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Cell Phone Repair Near Me: How to Choose a Local Phone Repair Shop

So you’ve broken your phone. You’re already completely stressed about it and to make matters even worse when you Googled “cell phone repair near me” you received back so many results that choice paralysis has taken a strong hold. With so many options out there, it can be an overwhelming chore to decide where to have your phone repaired. Do you just pick the closest one? The cheapest one?

That’s where this article comes in. We’ve broken down the main factors to consider when deciding on where to have your cell phone repaired to help you make an informed and confident decision.

Parts Used

First things first, pretty much all parts come from China, even the ones originally produced by the manufacturer. That being said, there are still many different levels of quality when it comes to repair parts. The quality of screen matters more than the charge port or back glass so we’ll discuss that here. However, these points can apply to most other parts as well.

There are three main types of parts when it comes to cell phone screen repairs.

OEM (or original) screens

These are the exact screens installed on an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy when it is originally manufactured (hence the name, Original Equipment Manufacturer). These parts are typically produced in China and are developed by Sharp, Samsung, or LG.

Quick aside here, even as fierce competitors, Samsung actually produces the displays for the new Apple iPhone X, XS, and XS Max phones.

This is the highest quality option. An OEM replacement screen will result in a phone that is nearly like it was when you purchased it. Notice that I used the word “nearly” and not “exactly”. This is because there are many other factors that come into play when a phone or other mobile device is repaired that we will discuss more below. OEM screens are also the most expensive option and are typically limited in availability. This is true most notably for Apple; the only way to have an OEM screen installed on an iPhone is to have the Apple Store or an authorized service center, such as BestBuy, perform the repair.

##Refurbished Screens
Refurbished screens are typically your best option when it comes to balancing quality and price but, in many cases, can be significantly more expensive than aftermarket options.

To explain what refurbished screens are, we need to take a minute to break down the core components of your phone’s display.

In most modern LCD and AMOLED displays there are three parts:

  1. The display - This is usually either an LCD or OLED display panel.
  2. The touch - Usually this is a digitizer that is built into the display or the top glass.
  3. The top glass - This is the part that you touch with your finger to use the device.

When it comes to the quality of the screen, the display component is the most important factor. There typically isn’t a significant amount of special technology built into the top glass that can’t be easily replicated.

All of that being said, a refurbished screen is an OEM screen where the top glass was previously damaged and then replaced. This means that the display portion of the screen is still OEM quality. As long as the screen was refurbished by a reputable refurbishing company, the quality is typically indistinguishable from an OEM display.

Aftermarket Screens

Aftermarket screens are the most prevalent, cost effective, and readily available parts for most devices. For each make and model of smartphone, aftermarket parts can typically be broken down into different quality types themselves. There are high quality aftermarket parts, low quality parts, and some in between.

Takeaway: Ask the shop what type of parts they use and decide what you care about the most. High quality aftermarket parts are usually the best quality to cost value.

Cell Phone Repair Screen Quality Types

Fair Price

Now that we know the different types and qualities of available parts, we can start considering what prices are fair. As with most service based industries, prices are typically a combination of part costs plus a labor charge. Labor charges vary between companies but the average tends to lie between $50 - $80 / hour. Smaller companies with minimal overhead or one-person-shops may be able to charge significantly less for labor. This may be a potential option if you’re strapped for cash but it’s important to consider the risks associated with these types of repair shops which we discuss in the Size and Time in Business section below.

So how do you determine a fair price?

Let’s say the aftermarket part for your phone costs $20 and the refurbished part costs double that ($40).

Shop A charges $50 for labor and uses aftermarket parts.
Shop B charges $50 for labor and uses refurbished parts.

So the cost to repair your device (parts and labor) at Shop A is $70. At Shop B it’s $90. Does that mean that Shop B is ripping people off? Absolutely not.

A good rule of thumb is to call each shop and ask what type of parts they use and to have them break down the price between parts and labor. It’s important to watch out for that one shop that charges significantly less than everyone else. In general, most shops using the same type of screen will offer roughly the same price due to the cost of parts. If a shop claims to use OEM parts yet charges less for the repair than other shops using aftermarket parts in the area, proceed with caution. Sales and special events aside, a price discrepancy like this may indicate inauthenticity, poor craftsmanship, lack of warranty, or hidden fees.

