How to protect your phone's screen

Local 6 anchor Matt Austin talks to phone repair experts


ORLANDO, Fla. – It can happen in an instant. You're not paying attention, your cellphone drops and your worst fears are realized.

[WEB EXTRA: Science of a broken screen ]

Your phone's previously pristine screen is now a shattered mess.

It can happen to all of us. But does it have to?

At UBREAKIFIX in Winter Park, techs work all day long on customers' phones and tablets. Assistant manager Tyler Harper says nearly 80 percent of them are brought in for broken screens and repairing them can cost up to $130.

Harper says when choosing a case, look beyond novelty. A case can express who you are and be protective as well. 

"What it's made of definitely makes a huge impact," he says. "Silicone and polycarbonate are definitely some of the best I've seen. Plastic I would not recommend, they break super easy, especially when they fall on the edges. They'll crack in that spot and then they're just gone."

He says front protection may be the biggest factor in keeping your screen undamaged.  He says look for cases with a thick front lip around the screen. 

"Facedown falls are the worst, they seem to happen quite frequently," he says. "If it hits facedown it's more likely to break that way."

But the thing that may protect your screen the most may also be the cheapest. Harper says a simple screen protector, the thin plastic film that sits over the glass, can prevent small scratches and fractures that could spell trouble down the road.

"If you don't have a screen protector, any type of screen protector, you could build up scratches, micro fractures on the screen itself. Micro fractures can happen during falls when the screen doesn't break but compromises the durability of the glass itself."

He says those fractures can add up. He's heard of phones shattering after a fall on carpet, most likely weakened by a fall in the past.   

"I always say cases are preventative, they're not fail-safe." he says. "So if you're playing contact sports or just on the job and there's a chance that it will break, you want the best bang for your buck."

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