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The Google Pixel is IP53 certified — here's what that means

One spec you won't find on the sheet for the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL is their IP53 certification. Google has confirmed that like the HTC 10 that they resemble, both Pixel phones are indeed tested and rated with an ingress protection score. Let's have a look at what that really means.

Your new Pixel won't be waterproof. Not even a little bit.

IP certification is all the rage recently. Not too long ago you had to look for a clumsy phone in a thick outer shell to gain any type of protection from the elements, but now many phones come with some level of dust and/or water protection rating. Some, like the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 7 take things a bit further and make a serious attempt to keep the environment out. We've compiled a full breakdown of exactly what all those letters and numbers mean so you'll have a better understanding the next time a tech giant starts throwing them at you.

Rugged phone ratings: Everything you need to know

For now, let's focus on that magic number 53 that was assigned to the Pixel and Pixel XL.

IP ratings are divided into two categories — dust and dirt protection is identified by the first number, and it can range from zero to six — with zero as no protection and six as completely dust-proof even under pressure. The second number is the liquid protection rating, and it's not quite as straightforward with it's zero to nine-K rating system. For example, six is always better than seven or eight, but sometimes seven is better than eight or vice versa. Liquid ingress protection is one of those things you need to look up unless you have to memorize it for some crazy reason. It's also important to have the testing standards from the manufacturer handy for some of the results where parameters can vary.

  • The first number, five, means that "dust must not enter in enough quantity to affect the normal operation." The amount of dust that can get inside the phone isn't defined, but we're assured enough to make things stop working normally isn't going to happen.
  • The second number, three, means the Pixels are "Protected against spraying water when tilted up to a 60-degree angle from its normal position." Normal velocity (not under any type of external pressure) can rain down on the phone while it's flat and the phone can be tilted like it was in use in your hand and still not be damaged.

The worst part about dust or dirt getting inside your Pixel phone is that you have a dusty dirty phone that you'll probably never get clean. Any parts that can't withstand being coated in solid particles (household dust can contain decaying hair, human skin, and burnt pieces of meteorites) are inaccessible to those particles or are self-cleaning. I don't want to think about using a dusty phone, but it's nice to know that I could be stranded at the beach with no beverages and my phone wouldn't die.

The IP in IP certification stands for Ingress Protection — keeping things out of your phone.

Your Pixel or Pixel XL is not waterproof. Being splashed or sprayed with water not under pressure and not when the phone is vertical is not even close to being able to withstand being dunked in the pool or dropped in the toilet. This is great if you're caught out in the rain or if you spill water (that's important — these IP ratings are for water only) at dinner, but nothing more extreme.

In any case, we don't recommend you bury any phone in the backyard to test its dirt protection or even take your phone to the pool for some underwater shots no matter what IP rating it has received. Quite often phones fail real-world tests of these ratings, and the numbers mostly are a sort of insurance policy that would get a replacement if there was damage. For every story you read about someone taking their phone diving or livestreaming water polo, you'll find one where the phone was damaged and had to be replaced. Replacing your phone is never fun.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

