Well, I can definitely say that I didn’t see that one coming. Sony has long touted the waterproof features of its Xperia devices (both smartphones and tablets) as a differentiator when placed side-by-side with the better-selling competition from Apple and Samsung. For example, the Xperia M5 was announced in early August with both IP65 and IP68 certifications.
However, with the release of the Xperia Z3+ and Z4 earlier this year, and once again with the recent announcement of the flagship Xperia Z5, Sony has revised its wording with regards to waterproofing on its smartphones according Xperia Blog. Sony has updated its support page discussing waterproofing to state:
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.
The support page goes on to explain:
Do not expose the device to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as fruit drinks, liquid detergent and vinegar.
The IP rating of your device was achieved in laboratory conditions in standby mode, so you should not use the device underwater, such as taking pictures. Do not use the device to take photos while performing any type of activity underwater, including diving or snorkeling.
That last bullet point is rather interesting, considering that promo materials for Xperia smartphones dating back as far as we can remember show happy, spirited individuals submerging their device and taking pictures underwater. In a promo video introducing the Xperia Z3, Sony even touts its “fully waterproof” smartphone’s ability to survived being dunked into a swimming pool at high speeds:
So unless you want to face rejecting for a warranty for taking your Xperia smartphone for a swim, or take take some underwater pictures, you might want to use a bit more caution. However, Sony says that you’re completely free to use your Xperia in the rain, or when relaxing in the tub to watch videos after a hard day at work — yes, Sony did actually go there.