Sony barred from describing the Xperia Z1 as “waterproof”

by XB on 7th October 2014

in Problems, Xperia Z1


Xperia Z1 waterproofThe Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) has ruled that the Xperia Z1 cannot be marketed as being “waterproof”. This follows a complaint from a woman who claims the device stopped working a day after she had used it in water. She claims that all ports were closed but the phone still stopped working.

A Sony repair centre said that the phone ports were not properly shut and would not repair the handset under warranty. Her carrier also wouldn’t repair the phone insisting that the Xperia Z1 is merely “water resistant” and not “waterproof” as claimed by Sony. Therefore the woman was left with a ZAR 9,000 (£500, €636, $805) paperweight.

Sony’s response to the matter was that her carrier was wrong in asserting that the device is only water-resistant. However, the ASASA ruled that “the semantic difference between a term such as “waterproof” and “water resistant” might carry two very different meanings”.

Therefore, Sony can no longer describe the Xperia Z1 as being “waterproof” in South Africa. It will be interesting to see whether similar judgements get passed in other countries. Sony’s new Xperia Z3 series have the highest level of dust and water resistance found in a mobile device (IP68 certified), however they still have ports that leave the phone susceptible to damage if left open.

Excerpt from ASASA ruling on promoting the Sony Xperia Z1 as “waterproof”

The Directorate notes that some of the marketing material available on the respondent’s website indicates that the claim of being “waterproof” is not intended to be an absolute claim. The “White paper | XperiaTM Z1” document states, inter alia, that the phone is “Smart, sleek and waterproof*”, but then caveats this statement by commenting as follows:

  • “And due to its IP55/IP58 rating, this slim and sleek smartphone is both water and dust resistant …”
  • “… is protected against the ingress of dust and is waterproof. Provided that all the covers for the micro USB port, the micro SIM slot and the memory card slot are firmly closed, the phone is (i) protected against low pressure jets from all practicable directions … and/or (ii) can be kept under 1.50 metres of freshwater for up to 30 minutes … For more information, go to www.sonymobile.com/zperia-z1-waterresistant”.
  • “… The phone is not designed to float or work outside the IP55 and IP58 classification range that may lead to your warranty being void …”

It can be accepted that, depending on the context, the semantic difference between a term such as “waterproof” and “water resistant” might carry two very different meanings to the hypothetical reasonable person.

Common dictionary definitions for “waterproof” includes explanations such as “not penetrable by water”, or “impervious to water”, whereas “water-resistant” is generally described and defined as something that is able to resist water (usually for a limited time), but that is not entirely able to prevent the penetration of water.

It is apparent from the above that the phone’s capabilities appear to be more aligned with what is commonly understood to be “water-resistant”. From the respondent’s submissions as well as the information obtained in its marketing material and on its website, it is clear that the phone can effectively resist or repel fresh water, only up to a depth of 1,5m, and only for a limited time.

Accordingly the term “waterproof” in a context that appears to align with “water-resistant” is misleading, and in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.

Given the above finding:

  • The word “waterproof” in relation to this phone must be withdrawn;
  • The process to withdraw the word “waterproof” in relation to this phone must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of ruling;
  • The withdrawal of the word “waterproof” must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and
  • The word “waterproof” may not be used again in relation to this phone in manner that suggests anything other than water-resistant capabilities.

The respondent’s attention is drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which effectively requires it to amend its advertising on all media platforms where the device in question is being promoted.

The complaint is upheld.

Thanks AndrewJacksonZA and Hritik!

  • Rene Pedroso

    Their ruling makes sense.

  • Siyam Hossain

    I’ve seen some water tests of xperia devices. Z1 was the worst mobile in water. Even xperia z and z ultra is better in water.

  • shhh

    Then it should be applied to all mobile phones with an IP rating described as “waterproof”. The ruling would not be against the Z1 or Sony but for the standards organization responsible for the IP ratings, which is the IEC.

  • Lajos Márk Kovács

    Idiots …

    The only certain caliber bullet-proof flak. Above puncture.

    The submarine sank in when the door open there.

    The conditions are true waterproof.

    Those who do not recognize and do not comply with the silly.

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    It happened with my Z. All ports closed, still water entered the phone and damaged it. Luckily Phone got start aftr few days but Display had water marks all around….. Later I found the Rubber that covered the port was broken !!!

    Sony didn’t Support me for that !!!

