We look at a lot of teardown videos and hear stories about screen replacements, but Youtube user LE55ONS has thirty minutes and ten seconds worth of reasons that you never want it to happen. Watch the grueling video of an entire screen replacement after the break, then go buy a case so this is never you.

Thanks for showing me this, Eric. I think.


Reader comments

This is why you never want to break your smartphone screen


I guess its personal opinion. I looked at the Seidio first, not a huge fan of the design and I hate that you can only get it with the kickstand, not a fan of kickstands. I have been waiting for the UAG case to come out for a while now, the S3 one is like the best rated one on Amazon, so I am pretty stoked to get it and check it out. I think the look of the UAG one is very unique and badass.

I have the UAG on my S3 and it's great! Only bad thing is the lack of color choices. They need vivid colors, but otherwise, it's a great case. Though, I really wish they made an S3 case with the design of the Note II UAG.

I prefer the more neutral colors. I went with the black UAG case for the Note 2. It literally just came out yesterday, so maybe a revamp of the S3 case with the new design is in the future... who knows.

I disagree and I own the Seidio case in the link. I even reviewed it on Amazon. I really like the Seidio but that Scout case is very nice. About the kickstand, that's the only thing the Scout is missing to complete it, at least judging by the pics.

NONE of these cases would have prevented the screen damage this phone received.

This phone took a full frontal punch in the face. Nothing protects against that except perhaps a clam-shell.

Just buy the insurance.

Smashed my GNex glass, was going to replace it but the glass and the digitizer are one piece and cost $128, so I paid the $99 for insurance instead. Had a case and a flimsy screen protector, going to get the solid glass screen protector now

Wishing we had some kind of "accidental damage" option when we bought our son a Nexus7. He had it for maybe 3 months, and then in a fit of Autism induced frustration (because he couldn't access something I had restricted on the tablet) he gave it a full force slam into the floor face-first with all the might his 11 year old body could muster.

You can imagine the screen carnage. I took one look at it, and tossed it in the trash. He won't be getting another tablet for a Loooooong time.

Oh, and it had the Nexus bumper case. Didn't help one bit.

Well I don't have the case yet. But I am not going to torture test my phone. The same way the Nexus 7 can sit in water for 20 seconds unharmed. Just because it can doesn't mean I am going to test it.

FYI, the screen on my GS2 broke a few weeks ago when I dropped it on hardwood from about 3 feet (going up the stairs). I have dropped it dozens of times on everything including concrete (I practically threw it on the ground a few days before it broke....juggled it and dropped on my driveway--one of those slow motion moments in life)

Anyways, what happened when it broke is that it fell just about flat, face down. I could hear that something happened, before I even looked at it. Anyways, my experience taught me that drop tests are virtually worthless since so much depends on how it lands. I had a Seidio surface case on it at the time. I don't blame the case (will buy again), but I'm sure one of those huge otterbox monstrosities would have fared a bit better. YMMV

Just got the new lifeproof case nuud and is one of the best case I own. I got the otter box commutter and defender case also. The flip case too. Commutter just doesn't have that great protection and the defender is just to bulky and uncomfortable. LifeProof is perfect

My wife's S3 screen has a single crack running horizontally. I still need to replace the screen. Watching this video I may just sell it and buy a new phone (and give her my GNex).

Great way to land a new phone: "Gee, honey, I bothers me that your phone is broken. I'm worried for you and I only want you to have the best!"

Transfer your GNex and BOOOM! new superphone for you. Score! :p

Did the same on my phone, I actually got enough selling it to a charity to feel like I came out ahead than trying to do the repair myself.

My friend just replaced the screen on his iPhone 4, and it was no walk in the park. Funny things is, as much of a pain as it was to replace it, he still has no plans to put a screen protector or case on it. Some people never learn lol

I'm dealing with a shattered gs3 screen right now. It's what I'm typing on. I took it to a local repair shop that does iPhone screens for 50. The dude told me that it would cost him $240 just to buy the screen plus labor. Wtf? I'm calling insurance!

Is the LCD damaged, too, or just the digitizer? If it's the former, yeah, you're best off calling insurance. If it's the latter, though, those are only $10-20 for the GS3.

Whoaaaa, Samsung will do it for around $185 and they may overnight it for free, just call them for info!!! Ain't nobody got time for no 3rd party repair guy.

