OnePlus dunked its new phone in water, but says you shouldn’t do that

Today, OnePlus posted a teaser video of its next flagship phone falling into a bucket of water. “Water resistant ratings for phones cost you money,” reads the text that pops up on-screen. “We bought something less expensive instead.” The spot clearly implies that the OnePlus 7 Pro will have some level of water resistance — even if the company hasn’t gone through the formal IP certification process.

Pause the video during the last few moments and note the fine print at the bottom: “Water resistant under optimal test conditions. OnePlus makes no guarantees regarding water/liquid resistance.” And just like other smartphone makers (even those that do have IP67 or IP68 certification), OnePlus notes that water damage is not covered under its standard warranty.

The upcoming OnePlus 7 Pro.
Image: WinFuture

What was meant to evoke excitement for the latest OnePlus device has instead flustered some of the company’s fans, who point to the rising cost of OnePlus phones each year as ample reason to seek proper certification just like Samsung, Apple, LG, Google, and others. To avoid any further uproar, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has published a blog post about the video.

“We know that an IP rating would be the simplest way to prove our phone’s capability, but the certification doesn’t help us communicate our focus on your real experience, which is why we created this direct and relatable video to show you what our water-resistant quality can actually bring to you in your real life in a more powerful way,” Pei wrote. He claims that OnePlus has “never stopped improving our design and going through tests to make sure you can finally experience our water-resistant quality.” True enough, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of past OnePlus phones surviving spills and dunks without immediate problems.

However, Pei finishes his post with a word of warning by emphasizing that OnePlus doesn’t necessarily want customers to recreate its “beautifully-made” video. “This is not a bucket challenge, and we certainly don’t want all of you to try to drop your OnePlus 7 Pro in a bucket. And just like other smartphone brands that do IP classify their devices, our warranty does not cover water damage.”

This seems like an unforced marketing error on the part of OnePlus. Going another year without water resistance certification would be disappointing, but this just shines a spotlight on the omission. And with the OnePlus 7 Pro rumored to cost well over $700, it’s understandable that people are getting a little annoyed by the company at this point for ignoring a cost of business that its competitors accept. Especially when you factor in that OnePlus continues to omit wireless charging on its phones.

Is an IP rating essential? Not necessarily. An IP67 rating simply means that your phone will survive being immersed in fresh water for 30 minutes at depths of up to 3.3 feet (1 meter). IP68 means you can go a tad deeper, but there are never any guarantees for real-world scenarios that might involve salt water, beer, coffee, soda, or yes, even your toilet. That doesn’t stop companies from advertising the capability as if it’s some sort of invincibility trait for your phone. This AC/DC Apple ad for the iPhone 7 still rips. Does it set realistic expectations for water resistance? Not at all.

When it comes down to it, having the rating is really about peace of mind. You’ll probably be okay in an unexpected downpour or when someone bathes your expensive phone in their beverage. Here, OnePlus is suggesting that the OnePlus 7 Pro will have some level of water resistance, but if you’re wondering what crosses the line, your guess is as good as mine.

The OnePlus 7 Pro is set to be officially unveiled on May 14th. But maybe all of this will be resolved by the time the OnePlus 7T Pro comes along. “This also doesn’t mean that we’ll never consider IP classifying our products in the future,” Pei wrote of the video.

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