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Sony no longer recommends that you use its phones underwater (Update: Sony responds)

Despite being rated for such use, Sony no longer recommends that owners use its Xperia phones underwater. The Xperia Z5 is included in this new change of stance.

Published onSeptember 15, 2015

Update: Sony has now issued an official statement about its change in marketing/wording (via Xperia Blog)15:

“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.”

One of the staples found on Sony phones are their waterproofing capabilities. Sony had previously billed their phones as perfect companions for those hoping to use them at the beach, while scuba diving, and the list goes on. Interesting then that Sony now recommends that you don’t take its waterproof phones under the water.

The new policy change from Sony was actually first seen with the Xperia Z3+ and Z4, leading some to believe this change was specific to those models. Now the Sony website has similar wording in reference to the Xperia Z5 series.

The Xperia Z5 is waterproof and protected against dust, so don’t worry if you get caught in the rain or want to wash off dirt under a tap, but remember: all ports and attached covers should be firmly closed. You should not put the device completely underwater or expose it to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as drinks. Abuse and improper use of device will invalidate warranty.

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In the past, the ability to bring your phone into the water was huge part of Sony’s marketing, with promo videos showing its phones in the water, in a dive scene, and so forth. Why the change of heart? Despite still being rated for underwater use, the Xperia Z5 isn’t recommended for use in these scenarios, likely for one reason: as a loophole to prevent tons of warranty claims.

Sony Xperia Z3 underwater unboxing - YouTube 001637
A screenshot from a Z3 underwater unboxing video by Sony.

Sony says that the reason they don’t recommend planned in-water use is that its tests are done in “lab settings”, meaning they used tap water and were relatively gentle with the phone. That said, we imagine folks who bring their phone into the water intentionally aren’t quite as careful. Simply put, the change is to protect Sony from issuing claims to people who are hard on their phones while using them in these types of scenarios.

Simply put, the change is to protect Sony from issuing warranty claims to people who are hard on their phones while using them underwater.

So what does this mean for you? If you planned on getting a Sony Xperia Z5, just remember that, while your phone should be fine underwater as long as you take the necessary precautions and aren’t too rough — if something happens, you are probably out of luck warranty-wise.

While this change will affect Sony’s marketing, we suspect that most Xperia user rarely use the phone underwater intentionally. Instead, they might have it beachside or in the rain, knowing that if they accidentally get it too wet, they will be just fine. And for these types of users, nothing should change really.

What do you think of Sony’s change in policy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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