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How can I force google to repair my phone, that is damaged due to a design flaw that they made?

I'm very angry right now, so bullet points it is to get the point across:

  • I bought a Pixel 4a in November, after a long string of phones that fell apart way too early, so I decided to take a chance on a higher end product. $300 is a lot of money for me to spend on a phone, as I was previously getting very old generations that still had some semblance of repairability in them, but of course all the software just can't keep working there (at a reasonable speed)! That would just make too much sense!
  • It was alright, but not great, for awhile, about as I expected, but then I was sitting on a concrete bench and my phone shifted about 1 inch lower in my hand onto said concrete. ONE INCH. Cracks emanated up from the USB port across the screen. Obviously, a one inch "drop" (if it can even be called that, which it really can't, but I don't have a better word) is well within the scope of normal operations (really, all drops are for a device that one is to carry with them everywhere, as google's data collection makes a massive amount of money off of), and thus if a phone can't handle it is a severe engineering flaw. As such, I contacted Google and appraised them of the situation, and yet they refused to fix it, citing "physical damage" as a way to void a warranty EVEN THOUGH THEIR DESIGN FLAW CAUSED THIS PHYSICAL DAMAGE!
  • I considered doing a repair myself, but of course they had to make that damn near impossible too. A new LCD assembly is over US$100! This is absurd, the price of a new phone!. Everyone knows that glass failure on a phone is a common failure point, so any company designing a phone to last (to not do so is planned obsolescence) would ensure that the repair in this failure mode is both cheap and easy, for example by facilitating replacing just the glass and not the much more expensive OLED panel. There are some guides for replacing just the glass, but they seem very, very risky.
  • The cracks weren't huge, so I went on ignoring them for awhile, but then when I set my phone down on my counter, the upper-left corner shattered emanating out through the entire upper half of the screen (I strongly suspect that the original cracks somehow weakened the screen, but I have no way to know for sure.), and this corner was the first part to be set on the counter.
  • There was no screen protector because this industry is just as rotten as the phone industry! I could not find even one screen protector brand at any price point that offers any sort of long-term (e.g. 5-10 years at a minimum, although really permanent would be best since there are very rarely compelling features on new phones that I want, it's just this planned obsolescence that is the only reason that I'm not on my galaxy s5 still) guarantee that if their protector fails they pay for whatever repairs are needed.

As such, I ask, how can I force Google to support their damn product, take responsibility for their numerous design flaws, and ensure that I have access to a phone of the quality that I paid for? Failing that, what company will do this without any fuss at a reasonable price point? I am never paying Google one cent of my money ever again, after how thoroughly despicable they have been here. It'd be one thing if repairable, modular, upgradable, phones built to last were available at a reasonable price point for those of us who care, but not one company (that sells in the US, at least) makes these!

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So you're looking for support on a phone that you damaged by dropping it on concrete?

 

1-inch or 5 feet doesn't matter, imo

Microcracks could already have been forming before this if it faces impact often

Shit happens

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XiaoMi Phones: built like a tank but the software is buggy as all hell

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Remember, just because I had good/bad experiences with these companies/product, doesn't mean you will have similar experiences too. I would still recommend these products if they made sense for your needs, but I'll add a disclaimer of my experience if it's relevant. Feel free to DM me asking why they are where they are.

 

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My phone costs $200 and it never has been used without a case or a screen protector. If you cared about your device you would have given more thought into protecting it.

18 minutes ago, john01dav said:

There was no screen protector because this industry is just as rotten as the phone industry! I could not find even one screen protector brand at any price point that offers any sort of long-term (e.g. 5-10 years at a minimum, although really permanent would be best since there are very rarely compelling features on new phones that I want, it's just this planned obsolescence that is the only reason that I'm not on my galaxy s5 still) guarantee that if their protector fails they pay for whatever repairs are needed.

