You know the scenario. You only got that lovely, pristine smartphone for Christmas and already it’s banjaxed. You were too hasty jumping out of that cab and it slipped from your grip, falling in slow motion onto the kerb where the screen resolved itself into a pretty pattern of crazy zigzags.
Maybe it still works, but if the glass has broken sufficiently, you risk shredding your ear when you make a phone call.
Many phone issues are covered by the phone’s guarantee, or an insurance policy. Often a broken screen is not covered, though, in which case there are places that can help. For the iPhone, visiting the Genius Bar in any Apple Store can lead to a repair – prices start at £86.44 to repair an iPhone 6 screen, rising to £126.44 for an iPhone 6s.
Some independent companies operate in shady offices across town, others seem more respectable but still take time for you to reach their offices.
And one, iMend, comes to you. The company was the first nationwide call-out mobile phone repair service and it’s been around for 13 months or so. It’s been fixing an average of one phone every 21 minutes in that time.
Putting this service to the test was easy – I had an iPhone 5s that had endured the taxi-exit drop and stared glumly at me ever since. I called iMend, described the issue in detail, including the colour and model of the phone, and made an appointment.
Apparently these are often available on the same day, and the company has engineers across the UK. I booked mine for a few days after my call as that was most suitable. I was phoned the day before to check the appointment was still convenient. Then the next day, dead on time, two iMend guys – their technicians are called iTechs – arrived and set to.
The iPhone is one of the most popular phones to be fixed, apparently, I suspect not least because iPhones hold their value well for resale, so getting it repaired is worthwhile even if you are planning to upgrade soon. But the company also fixes tablets such as the iPad and Google Nexus tablets. The website boasts that the engineers can sort devices from Apple, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG, Sony and more.
And it’s not just screens – they’ll replace the rear glass on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (£189.99) or the charging port on a Sony Xperia Z3+ (£39.99), for instance. Screens aren’t cheap, it seems.
The service is extremely convenient, of course, as iMend will visit your home, office or even hotel room if you’re travelling, say. But the real value, I’d say, is that you get to see the repair happening in front of you. Once I’d offered the engineer a seat at my desk and pointed the reading light in the right direction, removing the duffed-up screen on the iPhone 5s was done with care, precision and a deft expertness which would have defeated me in seconds had I even known where to begin. And because the phone was in my sight throughout, I knew all my precious data was untouched.
In less than 20 minutes, the phone was restored to its immaculate original state. I was invited to check it out and test it. It was fine and has stayed that way. The price was £69.99 plus the standard £15 call-out fee.
This was a straightforward screen repair: the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the front of the iPhone is slightly recessed, so that had escaped damage – if it had needed repair that would have cost an extra £29.99. Similarly, repairing the microphone or camera would have attracted extra costs.
You pay when the work is done and are happy with the result – the website says “no fix, no fee!’ Repairs are guaranteed for 12 months, though it really might be worth investing in a case or sleeve for the phone before your next cab journey.
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