Warranty

A company’s warranty is typically a good indication of how well they trust their own parts and abilities. A short or non-existent warranty is a sign to start calling other businesses. The industry standard for most cell phone repair businesses is a 90 day parts and labor warranty. Some companies (such as My Broken Phone) offer longer warranties that may last up to the lifetime of the device.

It’s important to remember that warranties are not insurance! There are few, if any repair shops that cover repeat damage to your device if you happen to drop and break it again.

Aside from the parts and labor coverage, the other main point to consider is how the repair shop handles accidental damage caused by their technicians during the repair. Be sure that the company has a policy in place to handle this type of situation. The last thing you want is to drop off an iPhone with a broken screen and receive back an iPhone that doesn’t turn on at all with no recourse. A good cell phone repair company will replace a device if they cause irreparable damage during the service.

Size and Time in Business

Phone and electronics repair shops come in many different shapes and sizes. Due to the limited barriers to entry, almost anyone can start their own repair shop. That’s not to say, however, that everyone going into this business is able to stay open for a significant length of time. It’s important to take this into consideration when choosing a store to repair your cell phone. The last thing you want is to run into an issue with your repair in two months only to find out that the company that fixed your phone is now out of business. Choosing a company that has had a presence in your area for at least two years is typically a safe bet as this is how long it normally takes for a store to become profitable and stable.

A repair company’s size is also an important factor. If a shop is small, they may be able to offer lower prices due to decreased overhead (rent, staff, etc). However, this may also mean that they are unable to afford to remedy any issues that may arise during the repair. Phones are sensitive machines and accidents do happen; be sure that the store you choose can afford to replace your phone in a timely manner if they permanently damage it.

Small and/or new shops may also indicate a lack of experience (this is not always the case, of course). An inexperienced technician is more liable to make mistakes during the repair and to perform the service inadequately resulting in poor quality and warranty issues. Medium and large cell phone repair companies will typically have training programs in place to ensure your smartphone repair is completed to a high degree of quality.

Capabilities

A cell phone repair company’s capabilities determines what issues they are able to repair and what models they are able to service. Generally there are two levels of cell phone repair capabilities.

Basic Repairs

Basic repairs involve tearing down a device and replacing peripheral components such as a phone’s display, battery, or charging port. The majority of cell phone repair shops fall into this category.

Board-Level Repairs

Board-level, also known as micro-soldering, repairs involve tearing down a device and replacing board level components such as capacitors, filters, and IC chips. A shop that is capable in board-level repairs is naturally also capable in basic repairs. A common issue you may have heard of that requires board level repair is iPhone’s infamous “touch disease”.

Shops with extensive board-level capabilities are more likely to be proficient in correctly diagnosing and repairing uncommon issues with your device. If a shop that does not offer board-level repairs determines that your device is irreparable, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion from a shop that can take a look at your motherboard using a microscope.

Conclusion

To choose a local cell phone repair company after you’ve dropped and broken your phone, you should take the following factors into account.

  1. Know the difference between the types of parts available and decide which best fits your needs.
  2. Ask the shop to break down their price into parts and labor. Be sure they are in-line with other shops in the area.
  3. Ask the shop to describe their warranty. It should cover parts, labor, and should be 90 days or longer. Ask how they handle accidental damage during the repair.
  4. Ensure the company has had a presence in your area for at least two years. Decide whether you prefer the security and cost trade offs when working with a small or one-person repair shop.
  5. Try to find a repair business that is capable in board-level repairs, even if you don’t know whether you need it or not.

Ultimately, choose the repair company that meets your specific needs for each item above as well as one that provides friendly customer service over the phone and in-person.

