Is the Sony Xperia Z2 Really Waterproof?

Why IP58 ratings are not enough to make your phone waterproof.

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Xperia Z2-white

It’s a contender for the device of the year, with a high res 20.7 MP shooter, beautiful screen, stereo speakers all sandwiched between two slates of glass and a beautiful design. What’s the most amazing feature here is the IP58 (Ingress Protection) rating that Sony says allows the device to stay continuously immersed in 1.5 metres of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.

I laid my hands on the Sony Xperia Z2 on the first day it arrived at the Indian markets and in less than 24 hours, was extremely tempted to test its underwater shooting capability. Being the third iteration of the long successful Xperia Z series, you expect top of the line quality. Having a freshwater aquarium at home, I dunked the phone in with the video camera turned on and recorded a 1 minute 21 seconds video. To playback the video, I pulled out the phone and horror began.

The display started flickering, and I immediately realized that water had entered the phone. Running the first measures of salvaging the phone through my head, I tried turning the phone off, but the digitizer won’t register clicks and the power button too kept clicking all by itself. Even after pressing the emergency off button that Sony has resided besides the SIM Card tray, the phone would turn on automatically for no reason. In five minutes, the display died.

In a phone with removable battery, this damage can be averted by simply removing the battery, and placing the phone either in a bag of rice, or using a hair dryer or placing it over a CRT screen or a stabilizer. With a phone that doesn’t have a removable battery and no permanent ways of turning off the phone, if the power button stops functioning, you have a phone that’ll stay on no matter what you try or do. Running electricity and water are the best recipe for disaster here.

Getting back to the phone, the front and rear camera were now covered in moisture even when the flaps were secured in place. So to show the extent of damage and assess the waterproofing, I immediately rushed to a nearby service center (only 2 kms away) and complained of how a waterproof phone got filled with water in less than two minutes and barely 4 cm of depth. The technician collected the phone and rushed in to inspect, but returned in less than a minute.

Now here’s how customers are treated by Sony Mobile. In the little time the technician had with my phone, I’d rather not call this guy an engineer, he had already inspected the phone. He showed me that the water damage strip inside the SIM card slot had turned RED, a sign of liquid damage due to user mishandling and therefore concluded that the phone’s warranty was void and had to be replaced under Accidental Damage Protection (ADP), a plan that Sony offers for a one time free replacement within Six months of purchase for any damage that happens due to the user.

My question to the learned technician and all of Sony Mobile customer representatives is simple. How you straight away link liquid damage to user mishandling, and how can you do so within a minute. Also, in the HIGHLY UNLIKELY case of it being a manufacturing defect with the phone, would you continue to blame the user and make him bear the expense of it?

I spoke to the customer care executive, the senior customer care executive and what not, but the only reply I received is that it cannot be considered a manufacturing defect and that Sony phones are made under the best possible manufacturing conditions, which makes it impossible for the water to have gone in from elsewhere and blah blah.

An Accidental Damage Protection plan is designed to save the user from having to bear the cost of an Accidental Damage like him smashing the phone against the floor or dipping it in water deeper than 1.5m or maybe in a washing machine where the water pressures are much higher than the device is rated for. It is not to cover manufacturing defects of the phone. While most Sony executives would disagree, I suggest they see the following pics and assess for themselves.

The front glass is slightly off, resulting in a not so waterproof fit and hence the water damage.

For Sony:

We buy your phones in good spirit assuming everything you market and advertise so hard with our money is entirely true. While I agree a lot of users would cover up their mistakes in the name of warranty and try to save money, you need to have a better mechanism of customer redressal than simply suggesting that all that goes wrong is the user’s fault.

No one tests the phone for waterproofing at the time of purchase, and it would only be in your favour if you had a water testing facility at your service centers, which at present, here in New Delhi, is non-existent.

For Users:

I’d suggest you to stay away from dipping your phones into water or spraying it with water unless you’ve really scrutinized in depth the joints, the side panels and maybe still, you could end up with a dead phone. You may want to get it water tested at Sony Mobile service centers, but its highly unlikely that they would do it for you as of now.

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  • Sudhin

    I have been using Xperia z2 for more than a year.. I have taken it to the pool so many times.. I have taken photos and videos underwater.. I haven’t faced any problems till now.

  • Tushar mehta

    The same happened with me i m regretting mah decision.. Dat i bought sony i think the company is being overrated nd should be banned if u cnt offer us d option of waterproof its kk bt atleast u mention it u assholes i hv wasted mah money on uh.. The company like xiaomi which is nt much known as urs offers much better dan uh.. U must shut ur company u dnt deserve to be such a big brand name… Shame on uh

  • faendell

    my friend has a z1 compact, i have a z2, we both went to the swimming pool and tried the waterproof of our phones, the result? his phone is dead and my phone no longer vibrates… :/ i’m not happy

  • CeeJay Dimaranan-Lago

    🙁 I’m experiencing the same.. I will never believe their waterproof products.Voided warranty if water has been detected. WTF!! I’m a Sony Fan.. Not Anymore. I’m just using the phone less than 6 months and now it’s dead.