  • Mikae

    Yes I not believe this waterproof phones . Cause so many get theirs unit waterdamaged . So not say it is when they don’t help them idiot:@

  • Rick N

    (sorry english) happened for me too with my xperia V all port closed + using additional softcase, waterproof/water resist/whatever only valid for 1-3months, after that you will risk break your phone even you feel confident. The damage sometimes is not instant it appear few days/ week later Tell everyone your friends/family who bought waterproof/water resist phone to be VERY careful. I still bought xperia Z after that because i love sony phone but i will never dip my phone again whatever reason

  • Marcos de la Fuente

    Well, I own a Xperia Z1 and took underwater photos, and the phone… I don’t know how to explain it but… it still worked PERFECTLY, so, is not Sony’s, Xperia…’s fault.

  • Guest

    All this could have been avoided if Sony had repaired the phone. I like Sony but serve them right for their poor customer service.

  • shhh

    This would be unfair for the Z1 since Sony advertised it as waterproof because of the IP rating given by the standards organization. All other phones with an IP rating describing the device as “waterproof” including the other Sony phones, therefore, should comply with this in South Africa.

  • Ethan ‘blaze’ Parker

    What a dumb bitch.

  • Kevin

    Well they do say “Waterproof phone with ALL the ports closed” and it is true because I have used my Z1 underwater a few times and still works fine. I think it was the girl’s fault

  • BarKohba

    This is probably bullshit.

    I actually used my Z1 to take underwater pictures of fish in Greece…that is SALTY MEDITERRANEAN SEA WATER mind you. Never had a problem.

  • Miguel Marquez

    Same thing happens to me in Chile! I used in a swimming pool and three months later I have to leave it in a Sony’s repair centre. They answered, Water inside the phone. I always use it properly.

  • Rikimaru

    Xperia V, Z1, Z3 tablet compact. I never got any problem even i reached 2m underwater…

    I always took care to close it well. One time I broke the USB cover, water got insideI waited 3 days and charged my phone and now It’s still working great…

  • Vuyo Ncube

    The woman is at fault for not reading the white paper. My South African Z1 has worked like a champ for a year in pools, bath tubs and the occasional beach shore so it’s an isolated case that shouldn’t be taken this seriously.

  • dsdd

    It is not true.. I have z1 ..i drop my z1 many time into water .. Still work perfectly

  • moses

    You’re talking false… I used my phone underwater many times… And I’m still using it (1m underwater) and the phone works brilliant

  • f35hunter

    This is BS i have xperia z1 for more than a year and i used it in water many many times without any problem just close it’s ports very well and be careful with it.
    I think it is the woman mistake.

  • Mac

    My Z1C didn’t like tap water..
    but I got a new one by warranty.

  • manutd

    all sony ports are not good.the rubber has no place to go in,so it will not stay inside.I have an xperia z2,2 months old,and the usb flap keeps popping out.my phone is not waterproof.the ports are dessigned really bad,the rubber need a channel to go in,and stuck there.even a chicken realize that!

  • P9

    port port port
    Sony also always focus on this when say it’s waterproof or resistance…

  • I usually during retailer trainings have been use all Xperia IP phones in small aquarium for at least 1,5 – 2h (IPX7/8 have tested for only 30 min.!) with looped aquarium video and all of them still works in end of trainings – defiantly it was user fault! And interesting how it can be water damage if as owner have been describe that phone stop working in next day!?!? As I know if water get in its takes some seconds to brake phone not a days!!!

  • kromain

    Well that happenned to my Z1s too, the first time I took it in the pool for barely a minute. And of course I made sure all the flaps where tightly closed before. Still droplets of water found their wait inside, and that was it, steam on the lens and so on. The phone still somewhat worked after letting it dry, but the camera was dead and the screen randomly shutting down. Fortunately, I had it insured so I got a new one. I did THE EXACT SAME THING and guess what, the phone is perfectly fine to this day.

    There’s a name for it: manufacturing defect. If you believe that these tiny pieces of plastic and rubber are 100% reliable on every single phone manufactured, you’re the idiot, not her or me. It only takes a tiny micrometer imprecision in how the pieces fit together to allow water to come in. And unfortunately the IP standards don’t cover that at all (it’s like only keeping the highest measurement from a statistical sample and ignoring standard deviation)

    But here’s the catch: whereas any other kind of manufacturing defect would be covered by the warranty, allowing you to just bring your phone back and get a new one, the vicious thing about the waterproof claims is that they don’t work this way. By having those water damage strips inside the phone, the manufacturer is relieving themselves of all responsibility in case of manufacturing defect. They can just put the blame on you saying “look you let water come in, it must be your fault”. Essentially the claim is “your phone is waterproof, but I don’t take any responsibility even if it’s my fault”.