Let me tell you my story.....my daughter dropped her gs3 during Christmas and cracked the screen. To my astonishment, the repair cost was $280 or half of the cost of a new phone. I also told her to buy a case for it. Roll forward 3 months and she texted me informing me of more bad news. She dropped it again when she was at school and this time it costed $240 to replace the screen and digitizer. I can't believe how cheap the screen is made! I decided to replace it with the new Z10 and couldn't be happier compared to my Iphone and SG3. The user experience is amazing!!

Only half the cost of a new one? I bought a friend a new S3-Alpha in Japan (the S3-Alpha is a hardware-upgraded version of the S3 exclusive to Japan, faster than any model sold anywhere else and comes with 32GB memory) for $300. I bought myself an S3-Alpha new for $330 (mine was black, hers was gray). New "plain" S3s are in the $250 range, but the faster hardware appealed to me. If I knew repair shops were charging that much I'd start a business of bringing new S3s over from Japan for people with broken screens on theirs.

My phone costs $99 unlocked off contract, I never realized how expensive Samsung's stuff is. Mine is a LG C800G Eclypse running CyanogenMod 9.

If the lcd is good i'll do it for $80 and it will be just like you got it done from samsung. Though I don't know how far u are?
I live in so cal.

Not really. I repair cracked screens mobile devices on a regular basis at our computer/electronics repair shop, and I'd take an iPhone 4/4S over almost anything else, especially the iPod Touch. Everything except the battery is held in with screws so there's almost no adhesive to worry about, unlike the iPod Touch and iPad where Apple was in love with the stuff. It's really rather straightforward, I can knock one out in like ten minutes. You want a /real/ pain in the butt, try replacing the digitizer on an HTC Flyer. I thought iPads were adhesive-heavy, but the Flyer puts them to shame.


"Funny things is, as much of a pain as it was to replace it, he still has no plans to put a screen protector or case on it. "

That's because your friend is smart enough to know that a screen protector would be useless for anything that breaks the glass.

+1 anything short of one of those otterbox cases that bring your phone to 1980s sizes are mostly worthless if you drop it at just the right angle. and they're only going to get more fragile as the bezels decrease.

this is the type of thing that makes me never want to take my defender case off, cept when I wanna clean it off.

Someone get this guy a nylon stick...as a repair tech i cringe every time he takes that metal flat head to the components!!

put the screen in an oven on a cookie sheet, screen face down, about 220 for 10 minutes, car and motorcycle guys do it all the time to separate the headlight housings

How did you get a picture of my wife's gs3 only a day after it cracked?! Seriously though, cases only work when you aren't taking you phone out of it to show it off with all thumbs over a tile floor.

Amen to that.

Having a case to protect and uglify your phone is fine, learning not to drop it on hard surfaces is better.

It's not like people drop phones on purpose. People drop their phones on accident, and you can't prevent it.

No, clumsy people drop their phones by accident! I've had two phone for the past three years and have only dropped one of them once. One time. And I still have not cracked the glass. I know a couple of people who have cracked a few phones during that time. Some people are just generally clumsy with their phones. I have a friend who has cracked his iPhone 4 withing 2 months, then he cracked his Galaxy S2, than the Galaxy Note, and lastly he cracked his Galaxy S3. I don't understand how people are so clumsy with devices they have payed $500+ for or even got locked into a 2-year contract.

Much like you I've had several phones and never dropped a single one. However as soon as I got my AtrixHD i dropped it. That very night it flew right out of my hand and skittered across a gravel driveway. Just glad moto saw to put gorrilla glass on it and the screen was unfazed, and the kevlar backing prevented any scratches to the rest.

I now use a simple cruzer-lite case and an armor shield screen protector. The case I love, the armorshield is crap, it prevents scratches sure.... but instead it leaves divots and creases on the screen. And high traffic areas develop dozens of tiny bubbles under it where I guess my fingernail catches on one of the divots.

Yes it can be a pain. But if I just break the glass. $20 for a new glass is better than $600. Or if I break the LCD $250 is better than $600.

I do have a screen protector and an otter box commuter case. It is still possible to break the screen

You guys are idiots. Your phone comes with a case. It holds the parts together.

Do u by a case for your car? Its way more expensive than the phone I'm sure.

No, just cuz they sell them isn't a good enough reason to add any bulk to an already huge phone.

Stop wasting your money on a maybe one time deal that u might maybe drop Ur phone and maybe crack the screen. You don't do it anywhere else (like Ur car) so why would u now?

Wow is this serious? Just because someone prefers to add some protection to their phone with a case doesn't make them an idiot. It is just personal preference. Some people don't mind the extra bulk. I actually prefer the feel of a case, and its fun to find different ones and try them out. As for the car analogy that is just wrong, people accessorize their cars all the time.

