When Viviana Robalino dropped her iPhone, the screen cracked. It was driving her crazy, but the cost to replace the phone made her even more upset.
To save money, she used a repair service. But could she have fixed her iPhone for even less? Consumer Reports tester Bernie Deitrick wanted to know how easy - or tough - this repair is. He ordered a replacement screen repair kit for $30 and then watched a 30-minute tutorial video from icracked.com. He also wanted to see how others would do.
"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," said Deitrick.
The results were compared to a phone fixed by a repair service. Some of the Consumer Reports' volunteers breezed through the process. Others regretted the decision.
"It requires a lot of patience," said participant Theresa Panetta. "I don't have a lot of patience."
There were lots of steps and many small parts and fragile pieces. Deitrick stayed on the sidelines to help if and when panic set it. 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.
"In the end we repaired five iPhones using seven replacement screens. One screen was defective, one screen was broken in the process," said Deitrick.
So if you're thinking about replacing an iPhone screen yourself, keep in mind that it can save you some money but it will likely cost you a fair amount of time and aggravation.
You can buy an insurance policy to cover damage to iPhones or buy Apple's extended warranty called AppleCare+. But given the costs and caveats, Consumer Reports says neither offers good value. A better investment might be a phone case that wraps around the edge of your iPhone screen. Such cases start at about $20.