Your phone display is smashed, so now you need to get that screen replaced. But you know that it isn’t going to be cheap. Replacing your phone screen is outrageously expensive, and some even avoid it all together, squinting through the cracks in their screen in order to use their phone instead of breaking the bank.
But why exactly does it cost so much to change your phone screen? What is hiking the price up so significantly? Well, here are some factors that go into the cost of phone screen replacement.
1. Removing the Broken Screen
Before you can get your new phone screen attached, your broken screen needs to be removed first, and this isn’t a walk in the park. To remove an old phone screen, you need both a precision screwdriver and a mobile opening tool. So, you can’t just do it with your bare hands or with a kitchen knife.
And, even if you happen to have the tools required to remove your old phone screen, this is a pretty finicky process, which requires removing the phone’s battery, unplugging various ribbon cables, and more. You certainly need a steady hand and a clear-cut plan of what has to be done.
So, given that most of us aren’t experts in the screen removal field, we’ll often leave it to a professional to get the job done, instead of risking it on our own. Therefore, part of your screen replacement fee will be going towards the removal.
However, if you do in fact want to give replacing your screen a go, take a look at our guide on how to replace a damaged phone screen display.
2. Phone Screens Aren’t Just Panes of Glass
When you think of a phone screen, it’s easy to just think of it as a thin sheet of glass that’s simply popped on top of the phone itself. Well, this isn’t the case. Though the top layer of the screen is, in fact, a layer of glass, this isn’t your typical glass.
This top layer is usually made from something called aluminosilicate, which is a combination material made from aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. Manufacturers choose to use this specific type of glass because it is generally more durable, and such a quality is very sought after in phone screens, and this adds to the price.
The next layer is simply a tiny space of inert gas or air, which helps with identifying the point of touch on the screen.You then have the next layer, where things get a little more complicated.
This third layer is essentially a grid of very small wires that work together to create an electrical field. When your finger comes into contact with your screen, it will create a break or interruption in the field, which is therefore interpreted as a tap. This is the case for modern smartphones, at least.
Older smartphones have something called a resistive touch screen, which simply detects pressure, instead of using the whole break-in-the-grid method. However, both of these different touch screens require a specific ITO conductor, and other intricate technological features that are paramount to performance.
The final layer is another sheet of glass, fit with an adhesive on its back side to allow for mounting to the rest of the phone. Each of these layers need to be individually manufactured, and then carefully merged, to make one phone screen. As with anything, each of these processes cost money, which adds on to the overall cost of screen replacement.
3. People Like The Branded Stuff
As with most things in the wonderful world of consumerism, people tend to lean towards well-known brands. Given this, many are hesitant to risk handing their beloved phone over to a local store that claims to be able to successfully replace your phone screen for a fraction of the price you’d pay for an official replacement from such big brands as Apple and Samsung.
Of course, some smaller stores can indeed provide this service for a much more affordable price, but this isn’t exactly the norm. Many local replacement jobs can result in a number of issues, such as poor calibration, screen glitching, and more. So, of course, you can give your local store a go, as you won’t be coughing up a big sum of money. But be aware of the risks involved in this.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that official manufacturers, such as Apple, will run your phone through a number of tests after replacing your screen to ensure whether it is working correctly, and local, or smaller, replacement services might not be so thorough.
4. LCD vs. OLED
For quite a while, phone manufacturers have used something called an LCD, or liquid crystal display, in phone screens. However, lately, this has been changing.
A few years ago, Samsung announced that they had developed something called an OLED, or organic light-emitting diode display. Without going into too much detail, an OLED screen can generate its own light per individual pixel, whereas an LCD screen relies on filtered back-light. Different people have different preferences between the two, but, when it comes down to it, OLED is more expensive.
So, the type of phone you have also directly affects the price of screen replacement. If you have an older phone, say an iPhone 5, you’ll probably play a little less for a replacement simply because you have an LCD display, rather than OLED. Most of the newer phones you’ll find on the market today use an OLED display, so you might just have to grin and bear the pricier replacement rates if you want a more modern device.
Prevention is Better than Cure
The best thing you can do to avoid paying those pricey screen replacement fees is to make sure your phone is protected. First off, get yourself a tempered glass screen protector. This works great in avoiding nasty scratches and cracks.
To avoid shatters, your best bet is to get a hefty case that can protect your phone as best as possible whenever it is dropped. There are even cases out there that are specifically designed to be shock absorbent in order to protect your screen from shattering.
It’s also worth looking into insuring your phone against breakages to make sure you’re not paying out a big chunk of money all of a sudden when the day comes that your screen didn’t survive the fall. A lot of manufacturers offer their own insurance service, but you can also find external companies that can cover you just as well.
All in all, it’s way too easy to break your phone screen, and there aren’t many people who will go their entire lives without having to deal with the dreaded drop. All we can do is get that pricey little piece of tech as protected as possible, and hope for the best.
Got a broken phone screen? Here’s how you can fix, continue using, or sell your phone despite the cracked screen.
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