Do you have insurance on your car? There is no need for that just for the possible chance that you may hit someone!

A car is like an insurance policy you have it in case but you hope to never have to use it.

Bad analogy.

Firstly, car insurance doesn't make your car ugly and bulky, secondly you can get insurance for your phone.

Not all cases are ugly. See the Speck Candyshell or UAG. You can get insurance for your phone, or just buy a $30 case and you won't have to pay for insurance.

That is why you buy insurance for you phone also. I recently cracked my screen, saw the instructions on how to replace the screen and was like, no thanks...I paid $100 for asurian to replace my S3 boom. Done!

all that case is going to do is protect from scratches, drop it and if it was going to break without a case, it's going to break with that case.

That's great!
(Sadly, that comment probably went over a LOT of heads!)
ok, "on topic"

I have insurance AND keep my Evo 4Glte in a case all the time.
My wife took her iPhone 4s out of the case and it fell roughly a foot on to asphalt and it now has a nice crack in the screen. Applecare will fix it for 50 bucks, but it is now in an Otter Box Commuter case. She is not a fan of the look of her phone in the case, but understands it protects what is a rather delicate piece of tech.

So many things wrong with the analogy of a car.
1) When you get in a car accident, a case will not help.
2) Cases for cars do not exist, if it does it might cost the same as repairing/replacing the body work. There is also a safety concern.
3) Dropping a phone is way more common because the consequences are nothing compared to being careless with cars.

So, we're idiots because we want to buy cases for our phones? Maybe you should buy a case for your brain because you appear to have dropped it a few times.

apparently your the idiot, because people put protective equipment on their cars/trucks all the time. have you never seen brush guards, light covers, rhino lining, bug shields, or houses with garages(which is my preferred way of protecting my cars, and every bit as protective as an otterbox).

also last I checked, I dont remember the bank requiring your you to have full coverage insurance when you bought your last new phone. so while people treat them a lot more alike than you would like to admit. I would refrain from comparing cars and phones as they serve two completely different purposes and get used two completely different ways.

I remember when my Nexus S screen cracked. I thought when I sent it back to Samsung and they charged me $175 to fix it that was ridiculous. After watching that video I'll be more than happy to send it back and pay to have it fixed.

Becareful of the insurance you that buy especially from SquareTrade, might want to read up on their policies first. It's better to have warranty with your carrier. You also forgot the concept of resale value.

SquareTrade is great dude, dropped my OG and they were going to overnight me a replacement but they were out, so they bought me a brand new one off of Amazon and shipped it to me. Plus, the plan was only 100 bucks and there was only a 25 dollar deductible. It would of been a $200 deductible from AT&T.

Resale is a valid reason for keeping your phone in a case. I still don't do it though, not going to make my phone ugly for a year or two just so someone else can enjoy an as-new phone. And yes, all cases that are robust enough to prevent a screen shattering are ugly compared to a naked phone.

I have found two very nice cases that make the don't make the phone look ugly in the case. One is made by Pure-Gear and the other one is made by Ballistic. Neither one adds a lot of bulk to my S3 and they even feel good in your hand. I got the Ballistic in blue for $20 on e-bay and it looks great on my phone. I also got a Pure-Gear case in black and gray that does a great job of protecting my phone. When I upgraded to this phone, the Verizon sales person recommended that I get a Pure-Gear screen protector for it. It only costs me $15 for it and it has a lifetime warranty. If anything happens to the screen, all I have to do is go into a Verizon store and they will replace the screen protector for free. Personally, I'd much rather have a screen protector and case on my phone than not because it is so easy for someone to drop the phone and have the screen break. My sister had it happen to her with her iPhone and she had to go down to Evansville (1 hour away) to get the screen repaired. Ever since then, she has made sure that she at least has a case on her phone and I believe that her case also has a built-in screen protector on it.

as far as resale goes, it's like the people who leave the plastic on their electronics and leave the remotes in the bag. i bought something so I could enjoy it, not someone else.

but i take care of my stuff and almost every phone i've bought i've sold in near mint condition.

I understand that most like and feel the cases and some don't. I personally went with Squaretrade. Less than Assurion and Great Customer Service. $25 deductible is unheard of for all the work that is invovled.

My mostly unsuccessful history of taking things apart and not being able to reassemble them properly tells me NEVER EVER to attempt this. :-)

Just buy the case and you don't have to worry about insurance. The only reason I have it is on the off chance I brick my phone on a bad Rom install. As for my case goes it's good enough to protect it from pretty much everything that I could logically run into. On the same token if I drop my phone it doesn't break and I don't have to go two weeks using a crappy loaner phone I would never use unless I had to.

