THREE months ago, I shopped around for an Android smart phone to replace my aging Samsung handset. Drawn by the good reviews and the phone’s sleek design, I settled on the Xperia Z1 Compact. In my case, one “feature” that tipped the scales in favor of buying this brand and model over others was the claim by the sales person that both the front and the back of the phone were made of tempered glass. This was an attractive feature for me, since I am not always careful about the way I carry my phones—as the scuffed casing of my old Samsung phone shows.
I also liked the fact that this was a waterproof phone, even though I had no intention of taking underwater photos.
Although I was happy with the purchase—the phone is fast, and the display is sharp—I noticed there were tiny scratches on the back of the unit after a few days of use, something that I didn’t think would happen if it were really tempered glass.
I thought nothing of this, however, and continued to use the phone for the next three months—until one day last week, the touch-screen suddenly stopped working.
I tried to do a hard restart to no avail, so I went online in search of a solution. What I stumbled upon instead was a Feb. 8, 2014 entry in the Xperia Blog (http://www.xperiablog.net) that posed the question: “Does the Xperia Z1 Compact have a plastic back instead of glass?” Most reviews up until then had just towed the company line about the back being glass, just like the Z1 Compact’s big brother, the Xperia Z1.
Where did this misinformation come from?
Xperia Blog pointed out that the original white paper on the Xperia Z1 Compact (no longer available online) clearly stated that “both the front and back are made of durable tempered glass.”
An amended white paper later changed this to read: “The front side of the phone is made of durable tempered glass.” An even newer white paper now explicitly states that “the back side is made of high-rigid plastic sheet.”
As a consumer, I knew none of this going in and went only by what the salesman told me.
To fix my touch-screen problem, I took the unit to the authorized Sony service center in the SM North EDSA Cyberzone. There I was told that it would take them seven to 10 working days to repair the screen, and that all the data on the phone would be erased since they would have to do a hard reset. The service center personnel also informed me that there were indications of moisture inside the waterproof phone, even though I am always careful to make sure it is sealed before it gets anywhere near water. Was this information an attempt to void my warranty? I certainly hope not, given that Sony specifically markets this model as being waterproof.
When I asked about the back of my phone, the service personnel merely said I needed to apply a protective screen if I wanted to avoid scratches, completely missing the point that by design or by accident, an agent acting on Sony’s behalf had misinformed me about the material used in the back of the unit.
Had the salesman told me before I bought the unit that the back was plastic, then I could have taken precautions against scratches. Or I might have looked at another phone. But because I was given the wrong information at the point of sale, those options were effectively taken from me.
I do agree with Xperia Blog that this was probably the result of miscommunication rather than a deliberate attempt to cheat customers, but Sony still bears the responsibility for the mistake. At the very least, they should emphasize to all their agents that they should stop passing off the wrong information to potential buyers.
Because the service center could not speak for Sony on this issue, I merely asked them to relay my complaint to the company and left them a contact number. I am still waiting to hear from them—on my old Samsung phone.