Should I keep this "ZTE Reef" Android phone or return it?
September 5, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

I thought my old phone had drowned, so I ordered a waterproof Virgin Mobile "ZTE Reef" phone. Old phone has now sputtered back to life. Should I keep the Reef or return it?

Background: I have a history of breaking phones. Over the past 4 years, I've gone through 4 different smartphones and 1 dumb phone. I'm outdoors a lot, and happen to be very clumsy.

On Monday, I accidentally dropped my Virgin Mobile Samsung Galaxy SII in standing water in the sink. I did what you're supposed to do, which is take the battery out and let it sit overnight. In the morning, it didn't turn on, so I panicked and ordered a new phone. The new one is a Virgin Mobile "ZTE Reef." Not coincidentally, it is advertised as waterproof. It is still sitting in the box, unopened.

Today, I was fooling around and turned on the old Galaxy SII. It worked! I think sitting in an air-conditioned room for 3 days must have sucked the last remaining moisture out of the works.

So should I keep the Reef or return it? I figure it would cost about $20 to mail back to Virgin. There are no reviews of the Reef online, and I know it has lower specs than the SII -- so it might be a downgrade. On the other hand the idea of a waterproof phone is extremely appealing, as I have destroyed phones for real through water damage before.

Or should I keep the SII and get phone insurance? Would that reliably cover damage through user stupidity?

posted by miyabo to Technology (6 answers total)
Honestly, it depends on what was in the water (if anything) and a little luck.

Residues of foreign materials / substances can stay on the circuitry after its dried, and cause further issues down the road if the residue is on sensitive parts.

I've had both happen to various devices (phones, laptops, etc.) Sometimes they've come back on no worse for the wear, and sometimes they broke for good after a little while of turning on.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:51 AM on September 5, 2013

I'd keep the new phone. Water damaged phones often start acting wonky at some point, even if you do manage to get it back on. And insurance is probably a good idea, I've used mine before, but it doesn't usually cover water damage, so I'd ask about that specifically.
posted by catatethebird at 11:55 AM on September 5, 2013

Also, I'd keep the old phone as a backup, and pack it in dry rice for at least a couple weeks to pull any remaining moisture out (FYI packing in rice right away after a short time air-drying is a good idea in case of future water damage.)
posted by catatethebird at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2013

From what I hear, electronics that go swimming come back to life for a while then corrode and die. I'd keep the new phone.
posted by radioamy at 1:12 PM on September 5, 2013

Response by poster: Well, you guys convinced me to at least open up the Reef and give it a shot. It is uglier than the SII, but apps seem to open a little faster (processor is more than two years newer so that is not surprising). Screen is the same resolution (low by today's standards). But then I intentionally tossed the phone under running water for a minute and it kept running! Awesome, I think I have to keep it!
posted by miyabo at 2:35 PM on September 5, 2013

Soak it for a few days in a bucket of dry uncooked rice. If that fixes it, sell it on eBay. Be explicit, and price accordingly.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:53 PM on September 5, 2013

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