The insurance will repair the phone pictured above.
The case would NOT have prevented the screen break, because cases don't cover the screen unless you buy a clamshell.

My hands are nowhere steady enough to repair any of my devices on my own. I can take things apart just fine, some unscrewing here and some moving there. But putting things back together? No thanks, i'll leave that to folks who know what they're doing. lol

This is why I get my phones through bestbuy. $7 a month and they will replace the phone at no extra cost for physical damage and water damage.

Don't call me Francis! Lol. OK idiots is a hard term but thats my knee jerk reaction. I can't call it any other way why you'd put another case around the case for your phone. Let's call it what it is people.

I've dropped my phone a few times. All my devices a few times. My 2 year old son has slammed, jumped, walked on, and tossed my tf101 more times than any android geek or father should admit. It still works like a charm.

My gf drops all of her IPhones. Couple scratches and dents but no reason to go all overprotective parent and wrap it in bubble wrap.

I'm sticking to my guns that you already have a case on your phone. If Ur not prepared for the upkeep and treat it like the $500 that it is then you are an idiot.
Sorry sorry. I did it again. But how else do u call it?

WOW dude, you need to lighten up! It's called "personal preference". Just because most of us want to "protect our investment" (regardless of insurance), that's our choice. I've dropped smartphones in the past and had the screen crack on 2 devices, so I CHOOSE to keep it in a case. Just because YOU choose not too, doesn't make YOUR opinion on the matter any more or less credible. YOU sir are what is wrong with the world today. Your opinion is the only one that matters right? Everyone else is an idiot! WOW.....pretty sad man! You really need to take a look in the mirror and recognize we are all different and nobody's opinions or beliefs are any better than anyone else's.

Well, personal preference or not, there are still absolutes in this world and right or wrong of all kinds still exist among us. That guy might not be the nicest fellow, but he has an opinion and he's sticking by it and also provides arguments for it.
In exchange, you call him out for that and blame him for what is wrong with the world today. I would argue that you are what is wrong, since you come across as one that swallows everything and accepts everything on the basis of "everyone is the same, everything is the same, no one and nothing is better than anyone and anything".
His opinion is right for him because he believes he can hold on to his phone and if one day he drops it, he can and will live with the consequences. Nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong if he gets +1MM followers on that. But his opinion is not right for everyone else who is either clumsy or works in an environment where phones fall or get dropped, nor for the person who can not accept and does not want to live with the consequences of $$ spent down the drain.

Oh the irony of this article on the day I shattered razr maxx screen. And to add insult to injury, I'm a little over a month away from upgrading

Bought my daughter an S3 a few months ago on CL, she didn't listen to me when I told her she should put a case on it since her MT4GS took some abuse since she is so active in sports, she wanted to pay for her Ghost Armor instead. Less than 5 days, it fell out of her back pocket and hit corner of phone and that was all. I ordered 2 glass screens, one glass only and other with digitizer. I saw a few videos and I must say,it wasn't bad and she likes it better than the cracked screen. I did heat up a spot too much on the upper left corner, can only see with screen off. A few little other spots but no big deal. I'm looking at buying a few used S3's to get better at replacing screens, I too called a few places around PHX and they wanted around $250 because they need to replace the whole LCD assembly.

I was in a similar situation. My GS3 did a nose dive off the bus seat as I was untangling my earphones. With all the poise in the world, it landed on the top right corner.

Local shops wanted minimum $235 to repair it. Considering that that was encroaching N4 money I decided to DIY. After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I felt confident enough to do it.

I Bought a screen on ebay and Seller sent blue while I ordered red. I decided to keep it after having been partially refunded.

The job is pretty straightforward. The screen is indeed glued to the digitizer. The YouTube videos failed to illustrate that like LE550NS did. BUT, with a bit of heat (about 180F), screen and digitizer come apart cleanly and very easily. The glue is reminiscent of the adhesive that comes on new credit cards.

Big chunks come off easily. The small pieces near the origin of the crack present the most annoyance.

Reassembly just involves cleaning the digitizer and reheating the adhesive strip on the perimeter of the phone. I pressed the replacement glass on the phone and to my surprise, it worked! The new glass does sit about 0.1mm above the digitizer but it works non the less.

If you're handy and don't feel like spending so much after already having spent so much, I encourage you to give it a go. If you break it, THEN you can pay someone to repair it. That was going to be my plan B had I ruined the digitizer.