Compact Drone Upgrade Takes Selfies to the Next Level

Anyone who engages in social media is likely to be thoroughly familiar with the phenomenon of selfies. The proliferation of smartphones has allowed us to easily capture fun and flattering images of ourselves with the simple click of a button. These images can be uploaded from our devices as profile pictures on various social media platforms, or just shared with friends and followers. Over the years, the art of selfie-taking has evolved along with smartphone technology. Front-facing cameras, photo-filtering apps, and selfie sticks have led to new effects and angles, letting us capture and manipulate images in ways we had never before imagined. Considering the widespread popularity of selfies, it is unsurprising that eventually drones would also get in on the selfie-taking action. Nowadays there are even drones on the market specifically designed for taking selfies, with features that make it easier and more fun than ever. As smartphones grow ever more complex and user-friendly, so do the drones associated with them, including the ones we use to take selfies. The AirSelfie was released in 2017, after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign raised over $600,000 for its development. A compact quadcopter, this photo-taking drone is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, making it easy to slip into a pocket or purse. It comes with a special phone cover (compatible with iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Huawei P9, Google Pixel) for storage and charging. The compact drone is controlled from your smartphone or other compatible device via a free app (available for iOS and Android) and can be easily piloted with various control modes. Its lightweight design (it weighs in at about 2 oz) allows it to hover up to 60 feet over its controlling device and snap photos from a bird’s eye view. It’s a breeze to land the drone when you’re done taking your selfies, or it can be safely plucked from the air with no risk of injury thanks to its innovative turbo fan propellers. Protective bumpers provide added protection from damage. The AirSelfie has a timer delay of up to 10 seconds, giving you time to strike the perfect pose, and it can take multiple shots in one flight. The anti-vibration shock absorber ensures clear, high-quality images, which are easy to upload and share directly to social media via the integrative app. During the past year, selfie drone technology has continued to advance. At CES 2018 in Las Vegas (a conference described as “the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace,”) the next-generation AirSelfie 2 made its debut. This second-generation model adds even more features and improvements to its original design. Compact drone upgrades include:

  • a 12-megapixel camera for full HD photo and video (upgraded from the original model’s 5-megapixel camera)
  • increased field of view to 85 degrees
  • battery life improved by 50%, increasing flight time up to almost 5 minutes (from a previous maximum of 3)
  • upgraded smartphone app for ease of use
  • increased memory storage from 4GB to 16GB
  • four color choices: silver, black, gold, and rose gold (first-generation model only available in silver)

The AirSelfie2 will be available for purchase in March 2018. At a retail price of $300, it is a bit costly for anyone who is not a dedicated selfie aficionado. Other photo-taking drones are available, but keep in mind that the cutting-edge features offered by the AirSelfie 2 are unlikely to be found on less expensive models. Thanks to compact drone technology, we have more freedom when it comes to capturing images than we ever have before. Perhaps in the near future the sight of hovering selfie drones will become so commonplace we won’t even notice them any more. Only time, and the market, will tell.

Moviphone: A Projector in a Phone

Smartphones are great for a lot of things, but group presentations aren’t one of them. It’s not much fun to crowd people around a tiny screen. But what if you had a projector in a phone? That could be useful for everything from showing photos to doing business presentations. That’s what the Moviphone, introduced at CES 2018, offers. In addition to being a general-purpose Android Nougat smartphone, it features a 50-lumen Laser-MEMS projector which can project an image up to 200 diagonal inches. It can run up to four hours with the projector turned on. The company producing the phone is Wireless Mobi Solution, which was launched in 2008. It’s a very small company, and this appears to be its first consumer product.

The progress of phone projectors

The Moviphone isn’t the first phone with a built-in projector. Samsung tried twice, with the Galaxy Beam in 2012 and the Galaxy Beam 2 in 2014. Neither one was a huge hit. This new phone, though, offers more brightness and more pixels. Its image is 1280 x 720 pixels, compared with 800 x 400 for the Beam 2. Its laser projector’s 50 lumens are twice what Samsung gave. The contrast ratio is an impressive 80,000:1. The Samsung phones had to bulge a bit to include a projector. The Moviphone is uniformly 10.28 mm thick and weighs less than 200 grams (7 ounces). It’s available with 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage. In normal use without the projector, the battery gives 22 hours of talk time or 285 hours of idle time. Other features include front and back cameras, a micro SD slot that can bring storage up to 128 GB, a Micro USB connector, GPS, E-Compass, gyroscope, and fingerprint sensing. The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

A few questions

Skeptics have their doubts about the projector in a phone. They say it makes more sense to buy the best phone for the money and use an external projector. The phone is tied up the whole time it’s presenting a show; what would you do if the phone rings during a business presentation? People who have regular reasons for projecting images might be better off with something more suited to the job. Pocket projectors are available that deliver more lumens and pixels than any phone, and some are self-contained Android devices. They weigh a bit more than a phone, but they aren’t hard to carry around. On the other hand, a phone is always available without having to bring anything else along. The question is whether the Moviphone’s improvements will create a sufficient niche to hang on in the market. Certainly WMS will have a difficult battle against better-known brands. If Samsung didn’t have enough marketing clout to convince people to buy a phone with a projector, will a small startup company be able to do it? Then again, the computing industry is full of giants that were originally tiny operations with a big idea.

