Tablets are expensive pieces of kit – many of us are glued to them during the day, as we organise our social life, home affairs and shopping.
Unfortunately technology hasn’t quite found a way to prevent us from dropping a tablet. And due to their glass screens, there’s a chance if you drop a tablet, it may crack. Yes, it’s an inconvenience and you will probably have to pay something, but with a bit of research and by following our tips, it might not cost as much as you think.
1. Assess the damage
The first thing to do is examine how big the crack is. If it’s tiny, you might be happy to live with it, but if the screen is totally destroyed and you can’t see it properly, then it’s probably best - and safer - to replace it.
Establish whether you’ve simply cracked the glass, or if there’s damage to the LCD panel beneath. The former means you’ve cracked the glass on the front, the latter means there’s a problem with the quality of the panel, like screen colour, contrast or pixelation. If you’ve dropped the device, it’s more likely to be the former, but opt for a third-party repair (Step 4 below) and they’re often both options.
2. Are you already covered?
Tablets you buy from high street and online retailers come with a warranty. But this doesn’t usually include accidental damage, which is why many people opt for insurance.
Cracked screens are typically covered by insurance.
Dedicated gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble includes accidental damage cover as standard and has a £50 excess for iPads and other tablets for damage and breakdown.
Insurance2go includes Accidental Damage in its policies and charges a £50 excess.
If you don’t have dedicated gadget insurance, check your home insurance policy as you may be covered there.
Even if you do have gadget insurance we recommend getting a few quotes to fix the screen independently (see Step 5), it may be cheaper and will mean you don’t have to worry about future insurance premiums going up.
3. Does your manufacturer offer a replacement service?
Some manufacturers will replace a broken screen for you for a charge. The advantage of sticking with your device manufacturer is that you’ll be able to get the exact parts used and it won’t invalidate your warranty.
For Apple devices, Apple Care is the official place to go – find out more on Apple’s website.
4. Will repairing it invalidate your warranty?
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you use a third-party repair place (Step 5) or fix it yourself (Step 6) you may be invalidating your device warranty.
We took a phone into be repaired in a high street shop that seemed great value, only to get the phone back with secondary damage. When we tried to take it back to the manufacturer to pay full price they refused to look at it because we’d invalidate our warranty going somewhere else.
This is an extreme example – it depends on the manufacturer and age of the product - but if you are in doubt check first.
5. Use a dedicated repair shop
There are numerous shops up and down the UK that will fix broken electrical goods,
Before handing over your gadget, it’s really important to make sure they are going to offer a good service. Check out their website for testimonials and reviews and perform a quick web search for comments. If you do choose this service make sure they offer a 12-month warranty on any repairs and how much postage is.
Here are some suggestions, but we highly recommend you do your own research.
- Lovefone is based in London, offering on-the-spot and courier/mail repairs to anywhere in the UK.
- iCracked offers a slightly different service, coming out to you to fix Apple iOS devices on the spot in the London area, so there’s no need to go to the shop. Prices vary depending on your location.
- FoneAngels repair Apple and Samsung tablets with various prices depending on the model and ultimate the type of damage.
- Mobile Device Workshop fixes just about any tablet screen – even e-readers. Search the model on the website for a quote.
6. Fix it yourself
If you are brave enough it’s possible to fix your tablet yourself. There are numerous kits available online such as this one from Amazon that costs £16.99; iFix it includes guides to help you do this.
The DIY route is something we really wouldn’t recommend unless you are extremely competent with electronics. Make a tiny mistake and you could end up having to replace more than a broken screen and you may invalidate your warranty.
The Restart Product is a charity ‘social startup’ bidding to encourage people to fix their own electronics goods and thus reduce electronics waste. It holds regular free repair events called ‘Restart Parties’ where you can go and fix your device under the supervision of experts dubbed 'Restarters'. Although primarily based in London, events are now held globally throughout the year.
If you choose to visit a Restart Party, you’ll need to invest in the spare parts needed to fix your tablet before you go.
7. Is your tablet worth repairing?
If you’ve got an older tablet, it may be cheaper to sell the broken tablet and put the money towards a new one instead of paying for repairs.
There is a thriving market for broken tablets on eBay. For example, we found a faulty a Samsung Galaxy Tab selling for £15 and a first generation iPad for £50 . This can all help to go towards a completely new tablet.
This method does take a little research – and with online auctions there is a gamble (so you may want to set a minimum price) – but is worth looking into.
8. Back it up
Finally, if you are sending your device away to fix, or selling it, make sure you back it up to save your content. In the unlikely event something goes wrong you can log in and download your files again.