I was on storm work in Vermont and had to drive to New Hampshire to fix my screen. Sprint fixed it for free and in 10 mins.

feel like I've just been put through the torture chamber...screen protector and case upgrade to be done instantly...

Oh wow!! this dude made this look soooo painful. There is no way it should have taken this long and whats with the damn knife? Hair dryer, good tool set and a beer. Geebus

I cracked my Note 2 screen. It goes across the middle of the screen. Luckily when holding the phone straight on, it's not even visible when using the phone.

If you drop your phone flat on its face, chances are the screen will break, unless it doesn't, but then it's probably isn't thanks to a case.

Happened to me 8 days ago. Had recently removed the case, as it was making it too big for my pocket.

The phone slipped out of my hand and landed face down on the street. The glass shattered in multiple places.

Thinking that it was only the outer glass, ordered a replacement glass from Amazon. It arrived in 3 days and went ahead with the replacement.

I removed all the parts one by one from the back. Once I got to a point where I had to remove the glass with a heat gun, I found out that not only was the front glass shattered, but the digitizer was shattered too and there were many small cracks on the LCD panel too.

Looking for a replacement, it would cost $280, so I had to give up and wait for S4 to be release. Now I am back with my S1. :(

With S4, I am putting on OtterBox and not going to remove it ...

I replaced mine. My S3 slid out of my shirt pocket and gently hit the ground. Sadly, it was at exactly the wrong angle, causing a chain-reaction which sent shattering around the whole screen. I bought a replacement screen for a tenner and spent a long night with a hairdryer chipping away the screen and replacing it. Its actually quite surprising how much stick the digitiser can take, and now it works fine, but I wouldn't recommend it as a fun job to do.....

I have never dropped or otherwise deadified a phone (knock on wood) but I know it is possible, and as someone on disability, living so far below the poverty line I can't even SEE it, I don't dare take chances. I have an LG HD Nitro9230 and I was extremely lucky to happen to have the extra $$ that month for a case. I bought a Ballistic. Yes, it is VERY bulky, but I have hands bigger than most mens', let alone womens' and am notoriously clumsy, so the case actually fits my hand well and gives me a great hold, as I use the outer gel case as well. I have a screen protector on it then my case on top of that, which also has a screen protector.

The other night I sat it on the kitchen counter to grab a snack on the way to bed and I heard it when it hit. Did it land on the floor, which would have been laughable? Nope. It swan dived into the cats' WATER BOWL and I was on the other end of the kitchen with my hands full. I rescued it as quickly as I could and shut it down, then took the battery out and started drying case pieces (yes it was wet inside the case. But to give LG a pat on the back (it needs one, since other aspects of this phone SUCK), the phone itself stayed dry inside and after a thorough check, I reinstalled the battery and booted back up. No issues, other than ones it had prior.

Cases are great, but if you are going to bother, bother with a military grade like I have and don't forget Murphy's Law. You cannot protect from everything and the one thing you are NOT protected from is what will happen to it... however unlikely, lol. Still trying to figure out how a "smart phone" did something stupid like jump off a perfectly good counter into a bowl of water...
P.S. My case is like your wedding ring; it NEVER comes off unless I have to clean it, then it goes right back on lol. No sense in having one and not using it, right?

Reason why I have a screen protector as well as a Ballistic case on my S3 right now. Also reason why I have insurance on my phone through Verizon. I would surely end up hurting myself trying to replace my screen if it ever broke on me.

I actually just did this using that video! Don't know why he used metal though I just used the plastic guitar pic style separators. To get the first corner up yeah but with an embossing gun ($24.99 at Micheals with a 40% coupon $16.00). It takes patience and around 45 minutes to reheat but it really isn't that bad! But, please keep putting your cracked ones on Ebay I'll keep making $100 a phone for a $10 and an hour worth of time!

Nice job, he showed all the things you needed to see to understand whats involved when replacing the screen....

He lost me me when I saw the "JOB" he had done putting a screen protector on his replacement screen. When I saw all of the air pockets, I knew he was not the meticulous type.

I do appreciate the time and effort he put in to share what he has learned.

I buy combo cases for all my phones and use the screen protectors, but unless you hold my phone up to the light trying to see if I have it on you will never notice it, a little patience goes a long way.

FYI a case that only protects the back of the phone is only a fashion statement.

It makes ordering a new protective case WITH your new phone and keeping it protected from the first minute a very good idea.

A video like this is positive, because (with the right tools) you could fix your phone if that nasty crunch happens. So far I have been careful and lucky, but you just never know.