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The Note 9 is the best waterproof Android phone you can buy

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

$1000 at Samsung

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.

Runner-up

Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL

$649 from Google Store

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

$699 from B&H

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

$690 from Amazon

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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