You are expecting a SCREEN PROTECTOR to offer a 5 to 10 year warranty. Do you realise how stupid that sounds?

mY s YsTeM iS Not pErfoRmInG aS gOOd As I sAW oN yOuTuBe. WhA t IS a GoOd FaN CuRVe??!!? wHat aRe tEh GoOd OvERclok SeTTinGS FoR My CaRd??
 HoW CaN I foRcE my GpU to uSe 1o0%? BuT WiLL i HaVE Bo0tllEnEcKs? RyZEN dOeS NoT peRfORm BetTer wItH HiGhER sPEED RaM!!dId i WiN teH SiLiCON LotTerrYyOu ShoUlD dEsHrOuD uR GPUmy SYstEm iS UNDerPerforMiNg iN WarzONEcan mY Pc Run WiNdOwS 11 ?woUld BaKInG MY GRaPHics card fIX it?
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Design flaw? Most phones are piece of glass and break like kitkat bars. And considering the screen is what most of the price of one phone is, the replacement will cost a lot. I've dropped my phone a few times and just got lucky. Sometimes as careful as you can be, accidents can happen.

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Ah you're right. Those greedy folks at google are too cheap to make the phone out of diamond and titanium so that you don't have to take care of your belongings. Step 1 would be seeking about a class action lawsuit. Don't just think about yourself, let's protect all consumers out there. Make all phones out of diamond and titanium, or don't make them at all.

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14 minutes ago, Moonzy said:

So you're looking for support on a phone that you damaged by dropping it on concrete?

 

1-inch or 5 feet doesn't matter, imo

Microcracks could already have been forming before this if it faces impact often

Shit happens

Yes, shit happens. I'm sick and tired of phones being designed as if we live in some fantasy world where no one ever drops them, batteries never wear out, and other such fictional nonsense. If a phone can't handle these events, it has no business being sold as a phone. At the *minimum* common failure points need to be easily replaceable (e.g. replace just the glass on the screen, a user replaceable battery, and the USB port being on its own board behind nothing but a few standard screws). People would rail against it, and rightly so, if the common failure points on a car were not replaceable — e.g. if one could not feasibly change tires or oil, yet it wouldn't be qualitatively different from the reality with phones right now. You'd buy a car, have it fully working for a few precious months, and then tolerate it failing and failing until after a few years you need a new one, even when a properly designed car can last for 20+ years. I drive a car that was manufactured in 1997, and it's still going strong. What wonders good engineering can do!

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6 minutes ago, Levent said:

My phone costs $200 and it never has been used without a case or a screen protector. If you cared about your device you would have given more thought into protecting it.

You are expecting a SCREEN PROTECTOR to offer a 5 to 10 year warranty. Do you realise how stupid that sounds?

I got a screen protector for my 1st phone. And my second. And my third. Pixel 4a is #4 (I bought into the cell phone trend quite a bit later than most people). I was simply tired of having to pick a screen protector and case for each end every new phone. Would it have been better to have one? Sure. Should it be needed? Absolutely not. A phone that requires 3rd party modifications (albeit really simple ones in this case, but the point stands)

 

With regard to your claim that I sound "stupid," consider this: if the screen protector really works, why should it quit working after some pre-defined period of time? If it's a good screen protector that truly prevents any real damage from taking place, then the manufacturer would have essentially no cost, and thus no reason, to not offer a lifetime warranty. Most people replace their phones constantly anyway, so in the off chance that it wasn't as good as they thought, the cost would still be minimal! All this even puts aside the morality of it.

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3 minutes ago, Levent said:

My phone costs $200 and it never has been used without a case or a screen protector. If you cared about your device you would have given more thought into protecting it.

You are expecting a SCREEN PROTECTOR to offer a 5 to 10 year warranty. Do you realise how stupid that sounds?

For the sake of comparison: When I bought my phone (Pixel 3a) the vendor did offer a one year "replace your screen" plan. They were asking roughly 50% of the device's sales price for that. At that price I'd rather buy a new phone. So I'd expect a screen protector with such a warranty to cost more than the phone. You're essentially asking for an insurance.

 

Just now, john01dav said:

Yes, shit happens. I'm sick and tired of phones being designed as if we live in some fantasy world where no one ever drops them, batteries never wear out, and other such fictional nonsense. If a phone can't handle these events, it has no business being sold as a phone.

There are phones designed to do that: ruggedized devices that are a lot more expensive, bigger and bulkier. For everyone else a cheap case made of plastic serves about the same purpose.

 

2 minutes ago, john01dav said:

What wonders good engineering can do!

