One of the most important features we wanted to see was drum-tight waterproofing on par with the submergible Galaxy S4 Active. This morning Pranav Mistry, the lead designer of the Galaxy Gear, tweeted a picture of a kayaking trip purportedly taken from his Gear. The tweet included a message that Gear has a IP rating of 55, which is fairly decent, but still comes up short of the Active's IP67.
IP stands for "Ingress Protection" and it is the industry standard for describing how durable an electronic device is against the elements based on a series of standardized tests. The two-digit IP rating is actually two different numbers, the first digit describes how well a device stands up against solid objects, the second against liquids.
The higher the numbers, the more durable a device is with the highest rating a device can achieve being a 68. Here's a breakdown of the numbers:
First number (solids) 0: No protection (Sometimes X) 1: Protected against solid objects up to 50mm³ 2: Protected against solid objects up to 12mm³ 3: Protected against solid objects up to 2.5mm³ 4: Protected against solid objects up to 1mm³ 5: Protected against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit) 6: Totally protected against dust
Second number (liquids) 0: No protection (Sometimes X) 1: Protection against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation) 2: Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical 3: Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical 4: Protection against water sprayed from all directions -- limited ingress permitted 5: Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions -- limited ingress permitted 6: Protected against low pressure jets of water, limited ingress permitted (e.g. ship deck) 7: Protected against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m 8: Protected against long periods of immesrsion under pressure
The Galaxy Active's IP67 means it is completely protected against dust and can be immersed in water up to 1 meter. The Gear's not-so-shabby 55 means that the smartwatch is protected against most dust and water, but its not quite dunkable.
The bottom line is that while Active is the perfect accompanyment for that shallow-water snorkeling trip, it is probably wise to leave your Gear back up on the boat.