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    What good are repair kits from Apple and Samsung?


    Smartphone display broken
    What good are repair kits from Apple and Samsung?

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    Stiftung Warentest tests how well you can fix defective smartphones yourself using repair kits from Samsung and Apple. The result may not be universal, but it is quite clear.

    Having a defective smartphone display replaced by the manufacturer can be quite expensive. You can go for a swim with independent workshops, but a do-it-yourself attempt with a spare part from third-party manufacturers is just as risky. Apple and Samsung alternatively offer repair kits with original screens. Stiftung Warentest tried out how to cope with it and whether it could save you money.

    The Samsung set for a Galaxy S20 includes, among other things, a matching screwdriver, tweezers, a suction cup, as well as plastic plates and a heat pad for detaching and removing the back and display.

    Critical errors in instructions

    Heating the glass surfaces with the heat pad to loosen the adhesive that holds them to the frame was the easiest job. In order to change the panel, the tester also had to loosen several screws and remove components such as speakers, antenna and motherboard.

    He discovered that the 84-page (!) instructions contained some errors. “If I had followed them strictly, the repair would not have worked,” he writes. However, “removing the front camera” proved to be the biggest challenge. But somehow he managed it and after about three hours the display was changed and everything was screwed back together. However, when he turned on the device, it turned out that the front camera was gone. And he also had help from two technically experienced colleagues.

    It’s not worth it

    Even without the damage, the effort would hardly have been worth it. At Samsung, changing the display costs 254 euros, while Warentest paid for the set 237 euros. If the inspector had also purchased the protective equipment recommended by Samsung, the repair by a licensed workshop would have been cheaper.

    Apple’s repair kit for an iPhone 12 even costs around 400 euros, while you only have to fork out around 340 euros to have a screen replaced by an authorized workshop. Anyone who wants to carry out the repair themselves – for whatever reason – will have to pay an additional 1,190 euros deposit.

    The devil of errors lurks in the details

    There’s a good reason for this, because Apple sends two huge suitcases with special tools including an oven to loosen the adhesive. Presses to reattach the battery and display are also included. In total, the equipment weighs just under 36 kilos and the instructions have a corresponding length of 104 pages.

    The product tester noticed that even professional equipment can have its pitfalls when the heating station initially went on strike because a small plug contact had fallen out. After the problem was solved, he then had enormous difficulties handling the screws, some of which were tiny. Exasperated, he had to give up and let a colleague continue the work. A screw got lost in the carpet, but that wasn’t the worst thing because the colleague forgot a loose screw in his cell phone. “It now presses on the display from the inside and causes a bright spot.”

    The tester’s logical conclusion is that the only advantage of self-repair is not having to leave the smartphone in someone else’s hands. Otherwise it costs a lot of money, time and nerves. The guarantee and warranty are lost, and sometimes the cell phone is more broken than before. That’s why the whole thing is only worthwhile for people who enjoy tinkering.

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