Sure. But good engineering is also a lot more expensive and there's a very small market for mobile devices designed to last.

Remember to quote or @mention others, so they are notified of your reply

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4 minutes ago, Murasaki said:

Design flaw? Most phones are piece of glass and break like kitkat bars. And considering the screen is what most of the price of one phone is, the replacement will cost a lot. I've dropped my phone a few times and just got lucky. Sometimes as careful as you can be, accidents can happen.

Being a piece of glass that breaks like a kitkat bar *is* a design flaw. All modern smart phones have design flaws, some more than others. It's not too hard to imagine a phone that has an easily replaceable piece of glass, though, protecting the more expensive screen in all common failure modes.

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1 minute ago, Eigenvektor said:

For the sake of comparison: When I bought my phone (Pixel 3a) the vendor did offer a one year "replace your screen" plan. They were asking roughly 50% of the device's sales price for that. At that price I'd rather buy a new phone. So I'd expect a screen protector with such a warranty to cost more than the phone. You're essentially asking for an insurance.

 

There are phones designed to do that: ruggedized devices that are a lot more expensive, bigger and bulkier. For everyone else a cheap case made of plastic serves about the same purpose.

 

Sure. But good engineering is also a lot more expensive and there's a very small market for mobile devices designed to last.

The fact that these protection plans are so expensive tells you all you need to know about the phone market. It all but proves that the business model is to make phones that fall apart quickly so people are forced to buy more. This is a fundamentally immoral business model: it is too one-sided for the business's benefit over the consumer's, it causes significant environmental problems, and dealing with all this ewaste also creates serious health hazards for those who do so.

 

As for ruggidized devices, feel free to recommend some and if they match what I want I'll probably get one. I want something with security updates for years to come, all common failure points being easily replaceable (e.g. screen's glass, usb port, and battery), Android or Linux, and a price point that isn't too much more than a pixel 4a (See my original post for why).

 

As for the cost of good engineering. Yes, if you want to really do it well, it is more expensive, but doing the very simple things that I advocate for (namely trading off repairability for being small, and the profit that one gains from selling more and more phones) likely doesn't cost any more or less than the glorified kitkats that are already sold.

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That's unfortunate. It always sucks when things like this break.

27 minutes ago, john01dav said:

It was alright, but not great, for awhile, about as I expected, but then I was sitting on a concrete bench and my phone shifted about 1 inch lower in my hand onto said concrete. ONE INCH. Cracks emanated up from the USB port across the screen. Obviously, a one inch "drop" (if it can even be called that, which it really can't, but I don't have a better word) is well within the scope of normal operations (really, all drops are for a device that one is to carry with them everywhere, as google's data collection makes a massive amount of money off of), and thus if a phone can't handle it is a severe engineering flaw. As such, I contacted Google and appraised them of the situation, and yet they refused to fix it, citing "physical damage" as a way to void a warranty EVEN THOUGH THEIR DESIGN FLAW CAUSED THIS PHYSICAL DAMAGE!

I'm sorry, but you dropping your phone on concrete isn't a design flaw nor is dropping your phone normal operations. Unfortunate with all the modern fancyness of glass touchscreens and bodies comes great vulnerability.

27 minutes ago, john01dav said:

I considered doing a repair myself, but of course they had to make that damn near impossible too. A new LCD assembly is over US$100! This is absurd, the price of a new phone!. Everyone knows that glass failure on a phone is a common failure point, so any company designing a phone to last (to not do so is planned obsolescence) would ensure that the repair in this failure mode is both cheap and easy, for example by facilitating replacing just the glass and not the much more expensive OLED panel. There are some guides for replacing just the glass, but they seem very, very risky.

You've provided your own counterargument in your last sentence: it's a pain in the ass to replace just the glass and you need expensive equipment to do it, hence why your run of the mill shop won't or can't do it. They either don't have the expertise or the turnaround to justify it, or both. It's much cheaper and easier to sell and replace screen assembly replacements. $100 also doesn't sound too bad yet to me. All a phone is nowadays is basically a fancy screen with a processor attached put in a tiny case.