131 Comments
  • I'm triggered
  • I love how Jerry writes. For some reason, his write-ups are the easiest to understand, as I think he words/details/explains everything very well. Great article!
  • I agree
  • Thanks
  • *tents fingers* Excellent.
  • Don't overreact and drop your Pixel in water
  • In my opinion all phones with non-removable batteries should be water resistant (waterproof is even better) and dust-tight.
  • Right? That would be a fine tradeoff. (I'm a removable battery stan)
  • Galaxy S5. No need to trade off.
  • I feel that Google should have released the Pixels with a better IP rating. With the price they are commanding and since Apple and Samsung both have better IP ratings now, I expect this to be improved in next year's Pixels. However, until reviews are out, I feel like this might be the biggest "Nexus compromise" which for me is not a deal breaker. On the price in general, I'm not surprised. I can't fully judge the phone until I hold it in hand and play around with it a bit. I understand many are upset about the pricing but I guess that doesn't phase me as much, since I shelled out for my Nexus 6. Ultimately, I'm disappointed in the price, but through the software and Assistant especially, I feel the Pixels will have a lot to offer to justify the cost along with the top specs. I hope the Pixels succeed because it only means better things for us as consumers down the road.
  • It might have been HTC not being ready for a higher ip rating design. They haven't had one yet so if google wanted a real ip rating it might have taken longer to get the phone out or increase costs substantially
  • You said "next year's Pixels"... LOL.
  • My iPhone 7 that I had with Ip67 would withstand a dunk. The problem I had was that even sweat getting in the front speaker would make it useless for about a half hour. I thought the speaker was blown. It eventually dried out but this is not really acceptable. Bottom speaker no problem but phone makers haven't figured the front speakers out yet with water. Sony had the same issues. Having said that, Google could have upped the ip rating but remember, they didn't make the hardware, htc did. The cost to make a whole new design was probably not worth it. But then you can say why no front speaker? Lol. I think Google needs to be all in house like apple if they want to compete with them.
  • Apple is not full in house. Only design and software are, Foxconn makes the hardware. Htc makes the Hardware for Google, so no difference.
  • Foxconn who? Catch my drift.
  • That is false. Foxconn manufacturers the iPhone, completely designed by Apple. Google and HTC collaborated on the pixel. Maybe Google designed the whole thing and HTC was the corporation using their supply chains, etc...to have it be manufactured. I guarantee HTC outsources the Pixel assembly to Compal and others like Apple does with Foxconn. Osterloh's analogy is misleading and he knows it.
  • "That is false"....? When you tell some that their statement is false you need to have some facts to back it up.
    When you say... "Maybe Google designed" or "I guarantee HTC outsources"... those are not facts, they are assumptions... and don't get you very far in a debate.
  • False. Google is utilizing HTC solely as a manufacturer like Apple does FoxConn. The relationship is not like the Nexus line where it is a partnership. This is all Google's design.
  • Bnjf very interesting. I have a N6 and haven't noticed this. I'm a garbage man and I always have my phone in my front pocket listening to audiobook or podcasts. The last two Saturdays I've been poured on. I'd pull my phone out to text and water would be dripping out of the micro USB port. No issues with the phone whatsoever. The water resistance on these phones for me is mandatory, it's why I didn't but a 5x or 6p.
  • My 4 year old son thinks you have the coolest job in the world.
  • I appreciate the explanation, but Pixel in regards to IP53 is not a high enough rating to justify its current retail price
  • Agreed. I'll pass although not just because of the IPX rating, can't justify that much money when my 6P is doing just fine.
  • Basically, it'll probably be fine if it's splashed on, but don't make it swim.
  • Light water spray... Splash can be too much.
  • So really, don't get it wet at all.
  • People act like not until recently they weren't using a phone without water proof. Although I will agree Google is charging way too much for a phone without water proofing
  • Seriously though, people act like they can finally go swimming with their phones now as if that's been missing from life. I've owned a waterproof phone with the Xperia and never once needed the waterproofing. Yes, it's a cool feature, but far from a deal breaker. Crack proof would be much more impressive.
  • You should never smoke crack while using your phone.:-)
  • You should never smoke crack while DESIGNING a phone!
  • iPhone, anybody? Oh wait, that was LSD...
  • Agreed. I've had a lot of phones over the years. None water resistant. Have the Note 7 now and I guess it's nice to know it's IP68, but I'm also kind of like oh, ok neat. People are just fishing for a reason to bash the price and proclaim "I'M OUT." Cool. Best of luck to ya.
  • @cool breeze78 This!
  • Had my Z3 for some time now and been in the ocean with it, I've thrown it in beer pitchers, pools, etc and I am still using it. So not really amazed that other manufacturers are offering this feature now.
