/ Technology

What happens when your Galaxy S5 is no longer waterproof?

Samsung Galaxy S5

If phones use terms such as ‘water resistant’ as selling points then shouldn’t the warranty cover the cost of mending broken parts that stop them from resisting water?

The Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s first IP67-certified (water-resistant) phone, a feature that would attract many phone buyers. Unfortunately, some owners have had a headache keeping it that way.

A key part of the phone’s water-resistant design is the addition of a rubbery flap that covers the USB port when it’s not in use. As a moving, exposed part, it may come as no surprise that some GS5 owners have reported the part breaking off.

Some of these unlucky owners, including Which? campaigns supporter Chris, had trouble when he tried to get Samsung to fix it:

‘I wrote a nice email to Samsung asking for it to be replaced – they (eventually) replied and stated the cover only had a three-month warranty.’

USB cover-up

It seems Chris wasn’t alone in this – we found several reports on the Android Central Forum from Galaxy S5 owners being told that the broken charger cover was cosmetic damage and so not covered by the product’s full warranty.

This is what Jimbob had to say:

‘Mine broke off within six months… got a laugh from Samsung:

“Your charging port cover came supplied with a three-month warranty period. I understand from the details you have provided that it is now past three months since you purchased your device which does mean that it is no longer covered by the Samsung warranty and any required repair would have to be carried out on a chargeable basis.”

‘Three months… they’re having a laugh!’

Another commenter, Lisa Jayne, had a similar story to tell:

‘After seven months my USB charger port cover came off in my hands. It seems it’s a common fault, you only have to look at the various online forums and the number of these parts for sale on auction sites.

‘Samsung said this fault would not be covered under my warranty as it was classed as physical damage. I told Samsung I totally disagree, I am always very careful with my phone and I don’t expect bits to drop off such an expensive phone that’s just over six months old.

‘I think the fault is down to the parts not being of a durable quality to last. They said I needed to get it repaired at my own cost by one of their approved repairers.’

Are S5 owners covered or not?

We wrote to Samsung for a definitive answer – this is what it had to say:

‘The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a cover over its USB port to ensure the model retains its IP67 certification. The USB connector cover has a two-year warranty period, as does the device itself, so Samsung will replace it free of charge during this period. The cover can be replaced at any Samsung Store, and we also offer a postal repair service for any customers who may not be able to get to a Store.’

So, it’s good news for those worried that they might not be able to get a repair – but why are so many Galaxy S5 owners seemingly getting a different response from Samsung?

For those without a warranty and some tools to hand, our supporter Chris suggests a DIY solution:

‘I discovered the part was available on eBay for £1.95 and replacement took two minutes using a crosshead screwdriver.’

If the product’s still in warranty you may like to go to your manufacturer when something goes wrong. But if you don’t have any luck with them then your consumer rights actually lie with the shop you bought it from. We would expect retailers to replace or repair faulty products so that they’re fit for purpose – though it doesn’t always work our like that.

Have you ever had a seemingly inconsequential part break that’s had consequences for the rest of the product?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

According to the Samsung marketing:

“Dust & Water Resistant
The elements are no match for this phone. The Galaxy S5 is resistant to sweat, rain, sand and dust. So you can take it with you anywhere and everywhere you go.”

The warranty period for the S5 is 24 months and I can find no indication that a socket cover is excluded: http://www.samsung.com/uk/support/warranty/

If these covers are fragile but user-replaceable, I wonder why Samsung does not supply their phones with several spare covers. That could avoid annoying their many customers.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

Sensible suggestion wavechange.

Perhaps the chart of Samsung will record highs for washing machines and TV’s but lows for customer service on Fridges and mobile phones.

BTW
” If phones use terms such as ‘water resistant’ as selling points then shouldn’t the warranty cover the cost of **** mending broken parts that them **** from resisting water?”
does not actually make sense.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

My bad diesel – a mistake introduced in editing. I’ve fixed it now, thanks for spotting

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

dieseltaylor, I suspect the word “prevent” is missing. By the way there is a subtle difference between “waterproof” used in the title, and “water resistant”. IP67 prevents dust ingress (of a certain size) and immersion in water to a depth of 1m. Thus resistant up to 1m but not totally waterproof .
There is youtube video showing how to fit a new cover – if you have a very small Philips screwdriver and a pair of tweezers. A bit fiddly and i suspect if you are nor careful with the rubber seal you might impair the water-resistance – and void that bit of the warranty from Samsung.
I did wonder why phones need to be used under water. Then remembered a couple of my children have a habit of keeping their phone in a back pocket of their jeans and have had it fall out into a toilet.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
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Actually I kind of guessed the meaning it was just I think journalists should check their output!! : )

Being technical this gem may be of significance:

1] IP 6 actually means it is totally dust proof.

