Images (left to right) by Flickr users Tilman Zitzmann; Bitbox; Doctor Popular
Smartphones are one of the items we see the most of at our Restart Parties – second only to laptops. And the most common problem? Broken screens.
There are all sorts of things that can happen to a screen, and they don’t always involve a simple fix.
To help make sure that you don’t leave our Restart Parties disappointed, we have three questions that will help you decide which solution is best for you and your gadget. If any answer below is “no” to any of these questions, please seek out a commercial mobile screen repair.
1. Am I interested in learning hands-on screen repair?
There is no catch-all method for screen repair: it varies from smartphone to smartphone. There are over 24,000 kinds of Android phones. This means that when one of our volunteers is handed a broken screen, there is a good chance they’ll be learning on the spot with you. Even with our very skilled and experienced repairers, a screen repair can often take up to three hours. Our events are not a free repair service: but they are a free repair workshop. If you are prepared to put the time (and expenses) into DIY screen repair, plan on arriving at the beginning of a Restart Party, and read on.
2. Do I have a replacement screen?
If you do have an active interest in learning to do screen repair, you’ll need to supply your own replacement. When buying a replacement you have two options: the full screen (LCD display + glass) or glass-only. Buying glass-only is the cheaper option; and often, it’s only the glass that is broken. But due to the way many smartphones are built, glass only screen replacement is technically very difficult, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. At our Restart Parties, the highest success rates are with full-LCD-assembly repair.
You’ll also need to decide where to source your chosen part. You want to find something that is ‘genuine‘ from the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), but things are often wrongly labelled as ‘original‘ and it is difficult to know who to trust. It is worth noting: some people are surprised to discover that quality screens for their mobiles are simply very expensive, and make screen repair unviable.
There is no one best source for screens: we recommend reading ratings of online sellers. A good rule: ‘you get what you pay for’: steer clear of options that seem comparatively too cheap. We can help you source a quality spare part at one of our Restart Parties.
3. Do the volunteers have the required tools?
Smartphones are often assembled with a large amount of glue, which means that a heat-gun or another tool used to melt the glue before they can be disassembled. Our volunteers and Restart Party hosts do not always bring these to Restart Parties.
It is worth contacting the host ahead of the Restart Party to let them know that you’d like to change a screen on your particular type of phone. The host will then be able to advise on whether it will be possible at the event, or provide alternate help.
If you’ve answered yes to all three of these questions – then a Restart Party is the way to go. Come to one of our upcoming events and learn how to do your own screen repair.
Not seeing an event in your area? There are likely people near you who could volunteer help you with a screen repair, given the opportunity, so why not organise your own Restart Party? We have a handy guide to doing so in the Restart Party Kit.