Do It Yourself iPhone Repair Kits: Are They Worth It?

5:41 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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Undated -- Cracked iPhone screen? There's an app for that!
Well, not exactly. There are online videos on how to fix a broken screen and move on! But Consumer Reports found the repair is far from simple!

Consumer Reports Tester Bernie Deitrick wanted to know how easy - or tough - this repair is. He ordered a replacement screen repair kit for 30 dollars and then watched a 30-minute tutorial video from iCracked.com. He also wanted to see how others would do. He said, "I recruited people from around the building with cracked iPhone screens. People with various skill levels, from engineers like me to complete novices who aren't comfortable working with electronics."

They had one phone was fixed by a repair service in order to compare the results. The Do-It-Yourself repair kits involved lots of steps and lots of small parts and fragile pieces. Overall it took most of the panelists about an hour and a half to replace a cracked screen. But for the technically challenged - it took much longer!

Deitrick said, "In the end we repaired five iPhones using seven replacement screens. One screen was defective, one screen was broken in the process."

Thursday, 2 Wants to Know's Tanya Rivera had to opportunity to talk with Consumer Reports Senior Editor Mike Gikas. He shared his personal thoughts on the do-it-yourself kits and his reality check for you. He said, "If the floor near you has a lot of cracks in it, you may want to reconsider where you're doing it because these screws, and some of the parts there are smaller than, I mean they're really tiny. and they're fragile too."

When Tanya asked Gikas what he would do next time his iPhone cracked, he said, "I am gonna take it somewhere else. I'm gonna have a professional do it. Even if I know what I'm doing, I just don't have 3 hours to spend, and knowing at any point that I might mess something up and ruin my $400 phone. It's not worth the risk for me."

Tanya also asked if there are any options on the market for Android users who may also have cracked screens. Gikas said, "With android phones, you'll probably have to see what the warranty covers. There's not much out there in terms of screens because there are just so many different models that it doesn't pay, I guess, for third parties to really invest in kits."

Overall, Gikas offered this advice for all phone users: "No matter how good of an idea it seems, never, ever put your iPhone or any phone in your back pockets. No matter how, no matter how comfortable you think it feels. You're just asking for trouble."

Consumer Reports also says you can also buy an insurance policy to cover damage to iPhones or buy apple's extended warranty, called Applecare plus. But given the costs and caveats, Consumer Reports thinks neither offers good value. 

They say a better investment might be a phone case that wraps around the edge of your iPhone screen. Cases like that start at about $20.

Consumer Reports/ WFMY News 2

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