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Sony Xperia Z1: Why waterproof?

There are plenty of people who are deeming the recently announced Sony Xperia Z1’s waterproofing a gimmick but it’s so, so much more.

Firstly, it’s Sony taking beautiful design and combining it with something that can withstand the elements. While not a rugged phone in the traditional sense of the word, this is the third time a phone as polished as this has hit the UK, set apart from the water-shy flagship competition in such a way.

Wondering what the first and second phones to do this were? The Xperia Z and the Xperia Z Ultra.

It’s important Sony pushes these phones out into the market, not just for Sony Mobile specifically, but for waterproofing in general, after all, the mass market is the best test group money can buy.

What do I mean? Take the seminal Sony Xperia Z. Water resistant – not waterproof, it was a glitch-fest every time you dunked it in water. The touch screen would activate as a result of any electric current in the water, it would open apps and before you knew it you were video calling America with no way of killing the call.

Now, on the Xperia Z1, the experience is wholly refined, and fully waterproof. Unable to make the touch screen functional under water, Sony simply kills touch interaction. To account for this and ensure the camera is still usable, they include a physical camera button – learning from prior shortcomings.

The next step is to make a touch tech compatible with dunking – but I’m going to guess Sony’s already thinking about that one.

Another reason waterproofing works is because of smartphone repairs. If you get an IP58 certified phone, it’s less likely to get damaged, be it in a pool, a pint, or a sweaty pocket. The sealing will stop dust from going under the screen and camera lens, repel sand – a secret smartphone killer and prevent water damage.

Finally, it’s not just a one off. While other manufacturers like Samsung have released a reactive waterproof variant of their flagship in the S4 Active, Sony’s entire range is waterproof, and I’m talking about phones, tablets and accessories like the SBH52 and Smart Watch 2.

All in all, it isn’t just about the gimmick-factor here. Sony is actually investing in waterproofing and aligning its mobile brand with this very cool USP – sort of like EE and 4G. 

As embarrassing as it is to admit, these words have all passed my lips:

Fancy going for a swim? Pick up an Xperia Z. 
Raining? Good thing I have a Z1. 
Movie in the bath – Tablet Z time!

I’m clearly suckered in. Time will tell whether this very well executed product management trickles beyond early adopters like me into the general public’s hearts and minds. 


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