28 minutes ago, john01dav said:

The cracks weren't huge, so I went on ignoring them for awhile, but then when I set my phone down on my counter, the upper-left corner shattered emanating out through the entire upper half of the screen (I strongly suspect that the original cracks somehow weakened the screen, but I have no way to know for sure.), and this corner was the first part to be set on the counter.

Not just somehow, the original cracks definitely weakened the screen. A lot. They introduced a weak point waiting to explode.

29 minutes ago, john01dav said:

There was no screen protector because this industry is just as rotten as the phone industry! I could not find even one screen protector brand at any price point that offers any sort of long-term (e.g. 5-10 years at a minimum, although really permanent would be best since there are very rarely compelling features on new phones that I want, it's just this planned obsolescence that is the only reason that I'm not on my galaxy s5 still) guarantee that if their protector fails they pay for whatever repairs are needed.

Most screen protectors are more to protect from scratches and pointy objects, not from dropping on concrete. Screen protectors are literally made to be destroyed. It wouldn't make sense to provide a multi-year warranty on something that is meant to break (preferably before your phone screen does). If you want to protect against dropping on concrete, you'll need some shock absorbing case to enclose your phone. Not a sticker on the screen.

6 minutes ago, john01dav said:

Being a piece of glass that breaks like a kitkat bar *is* a design flaw. All modern smart phones have design flaws, some more than others. It's not too hard to imagine a phone that has an easily replaceable piece of glass, though, protecting the more expensive screen in all common failure modes.

No it's not. It's literally a piece of glass.

 

I get it, it sucks when an expensive item breaks, but unfortunately phones aren't the cheap indestructible Nokia's that you can run over with a bulldozer from yonder anymore. They are often quite literally made out of glass and thin plastic/aluminium which just aren't super strong. If you want a rugged phone that you can drop you'll need to look for rugged cases or a rugged phone.

 

You had an accident, it happens. Do you have any insurance you can perhaps claim it on?

 

 

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1 minute ago, john01dav said:

Being a piece of glass that breaks like a kitkat bar *is* a design flaw. All modern smart phones have design flaws, some more than others. It's not too hard to imagine a phone that has an easily replaceable piece of glass, though, protecting the more expensive screen in all common failure modes.

It isn't hard to imagine of course. But what companies want is more profits and as easy as possible. A lot of products these days are simply made to just not last as long so people can buy new ones more often.

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10 minutes ago, john01dav said:

Being a piece of glass that breaks like a kitkat bar *is* a design flaw. All modern smart phones have design flaws, some more than others. It's not too hard to imagine a phone that has an easily replaceable piece of glass, though, protecting the more expensive screen in all common failure modes.

Then buy a ruggedized phone as offered by CAT, Enermax, or any of those other heavy duty based companies. They even tend to be more modular with replaceable parts, if you can even find them for sale. The downside is making a phone heavier duty involves a lot of tradeoffs. Metal and glass don’t have great impact resistance, so you use plastics, rubber, and other dampening materials, and a whole lot of them. The downside to that is you lose a lot of options for higher end components through either lack of space or lack of heat transfer capability, or simply lack of necessity. You also trade off on size and weight which is why a majority of makers don’t ruggedize every phone, it would alienate a large amount of their base market. That’s why Google makes phones for human beings who put phones in a case if they want more protection, or use it bare if they’re careful/don’t expect to do anything dumb, and they let the other companies ruggedize things. If you want a phone designed around lasting, you’re literally looking at the wrong product lineups. The tradeoffs to ruggedize every phone would just get rid of too much of the market, so go buy a rugged phone so 99% of other people can keep their small, light, and easy to use phones.

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Highly recommend the Nokia 3310. Very low cost, almost indestructible.

Best $20 you'll spend, not a shred of glass on the whole phone.

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1 minute ago, Murasaki said:

It isn't hard to imagine of course. But what companies want is more profits and as easy as possible. A lot of products these days are simply made to just not last as long so people can buy new ones more often.

I honestly don't understand how one can say this and see it as a justification, and not simply as more explanation of the problem. More reasonable interpretations vary from seeing it as a fundamental flaw of capitalism, to just overly greedy companies that need to start caring about both social good and profit (many business owners take this viewpoint, just not any major players in the smart phone industry unfortunately).

