Broken phones seem to be just another part of life, but while you can replace a shattered screen, fixing a drowned phone is much more difficult. Kensington might have a solution, though, and we sent a smartphone to a watery grave just to find out if it worked.
When phones take a dive in the drink, most people have a goto household ingredient that does a decent job of removing the moisture: rice.
We’ve heard about this technique for years, and if you do manage to send a phone – or any other gadget – for a trip in water, generally people know that they should turn it off uber quick (because water and electronics obviously don’t work well together) and then plunge it into a bowl of rice.
But rice can only do so much. It’s good at absorbing liquids, but it might not get everything, nor do it fast enough.
Behold the Kensington EVAP Rescue Pouch, a plastic pack that comes with two packs of silica gel for you to surround your drowned gadget with which will remove all moisture from the circuit boards and hopefully fix your product.
No water removal product is ever going to be 100 percent effective, though, so to give this a good test, we first had to find a gadget we weren’t concerned about destroying, just in case it didn’t work.
We settled on an Acer smartphone that was sitting in a drawer, which runs on Android and still works. It’s a little out of date, running a version of 2.1 Eclair, but before we drowned it, we made sure that it was charged and working.
With that out of the way, we threw it in water, which is something you shouldn’t do. Most people know never to intentionally take their phones into water, unless it’s purpose built like the Galaxy S4 Active, or encased in a specialised accessory that blocks liquids from entering the device.
This was an unusual situation – killing a phone with water – so we left it in a pool of water until the phone decided to switch off.
When the screen gave out, we pulled the phone out of the water, drained the water out, and then tried switching it on.
No go. It was dead. Excellent.
At this point, it was time to read the instructions of Kensington’s EVAP kit, which tell us to pat down the product with a towel.
Essentially, all you need is the phone and the battery if you have one, so you just have to make sure to get as much liquid as you can out of the handset and onto your towel.
You want the silica gel to do its best over the coming hours, so removing as much moisture as possible is a must.
From here, tear open the EVAP bag and pull out the silica gel packs, taking them from their own foil pouches. With these in hand, place your handset between them, as if it’s being protected by silica gel cushions, and then throw these, as well as the battery, in the bag, sealing it.
Once you’ve done this, it’s really just a waiting game, and Kensington says it can take anywhere between 6 and 48 hours for the EVAP pouch to do its thing.
We were a little cruel to the Acer phone – which was coincidentally called the “Liquid” – leaving it in the water for several minutes, so in turn we left it in the pack for 36 hours before we removed it from the pack.
Already at this time, we had our doubts. We had seen the phone die. We had killed the phone. Fine.
And yet, after taking it out of the Kensington EVAP kit and plugging the battery back in, we saw the handset spring to life when the power button was pushed.
Indeed, Acer’s handset switched back on and refused to die, which is impressive to say the least.
We assume that the “EVAP” in Kensington’s product is supposed to mean “evaporation,” which is how this product works, the silica gel pouches taking the water from the handset and leaving the circuitry as dry as possible, but there’s no guarantee it will work perfectly every time you use it.
That said, for $20, we’d be willing to say that keeping one of these in your home might be a useful in case of emergency measure, especially if you’re very concerned about dropping your phone in water, or, heaven forbid, a toilet.