Although Sony makes it a point to get their phones IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, which normally greenlights you to use your device in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, the company seemingly no longer wants you to do that. Sony has started changing the language in their user guides and documents starting with the Sony Xperia Z5 suggesting users refrain from using their devices underwater.
So what gives? We’re not exactly sure what prompted Sony to make the change, but they state that they only make their claims based on laboratory testing under controlled conditions.
Sony devices that are tested for their waterproof abilities are placed gently inside a container filled with tap water and lowered to a depth of 1.5 metres. After 30 minutes in the container, the device is gently taken out and its functions and features are tested.
Sony continues by saying that they don’t test the movement of device as it sits underwater, nor do they account for changes in water pressure or other water movement. As we know, users don’t often use devices in the most perfect conditions or those which the manufacturer intended.
We wouldn’t be surprised to learn Sony got one too many claims of defective devices from users who used their phones at deeper water levels or for long periods of time. If you don’t know, the deeper you go into water, the higher the water pressure gets. 1.5 meters is just under 5 feet, and we imagine a lot of people go well beyond 5 feet when they take their phones underwater.
While Sony’s own advertisement shows recreational use of phones underwater, we always suggest folks steer clear of doing such a thing. The water resistance feature on phones should be more about peace of mind in the event that it falls into a lake, a cup or — god forbid — a toilet. And you would likely be OK with using it out in the rain if you really had to, as well.
Another thing to consider is that not all water is created equal. Sony’s testing might have been carried out under pure H2O, but what about salt-infused seawater or swimming pools with hefty amounts of chlorine? That stuff might be more damaging to a device’s circuitry than you realize. It’s like spilling water on a keyboard vs soda: it’s likely to survive if it’s just water, but add sugar and chemicals into the mix and you’re probably taking a trip to best buy.
One last possibility: the new Xperia Z5 phones simply can’t withstand the same water flogging that the previous devices in the line were able to, whether it’s due to some fundamental change in the way they’re built or some other unknown reason. The fact of the matter is that Sony doesn’t want you doing it anymore, and you shouldn’t expect 100% red carpet service for a new phone if your Xperia Z5 happens to suffer major damage due to being submerged in water under more volatile conditions than Sony tests for.