    Note that this isn’t specific to Sony, it would surely be the same for Apple, Samsumg, and others. It just happens to only be Sony playing that field right now. Maybe the others are conscious of that and too scared of the PR backslash from having even 0.1% angry customers with waterproof-defective phones.

    Anyway, I still love my Z1s, and I’ll get a Z3 as soon as it comes out, but I’ve learned to be a little more suspicious when it comes to waterproof claims.

  • darannechelle

    Bcoz Z is water resistant not for underwater stuff. Plus its tgeir first iteration on flagship.

  • duke1

    I agree, nothing is water proof. That’s why on Sony’s website the phones are listed as water RESISTANT. Come on, people. There’s always risks submersing electronics in water. Don’t blame Sony, blame yourself for damaging your expensive device.

  • kromaion

    that’s because we’re talking droplets of water still making their way through the closed flaps, then evaporating through the phone due to its own heat. It’ll take hours before the humidity starts affecting the internals. She’s obviously not put her phone in the pool with all the flaps opened…

    So I guess you’ve never owned a product with a manufacturing defect then. Since your phone is perfect then that means they must all be 100% perfect as well. Clever.

  • kromain

    Yes, and they never sold any defective phones either (say, screens with a yellow hue or flash bleed in the camera lens), right?

  • DanielGearSolid

    Definitely the ladies fault. She’s lying to get it replaced

  • Wise Deer

    Such wise words. Thats exactly my point of view… My flawless Z1 has already gone underwater many times, but i know a defective unit wouldnt survive it. Its a shame sony dont admit their fault, when its the case, but guess thats the way world works, and they still make great products

  • kromain

    Yes because it’s impossible that a chinese-made, mass-produced phone has any amount of defective units produced and sold to customers after mistakingly passing QA. Makes total sense.

  • kromain

    Yes, and because you routinely carry your phone with the flaps open, so why not also in the pool right? Makes total sense.

  • Nkansah Rexford

    I also believe “Less is More”. If Sony markets using Water Resistant and someone finds out from use that its Waterproof, that’s a plus.

    However, if you market it as something that can go depths more than submarine, then users expectation rises. I’ve used my z2 in water a couple of times intentionally, and the phone still works. I think the marketing guys should tone down a bit. It doesn’t hurt to use modest description, but for users To learn it does more than that.

    This ruling is a big blow to Sony, because I hardly see a Sony ad without water splashes and waterproof written all over the screen and they’ll have to change those ads.

    Learn Sony, learn!

  • Hampus

    Hahaha stupid SOny bunch of ass holes.

    – Xperia SP user (u need to be one to understand)

  • duke1

    I agree with everything but your “Less is more” statement. Less is never more. More is more. For example, if you had a desktop UI that had no functionality whatsoever (refering to GNOME 3.0), would you consider that more?

  • paul4id

    I’ve been saying for some time that Sony should stop using pictures of their phones underwater in swimming pools in their advertising. They really aren’t suitable for such purposes and too many people are being misled by not reduce the actual specs. (not that it isn’t a excellent features which prevent accidents and allosw easy cleaning).

  • John Zakaria

    Hail Nokia 3310!

  • Danny

    Don’t care what South Africa said, Sony can and should call it whatever it wants.
    I, myself, wouldn’t want to go swimming or deliberately put it underwater since it is an expensive electronic device. Like everything else I like and care for, I take good care of my things despite whatever it could survive through.
    But at least I know it would still works if I ever get it accidently in contact with water, like spills, rain, or getting pranked like bucket of water, or getting pushed into the pool.

  • Tedster

    Good! If they want to claim they are waterproof then they should honour free repairs to water damaged phones, cheapskates!

  • Deki

    I already put my Z1 underwater many times. I even put it in sea water, took videos and pictures. They are awesome! Phone is working awesome! Really great phone! Beast!

  • Guest

    as usual, women are stupid.

  • Guest

    typical, women rarely reads manual and they keep bitching.

  • Guest

    You broke the rubber, that’s your fault.

  • Guest

    Waterproof IF all ports closed. Everyone who bought one could make Sony bankrupt with just submerged their phone without closing the ports IF Sony being a nice guy.

  • Guest

    too bad it’s even worse south-african-made, yep, n00b.

  • Guest

    I guess she submerged it over 2 hours.

  • Stanley08

    Your mum is Stupid? Ok! Well, u said it.

  • Shehab Skull

    so why when the waterproof apps released were only for z1 ? ._. how does sony thinking.. yes I see a lot of my friends damaged them z1 but I was thinking they made something wrong…. I am a sony fan but unfortunately this is sucks !