  • IP53 should be the bare minimum for all phones. I get that a higher rating is tougher to accommodate at the expense of other features (i.e. stereo speakers). What's the Pixel's excuse?
  • That most people don't care? Buying a waterproof case is easy. Getter a better experience is not. Google thinks they can offer the better experience. People read too much into things when it really is this simple. Google is trying to sell you an experience. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Although it would have been nice feature to have better water proofing (or any, really), I find myself wondering, "am I the only one who has never dropped their phone in the toiliet?"
  • Well what about when it's lightly sprinkling on your way to the car after work and you use your phone to look something up before driving or take a call? Don't we all do that? I do. With a Pixels low rating would that be safe to do anymore?
  • Jerry did a good job of explaining that the Pixel is safe in your scenario.
  • Yep.. Buddy dropped his S7 in the sink and had to get it replaced.
  • Wtf you all are a bunch of freaking crybabies. Just a year ago or so we didn't have this B's. Now it's the new gimmick to get folks to buy their phones. I have no desire to go swimming with my phone or drop it a liquid filled piss bowl. All you new generation phone users just are give me give me give me generation. Really sad..
  • I doubt anyone's going swimming with their phones, it's just piece of mind if you accidentally spill something or have to use it in the rain. It's also valid to point on that the Pixels don't have something that other phones do have for the same price.
  • Water resistance is an extremely nice feature have when it rains or when accidental spills happen. I'm not swimming with my phone or dropping it in the terlet.
  • I never have had a problem with rain with any phone. Accidentally spilling on your phone, I might give you that one. I personally have never done it, but than again I treat my phones like a expensive piece of hardware.
  • My Lg g3 broke while I was biking in the rain with the phone in my pocket.
  • Spilled drinks are easily avoided. Pockets and/or purses.
  • Yeah, people definitely have a desire to drop their phone in a "liquid filled piss bowl". No way could this possibly ever happen accidently....
  • And how the hell do you know that it won't take a quick dip and be ok? Last years iPhone lasted like 15 minutes under water with no rating even though it's thought to have the same ip53 that wasn't exposed. You people are trash talking every aspect of this phone before the release is frustrating. My guess is that it makes most people who can't afford it feel better about themselves
  • Insecure people who were never going to purchase the phone anyways. Times we live in. I agree much hate for this phone.
  • Not sure why you've said all that in response to my comment. I made no comment on whether I want or need it to be waterproof, I was merely pointing out that nobody actively chooses to throw their phone down the toilet
  • What the hell, people using their phone while taking a piss? They deserve it.
  • I don't do it personally but people who do something different to you "deserve" to have their phone ruined? What a charming individual you appear to be! I'm guessing not everyone who has inadvertantly dropped a phone down the toilet was necessarily using said toilet either.
  • I'll stick by my comment. They deserve it. Consequences for actions.
  • I agree with you, I like the iPhone 7. I don't get all of the hate. It's out of my price range at $900 for a 128 7 Plus, but I gave it some thought. Went with the HTC 10. Still overpriced at Verizon, but a great DXOmark camera rating. And Mr. Mobile's review made me want to revisit it after all the software updates.
  • I've never done it, but I know a couple of people who have from it slipping out of their pocket rather than them using it... Although that's anecdotal, I wasn't there. Either way I certainly didn't think they deserved it... Crappy situation to be in. Giggle.
  • Yeah, happened to me about 5 years ago with my T-Mobile 3g Touch. It was in my sweatshirt pocket when I was dropping a load. I stood up, and *swoosh* it fell out of my pocket and right next to my load.
  • Lol, got news for you, even if my phone was waterproof and that happened, it's not coming out.
  • I knocked my Nexus S off of the bathroom counter and into the toilet. My cane slipped and I grabbed for the countertop and pushed it right off. Toilet was mid-flush. Doesn't matter if that phone had been waterproof or not, channel locks to fish it out and I don't even care what happens to it then.
  • I'll admit that I've never had the need for a water resistant phone before, however, it is a nice feature. Just this morning I made pancakes and managed to get syrup all over my hands, and thus my Note 7. It was so handy to be able to rinse the phone under warm water and dry it off, none the worse for wear.
  • Back in 2001 nobody cared about camera's on their mobiles either.
    Waterproofing is fast becoming a standard.
  • @moosc very well said!
  • You're damn right I'm give me give me give me when it's my money I'm spending. ***** getting ridiculously expensive now so give me give me give me more for my money.
  • You could also be hit by a car but I don't walk around in a concrete suit
  • OK, let's extend your (dumb) analogy. If I could buy a suit that looked the same as everyone else's, cost the same, and could protect me from injury when being hit by a car, why would I buy a suit that doesn't offer that protection?
