The Galaxy Note 9 combines a beautiful industrial design with ultra-powerful specs, superb cameras, and the ever-capable S Pen. Starting at $1000, it isn't cheap by any stretch, but it's as premium as they come.

Our pick

Galaxy Note 9

The most powerful phone Samsung has ever built.

The Galaxy Note 9 isn't just the best waterproof phone — it's one of the best overall phones money can buy. It packs everything from wireless charging to a massive 4000mAh battery, dual cameras, a remote control S Pen, and even a headphone jack. All without a notch.

Who should buy this phone?

Customers with deep pockets (both literally and metaphorically) who want to be able to run their entire life from their phone. The Galaxy Note 9 has a seemingly endless list of features, both in hardware and software, and can even act as a makeshift desktop computer using DeX through an HDMI to USB-C adapter.

Whether you're a gamer, a businessman, or just a high-rolling power user, the Note 9 offers best-in-class performance, massive storage (up to 512GB internally, plus microSD expandability), and the same excellent pair of rear cameras found in the Galaxy S9+ — one a 12MP sensor with dual apertures, and the other a telephoto lens of the same resolution.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

It is! There's rarely a better time to buy a phone than just ahead of its launch. Samsung is offering a bundle deal with early orders of the Note 9, throwing in a free pair of AKG headphones or in-game currency for Fortnite (you can also get both for $100), and some carriers are further sweetening the deal with BOGO promotions.

Reasons to buy

  • Huge, gorgeous 6.4-inch display
  • Improved S Pen functionality
  • Great dual cameras
  • Long battery life
  • Top-of-the-line specs
  • Industrial curved glass design

Reasons not to buy

  • It's $1000
  • Samsung Experience still not everyone's cup of tea
  • Likely won't receive Android Pie update for a while

There are other great waterproof phones

The nice thing about looking for a great waterproof phone is that almost every phone is waterproof these days. While the Galaxy Note 9 is arguably the best phone currently on the market, there are plenty more options to choose from.


Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL

Pure Android comes in a waterproof package.

The Pixel 2 delivers Google's Android software as intended, with fast updates for the latest features and security issues for a full three years. Many have said the Pixel takes Apple's iPhone approach and keeps things simple and running smoothly, and we have to agree.

The Pixel 2 represents the best of Google's software. But the hardware is no slouch, either. That IP67-rated exterior holds the same muscle as most every other high-end Android phone with a Snapdragon 835 chip and 4GB of RAM. Add in front facing speakers and one of the best cameras on any phone you can buy today for a great water-resistant experience!

Best for videography

LG V30

Great for content creators and consumers alike.

Besides being "waterproof," the V30 has some other really great features. Video capture is second to none with LG's Cine Log mode, top-shelf mobile audio components make the V30 sound as good as (or even better than) your stereo at home, and it's the first phone to support T-Mobile's 600Mhz network.

Samsung isn't the only one holding onto standards like expandable storage and a headphone jack — in fact, the LG V30's Quad DAC offers the best wired audio experience around. Add to that LG's constantly improving ultra-wide angle camera, and the V30 is an outstanding content-creating and -consuming machine.

Best for one-handed use

Galaxy S9

A Note 9 you can fit in one hand.

If you want most of the features of the Galaxy Note 9 but don't want a massive, two-handed device, the Galaxy S9 has a nearly-identical spec sheet, along with the same curved glass design and even the exact same camera sensor. Of course, it's IP68 waterproof, too.

With a 5.8-inch 18.5:9 display, the Galaxy S9 still isn't a small phone by any means, but it's much more manageable than the Note 9, without compromising on features or specs. You won't get the S Pen that makes a Note a Note, but you'll still enjoy the same great software experience and fantastic camera.

Bottom line

Here's some great news: ingress protection is all but mandated in a flagship phone these days, so when you're looking for a good waterproof phone you can pretty much just choose whatever phone catches your eye — with a few exceptions like the OnePlus 6 and Moto Z3 Play, both of which have "splash resistance" but no full-blown certifications.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a better waterproof phone than the Galaxy Note 9 — at least, until the rest of 2018's lineup rolls out.

Updated August 2018: This list has been updated with the Galaxy Note 9 now taking the crown as our top recommendation.

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