  • HardyHarHar

    They should have added some spring mechanism on the port flaps where it will forcibly close shut the flaps when it’s covering the ports already. Or at least increase the snappability of the cover flaps where it would be very2 obvious that it is already closed indeed.

  • Law jin hua

    Anyone ever capture the photo under sea water?

  • HardyHarHar

    All folks here keep defending sony… Being active here in xperiablog you should have known that not all the devices are 100% guaranteed water proof right? There are some with defects. Same goes if a spec of dust goes into the flaps which creates a leak. Sony should address this one.

  • gunboat_d

    Let’s try and refrain from terrible misogynist attacks like this, eh “braze”?

  • scw

    I think people should also stop thinking these sony phone truly equal to a tough out door phone (like Catapiler B15). They are never that secure. The covers will always be a point for dispute.

  • tri do

    i might be her fault or the port cover might came loose from the seal. My brother z1c flap is slightly loose after about 2 months of using for charging. Sony could have design the flap a liitle bit better or have a waterproof coating on the port. This waterproofing is a bonus really not to abuse it for what it is.

  • Hope it Happens

    There will always an exception, btw men are also stupid and i’m a man

  • Afzal Zainal Rddz

    Nonsense…. I own Z1 before and always bring it into swimming pools and nothing wrong happen unless that girls to clumsy to let the port open as she might think that the audio jack with no cover can be apply for the charging port also.

  • Akshay Ballal

    Again I repeat… Please bring a flap-less water-resistant or water-proof device…

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    I havent broke it, it gets broken with the usage. Even my brother’s ZR port got loosen after few months…..

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    Phone was not submerged actually. I kept in my pocket and rain water enterd through the port…. :(

  • Billy de Fretes

    naah… it’s the woman fault .. my girlfriend acro s and my xperia z still fine since the first day..
    We ALWAYS AND ALWAYS bring our phone when going to swimming whether in the pool / beach

  • Billy de Fretes

    well dude, that’s another problem and not related with this… do you think only sony have problems with their phones ?

  • Pingback: ??? ?????????????()

  • Nkansah Rexford

    The idea of Less is more, I guess can be a bit tricky depending on who’s looking at it. I think at this point, I’ll like to talk ‘less’ and let you read ‘more’ of these links:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Less_is_more

    Mentioning Gnome, I switched to xfce because I do practically achieve “more” productivity than when using Unity. So the principle of less is more, when a software or something does the basic things well, you get the best out of than something that is jack of all trade, but inefficient in doing most of those trade

  • Actman

    What a stupid news! I used my Z1 to submerge underwater for couple of times, even twice on Glenelg Beach. Did I mentioned even undersea water? My Z1 still alive on today. What a joke from “A WOMEN” from South Africa.

  • RoberMC

    I also had a Z1, and some water got inside of it, obviously with all flaps closed. The phone still worked, but water could be seen inside on the screen. I send it for repair and they said they couldn’t find any problem. It seems the phone dried itself while arriving to the repair center, so they coose to do nothing. I also had a problem with the digitizer on another Z1, aluminium “bendgate” prone chasis, and all that firmware problems… The Z1 was a big mistake by Sony.

  • Luís Alberto Pérez

    They claim that the flaps will work during the lifetime of the device but that is not truth. Opening the flaps everyday to charge the phone will broke the rubber. Sony in many cases don’t recognize this issue. That’s why I bought docking station and Bluetooth earphones so I don’t have to open the flaps everyday.

  • Pingback: Sony Xperia Z1 non è più waterproof in Sudafrica | Lucatarik Ict Tech Blog and News()

  • Zakarea

    My old z2 was having a water proof problem but i dont have a near service center
    When i put it in the water the water comes in to the screen and i can see the water there and i try it more than one time to make sure that the flaps is completly closed

  • Mr P

    I’ve used my Xperia Z in water lots of times. Even is salt water while in the sea on holiday and it still works like a dream.

    If the standards agency rated it as waterproof then surely it is. Sony didn’t issue it with that rating did they?

  • Jaywalker

    That must be a lesson to all. Nobody can prove that those phone ports were properly shut. So try it on your own risk. They are covered to avoid the guarantee. To be honest I wouldn’t pay 500 euros for a Xperia and sink it in the water no matter what they say it is. The client is always wrong :D That’s their policy. Maybe there are some devices that actually are water-proof and proper manufactured. But that doesn’t mean anything.