  • I'll buy that suit! I'll buy it right now! And I don't even wear suits... But I will, for that suit!
  • Lol I guess it was a dumb analogy
    but my point is that the ip rating is going to be fine for most and just it's no less of a phone because of it
  • Yes, because wearing a suit made of concrete and sealing a phone to be IP67 compliant involve equal practicality issues...
  • Hahaha...at these comments. Come on....people have a right to want what they want when they're spending that much money on a phone.
  • The phone is water resistant, good enough for 99 percent of us. The rest can go somewhere else. Not a deal breaker by any means.
  • Problem is that you don't know who that 1% are, could be you.
  • Will not be me, guaranteed.
  • Now that the new iPhones are water resistant, this is unacceptable for a premium-priced, flagship phone.
  • True. iPhone hardware should be the bare minimum for any Android XD
  • They don't set the bar!!!
  • Keep telling yourself that, one day it may be true
  • I think it's a hoot that the one concession Google made to the Nexus "tradition" in the Pixels, the base-level IP rating, is clearly a cost-saving measure. It puts into perspective the implication that the Pixels' price tag is the end result of putting only the best hardware into them.
  • That is very spurious logic. Assuming that because something costs a lot while lacking features that equivalently priced competitors have automatically means what it does have is superior is a very bad way of thinking.
  • The best hardware? It's using an old processor....about to be obsolete. To give one example. How is that the best hardware?
  • As a certified diver taking pictures at under 75 feet my camera is in a special underwater case protected by orings that have a fresh coat of silicone grease before every dive. You can't do this with any watch. I would never swim with any watch no matter what the ip rating is.
  • I freestyle swam a mile in an Olympic size swimming pool with my LG G watch Urbane. No problem whatsoever.
  • I've always needed water proofing from phones since I take my ph with me on every bike ride in Miami. It's very humid here and in the summer you can expect rain any time. I've never had a phone (that I wanted) that's had an IP rating good enough to take with me naked, but I always wished they did. This should be standard a feature on all phones.
  • Yea cycling and mobile, means at least a simple plastic bag for the mobile..
  • I tried using it , it was a terrible experience. For one thing, touchscreens don't play nice when there's a surface other than a thin sheet of glass or film of plastic that's just tenths of a millimeter thick. That problem gets worse in the rain. I should know, I wrapped my Note 3 in plastic to get through a rain shower and I wasn't confident if it made it, whereas my Xperia Z2 that had NATIVE, BUILT IN water resistance had no trouble with a storm deluge...
  • The Kyocera DuraForce Pro phone I use is an excellent phone for any outdoors weather issues. It has served me well so far.
  • Interesting article. Thank you Jerry!
  • Still love it...don't plan on dropping it in water. But if I do, that's what the protection they sell is all about...
  • Wouldn't you rather it just survived than pay the$100 excess though?
  • I feel you guys have to explain away the no water resistance like Apple fanboys explain away missing features and boring UI. To me water resistance is mandatory for the job I do. Although they didn't claim it my Moto x first gen was water resistant, my Moto X² was water resistant, and now my N6 is water resistant. I'm a moron because I want that protection?! You never go out on a rainy day? Have kids that play on your phone? Have water or beer that spills on a phone? Stop using the 'Apple' excuse of you're using it wrong. If the Pixel's are supposed to compete with the iPhone then they should have water resistance. Many of my friends have had to get a new phone because of water damage. Don't know what crazy world you people live in. I don't work at a desk or live in a dry climate.
  • The phone is water resistant
  • You can totally use it on the rain, or as a coaster for your beer. Just don't drop it in the toillet!
  • The Pixel has the exact same water resistance rating as your Moto X did, and better than your Nexus 6.
  • Based on my OG X experience w water,that's more than enough !
  • its made by htc which hasnt made a waterproof phone yet... so the ip rating of the pixels isnt much of a surprise
  • A least I can use it in the rain...
  • my moto Z play has only IP 52 :/
  • Yeah interesting the Samsung Galaxy S5 was from 2014. A lot of people who didn't like Samsung phones said it was a gimmick to even enclude the "feature" of dust and water resistance. Now people will start to expect it as a standard in flagship phones. Even Apple at last jumped on the bandwagon.
  • It means ****
  • I think almost any phone out today is basically ip53. Must hold phone tilted up to 60 degrees and only light water spray, not splash, spray. Good luck if water gets into the port. When many people here the words IP** they automatically think it is waterproof.
  • Note7 doesn't have an 821 proc therefore it isn't worth as much as the Pixel. Yeah I went there. We can play this childish game with virtually every phone made. It is a premium device as is the Galaxy series and iPhones. People are just trying to manufacture reasons for Google to drop the cost down to the insane Nexus prices. I have news for you all, get over it.. It is not going to happen. Don't like it? Buy a Mid range device.