  • angely

    hate sony

  • angely

    same thing happened with me. lost so much money, no one is helping me out

  • Tayyab

    Hello Vincent,

    From which store did you buy phone in Sweden?

    I also have an Xperia Z2 and I bought it from Siba. I haven’t tested it under water but I am asking just in case anything happens. Doesn’t the store gives the warranty?

    Thanks

  • Leslie Ann Macariola

    same thing happened to my z2, ive been using it in less than a month, and i was so disappointed that their selling WATERPROOF but the water issue is not cover of the warranty!! what the??

  • Alam

    Same problem, through the gaps ,but mine started press, browse ,unlock alone and now it’s half functional… Sony is a disappointment

  • After less than 30 minutes in a pool my experia z2 died! I had it less than a month, and I even bought the charging dock so I never had to open the flaps, but SONY’s still refusing to fix it! This is the second Sony waterproof that’s died after water in the past 2 years!

  • I agree with you, Vincent! I have also been through such experience from Samsung some months ago. They are kind of expert in shifting the blame on to the users.

  • Vincent

    I was just looking at the phone today also and found the water damage indicators behind both flaps are still white and hence havent been exposed to water. I called sony to tell them this and they say that it doesnt matter because their air pressure test says the phone is watertight so it must be my fault in some way.
    So basically i cant win with them even though there is proof that water hasnt entered from the only places that i the user can open on the phone! Ridiculous!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience, Vincent. We would wait for the update!

  • Vincent

    Hello from Sweden.

    I have had the exact same issue with my Xperia Z2, only i think the water has entered from the 3 holes at the bottom of the phone, as water kept dripping out of these hours after the screen had died. I couldnt turn my phone off either after realizing water had gotten inside, and ended up sending it away to a service center for assessment. They concluded that it was user fault as their air pressure tests deemed the phone airtight and therefore watertight. I have argued with Sony for months now but they WILL NOT back down and admit that there maybe defect phones being sold to us.
    Anyway, i gave in and told the service center to send me back my phone so i could fix it myself. The phone powers on and seems to be working( i am able to draw my screen pattern lock and feel the vibrations. Also the phone shows up on my computer when plugged in through usb) but the screen is still dead. So i opened up the phone and completely tore it down, and confirmed my suspicions. It seems as though the screen connector which is placed very close to the 3 holes at the bottom of the phone is burned out. The motherboard (which is just inside both removable flaps) looks completely fine, and even though i have said this to sony they still say water must have entered through one or both of the removable flaps. Surely there would have been some sort of short circuiting in that case and oxidation but there doesnt seem to be any.
    Now i have bought a new lcd screen, which didnt work when i tried it, so after further inspection i saw on the main flex ribbon cable some damage where it connects to the screen. Hopefully that is the problem and it will be fixed when my new ribbon cable arrives in a couple of days. If this works maybe it will work for a lot of other people in the same situation as me.
    I will update you when i have tested the new ribbon cable.

    Just to finish, i am so disappointed in the way sony has handled this issue, really not putting themselves in the users shoes and just going on what their stupid air pressure test says. I mean, i must have checked the flaps 10 times before i put it in water just to make sure, who wouldnt with a 2 week old phone that is so expensive.

  • Biruk

    I very much agree with Adit. If Sony is selling a product which is “WATERPROOF” meaning IMPERVIOUS TO OR UNAFFECTED BY WATER, they must sell the exact product to us, the customers. May be they should have advertised it like ” SOMETIMES WATERPROOF ” or ” WATERPROOF BUT DO NOT TRY IT ” or something. What really annoys me is when the customer care peoples try to justify that its the customers mistake. I love Sony and have been using its products since i was a kid, but now i am really disappointed by the defective products and as well as the agents found in DUBAI.

  • Andres Tello Chami

    Same thing happened to me, except my phone lasted for 2 whole weeks! I dipped it in the pool for some underwater pictures with all the side flaps securely closed..turned out to be a disaster..water was coming out of the headphones jack, from the sim tray and sd card.. Cant believe a brand like sony, selling a phone this expensive would lie to its costumers like this

  • Yep, but the OEM should double check every unit for water-proofing. In Adit’s case, it was a manufacturing defect.

  • When I got my Xperia Z1 7 months ago, I was curious if Sony’s claim was really true. Just to test that, I put the device in a bucket for about 5 minutes. When I took it out, is was still working fine. In this case, I think it was some manufacturing defect that compromised the insulation or water-proofing.

  • Richard Alfred Palmer

    I think if any kind of mobile into water it would go to mobile heaven. So don’t try it no one in their right mind would dip a £400 phone into water.