BlackBerry Motion Teardown Reveals Suspect Waterproofing

A recent teardown of the BlackBerry Motion performed by popular YouTube personality Zack Nelson (JerryRigEverything) revealed some suspect waterproofing techniques that don't suggest the device may actually survive being submerged in water like its IP67 rating promises. The teardown that can be seen below and features a surprise guest indicated TCL cut some corners while manufacturing the handset that's officially advertised as being able to withstand water submersion up to a meter (3.28 feet) for a maximum of half an hour.

The BlackBerry Motion can only be safely opened with a combination of a heat gun and a prying tool, with the device lacking any visible screws on the outside. The adhesive holding the back panel of the device to its frame was found to be surprisingly weak for a supposedly waterproofed smartphone, with Mr. Nelson explicitly warning users not to trust the BlackBerry Motion around water. The charging port of the device also isn't protected by a rubber ring that's part of the vast majority of waterproof smartphones such as the Galaxy S8 and LG G6. Compared to the charging port and the frame of the handset, the 3.5mm headphone jack is much more strongly guarded against water, as is the side tray meant to house a Nano SIM and microSD cards.

Some unconventional design choices TCL made while developing the device also make motherboard removal mandatory for nearly all repairs, including battery replacement, the teardown reveals. The cell fueling the handset is meant to be removed with three pull tabs, one of which is located beneath the motherboard. While prying off the battery while ignoring the last pull tab is possible, it's far from the safest option and hence discouraged unless there are no alternatives, i.e. one of the tabs breaks. The LCD panel of the device is hard-glued to its frame, making removal that doesn't crack the screen difficult to achieve. Despite its suspect waterproofing mechanisms, the BlackBerry Motion received largely positive reviews and is widely regarded as a solid mid-ranger that deviates from the standard BlackBerry formula by virtue of the fact it lacks a physical QWERTY/Z keyboard. The Android-powered handset recently expanded its commercial presence and is now available for purchase in the majority of the Western world.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]