Mobile device technology has come a long way from cinder block sized cell phones to the small, fragile, yet powerful mobile devices which shape the culture in today’s society. It is undeniable that our smartphones and tablets have become an extremity to our bodies and have a huge significance in our daily lives. But that can all be taken away in a short moment when that device slips between your fingers and crashes to the floor.
You cautiously flip the phone over to discover cracks or other damage to your screen. What do you do now?
Amidst the panic you will normally come up with these options:
- You can live with the damage
- Call your service provider in a desperate hope it is covered by warranty
- Check your insurance deductible amount
- Buy a new or used device
- Repair the screen on your device
Living with a Broken Screen
Many times a simple drop may not fully destroy your device, allowing you to still use it, for a while at least. The issue with most damaged screens on smartphones and tablets are that they get worse over time and use. That small crack you may have started with may soon spider-web into a large spread with sharp glass shards poking at your cheek every time you use the device. Not to mention the next time it is even slightly dropped what do you think will happen?
No one wants to walk around with a broken phone or tablet until their next contract upgrade. We find “living with the damage” can be an acceptable solution in cases where damage is purely cosmetic.
Nearly all new smartphones today will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. But what exactly they will cover differs from company to company as well as service providers. Sadly, physical damage is rarely covered under warranty. Some companies may be willing to buy back your damaged smartphone as credit towards a new device. However the credit is normally applied to full retail value on a new phone possibly saving you a few hundred bucks if you are lucky.
It is extremely rare to ever find a way of replacing your cracked or damaged device under warranty. Frustration is the most common outcome.
When you purchased your new device did you opt in for the $8-12 a month fee for an insurance plan? Insurance plans may add up to an average of $240 over a 2 year contract. On top of that there is also an average of $100-200 deductible to file a claim.
Now insurance can come in handy if you are one of those people who constantly lose their device, but when it comes to just damages it is a pricey solution. Just like any other form of insurance it is a risk. For even one claim it will put your insurance costs for your 2 year contract over $300!
Buying a Replacement Device
Whether you choose to go for a brand new or used replacement phone, it mostly depends on your budget. With the top of the line phones and tablets exceeding $600, that’s a big chunk of change for such a small mistake. You can find some used phones and lower end tablets for around $300, but some may be without warranty.
Repairing the Device Yourself!
Let’s begin with the benefits of repairing your device with DIY screen replacements and repair parts yourself.
- Cost effective – average screen repair kit with tools will range from $25-$60
- You will only need basic technical knowledge
- Repair time can average 1-2 hours, even for first-timers
- There are tons of reference videos and repair guides available to walk you through nearly all repairs
- No need to set up a new phone (keep your contacts, apps, etc.)
- No hassle of dealing with your service provider
- Bragging rights!
So you can repair your device quite simply with a huge potential savings. The cons of preforming a DIY repair are very straightforward: you will void your warranty and you have the potential of further damaging the device if your repair is not performed properly.
In our eyes, we see it as nothing to lose but a few bucks. Your device is likely junk already, why not attempt to salvage it and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars?
The success rate on a screen repair is very high, as there continues to be better and more detailed repair guides showing up on resources such as YouTube.
Another thing to mention is part quality. This is a subject matter of its own but the basics are important to consider when dealing with DIY phone repairs. Finding cheap parts can yield not only the possibilities of more savings, but also the risk of faulty or inferior parts. Buying screens and parts from TRUSTED retailers is key; as you can be assured the new screen you are putting in is the same quality as the one you are replacing. Nothing is worse than preforming a repair in full, just to find that the cheap part you bought is faulty or low quality.
With patience and a steady hand you can have a new screen in your phone within an hour or two, saving you hundreds of dollars and tons of frustration.
Interested in a DIY Repair?
A few steps we suggest to any DIY’er before buying new parts for their smartphone are:
- Determine the exact screen you need to replace on your device. Is it the LCD display or the outer touch screen digitizer that is damaged? Can the screens be replaced separately? Do you need both screens, pre-fused? Do some research to know you are getting the parts you need or simply ask the sales department of a reputable seller
- Check for detailed repair guides online to insure you are comfortable performing the repair
- Insure you have the correct tools for the job
- Figure out how urgent you need your device functioning – do you order from China directly and wait 3 weeks for your screen or overnight shipping from a trusted in-country company?
There you have it; all the things you need to consider before dropping hundreds of dollars on a replacement device or insurance.
Article by Steffan Hernandez, tech specialist at Strive Mobile Repairs.