The OnePlus 7 Pro won’t have an IP rating, but that’s okay
I’m sure you’ve seen the latest OnePlus social media stunt, one which involves a bucket of water and the soon-to-be-announced OnePlus 7 Pro. Consumers and the media have gone into somewhat of a frenzy as it appears that OnePlus is advocating for full-device water submersion, but an annotation at the bottom clearly says that water damage isn’t covered by warranty. If you have absolutely no idea what video I’m talking about, you can check out the tweet below to get up to speed.
— OnePlus (@oneplus) May 3, 2019
This video has understandably annoyed consumers with many questioning why OnePlus doesn’t want to stand by their claims of water resistance and offer a warranty which covers water damage. In truth, there is no major smartphone manufacturer that offers IP rating and warranty coverage for any water damage. The OnePlus 7 Pro is rumored to present a major price hike over last year’s OnePlus 6T, which has fans of the company miffed. A major price increase should present major feature improvements to justify the higher price. While there are no confirmed prices, a starting price of somewhere around $700 will put the OnePlus 7 Pro in the same price bracket as other premium offerings from companies like Samsung and Huawei.
In the eyes of the public, an IP rating is a feature that can’t be foregone at a higher price tag. If you’re unfamiliar with the IP rating system, it’s an international standard that serves as an indicator for a product’s dust and water-resistant ability. The first digit of IP rating refers to dust resistance, so pretty much all devices are IP6x, where x is the value that represents the water resistance level. You can check out the chart below to get an idea of how water resistance levels work.
An IP rating doesn’t mean anything if your phone is water damaged
With the rumored rising prices of the OnePlus 7 Pro, users are (quite rightly) expecting more from their smartphone. OnePlus claims their phone is water resistant, so why can’t they stand by their product and offer warranty services for water damaged devices? While an argument like that makes sense on the surface, it would be disingenuous to ignore the fact that there are no major smartphone manufacturers (that I know of) that actually stand by IP rating when it comes to warranty repairs and replacements. If you submerge a Samsung Galaxy S10 (IP68) at a meter deep for 30 seconds and it breaks, you have no recourse. You can’t take it to Samsung expecting it to get fixed under warranty, something that is explicitly mentioned in their warranty agreement. The same goes for Apple, which even has a webpage dedicated to the fact that their iPhones are not covered by warranty for liquid damage. OnePlus says as much in a recent blog post they made on their forums, which you can read here. Smartphone manufacturers never make waterproof phones, they make water-resistant phones.
So what’s the point of an IP rating? It’s merely an indicator of safety. Yes, an IP68 rating will give you a rough idea of what to expect from your phone, but the point is that you shouldn’t be submerging your phone in the first place. If your IP68 rated phone has a manufacturing defect which means that it’s not waterproofed properly, you still can’t do anything about it. Those who own an officially rated IP68 smartphone or a OnePlus 7 Pro should treat both devices the exact same when it comes to liquids – don’t submerge it. Whether your phone is IP rated or not, the end result is the same. If you drop your phone in water, it can still break and you’re not getting a new phone because of it. That’s without getting into how IP rating will increase the cost for consumers, as then the company would need to pay for the testing and the certification process too, which ultimately gets passed down to consumers in the form of an even higher price.
If you really want to see how the OnePlus 7 Pro performs underwater, give it a week after it launches and there will be lots of YouTube videos demonstrating how well the device performs after being underwater for a certain length of time at a certain depth. The exact same tests have been performed on OnePlus smartphones ever since the company has touted its water resistance, and it will be no different for the OnePlus 7 Pro when it launches.