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7 minutes ago, john01dav said:

With regard to your claim that I sound "stupid," consider this: if the screen protector really works, why should it quit working after some pre-defined period of time? If it's a good screen protector that truly prevents any real damage from taking place, then the manufacturer would have essentially no cost, and thus no reason, to not offer a lifetime warranty. Most people replace their phones constantly anyway, so in the off chance that it wasn't as good as they thought, the cost would still be minimal! All this even puts aside the morality of it.

A lifetime warranty is a MAJOR liability. Even a very successful company would not offer that. Not to mention, a screen protector is sacrificial to protect your device in case of situations like yours. I can throw my device into a rock from 30 meters and screen would still crack.

mY s YsTeM iS Not pErfoRmInG aS gOOd As I sAW oN yOuTuBe. WhA t IS a GoOd FaN CuRVe??!!? wHat aRe tEh GoOd OvERclok SeTTinGS FoR My CaRd??
 HoW CaN I foRcE my GpU to uSe 1o0%? BuT WiLL i HaVE Bo0tllEnEcKs? RyZEN dOeS NoT peRfORm BetTer wItH HiGhER sPEED RaM!!dId i WiN teH SiLiCON LotTerrYyOu ShoUlD dEsHrOuD uR GPUmy SYstEm iS UNDerPerforMiNg iN WarzONEcan mY Pc Run WiNdOwS 11 ?woUld BaKInG MY GRaPHics card fIX it?
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1 minute ago, Den-Fi said:

Highly recommend the Nokia 3310. Very low cost, almost indestructible.

Best $20 you'll spend, not a shred of glass on the whole phone.

This would be a great option if it had the ability to run modern android (I know that this specific phone has no way in hell of doing that, but I want an Android phone with a relatively similar design philosophy.). You got any recommendations there? I mainly use my phone for consuming video (1080p60hz screen is enough for this, no need for oled), phone calls, and a smattering of miscellaneous non-gaming apps (e.g. termux, navigation, looking up information, discord). I just want a simple, cheap, no frills device that will let me do this well indefinitely.

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Also pretty sure you’re missing the fundamental fact that screen protectors are meant to break in order to expel the energy absorbed during impacts. That’s literally the purpose of them is to break so the screen underneath doesn’t.

Physics.

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15 minutes ago, john01dav said:

Yes, shit happens. I'm sick and tired of phones being designed as if we live in some fantasy world where no one ever drops them, batteries never wear out, and other such fictional nonsense. If a phone can't handle these events, it has no business being sold as a phone. At the *minimum* common failure points need to be easily replaceable (e.g. replace just the glass on the screen, a user replaceable battery, and the USB port being on its own board behind nothing but a few standard screws). People would rail against it, and rightly so, if the common failure points on a car were not replaceable — e.g. if one could not feasibly change tires or oil, yet it wouldn't be qualitatively different from the reality with phones right now. You'd buy a car, have it fully working for a few precious months, and then tolerate it failing and failing until after a few years you need a new one, even when a properly designed car can last for 20+ years. I drive a car that was manufactured in 1997, and it's still going strong. What wonders good engineering can do!

I agree with your thinking, but in your particular case in the first post, it's not Google's fault

 

Look up Louis rossman about his right to repair initiatives, you may support that as I think it aligns with what you described

My PCs: Desky | Beddie | Miney | Benchie

Things I need help with: (nothing at the moment)

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none atm

I hate Intel's pricing, Ryzen's weird quirks, Nvidia's pricing, and Radeon GPUs in general

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Products I like:

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Sony Xperia Z1 / Z2 / 10 ii, Asus Strix 970 / 1070, Samsung SSD, WD HDD, Corsair PSUs (AX, RM, CX(grey)), GeForce GPU, NZXT N450/S340, be quiet! Coolers, G.Skill Trident RAM, Logitech M525, Logitech G440, Razer Deathadder Elite

Products I hate:

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Xperia Z3, XiaoMi 5c, Radeon GPUs, Razer Audio Products, any bloatwares

Companies I absolutely adore: (and hope it stays that way)

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be quiet! - sent me AM4 mounting for my DRP3 even though it's way past the timeframe stated, no questions asked