Summing up

Obviously, a Moviphone isn’t a replacement for a full-fledged digital projector. Its value is in spur-of-the-moment uses, and that could be enough to justify it. Once cameras were a quirky extra in phones; now they’re standard equipment, and they’ve displaced a large part of the amateur digital camera market. Projectors aren’t at that point yet, but they may get there before long. A Moviphone is good for a small room, but it wouldn’t be up to projecting for a larger hall. The sound comes from the phone’s tiny speaker, though speakers can be hooked up to the headphone jack. It’s a simple and convenient way to show images or videos to a small group of people, and sometimes that’s what you want, especially from a projector in a phone. Is the technology advanced enough to catch on this time? Can WMS grab enough interest from the big companies to build a viable niche? If it does, other companies will be sure to follow.

This Month In Mobile News: Your Vape Pen is Now A Phone Accessory!

Smartphones have become one of the most carried items in our pockets these days, and their capabilities are increasing every day with better hardware and new advances in technology. The smartphone has truly become the digital multi-tool of our generation, and you will be hard pressed to find someone without a smartphone in their pocket and a bevy of useful apps at their fingertips. Now, people are starting to accessorize the outside of their phones with useful gadgets as well and because of this, the niche phone case market has really started to take off. A prime example of this trend is the VQase by Vaportronix, a vaporizer and phone case combo. The multifunctional phone case trend all started with the phone case and wallet combo after many people started sticking credit cards and ID’s into the back of their phone case. Manufacturers recognized the marketability of such an item and started creating phone cases that had everything from just a single pocket on the back to full pocketbooks with credit card slots, ID windows even coin and cash stash pockets. Now, this trend has taken off in every direction and you can accessorize your phone with just about any type of tool you could need, depending on your personal lifestyle. Along with the developments in technology that are allowing our phones to become smarter every year, portable vaporizing technology has also grown and evolved. With these advancements making portable vaping equipment easier to use and more accessible to a mainstream market, vaping is gathering popularity and a battery-powered vape pen is far more likely to be found in someone’s pocket than a pack of cigarettes. Now, we see these two parallel technologies collide in the VQase and VQStick. Vaportronix has always been dedicated to making vaping equipment that is ultra-portable and long-lasting, but they have truly outdone themselves with this unexpected foray into the mobile market. VQase is a housing for a long lasting 1,700 MAH lithium polymer battery that holds and charges your VQStick vaporizer and doubles as a cell phone case. There are tons of reasons why many people will be reaching for this awesome new mobile add-on. Some enjoy the awesome battery life that the automatic recharging case offers for the vape pen, allowing it to stay charged and ready to go for weeks, or even months depending on how often you use it. Others are excited by the extreme discretion of being able to use their vape pen while it is still safely hidden in the case of their phone. Still, others just enjoy the sheer convenience of being able to have two common electronic devices combined into one easy to carry package. If you want to use your vape pen and your phone at the same time, simply pull the VQStick out of the back of the phone case and it will function as an independent unit until you are ready to stow it back into the case and charge it back up. This is in line with the up and coming trend towards modular phone cases as well, making our phones even more versatile and adaptable to any task we might put them up to, even vaping! This mobile trend toward ever increasing multi-functionality doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping anytime soon. New products are being developed every day that push the limits of what we can do with our phones and where we can do it, from software and hardware upgrades that make our phones more durable and versatile, to accessories that up the utilitarian uses of our constant pocket companions even further. Currently, if you’re looking to add vaping to the list of functions your phone can assist you with, you’ll need to have an iPhone 6 or newer. If you don’t have one, why not sell your old phone and get an upgrade. We can help you sell your old phone, and hook you up with a great deal on another one! Call us to check out our selection of refurbished used phones today!

