A tale of two phones
Marlene and I got new cell phones last spring to replace our aging Samsung Galaxy S4s. We had been quite satisfied with the S4, and so the S6 was an obvious candidate for our new device. We ultimately decided against it, though, and opted to get the Sony Xperia Z3v instead. The three main features we liked about the Z3v were:
- A large, long-lasting battery (the S6 was criticized for this in revews)
- A microSD card expansion slot (sadly absent in the S6)
- IP68 Water-resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes (relatively unique among phones at the time)
As of this writing, Samsung is taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S7. The new features promoted on their website:
- IP68 Water-resistant
- Dual-Edge Design (S7 edge only)
- Enhanced Camera
- Battery Life
- Expandable Memory (microSD)
- Marshmallow OS
Interesting that the S7 incorporates all three of the features that I thought were lacking in the S6!
Water-resistance is the feature that I want to focus on in this article. It truly sounds like a very cool idea. Given my chaotic household, I knew it was likely to come in handy. I wasn’t wrong.
Since getting my Xperia, I have used it in the rain and snow. I use it at the pool-side and when bathing the kids. It has had apple juice spilled on it… twice!
Whenever I find some mystery substance on my phone (a fairly frequent occurrence) I just run it under the tap to rinse it off. Water-resistance is great…
…when it works! And now we come to the “horrible” part. How do I know that the water-resistance of my phone hasn’t been compromised? Answer: I don’t, until I test it.
The only way to test that my phone is still water-resistant is to expose it to water, and if my test fails, my phone is fried. Hmm… Not the best scenario.
The horror story
Yes, this has actually happened to me. Back in September, I dropped my phone, and the screen shattered. At the time, I had insurance coverage on the phone. I contacted the insurance company, and (for a $100 deductible fee) they sent me out a replacement immediately. I received it the next day!
And then Nora and I went swimming. I’m sure you can see where this is headed. My replacement phone was not water-resistant. Not in the least. I did submerge the phone once, a few inches under water for a few seconds, but nowhere near the 1 meter for 30 minutes claim. And it was gone. Dead.
I spent hours on the phone with the insurance company, hoping to get them to take responsibility. From my perspective, they sent me a defective replacement product. I was repeatedly told that they’d be happy to replace my waterlogged phone, for another $100 deductible fee.
After many conversations with Asurion, with Verizon, and with Sony, I finally was able to get Sony to replace my phone for free. I was without my phone for two whole weeks while they “worked on it,” but I’m pretty thankful that they were willing to do so at all. I don’t personally consider Sony the responsible party in this case.
I’m happy to report that my Xperia is fully functional now, including water-resistance. I’m somewhat nervous, though, every time it’s exposed to liquid. Is it still water-resistant?
Feature or safety net?
Perhaps I shouldn’t rely on water-resistance. Maybe I should shun water as though my phone were not water-resistant, and just be thankful if it protects me against accidental exposure. But I’d prefer not to do so.
I’ve become accustomed to the convenience of a water-resistant device. It was one of the features that first attracted me to the Z3v, and I don’t want to give it up. And yet the doubts remain…