Corsair - very good RMA experience, absolutely recommend

Companies I hate:

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Nvidia, Intel, Apple, TMT (Thundermatch, a retailer)

Personal Blacklisted Companies:

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Acer: shit tier quality products, shit tier customer service thus far, they "tried" to solve my issue but they arent really doing anything but delaying and delaying. (on-going case since July)

Gigabyte: horrible customer service (gigabyte had literally 0 customer service, asked me to go to retailer with NO WAY to email them about a question) but at least they fixed my shit in ONE MONTH (would probably take me 1 hour to fix if they let me email them)

XiaoMi Phones: built like a tank but the software is buggy as all hell

Seagate HDD: had too many dead seagate drives

Kingston SSD: 300V controller swap thingy

Razer (except their mouse)

Remember, just because I had good/bad experiences with these companies/product, doesn't mean you will have similar experiences too. I would still recommend these products if they made sense for your needs, but I'll add a disclaimer of my experience if it's relevant. Feel free to DM me asking why they are where they are.

 

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Kind of sounds to me like you're confusing design flaws with a flaw in standard design philosophy in general. Personally I agree that it's absurd how breakable these devices are constructed to be, but that's a drawback companies take to make their phones aesthetically pleasing and just a reality of the current design trend

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Just now, The Blackhat said:

Also pretty sure you’re missing the fundamental fact that screen protectors are meant to break in order to expel the energy absorbed during impacts. That’s literally the purpose of them is to break so the screen underneath doesn’t.

I'm aware. I want a lifetime warranty in case the screen protector's breakage isn't enough to protect the much more expensive screen. Buying a US$0-20 screen protector occasionally would be an acceptable evil.

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If you don't want your phone to break and you need a smartphone get a STRONG case + a decent screen protector. I go skating, longboarding and whatnot with my phone in my pocked. I have WRECKED cases to no end but still only amd on my 3rd phone in  10 years of doing so. I am a worst case user as I also have it on me constantly when doing handywork, laying concrete, woodworking,... I take care of them and protect them accordingly but agree to the fact that I will break them eventually. I always perfrom a lot of maintenance on them too to keep them lasting as long as possible. Of the 3 phones my one plus one lasted 6 years till the sim slot broke after being left overnight in a storm, my pixel I gave away as I wanted a longer battery life and my mi 9t is scratched a lot but still doing well and my inbetween phone (lg g5) was a left behind repair that already had a lot of damage but is still going to this day as my I AM going to break shit so might as well use the sacrificial one phone.

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1 minute ago, john01dav said:

I'm aware. I want a lifetime warranty in case the screen protector's breakage isn't enough to protect the much more expensive screen. Buying a US$0-20 screen protector occasionally would be an acceptable evil.

Well, I stand corrected, I guess the guys that make the best screen protectors in the industry actually do offer a lifetime warranty on them, just not the device under it. https://flolab.io

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1 minute ago, jaslion said:

If you don't want your phone to break and you need a smartphone get a STRONG case + a decent screen protector. I go skating, longboarding and whatnot with my phone in my pocked. I have WRECKED cases to no end but still only amd on my 3rd phone in  10 years of doing so. I am a worst case user as I also have it on me constantly when doing handywork, laying concrete, woodworking,... I take care of them and protect them accordingly but agree to the fact that I will break them eventually. I always perfrom a lot of maintenance on them too to keep them lasting as long as possible. Of the 3 phones my one plus one lasted 6 years till the sim slot broke after being left overnight in a storm, my pixel I gave away as I wanted a longer battery life and my mi 9t is scratched a lot but still doing well and my inbetween phone (lg g5) was a left behind repair that already had a lot of damage but is still going to this day as my I AM going to break shit so might as well use the sacrificial one phone.

What cases do you recommend? Every case I've tried is either too thin to be any good, or thick enough that it causes the phone to overheat (in one case, otterbox + LG G5, the battery exploded as a result of this heat, and the phone often got too hot to touch).

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Just now, The Blackhat said:

Well, I stand corrected, I guess the guys that make the best screen protectors in the industry actually do offer a lifetime warranty on them, just not the device under it. https://flolab.io

If I had found this when I got my pixel this thread would not exist. Thanks for the link!

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