Phone Acting Up? Check Your Settings! (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on how to diagnose a misbehaving phone. When a smartphone has begun to act up for no reason, responding strangely, flickering, or failing to use your favorite features, there are one of two things wrong. Either the settings have been messed with or your phone needs repairs. You can fix the first kind of problem at home and if that doesn’t work, call a professional. last time we talked about how other people, apps, and updates might change your settings and started talking about diagnosing screen behaviors as well. Today, we’ll pick up at batter behaviors. Diagnosing Battery Behavior There are a dozen or more reasons why your phone might be having battery problems, and most of them are settings. If you have been experiencing battery issues, it may be a problem with the way you have your phone set up or some of your usage habits. Start by closing apps and web browser tabs you’re not using. Keeping these open uses power and memory, and can drain your data updating and refreshing automatically. On that note, check your app settings to make sure nothing is set to stay on in the background and update automatically. Having your wifi on when you’re not using it can be a problem, as can turning your screen brightness up to high. A black wallpaper can also save you battery power because dark pixels don’t need to be illuminated and animated screensavers are pretty, but take power to display. Finally, check your power and sleep settings. Some devices don’t go fully to sleep when you think they should, and someone may have even changed your setting to ‘never sleep’, which is a sure battery killer. Diagnosing Other Issues If you’re having trouble with your wifi, check to make sure airplane mode isn’t switched on. Your saved network connections may also have been wiped, interfering with your ability to auto-connect in your usual wifi locations. Many phones have only a small amount of local storage, and filling it up completely with photos and app downloads can cause important functions to stop running because they have no room to work in. One of the major causes of defect behavior is unnecessary and even dangerous apps, and many people experimentally install apps then never bother to clear them out when they go unused. Flip through your list of active apps and uninstall everything you don’t need. Developer Settings Developer settings are for people who are building apps and need to test them on a local device before pushing them to an app store. It takes specific effort to activate them, but once you do it opens a whole bunch of settings everyday users really don’t want access to. Changing any of these settings can cause major broken-seeming behaviors and misuse could actually damage your phone to the point of requiring a factory reset. On an Android device, you usually have to tap the version number entry several times, while for i-devices, you need to go through Safari into the debug console. Check your phone to see if developer settings have been turned on and, if so, if any of the dangerous semi-experimental settings have been activated. If you do not develop apps, your best bet is to reset all those unnecessary switches and disable developer settings on your smartphone before they can cause any (more) trouble. If you have double-checked all your settings and installed apps and your smartphone is still acting funny, now is the time to call for repairs. My Broken Phone isn’t a hardware or computer repair business, we specialize in the high tech needs of modern smartphones. If you’ve tried all the practical home fixes and still can’t get your phone to work, contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help!


Phone Acting Up? Check Your Settings! (Part 1)

Smartphones are finicky devices. Many people have faced the situation in which their phone takes damage and, to their relief, the phone seems totally fine. It’s not until hours or even days later that something small starts to misbehave like a flickering screen or a fast-draining battery. Naturally, they suspect the fall as the culprit and start thinking in terms of smartphone repair, but this isn’t always the case. There are settings on any mobile device that, if changed without your knowledge, could masquerade as damage. Before you commit to taking or sending the phone in for repairs, check your settings and make sure everything is where you intend it to be. Other People and Your Phone You are probably not the only person who has held your smartphone. Sure, some people hold it with a death-grip and are loath to part with their beloved texting apparatus for even a moment, but even these people need to eat and sleep. The vast majority of people are alright with lending their phone to friends for a few minutes and many wouldn’t think twice about leaving their phone with a relative if they need to shower while waiting for a call. Modern parents often hand phones to their children as entertainment during waiting times and often these kids aren’t old enough understand an accidental settings change. If you’re in the habit of leaving your phone in one place while you’re at home, a family member or visitor could easily pick it up and change a few things while you’re busy. In other words, don’t assume that your phone has been in your hands alone unless it has been physically strapped to your body the entire time. If your smartphone has been in the hands of another human and has started acting up, there’s a reasonable chance that your buddy, relative, child, or even a pranking coworker changed an important setting. Other people in your life are potential sources for settings changes, and they often don’t realize the long-term impact of their short-term decision. Unwanted Automatic Updates Apps are also capable of changing your settings, as are automatic phone updates. If your phone has recently changed behavior, take a look at your installed apps. If there are any new ones, newly updated ones, or a few with questionably accessible permissions, this might be the cause. The problem here is that even if you find the correct setting and change it back, there is a chance that the app will change it again or another update might do so in the future. Keep an eye on automatic settings changes and double-check the permissions on an app before installing it. Diagnosing Screen Behavior Some screen issues are definitely damage. There is no setting that can crack your screen or warp your case, but there are many that affect the brightness, background, behavior, and sleep patterns of your phone. If any one of these is changed, you may be experiencing broken-seeming phone symptoms. If your phone screen has recently gone unreadable dim, for instance, seek out the brightness setting and turn it up until the phone is useful again, though there is usually no need to turn it all the way up. While flickering is usually a sign of damage or a battery issue, some functions like an incompatible animated wallpaper can be part of the problem. Trying to work with your smartphone acting up is no one’s idea of a good time. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll cover a few more things you can check at home before seeking repairs!

