Waterproof handsets that have us singin' in the rain (roundup)

Although being caught in a winter rainstorm is the last thing anyone wants, these smartphones can soak it up.

Although some people say they love the winter rain, I, for one, am not a fan. Soaked hair, potential umbrella eye poke-age, and wet socks are among the many things I can't stand.

Handling my smartphone in the rain is also a challenge. If there's no awning around for me to seek refuge under and I need to use my device, I'm forced to whip it out and play a game of chicken: As in, how many raindrops can I tolerate landing on my display before I get uncomfortable and tuck the handset back into my pocket?

Fortunately, you won't have to make that decision if you own one of these phones below. Due to their water-resistant construction, they'll most likely have an easier time surviving the next rainstorm better than myself.

Editors' note: This post was originally published August 6, 2013, and is updated frequently.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Available in the UK and Europe, the Xperia Z1 Compact can survive a rainy day in London without a problem. Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (unlocked)
Sony has proven many times over that just because a device is waterproof, it doesn't have to look like it is. The Xperia Z1 Compact is no different -- with its all-glass front and rear panels, and sleek aluminum edges, the handset doesn't skimp on style. It also has a quad-core CPU, Android 4.3, and a powerful 20-megapixel camera. Read the full review.


Kyocera Hydro Elite
The Hydro Elite is just one of many splash-proof phones from Kyocera. Josh Miller/CNET
Kyocera Hydro Elite (Verizon Wireless)
With an entire line of Hydro handsets under its belt, Kyocera is no stranger to splash-proof phones. Its Hydro Elite, an affordable mid-range device for Verizon, is the best member of the family to date. Especially when considering its decent camera, wireless charging capabilities, and 4G LTE. Read the full review.


Verykool RS90 Vortex (unlocked)
It might not be the slimmest device, but the RS90 Vortex can survive a dunk. Josh Miller/CNET
Verykool RS90 Vortex (unlocked)
True, you're not going to look like the koolest person at the bus stop pulling the Verykool RS90 Vortex out of your bag, but at least you'll be the only one not worrying about the drizzle above. Though its hefty frame and dated Android 4.0 OS are notable drawbacks, the handset is competitively priced and durable to boot. Read the full review.


Sony Xperia Z Ultra GPE
The Xperia Z Ultra GPE offers stock Android 4.4 KitKat in a water resistant package. Sarah Tew/CNET
Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition (unlocked)
For those who have $649 to spare and love a lot of screen with their smartphones, the Sony Z Ultra GPE should be up your alley. Rocking a massive 6.4-inch display and a Snapdragon 800 processor, it also runs vanilla Android 4.4. Since it's a Google-branded product, the Xperia Z Ultra will receive software updates the moment they roll out as well. Read the full review.


Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Though not a super-rugged handset, you won't have to worry if the GS4 Active gets soaked. Josh Miller/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (AT&T)
Although the GS4 Active wasn't as rugged as we expected it to be, the smartphone still manages to keep water out (just double-check that all ports are closed and secure). The device even has an Aqua mode for its 8-megapixel camera, which enables users to take photos and record video underwater. Read the full review.


Compare these phones head-to-head.

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Read the full CNET Review

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Bottom Line: With its powerful processor, great camera, decent screen and gorgeous, waterproof design, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the best small Android phone around. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition

The Bottom Line: The Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition's insanely large size and stratospheric price make the Nexus 5 and Note 3 better options for pure Android power. / Read full review

About the author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.

 

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