Google's Pixel 2 smartphone uses the same waterproofing material that off-road cars use

Google finally made its Pixel 2 smartphones water-resistant, which was one of the bigger missing features in last year’s Pixel smartphones.

Indeed, the new Pixels have a rating of “IP67,” which means it can go down to about three feet of water for up to 3o minutes. I wouldn’t recommend using the Pixel 2 for underwater photography, but it’s useful for accidental drops in water. After all, just one drop in water can ruin your smartphone if you’re not careful.

To make smartphones water-resistant, manufacturers typically use rubber gaskets that line the interior edge of the phone to, well, resist water. Google’s Pixel 2 also uses rubber gaskets, but Google also used an extra material that most smartphones haven’t used before. 

Surrounding the interior of the Pixel 2’s USB-C port is what’s known as dielectric grease, which is a type of gel or grease that’s commonly used to waterproof the electronics in off-roading vehicles, according to Zack Nelson of the “JerryRigEverything” YouTube channel.

In Zack’s Pixel 2 teardown video, you can clearly see the gel surrounding the USB-C port. Zack says it’s something he’s never seen before in a smartphone.

Zack has dismantled numerous phones on his YouTube channel, but he says he’s never seen the use of water-resistant gel in a phone before. He did say this gel was used in an underwater drone he reviewed recently, but it wasn’t clear if the larger Pixel 2 XL also uses the same special gel. 

With the off-road vehicle water-resistant gel in mind, you’d think the Pixel 2 is the most water-resistant phone out there. Yet, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 smartphones actually beat the Pixel 2 when it comes to water resistance. Samsung’s phones have an “IP68” water resistance rating, which lets the phones go down to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes, compared to the Pixel 2’s three feet of water allowance. But again, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 aren’t really designed to be used as underwater cameras, and its IP rating is designed more for accidental water drops in mind. 

Check out Zack’s video for the full teardown:

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