This Month in Mobile News: Bloomberg Debuts TicToc on Twitter

The media and money making machine known as New York’s Bloomberg group has made a foray into social media news with its first global news network streaming online and live on Twitter. This launch is part of a continued effort by Twitter to collaborate with a wide range of broadcasters and media groups to reach more of their users with a wide array of content. Over the next few months, Twitter has been transforming their general platform into a place where people come to find televised or broadcast content. Bloomberg’s TicToc will be Twitters first news network constructed to cater directly to the social media users in a way that’s convenient to them, keeping them updated on the news without forcing them to move off of their Twitter feed. To take part in TicToc, you simply have to follow the newsfeed on the @TicToc account and from then on a steady stream of news will follow. Once the account is added, users will be able to enjoy breaking news as well as video and audio content on Twitter from the comfort of their feed. And then there is the bonus of having all the content curated by Bloomberg and a team of reporters, producers, editors, and newscasters. The release date for TicToc by Bloomberg has been set for December 18, 2017. Bloomberg is sparing no expense and staffing TicToc with experienced news hounds as well as tech-savvy social media mavens. This team of 50 will be managed by Scott Havens the head of global digital for Bloomberg, and Mindy Masucci will be the editorial head of the organization. Bloomberg’s ultimate goal is to become the first social media network using a combination of Twitter’s broad reach, user feedback, and Bloomberg’s pedigree and well-curated content. What Bloomberg wants you to remember, is that TicToc is its own entity generating its content for you Twitter users. While it is still New York-based and supported by Bloomberg television TicToc is separate from that entity. TicToc will differentiate itself from other Twitter-based news products such as the financial focused outlet Cheddar which is typically available on Roku, Sling, Amazon and other mobile apps such as Twitter. TicToc even has its separate branding from Bloomberg with a vibrant mint green background on a supporting black type in bold, and a custom font created by Bloomberg called Avenir next. This branding is part of a greater effort to put TicToc at the front of people’s minds when they think of the news. Further, given Bloomberg’s media power and confidence in TicToc, the acquisition of several sponsors including CA technologies AT&T, CME group, Infiniti, Goldman Sachs, and TD Ameritrade has already been announced. According to Axios, each of these entities will pay somewhere between 1.5 million and $3 million as partners. The names TicToc is meant to reference a bit of classic journalism jargon, specifically a term of art used for when a piece of news gives readers the play-by-play of events in systematic chronological order, i.e., the TicToc of the President’s speech. Bloomberg is still keeping the details of the deal and the creation of TicToc as an organization under wraps, and this includes news about programming, talent, and anchors. TicToc was created to compete in an era where immediacy is as important as the quality of news and most people consume their news on smartphones. Bloomberg is attempting to stay in touch with this trend in dynamic news delivered directly to mobile devices, and their partnership with Twitter and the creation of TicToc as a 24-hour news network is a resounding step in the right direction according to heads at Bloomberg.