  • Vladimir Dimitroff

    ‘Waterproof’ never meant fool-proof :(

  • Pingback: CPN | Sony can’t market Xperia Z1 as “waterproof” in South Africa()

  • Rosal

    That’s right..! I experienced the same water resistant issue with my z1. But some how it managed to work. The consequences were water droplets in the camera lens, water INSIDE the phone! And the screen flickered for a while….
    EVEN THOUGH THE SIDE COVERS/FLAPS OF MY Z1 WERE TIGHTLY CLOSED BY ME, THE WATER ENTERED IN…!
    GREATLY DISAPPOINTED SONY…..! :-(

  • PR

    How can you say it’s user fault without even looking at the device? My Z1c is in repair now because of water damage. I washed it under tap after coming back from a run with all the seals closed and water got in under the screen from the side that does not have any flaps (next to the camera button). You could clearly see where it entered. The phone is 2 months old, never dropped. How is this user fault?

  • Raphael

    Interestingly enough the statement doesn’t rely on this woman’s specific experience but on the commercial description of the Z1 capability. The whole demonstration is based on the definitions of ‘waterproof’ and ‘water resistant’. It implies that any restriction to water resistance due to time or physics bans the commercial use of the term ‘waterproof’. To my view that is a very restrictive but quite logical and consumer protective interpretation.

  • SK

    The point is, they can’t simply blame the user. What if it’s a defective phone? I actually had a Z1 Compact that had the magnetic port come right off after using it with a magnetic charging cable for 2 weeks. I’m sure if I put that phone in the water at 1 week, it would have died.

    SONY customer service wouldn’t believe me. But before I could send it in, I unfortunately dropped it and had a car run over it.

  • SK

    All they need to do is a dip test in the factory! They can easily weed these out, but they don’t want to.

  • Wollombi

    It’s South Africa. Their government increasingly refuses to recognize any reality that contradicts their whims or opinions.

  • llk

    My first Xperia Z2 wasn’t waterproof. After for the first time, when I gave my Z2 a rinse, I seen the water inside the phone. All the flaps where tightly closed before. I was very dissapointed, because the Sony avoid to repair or change the device. The IP rate is a big scam, and the Sony – I think – know this problem.

  • Jaywalker

    Welcome in our club :) The disappointed customers and former fans.

  • XG

    Go away Samsucks lover.

  • matticitt

    My Z was waterproof, but I know people who’s Z1’s died because water got inside. I really think Sony should do something with their manufacturing procedures.

  • walker

    your phone just got IP rating 57 ,and on 57 rating ,the phone can only survive on submersion ,not continues submersion ,57 mean water resist and 58 mean waterproof

  • xperia z1.

    I have z1.. I accidentally dropped it(display broken).. Nd when i have showed it to service centr they said they cant replace the display I will have to replace my device for half the original cost..

  • Jaime A Monraz B

    I didnt notice the huge lie till phone died. There are a bunch of people out there in forums that just went to take few pictures in a conventional hotel pool.you know following the 1.5mts for no more than 30minutes.
    well i wont lie to you. I Took a pretty nice photos . 10 in normal mode and another 5 with timeshifting. Took me less than 10min and the pool height was 1.50mts exaclty “what a considence” . Well like an hour in my room after i take shower , try to use it and went creazy. And i knew water got inside . With just 4months with it. No scratches and well protected ……….Sony you realy dissapointed some of us. Say some cause i was now im not. My advice: stay away from the water and i hope i see sony get in court soon. Bye bye

  • sands

    I`ve had my z1 since march 2014 under the impression it was waterproof as it says on the tin, Well a short video underwater at a depth of no deeper than half a meter I have a big white line going from the camera button on the bottom left of the handset going to the top left of the screen. All ports were plugged properly (made sure of this) and now it glitches freezes and makes random calls. As for the gorilla screen being so called scratch proof it`s a scam from sony. I work in an environment with no dust or sharp objects due to the cars we build i`m miffed on how this happened in a borderline medical environment. far from happy with sony and it`s handset.

  • sands

    my bad the bottom right not the left..

  • sands

    exactly my issue mate.

  • de_construct

    After using my Z1 in a swimming pool, I noticed some condensation on the camera lens, which caused photos to be blurry… I realised it was because I had not wiped the phone dry (some water was inside the protective case and must have slipped in when I opened the micro USB cover… the result? An inoperative camera button… the condensation dried up eventually, but other than that, it seems to have survived. It’s had a couple of falls onto some rough surfaces (The £25 Sony ACX2 case took the brunt of the fall) and it’s scratch-free, unlike almost everyone I know with a Samsung. Anyway… always, always take off your cover to remove excess water, and towel it down before opening the covers, people…

  • LeeRed

    I have the same problem with mine, the water gets into the copper conectors for the docking station and vodacom wont fix it. Myne is 4 months old

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