My wife’s 2-year-old EVO 4G phone took a dive off a high counter last week. The phone is usually protected by a dual-layered Otterbox, but wasn’t on this day. The glass shattered but held, leaving the phone usable but in dire need of attention.
Being someone who teaches courses in Mobile Development, I am well aware that screen replacement services do not come cheap. I haven’t seen anyone advertise it for less than $100. A quick Amazon search found that I could ship the parts for $30.
Which do you think my ego chose?
The parts arrived yesterday, so last night found us hunched over a desk with a busted phone and a pile of tools.
Videos on YouTube show how to perform the replacement, ranging from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. They are all damnable lies.
The process looks atraightforward, and is for the first few minutes: unscrew, wedge, pop, unclamp, slide, divide, conquer. Then comes the glass.
What you think of as the screen on a modern smartphone is actually two parts. The glass is the “digitizer” and contains the circuitry that relays your touches to the processor. It sits on top of the display, which is probably OLED, LED, or something similar, and is the showy, pretty part. The glass is what breaks from simple drops, usually leaving the display intact. The display breaks when there are point impacts, such as dropping something very heavy onto the screen, or the screen landing face-down onto a hard edge.
Problem being, those two pieces are snuggled right against each other and the display is very sensitive to damage. There is some adhesive keeping them together, and you need to pry the glass off without scratching, gouging, or distressing the display. My best advice: put a hair drier on medium and use it to soften the glue/tape.
This does not take under 15 minutes if you have never done it before. It took us about 90 minutes from start to finish, and we were holding our breaths for much if it, like we were performing triage.
If you’ve never done it before and are serious about being in the Mobile industry, you probably ought to do it once. Just like everyone in Web should build a server at least once, and everyone who owns a car should change the oil and a tire at least once.
After that, make sure you make enough money that you can pay someone else to do it.