2] From a fansite a discussion about IP and what it means for liquids:

“The Ingress Protection scale is measured in kPa but let’s convert it to something we’re a bit more familiar with: PSI, aka pounds per square inch, which is the measurement most of us consider when inflating our car tires. Volume of water, duration of time, and distance from stream are all part of the calculation but let’s discard those for the sake of simplicity and focus solely on PSI.
IP Liquid Levels 0 to 6: protection ranges from 30 kPa to 100 kPa (which equals 4.6 to 14.5 PSI)
Level 7: according to this tool (and verified by other sources) water pressure for an object under 1M of water at sea level is 111 kPa (fresh water at sea level) which equals 16.1 PSI
So when considering the water pressure of submerging your phone in 1M based purely upon PSI, it faces greater pressure than drips, sprays, and splashes. Fire hoses typically operate at 150PSI or above, not to mention while dispersing outrageous volumes of water.
We should be able to safely assume, then, that our phone should be safe when subjected to situations where it contacts water with 16 PSI or below for 30 minutes or less.
So… what situations are those?
……. There is no way for me to easily measure the water pressure coming from my sink, but some simple Googling reveals averages and norms that we can use for reference.
According to the EPA, common water pressure in most households is 60 PSI: that’s more than 3 times the safe limit for an IP67 device! Even the EPA’s “high efficiency” sink standards require a minimum of 20 PSI, which still surpass the 16.1 PSI for IP67 devices.”

Courtesy of Phandroid,com

Samsung have hyped a selling point without providing a robust system, and not being sensible about providing a simple fix for the system they chose. Whether you need to be a rough or not in use is perhaps where testing bodies could usefully be engaged.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

Actually I was remiss in not adding this from Wikipedia:
“The ratings for water ingress are not cumulative beyond IPX6. A device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. A device which meets both tests is indicated by listing both tests separated by a slash, e.g. IPX5/IPX7.”

Profile photo of rarrar
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16psi is just over one atmosphere or the equivalent of a depth of about 10 metres of water.
The pressure of your water supply is irrelevant to dunking the phone in the sink !

I have an S5 and always use a cordless charger just so I never compromise/damage the USB cover.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

rarrar –
I think the point is that for most people the they will miss the subtle distinction that it is waterproof in a sink full of water but possibly not to the flow pressure if you think to wash it under a tap.

One might argue that the numbering system itself needs to be explained and the ramifications made clear. Perhaps the advertising is a tad misleading given the subject matter. Or in fact does the advertising agency know?

Which? how about asking them if the phone is actually IPX5/IPX7?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

For water resistance to depend on the integrity of little plastic plugs that are removed and reinserted regularly (for charging etc) seems a flawed approach. The obvious solution is to build the phone as a sealed unit with wireless charging (as Rarrar uses) and wireless file transfer.

Member
DavidH says:
28 September 2015

Excerpt from my email to Samsung after I had the same problem:

I took the phone in to the Samsung shop today, and was told by the person there that as the flap had come off, the phone was no longer under warranty as this was deemed wear and tear. I pointed out that the flap had broken through no fault of my own but was actually a design fault. Effectively, poor design by Samsung had meant that I had to pay for a repair. The person looked at me as though I was stupid.

There are a number of points I would like to make:

1 The repair period of 7-10 days is unacceptable
2 I will not pay Samsung to repair a phone whose fault is down to a Samsung design fault
3 The email contact form on your website keeps failing
4 The level of customer service is so bad that I will not buy a Samsung product again
5 John Terry is a suitable role model for your company, please keep using him.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
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Hi David.

That’s certainly a less-than-ideal result.

I wonder what effect it might have if you brought along a copy of their own official statement above – noting the ‘for free’ part…

Profile photo of NFH
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This story reminds of when Apple released iOS 7 in September 2013, and many gullible iPhone owners were duped into believing that the software update made their iPhones waterproof.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/26/waterproof-iphone-ad-hoax-tricked-users-into-destroying-their-handsets

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
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A fitting comment on the intelligence of iPhone buyers?! ; )

Profile photo of Ian
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More like a comment about the average age of the iPhone buyer…

Profile photo of wavechange
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If we are going to have a go at Apple, perhaps a more serious criticism is that the iPhone is not waterproof despite the fact that it is sold in countries where it rains quite a lot.

Member
Harry Trimball says:
26 July 2016

In fact, if the phone is submerged, water gets into the phones connector, which subsequently corrodes and has to be replaced. And to do that, ain’t cheap.