Pixel.. Pixel 3A.. Hey Google you made a almost perfect phone for a decent price.. Everything is great but why include a weak LCD!

My wife have been using a hand me down IPhone 6 and Sony Z5 for quite some time. The battery are getting worst. The Z5 battery eat too much and became fat!

Google launched Pixel 3a last May 8 2019 just right after Google IO 2019. The reviews came out and considering the price, the phone sounds like a winner. Unfortunately Pixel 3a or any Google Phones are not sold here in the Philippines except from Grey Market which are priced much higher with out any support or warranty.

A cousin living in the US informed that he is going to home for a vacation. Considering the flight and the delivery date with delay buffers we decided to purchase the phone.

The phone was ordered on the May 24 got delivered on the May 30. There was nothing to worry if it will miss the flight. Atlast the phone arrived in Cebu, I mean our cousin arrived and with him the phone.

Transferring the accounts and setting up from Sony Z5 was a breeze and easy. The phone performs well considering having a mid-tier Snap660. The 64Gigs of flash was quite a relieve since the previous phones were just having 16Gigs and 32Gigs of Flash. PH networks was supported, this is a single SIM phone with support for E-SIM. Andriod update was delivered on-time and surprisingly one of the updates make it possible to use another network for the E-SIM. SIM1 is using Smart PH E-SIM is using Globe PH. No need to bring 2 Phones. What really stands out is the camera it dwarf my XZ Premium in comparison.

All was well until the phone was dropped! September 23 date of the fall!

InvisibleShield Glass Elite really did a great job protecting itself.. Only the LCD break and the tempered glass survived without a scratch.. but it did hold the broken pieces of the LCD from falling off.

I tried browsing the net and see where to have this repaired. There is also this article from iFixit https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Google_Pixel_3a.

The steps sounds simple and straight forward.

  • Pop the broken LCD
  • Remove the Flex Cable
  • Replace with new LCD
  • Install the Flex cable
  • Test the LCD
  • Close the phone

The adhesive is loose and easy to open.. sounds like I can do the repair myself. Lazada and Shopee also sells replacement LCD. Got the LCD during Shopee October 10 sale and also a new cheaper screen protector.

Now for the tools.. I needed a Torx3 and I did not have it. We went to SM Seaside to look for Torx3 but before buying the set from AC Hardware I decided to look for a shop that may replace the LCD for me and I just need to pay for the repair service.

iMobile repairs mobile phones, the stall can be found in SM Cyberzone, they have parts mostly for iPhones. The techinician did not know what a Google Phone and did not have parts for it. I informed I have the replacement LCD and he just needs to install it. He hesitated saying he can repair and replace the LCD for 1000 PHP.. Expensive but maybe OK.. But after consulting with his friend he still backed out.

So it is up to me … make it or break it. Let me fix this screen.

iFixit guide note “Pixel 3a’s screen adhesive is not very strong. “, Heating may not be needed. Still I decided to get a 1200W hair dryer.. Well at least as a consulation if I fail my wife and daughter will have a hair dryer.

Trying to pop the LCD without heating was futile and even with 10mins heating it was still very difficult to insert the plastic pick and pry. Finally after 30mins of prying and heating the LCD popped. The broken glass fell off with some very small debris.

Still following the iFixit guide. The next hurdle is the flex cable, it just does not align itself and the connectors are very small. Eventually I managed to get it in.

Testing the LCD and gestures did not have problems, so I applied the double sided tape supplied with the LCD. On the first attempt the LCD was still loose. Adding more layer eventually fixed it. I don’t want to apply more adhesive since I don’t want to deal with the “Popping the LCD” fiasco again. Anyway this is not a waterproof phone and if the LCD really pops again I will get a TESA tape (a double sided tape with a thin foam).

Total time of repair 2 Hrs., Tools including the dryer 2000 PHP, Parts cost 4,742 PHP. Overall Experience priceless.

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