A waterproof smartphone is a nice idea, but they’ve always been kind of terrible. Casio has been making its line of Gz’One rugged smartphones for years, but they’ve always been a disappointment in one way or another, with slow processors, disappointing screens, and outdated software. Outside of the Japanese market, where every smartphone is waterproof, you had to make a choice as a consumer: buy a top of the line smartphone and deal with getting a clunky or cumbersome case (and the constant fear of dropping or soaking your phone), or buy a subpar smartphone that's ready for the elements.

But this summer, new phones from Samsung and Sony mean that you don’t have to make such a compromise. Sony's Xperia Z is finally making the long trek over from Europe, and will be available from T-Mobile starting on July 17th for $99 down. Likewise, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Active — the waterproofed version of the immensely popular Galaxy S4 — is available now from AT&T for $199.99. Both phones offer big, high-definition displays, fast processors, good cameras, and perhaps most importantly, slim and lightweight designs that belie the fact that they are actually waterproof. Do these new devices portend a world where all of our smartphones are waterproof? And does having a waterproof phone really make that big of a difference in everyday use?