Know the Parts of Your Smartphone

If you are one of those people who, no matter how careful you are, your smartphone always somehow gets damaged, it can help to be good at basic repairs. This can seriously bring down your replacement and repair bills while at the same time building your skills as an amateur technician. Many models of smartphones have fairly simple repair procedures for most of the parts you care about. From the screen to the speaker jack, it is possible for you to learn how to fix almost everything about your phone at home. Getting good at mobile device repairs in the modern age follows the same logic as learning to repair a car if you were about to take a two-year road trip: the more you use something, the better off you are understanding how to fix it. To that end, the best place to start is by knowing what you’re looking at. The parts of a phone between models are often quite similar because they need to serve the same purpose. When you can both diagnose the broken piece and identify it in an open device, replacing is usually quick and simple work. Here’s a brief run-down of the most recognizable pieces: Screen / Digitizer The part of the phone people are most familiar with is the screen, ie: the big flat part that displays images that you tap all day. The digitizer, on the other hand, is the sensor layer beneath the screen that detects taps. If you’ve been having a hard time using your screen, it’s because the digitizer or its connection is somehow damaged. This often happens when the screen takes damage but can be caused by normal dropping. How easy it is to replace the screen depends on if it’s a single unit with the digitizer. If it isn’t, then replacement is easy and inexpensive. However, it’s not uncommon that the two are fused and replacing a screen-and-digitizer is a lot more trouble. USB Port Older and some alternative style phones still have separate power and data connections, but most now use mini or micro USB connections for both purposes. The USB port is usually nestled into the bottom of your device, though some phones have a top or side connection instead. Because you are constantly plugging and unplugging your phone to charge it and transfer data, it is not uncommon that the USB port will break and need to be replaced. The Headphone Jack For some people, the headphone jack is even more used than the charging and data port. Constant attaching and detaching can put stress on the contacts and is only made worse by rigorous activity while connected. If you’re the kind of person who likes to jog and listen to music, for example, you may well find yourself replacing the headphone jack. Even if your jack is fine, occasionally cheap headphone connectors will break off like bee stingers into the smartphone and you may need to open the thing up to get it out. The Battery The battery is the flat heavy thing connected by one corner. Smartphone batteries are one of the leading causes of faultless issues. Your battery can fail or become unreliable even if you have been perfectly careful and never dropped the device or exposed it to extreme temperatures. While replacing the battery is usually a good fix, sometimes letting it drain completely then recharging is the solution. You also want to watch out for faulty battery connectors, which may be jostled loose and begin transferring an insufficient amount of power or none at all. SIM Card Connector Your SIM card is usually nestled into a small connector-clasp and often hides below the battery itself, deep within the phone. If the contacts on your connector are damaged, you can lose access to the SIM card and in many ways neutralize all usefulness of the device. It is sometimes possible to do things like press them back into place, but usually you will want to replace the entire clasping dock. Memory Card Slot While most devices come with pretty limited local memory, they can also include a little slot for SD memory cards which drastically increase their capabilities. Of course, once you remove the memory card, there go all your saved apps, pictures, etc. Inside your smartphone, it will look like a shiny metal rectangle, often with little ‘windows’ through which you can see the slot and the contacts inside. The Camera The actual internal camera almost never breaks, though cracked lenses are not unheard of. In the rare occasion that you do need to replace your internal camera the process is surprisingly simple. Usually, it is attached by a single cable to the motherboard and the only tricky part is reattaching that with the new camera unit. Small plastic tools like a screen lifter can help you press everything into place. Buttons One of the most frustrating things that can occur with your smartphone is a loose or sticky button. When the buttons don’t work right, the very few buttons you have to work with, the entire phone experience becomes a hassle. While a solution can often be found with software work-arounds, the best way is to simply replace the button mechanism. You may find, in the process of opening up and locating the problem, that it just needs a thorough cleaning. With a stronger grasp of the inside of your smartphone, you can better prepare yourself for the next time you drop, sit on, or otherwise manage to damage your hard-working mobile device. If you get the phone open, compare model guides and YouTube how-tos and still can’t fix the problem, contact us. We’re always happy to investigate the tough cases.

