Do Sony Xperia smartphones really have a waterproofing problem? [Update]

Last week we reported  Sony updated the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) guidelines that come with the upcoming Xperia Z5 to include the phrase, “remember not to use the device underwater,” causing a wave of controversy among current Xperia owners.

Despite their IP68/65 rating – the system that rates how waterproof an electronic device is – how exactly waterproof are Sony’s Xperia devices?

We were contacted by one particularly irate reader who had a poor experience with their Xperia smartphone after using it underwater, as well as a few other readers via social media.

Below is an excerpt from a MobileSyrup reader who contacted us about waterproof related issues with his Xperia Z3.

“Recently, I went to PEI for vacation. My family and I were at a water park. I could have chosen to leave my phone in the car, or I could have chosen to leave my phone in a bag or storage locker. But no, I kept my Xperia Z3 with me, because I felt confident in Sony’s waterproofing claims. What a mistake. My daughter was swimming in a pool and I decided to take her picture – just like the marketing picture that I mentioned above. Big mistake. I soon realized that the phone would no longer turn on. Nothing I did worked to revive the phone. It was an expensive brick.

I called Rogers, who promptly forwarded me to Sony. The Rogers rep even laughed a bit and said none of the phones on the market is waterproof – phone manufacturers should not be making such claims. I called Sony and explained the story. The phone is now at Sony’s repair contractor in Ontario – awaiting a simple pass/fail pressure test to determine if it will be repaired due to a manufacturing defect. If not, I am out a phone only six months into my contract with Rogers.”

We also received a variety of tweets from readers regarding the issue:

Update: We’ve been contacted by a few additional readers via Twitter.

“Walked out of the shower, received a call on my Z3 Compact, screen died and the rest of the phone soon after. My hands were wet, that’s it. It had never even been submerged. Sony sent it back to me with only a note saying that they would not repair or replace it (I had bought it 6 months earlier from a Sony store). They promised to send me pictures showing the apparent corrosion inside (after several calls to Sony asking for any kind of details). That was 4 months ago and I still haven’t received these “photos”. This $600 brick that lasted for 6 months. It was never submerged, never abused and died from some random drips from my hand.”

“I’ve owned a plethora of Sony phones, the last one I had was a Z2 and its port opened when it was in a swimming pool even though I had closed it shut, and of course water got in and the phone is completely useless. Sony refuses to fix the phone and I kinda lost my faith in them. I spent $800 plus on their phone and they wont even stand by their device.”

Sony has released a statement regarding the controversy, claiming that the company’s new usage guidelines are linked to helping consumers ensure their Xperia device remains protected:

“Sony Mobile is committed to providing the highest standards of product quality and customer service. Xperia models that feature levels of dust and water-resistance are validated independently and based on Ingress Protection (IP) standards agreed and used across the industry. We have every confidence in the qualities of Xperia devices, which are built to exacting technical standards and are designed to perform to high standards in normal usage.

The recent changes to guidance we provide to our customers are designed to more clearly illustrate the best ways to protect devices in day-to-day usage. We communicate necessary precautions, and the specific parameters of ingress protection ratings, to help customers to protect their smartphones and tablets in line with the applicable warranty we provide.

We have also recently updated our marketing visuals to better advocate sensible usage of our devices. The warranty terms provided for our products remain the same and any customer concerns will continue to be considered on a case by case basis in line with these terms.”

While what Sony is saying is technically true, the company still clearly misled consumers about the waterproof capabilities  of its phones. If you’re an Xperia owner and you’ve had problems with your device after using it in wet conditions, send us a tweet at @MobileSyrup or @Patrick_ORourke.

Check out this link for Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z Premium Canadian availability and technical specifications. Sony also recently rolled out Android 5.1 on Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra smartphones.

[source]Xperia Blog[/source]