Maybe your significant other tossed your phone off the balcony after discovering flirty texts with a certain coworker, or maybe you were just blackout drunk and dropped your phone on the club’s tile washroom floor while taking a shameless mirror selfie. Either way, your mobile’s glass screen likely looks like a drunken spider’s web.
Luckily for you, smartphone repairs in China are both affordable and fast. But before you venture off to your city’s electronics sales and repair market, we encourage you to browse these six helpful tips for repairing your phone screen:
1. Assess the Damage First
As with damage to just about any electronic product, knowing the extent of the destruction will go a long way towards ensuring your trusty repairman doesn’t try and pull a fast one by over-quoting or overstating the damage.
In the case of phone glass and the LCD – or more recently AMOLED – screen underneath, it helps to know whether just one, or both, of these elements needs replacing (particularly so you can better estimate the cost).
While broken glass on the front of your mobile is obvious and easy to diagnose, a damaged screen (the part that actually displays all the programs and interface) can be a bit trickier to identify. Look for black spots, discolored areas, new lines and out-of-place patterns on your screen, as any of these may indicate a problem with the screen. Naturally, a totally black screen is a pretty good indicator that something is amiss.
One way to test your screen is to hold down on an app on your phone’s ‘desktop area’ until it starts vibrating, allowing you the move the app to new locations on your screen. Move the app to all parts of your display, if the app is unable to reach a certain area, this is a good indication that you’ll be fixing more than just broken glass.
2. Show the Repairman that Everything on Your Device Works
From our experience, this may very likely be the most important step of all. When having your device's screen or glass fixed, be sure to show the person doing the repair that all of its key components are in working order. In particular, be sure to demonstrate that both your front and rear cameras work, as well as the speaker and microphone.
We cannot count how many times we have heard of a phone being returned after a repair only for the owner to discover that the phone’s microphone (key for, you know, speaking on the phone) or cameras are no longer working. Also from experience: most repair people are unlikely to take your word that your camera was fine before you handed it over to them.
3. Accept the Fact Your Phone’s Company Warranty Will Be Void
This should probably go without saying, but here we go anyway: having your mobile device repaired by someone other than a company technician from your phone’s particular brand will likely (like basically 100 percent) result in your warranty being voided.
4. If Possible, Watch the Repair
Not every repair shop will give you the option of watching your phone’s crushed glass be replaced. This is because many smaller shops, particularly in electronics markets, will have your phone sent to an offsite repair area and tell you to come back in a few hours to collect it.
If possible, try and find a shop that will complete the repair in front of you. The main reason we encourage this is because we have heard several unfortunate stories where costumers have had their fully-functioning phone battery swapped out for one that can only hold a two-hour charge. Sad!
The price of having your phone’s glass or LCD screen replaced will depend greatly on the make and model of your phone, the honesty of the person fixing it and – like all things in Asia – your bargaining skills. If your local smartphone repair person wants RMB300 to replace your iPhone 6’s shattered glass, lowball them and offer RMB150. From our experience, repair people seem more inclined to budge on price when it comes to older model phones, meaning your brand new iPhone Xs Plus or Huawei P20 will likely have a higher price point and less discount wiggle-room.
6. When You Find a Good Repair Shop, Recommend it
Finding a good repair shop with honest staff who do repairs at a high quality and reasonable price can sometimes be difficult. If you manage to track down a good phone-fixing location, be sure to recommend it to your friends to save them the potentially costly and annoying trial-and-error process when having their glass or screen replaced.