My S10+: Smashed Screen & Sunk Cost Fallacy

1. The Blundering Fool

As the station entered my peripheral vision about 20 metres away, my heart sank as I noticed my train arriving.

I couldn’t miss it. I sprang into a steadfast sprint, determined and unwilling to wait for the next one. I rushed into the station, and heard the train doors chime open. It would be close, but I could make it.

I made the right decision to wear my sports shorts today, I thought as I sprang up the stairs. I would regret that decision literally seconds later.

While leaping up the stairs, I quickly brought out my Opal card and timed the tap perfectly – at this moment, disaster struck. The upwards momentum of my ascent and the added roominess of my pockets sent my phone flying outwards, straight onto the concrete pavement.

I hadn’t even realised it had fallen out – I was moving so fast, I already had one foot in the train when a stranger said:

“Mate, you dropped your phone!” in a tone commanding my attention.
I jumped back on the platform and retrieved my device. It was face down. Not good.
“Thanks!” I replied with a quick wave before I hopped back onto the train.

Image Credit: Poravute Siriphiroon (Shutterstock)

Still standing near the doors as the train pulled away, I assessed the damage. I looked at myself through the dark reflection, noting the expression of despair painted on my face.

Large fractures spanned across the glass, with the stock cover barely holding the screen together. I let forth a short but lethal stream of expletives.

With a sigh, I took a minute to assess the damage. The screen was still working, but a bar of bright green on the bottom half of the screen was glaring back at me. It wasn’t going away.

The green was for go. Go pay a visit to the repair centre you idiot, it seemed to be saying. The light burned wildly and unpredictably, with flashes of pink, white, and various hues of green.

I was still able to unlock my phone and there weren’t any deadspots – yet. Thankfully I would still be able to contact my friend who I was meeting that day. But slowly and surely, I was witnessing the death of my most important device.

Deadspots appeared the next day.

The top area of the screen no longer responded to swipes, during use felt hotter than ever, and the battery began draining at an unprecedented rate. I couldn’t even unlock it anymore without it being plugged into a power source. Using it when out and about ass only possible with an external battery.

Image Source: thenounproject

I tried various workarounds to no avail (reducing the screen size to only use the bottom half of the screen as well as using Samsung Dex & MyPhone apps on my computer).

It was official – my phone was most definitely on its way out. I promptly backed up everything, and then backed it up again on the cloud.

I looked up the repair cost. It would cost a whopping $400 (minimum). What a joke. The RRP at launch had been $1499. The screen repair was almost a 1/3 of the price.

On top of this, some shops buy a functional S10+ (128GB) at under $400 for trade-in. Resell value of the S10+ also dropped quickly within months of release (it’s currently sitting at around $500 on ebay).

2. Settling for Less

I was determined to delay this cost as long as I could. I decided to use my old phone, the S7 Edge.

Image Source: The Verge

Having spent most of its existence in the darkness of my cupboard after being replaced, parts of the case and screen were inexplicably sticky. I wiped it down with alcohol, and became reacquainted.

Going back to using an older phone is never a pleasant experience. While previously I had installed literally hundreds of apps, I now made a conscious effort to limit the storage I used. The newer version of Android felt more like clunk and junk rather than clean and lean.

My usage patterns remained mostly unchanged – save the reduced daily screen time due to the hardware not being able to run the games I’d been playing (namely Genshin Impact) on the S10+. The now-subpar camera lens also meant I was less bothered to take as many photos.

3. Sunk Cost Fallacy

Image Source: Workable

After about 3 months of using the S7 Edge, it eventually -inexplicably- died. There weren’t any symptoms of the oncoming failure – one day it just wouldn’t turn on, and that was that.

I backed up my S10+ again (just in case). At this point, the phone’s touchscreen was completely scuffed. The screen damage was so bad that it was detecting touch input all over the screen, seemingly at random.

Unlocking the phone after each reboot took 15-20 attempts because the unlock nodes were activated all over the place.

When I eventually managed to unlock it, I tried for 30 mins to navigate to the phone reset screen under Settings.

At this point the chaos unfolded further: opening apps left and right, and -to my horror- opening payment screens for purchases on free apps.

I gave up, and ended up using Samsung’s Find My Mobile to wipe it ‘remotely’.

It was time. I scoured my house for the original box and receipt – nowhere to be found. Eventually I opted to receive a virtual Proof of Purchase from my phone provider.

I opened up a ticket for delivery repair, popped by the local Post Office. The delivery instructions (to the repair centre) were to put it in a small plastic bag (provided by Samsung).

The lady helping me opted to use the box and bubble wrap I’d originally packed it in, and I was in agreement. It seemed ridiculous to place a phone in a flimsy plastic bag with no padding, no protection, for it to be sent through the delivery system.

4. Homecoming

Image Source: thenounproject

About a week later, my precious phone returned home. Thankfully it arrived in a cardboard box, snugly fitted in a storage sleeve.

Fortunately no additional charges were incurred, with my battery replaced ‘free of charge’. Here I admit that this isn’t the first time I’ve smashed a Samsung phone – when I repaired (in HK) my S7 Edge screen, they also replaced the battery for free.

I guess this is a happy ending. I’m taking better care of my most valuable device, taking better photos and videos, and generally just glad to be reunited with my phone. I spent a good minute just marveling at the screen when it returned to my hands.

Oh, and I will be getting a tempered glass cover – soon.

Published by Tech Neck Nick

I'm a cybersecurity major postgrad student from Sydney, Australia. Support my fight against Writer's Block.

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