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Yesterday, the fine sunny day it was, we decided to test out Sony’s glorious claims for their Xperia Z3. This new flagship from Sony sports the highest IP certifications ever on a mobile device, labelled as an IP 68 resistant. As per the label, the Z3 is capable of being immersed in water not more than 1.5 meters deep, for up to an entire 30 minutes of time. As such, Sony exorbitantly flaunts the device in many of their larger than life commercials, touting the handsets superior underwater capabilities. An accidental slip in the pool? Not a problem. An irresistible urge for underwater photography? No sweat! A quirk to swim along with your smartphone? The Xperia Z3 is for you.

These are a few commercials that more or less trigger the fascination elements possessed by the audience, converting them into valued potential buyers. We’ll be honest. While testing these claims out, we had zero doubts regarding their credibility, after all these were coming from Sony, a company of high repute. But what followed suite has forever altered the innocent, claim adhering buyer in us.

THE SETUP: I placed the Xperia Z3 in a bucket that was half filled with water. The depth to be precise was a paltry 25 centimeters, which is almost 1/6th of the maximum permitted depth. All ports were sealed, and double checked for any air gap.

First foray: Once we were satisfied, we dipped the device under water for about 5 minutes. We took the device out and it was performing just as advertised with absolutely no problem whatsoever in either the display or the camera or the speakers, for that matter. The Xperia Z3 passed our first test with flying colors, and our confidence in the device and in its manufacturing prowess was further strengthened.

Second foray: This time, we set a timer the timer for 10 minutes. After the time elapsed we approached the bucket, unaware of our impending horror. When we scooped the device out, to our unpleasant surprise, IT WAS NON FUNCTIONAL!

The display, the power button, nothing seemed to work, and we were pretty sure of the device steadily dying upon us. But since the battery was non removable there was little in our power. Our faith in Sony’s claims was our only weapon, and in one blow we felt robbed off it as well.

For a wit in need, is a wit indeed

We might have been robbed of our confidence, but we still, weren’t robbed off our wits. We immediately pulled out the sim and the micro SD card, both of which were soaked wet. We drove out whatever quantities of water we could, using the age old convention of shaking the device dry. We had no vacuum cleaner to assist us and we were educated enough with water damage to know about the disastrous consequences that a blow dryer would entail on the device. Thus, we skipped on directly to the last step. With all the ports open, we buried the device in a jar filled with rice and closed the lid on top.

LOGIC: Rice, a common household food item, has a high affinity for driving out moisture and as such could absorb most of the moisture plaguing the device. This was the only method we could hope upon, considering that the Z3 was not only watertight, but also battery tight, with all its internals sealed in.

Although it is advised against checking the device before a full day of being buried in rice, we couldn’t hold tight to the suggestion, and took the device out after a short 4 hours. The device turned on and then off in succession and we felt hopeful of its revival. Apparently, 10 minutes in water had forced the device into a state of utter shock. The water damage indicators located beside the sim card slot were colored white. Had it turned red, the device would be dead already, by its own account.

But still, as with a patient on life support, anything could have happened. Somehow, we held on to our nerves for 14 hours straight this time before we took out the device for another inspection. And voila! It was in a switched on state, under the rice and working as expected. In an almost perfect condition. And we repeat almost.

The wear and tear: For the device did show some signs of infliction, owing to the water incursion, the speakers started sounding even muddier than before. Further, both the rear and front cameras were misty with moisture, and as a matter of fact they still are, even after 24 hours of recovery.

CONCLUSION:

Although the device, didn’t entirely stand tall to its claims for water resistance, it didn’t absolutely betray them as well. The device did die upon us temporarily, but we were able to quickly recover it, and recover it well using a few common redressals. Had it been any other device, it would have been dead from the word go, itself. The device dos proves to be potent enough to survive modest tortures where others would be out within a blink of the eye.

As such, Sony cannot be entirely targeted for unjust claims. There might have been issues with our review unit even before it arrived to us, who knows. But one thing is for certain. Consumers must refrain from the thrills of testing these claims out, for supposedly it’s a risky proposition. One that might lead to a substantial monetary loss. Further companies must also educate their customers about these claims, training them with recovery alternatives, lest anything goes wrong.

PRO TIPS: THE DO’s and DON’T’s of water damage

DO’s

  • Post water invasion, immediately rip out the battery along with the sim and micro SD cards
  • Dry the smartphone using a towel
  • Dip the damaged device in a jar filled with uncooked rice or cereals, or a similarly high affinity substance. Keep it dipped for atleast 10 hours if the effected device is a water resistant one or for 24 hours if it’s is a regular model
  • Please shy away from testing these awesome claims on a regular basis!

DON’T’s

  • Do not try and charge a water damaged phone prior to its recovery. It’ll short circuit the IC chip inside
  • Do not use a blow dryer for god’s sake. Plus nature won’t help you much with this situation so don’t rely on the Sun god for a magical solution
  • Don’t try and open up the internals. You might end up with a water damaged phone with a few internals missing, which is obviously worse

Stay tuned with us for further updates on technology. Until then you’re warmly welcome to share your views on this incident and clear out any conceptions you might be holding onto. For prevention is always better suited than the search for a cure!

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