any company's word is like taking a car dealer at his word, low mileage, only driven 5 miles a week by a little old lady going to church on Sunday. Of course she never changed oil or did maintenance of any kind until the car stopped working. That's why certified used cars are becoming a bigger thing, people don't want to lose their investment, same as here.
  • I can almost assure you that very few phones bite the dust for water damage unless it was in salt water or the ocean. And not one person that I've ever know takes their phone under water for 30 minutes.
  • So this is a moot point then. The only people who have to worry about this live on the coast. /s I've seen cell phones taken out by humidity before, and I live in the center of the US, no salt water for a looong ways. And I've had a couple family members list their phones to water damage, one to a drop in the sink and the other had his kid know the phone out of his hand when he was giving him a bath. But to say that 40,000 is too high a number, when the number of mobile phone users is currently around 4.7 billion, 2.5 billion if those are smart phones. That's around 1/5 of a percent.
  • A phone taken out by humidity? Had to be the cheapest of phones for that to happen and maybe you do know people who have experienced that but I don't know anyone since the early 2000s who's lost a phone to water damage. But it's a very small percentage.
  • No doors on my jeep atm. Great analogy nitwit.
  • I have a OnePlus (5) and it's hands down the best phone I've ever had and I've had zero issues. Would not hesitate one bit to purchase a OnePlus 7. Anyone who won't buy simply because there's no IP rating isn't the target buyer anyhow - they're chasing specs.
  • Are you aware how many boaters and cyclists there are in the world? We all have good reasons for wanting IP68. Heavy rain, waves, simply falling in.
  • If it can be dunked in a bucket of water for a minute or two, then I have all the confidence in the world that it can survive a spilled glass of water or a quick rinse off, which is all the vast majority of phones are exposed to. If skipping cert. keeps the cost under the $850+ most flagship-grade phones now cost, I'm fine with that.
  • how much would you be willing to pay for a Oneplus phone? $600? $700? $750 $800
  • But... they don't show if it's working AFTER the dunk ;)
  • I love how everyone is clamoring for lower cost devices, but then freak out when a manufacturer takes steps to eliminate certain costs that normally, it would have to pass directly on to the consumer in the form of a higher price tag. The certification requires time and up front sunk costs as well as a per device fee to display the rating on the box. If you need that guarantee, then buy another device. To quote my boy, Tommy... Tommy: Here's the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to fell all warm and toasty inside.
    Ted Nelson: Yeah, makes a man feel good.
    Tommy: 'Course it does. Why shouldn't it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?
    Ted Nelson: What's your point?
    Tommy: The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy, well, we're not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that's all it takes. The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser and your daughter's knocked up, I seen it a hundred times.
    Ted Nelson: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?
    Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of ****.
  • Actually OnePlus is going about this unofficially the right way. This is the equivalent to someone who paid thousands of dollars for a 4 year degree and someone who didn't but work at the same place doing the same job. Almost no one actually takes their phone to the tested capacity of an IP rating anyway. It'll survive a few splashes of water and a waterpark. That's good enough for 99% of smartphone owners.
  • I can see them saving money, but... the OnePlus 7 Pro price is up there in flagship territory.
    And dunking in the bucket is one thing, but most water damage on marginally resistant phones does not reveal itself right away. Does an International Protection rating matter? That depends on how you use your phone. The majority of people are fine with just a little splash protection, and many never need ANY protection at all. However, there are some people who need it. I've done photo shoots and had to leave my Nikon in the car due to rain, and it's reassuring having a device that, not only takes great photos and has a full pro mode, but can handle taking them in pouring rain. And yes, I'm talking without a case and using the buttons without reservation. Most phones nowadays have some water resistance, but with no rating you just don't know. The Moto e5 Plus is an example of NO water resistance, and you can't even take it in the bathroom. The HTC M8 was never advertised as water resistant, but you can use it in the shower and rinse it off under running water. So, it's a mixed bag. With an official rating, you can know what to expect, even if some brands fail testing more than others (cough, Samsung, cough cough).
  • Well I'm pretty sure tossing a phone in a bucket of water should sum it all up then. Am I right?
  • The oems should come out with their own rating system that avoids the $35/device charge - - Like the video gaming industry setup their own ratings. Something that would guide customers on how cautious they need to be around water.
  • That's a pretty good idea.
  • I simply don't believe $35. That might be the all up cost including seals, but approvals bodies are in competition for business, and even if it costs around $1000 to do a sample test - which is on the high side - that would normally be only one or two per batch, the rest being done by process sampling.
    If it works out at more than $1 per phone I would be mildly surprised.
  • #neversettle for wireless charging and ip rating.