This Month in Mobile News: Grammarly Announces Keyboard for Android

Like many of us you’ve probably noticed that the grammar and syntax of text messaging have dramatically diminished. Aside from the occasional strict grammar aficionado most of us rush through our text messages, forgetting punctuation and simple lessons like “i” before “e,” and simply go on typing out our dinner plans. Fortunately, the Grammarly keyboard makes each of your text messages more legible and more precise. Grammarly is one of the premier grammar checking and editing software options available on the Internet, with many writers professionals and academics trusting it for first drafts. Now they’ve come to combat the willful grammatical ignorance that has spread across the world thanks to lax text messages. Grammarly properly announced Grammarly Keyboard for the Android to reach out to the rest of the market after its iOS release. Fans of Grammarly as a desktop or laptop editing software platform are psyched to see it finally find its way to digital devices like smartphones. Recognizing that a significant number of people use text to collaborate in the workplace via mobile apps Grammarly sees an opening amongst the dedicated professionals who want to make the best impression with every message. The Grammarly Keyboard allows you to quickly respond to a client’s email, a post on Facebook, or the text you sent to your boss and have the most professional and polished grammar possible, all within the infrastructure of your smartphone. How Does The Grammarly Keyboard Function? As you type on your keyboard, Grammarly scrutinizes your writing to make sure there are no redundant words or punctuation issues to ensure an effective, clear, coherent and mistake-free message. With the premium Grammarly Keyboard app you can get suggestions on your vocabulary and except the changes without having to leave the screen making edits quick and efficient. Also, Grammarly Keyboard will give you detailed explanations on mistakes and suggestions on how to fix them. The Grammarly Keyboard comes in both British and American English, and you can add words to your dictionary with just a tap of your fingers. Why The World Needs A New Mobile Keyboard Likely the phone or device you’re reading this on doesn’t come with its own built-in keyboard. The fact is that the average mobile device no longer features a built-in keyboard, and the desktop as where people typically type most of their documents, but the keyboard concept is still relevant. However, it’s become more important than ever to be able to communicate quickly over text on mobile devices, and when it comes to composing your message the best way to do so, is with a functional keyboard. This is why the Grammarly Keyboard was designed to work effectively on your phone with no need to copy and paste edits. How To Get The Grammarly Keyboard If you have an Android device, getting the Grammarly Keyboard is just as easy as heading to the Google Play store, or if you have a device with an Apple iOS you can go to the App Store. However, the iOS version has been out for a while, so people have been using it with pronounced success, producing thoughtful, well reasoned, and grammatically correct messages. The instructions are easy, as it uses your current interface while working in conjunction with your existing text-based applications. Privacy Is Insured Grammarly is not an online device it’s an effective tool that works on your phone, while not recording your messages. Additionally, Grammarly features encryption and several security measures to ensure that all of your data stays safe and that the only consequence of using this app are well-written messages sent to those expecting clarity.

In the News: New QR Code Apps Are Transforming Mobile Payment

Anyone who has visited a foreign country knows what a hassle it is to handle street vendors. From currency exchanges to intense bargaining, purchasing anything from these vendors is a complicated process. But luckily, a group of entrepreneurs in Thailand are starting to modernize this process. They have created a new mobile app that allows tourists and locals alike to buy items from street vendors…using their mobile phones! Street vendors simply put a QR code in the front of their booth and allow their customers to scan it with their phones.

The Future of Online Payment

One of the street vendors who has profited from this idea is sticky mango rice saleswoman Bamnika Sonthi. Using this technology has revolutionized her business, and she is adamant that it will catch on. In fact, it already has; out of the forty other vendors on her street, many of them use the same system of personalized QR codes.

The Government’s Getting In On It

Research shows that this option is most popular for Asian nationals aged 20 to 30. But the Bank of Thailand’s recent investment in the product proves that there is a larger market for these apps. Finalized just last week, this investment allows five major Asian banks to hook up their services to one of these apps, giving the vast majority of the Bangkok population access to QR code payment methods. On a smaller scale, many individual government figures support the QR code revolution. Somsak Khaosuwan, Thailand’s Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, believes strongly in this new technology for two major reasons. First, he acknowledges that the world is tending towards a cashless economy. Apps like Apple Pay have intertwined mobile phones and payment methods, and credit cards can now swipe through mobile phones. Secondly, Khaosuwan mentions that the QR code method is incredibly inexpensive, which means that even the poorest vendors will have the resources to jump on board. In the past, mobile payment technologies like iPads and attachable credit card scanners have been too costly for the average Thai seller to invest in. But with these new apps and the government’s support, every street vendor will be able to modernize their business.

The Main Problem with the QR Code Revolution

While many young business owners and consumers are excited about the Bank of Thailand’s recent decision, the older population is a bit more skeptical. Dried fruit vendor Kitti Khoonphisitwong admits that “most customers, especially older people, find the app a hassle.” While he is excited about the future of mobile payment (“I don’t need to worry about finding change”), he’s cautious about going all-in before the population is ready for such a dramatic change.

Why Bangkok is a Big Deal

If these technologies continue their current trend in Bangkok, the street vendor business will be entirely transformed–for the better. This investment in Bangkok is the first of many which will move the world towards a mobile-dependent, cash-independent economy. We see similar emerging technologies in the United States and the rest of the developed world, but since most stores already have convenient payment options, it will take longer for them to catch on. Thailand, on the other hand, completely leapfrogged the era of chunky cash registers and iPad swipes, jumping right into the wonderful world of mobile payment. If other cities and countries in the developing world hop on the mobile payment bandwagon, the United States will likely see a similar revolution in the near future. All it takes are these critical first steps in places like Bangkok for the rest of the world to witness a huge change.