  • +1
  • I honestly don't get what's all the hype around being fully water proof? I mean, it is really not that difficult to not drop your phone on the toillet. How often do ppl really drop their phones on the toillet whilst peeing drunk? Is it really that often that if not included internet must go ape about it? Maybe just stop looking at your phone while peeing!
    PS.: Splash/spray proof is of course very usefull necessary as it rains, or you can use the device as a coster for your beer.
  • you've never been to thailand "songran" water festival then
  • I guess not. But I'll be sure to bring a plastic bag =)
  • Ah, why would you use your phone as a coaster?
  • I would rather have a phone that would still work if the bartender knocked off the bottle of Heineken from the coaster, as supposed to a phone that with the exact same accident would get out as nothing more than a literal paperweight.
  • I've spilt liquids on my phone's loads of times and they have always been fine. None of them have been waterproof. A lot of fuss over nothing if you ask me.
  • That was a joke!
  • Apparently there is a epidemic of phones going into toilets, so it wouldn't surprise me.
  • The Pixel design started way before the S7, iP7 and Note 7 made waterproofness de riguiure in high end devices. It was impossible for them to "back fit" for this year but expect the Pixel 2017 to have it. And ALL phones in this price bracket should have it going forward. It is ridiculous that a device costing hundreds can be destroyed by a quick dunk in the water.
  • I doubt it. I have a phone with no IP rating at all and it can survive heavy rain and water spills. I even washed it once and there was no damage. It depends how quick your quick dunk is. Just don't leave it in water. I'm sure it can survive a few seconds.
  • Oh and the world has now changed. There are three top end phone lines that western consumers have to choose from. The iPhone, the Galaxy (S) and the Pixel. Honesty the Pixel is here to stay.
  • My guess is gen 2 is IP67 (possibly 8), new design with less bezel, front facing speakers, and 4K display with larger battery (at least I hope that). 6P for one more year here.
  • If that happens, I'll buy it.
  • I don't mind it's not like I'm gonna have a dive with it
  • Well, glad that this article is more accurate than the HTC 10 version, and points out some things that the former article ignored. By the way "IP" stands for International Protection Marking, and also covers body parts (like fingers in fans and so forth).
    The Pixel and the HTC 10 were a step down from the M8 and M9, which were IPx5 rated. By the way, the "x" does not mean no dust protection; just that it was not officially rated for that aspect. Both the M8 and M9 were underrated, with the M8 being able to be submerged for an hour and a half with no effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhwvXTVQoPM Still, I'm rather curious as to why this is being called out on the Pixel in it's own article. Shall we expect other articles like "Samsung audio is inferior, and here's why", or "Your S7 Edge can't take a hit... not even a little" Nah... probably not
  • Because we got a barrage of emails asking the question. We are here to serve :)
  • Ah, now I see...
  • Such a lousy phone that doesn't deserve half the price asked for! Every day there is one more bad news about this phone. Looks like it is a sure flop!
  • Google probably thought "customers will see an 'IP' rating and think our phones are as good as the new iPhone and Galaxies. And they may be right. If so, they're going to regret it when people start trying to take pictures under water.
  • The article says it's not on the specification sheet. So the opposite is true. They didn't boast about IP53 because it's nothing to boast about. But it is functional enough.
  • Why do I get the feeling that Google isn't giving everything that a flagship needs. I would think that after the Note 7 mess, they would want to do removable batteries, like the V20 will have. At least LG does something right..
  • It's obvious most people don't give a S***T about removable batteries which is why manufacturers tend not to do it anymore. That ship has sailed move on ffs
  • We hope. They've been two months getting the phone out!
  • Interesting device that Pixel.
    Having just purchased a Galaxy S7; I know, I know slow on the trigger.
    I am reluctant to dive $700 deeper into that investigation.
    Still, .... never say never.
    Why is there no reviews? #worrisome
  • To everyone complaining about it not being waterproof, DON'T BUY THIS PHONE!!!
  • I'm not. Thanks for pointing it out though Captain Obvious
  • You're welcome! /s
  • It is nice to have some ingress protection but like many said it's not a mind blowing feature nor is it completely waterproof. On another note, my Xperia phone is waterproof. I've taken it snorkeling in the ocean swimming with fish near some corral reefs and got some impressive footage.
  • Water splash resistant. Every phone have it i think
  • Somehow, like most of you, I have used non-waterproof cell phones for years and still am. With more and more water resistant phones mentioned going up in flames, I am beginning to wonder if waterproof is such a good idea. That said, I think Google could have done better than 53.
  • This is such a joke. I expected Pixel phones to be better than a 53.
  • I'm mad at the world because my laptop cost $1500, and it's not waterproof. It's 2016! Sounds ridiculous exposing electronics to water doesn't it.