Looking to buy a Sony smartphone from outside India? Think again! – Part 1

“Woah! You own a Blackberry?” was the question that my friends and every unknown person on the world asked me, every time they saw me holding a white Blackberry Z10. That was when Blackberry launched their first premium touchscreen smartphone – Blackberry Z10. I was one of their ardent fans and while I never bought any of their phones, I always liked the hype and the “cool” factor that surrounded Blackberry phones. Talk to any Blackberry user (say, a few years back) and they had loads to tell you about the ease of user interface, how intuitive their OS is, the fun of using BBM and many more. So when I got my first Blackberry by paying a premium price (somewhere closer to 40,000 rupees), it was a great feeling – not because it was my first Blackberry but also because it was their first touch phone. So with all that being said, it was a good 15 months since I sported the Blackberry. It was therefore time to change.

Did you ask me how was the experience of using a Blackberry? Well, it’s definitely got a super fluid OS but the biggest drawback are – Battery backup and selection of apps. The battery barely lasts for 12 – 18 hours and the selection of apps is nothing worth mentioning about. Some of the popular apps such as Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Ola, Uber, eBay and many more are missing from the store. Of course you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Amazon (after the recent 10.3.2 update) built in.

Blackberry Z10 was the 5th smartphone that I purchased in the last 5 years. The previous smartphones that I used were from Sony (twice), Nokia and Samsung. While I liked every phone that I have used so far, I had decided to switch back to Sony again. I still remember the Sony Walkman that I had, and even now I have a Sony MP3 player (don’t remember the model, it’s a black colour one though, with a clip that makes listening to music during workouts and jogging easy) that’s simply awesome. The bass and battery is excellent with no complaints. While Sony has always been a popular choice for music buffs, their camera is no exception. After a thorough research of he available Sony phones in the market during May 2015, I narrowed down my choice to the all-powerful Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

The first thing that I did was to check out the phone across various retailers in Bengaluru. From Reliance Digital and Sangeetha Mobiles to Pai Mobiles and Croma, I visited many mobile retailers to find out the price. At the same time, I did my research for the online price too. While the in-store price was about 35,000 rupees, the online retailers too quoted somewhere closer to it. That’s when I decided to get the phone imported from outside India. With popular distributors in eBay and Amazon selling brand new phones a tad lower, I finalized to buy the phone from an eBay seller (with over 99.5% rating and thousands of phones sold worldwide). So the final price was about 30,000 rupees including shipping and customs (shipping from FedEx itself costs close to 5000 rupees) and that was the best deal that I could get.

I received the phone shipped from the U.S. and I was overjoyed. I had ordered a black colour D5833 model and it was simply superb. The phone was brand new and the model was manufactured in the Hong Kong. When I turned on the phone, I was greeted by a welcome message in an unknown language (guess it was Chinese, not sure!). Nevertheless, i managed to go to Settings and set the language to English. From then on, there was no turning back and was hooked on to the phone for hours together! Switching back to Android from BB10 OS was a nice feel. I still miss the BB OS though, as operating Blackberry is extremely easy and very (can’t stress enough) user intuitive.

So the next few days were spent in exploring the phone. With a mesmerizing 20.7 MP Sony camera with an IS0 12800, the photos were crisp and clear with little to no distortion. For a average user who clicks occasional photos of the surroundings, events, parties, marriages, functions; and for all those selfies and group photos in the night, you will be more than happy with the quality. All of my friends were surprised with the exceptional quality of the photos and my phone was moving hands-to-hands as everyone wanted to showcase their photography talent!

I also upgraded the phone to Android 5.0.2 and the phone was running butter smooth. Everything was fine and if you have already started wondering whether my post title has anything to do with what you are reading, the real story begins now! So just like any other day, I got back home from my office and I noticed that the phone had got really dirty. So I decided to clean my phone using fresh tap water (For a fact that the phone is waterproof and can withstand its contact with fresh water for up to 30 minutes and 1.5 meters deep, as per the official IP rating). After making sure that both the removable the flaps are closed, I turned on the tap very slowly and let the water run over the phone, say for about 10 seconds. The phone was in contact with fresh water for nowhere closer to 30 minutes and it wasn’t submerged in the water 1.5 meters deep. The next thing I did, was to take a dry cloth and wipe it clean. In about 30 seconds, the screen started flickering and the display started getting poorer. In about 2 minutes, the phone got switched off. That’s when I understood that I had screwed up my phone which was not even 2 weeks old!

I did some “old school” tricks of immediately opening the flaps and drying it under natural air. I also took a dry cloth and tried cleaning the water droplets that had entered the phone. Nothing helped. After about 6 hours, I tried charging the phone and it did not turn on. Well, I was turned off! I waited patiently for a day to see if any magic can happen. I spent 2 days charging every now and then, hoping that it will get dried itself and the phone might magically start working again. I was wrong and after 3 days, I realized that its time to visit their service center.

So what happened next? Did I visit their service center? Did I get my phone repaired or did an unexpected event occur? Is it advisable to import a Sony smartphone to India? What happens if the phone needs a repair? Will the local Sony service center attend to your request? Find out the complete details in the next post – Stay tuned!