Category: Uncategorized

Why Are Phones Damaged So Easily?

Given that many of us have been using smartphones for over a decade now, chances are that you’ve had a fumble during that time resulting in a broken phone screen, cracked back glass, or worse. It’s in moments like this that we shake our fists and scream into the air, “why do they make these things so fragile?!”, as though Steve Jobs is going to answer our prayers from The Great Beyond. Well the answer is multi-faceted. Here, I will go over some reasons they haven’t yet built the indestructible phone.

Marketability

Probably the biggest reason smartphones are so fragile is because, when many shoppers are looking for their next smartphone, they want the sleekest, sexiest, shiniest piece of kit, bursting at the seams with high-end cameras, wireless charging capability, and the most horsepower they could possibly cram under the hood. While some properly rugged smartphones are on the market, well, let’s just say they ain’t pretty and they tend to be fairly feature-light. If you were to put an iPhone 14 Pro next to say the Doogee S90, most may glance quizzically at the rubberized exterior of the latter only to reach out and caress the stylish curves and bezel-less screen of Apple’s offering we’ve seen plastered on billboards, bus stops, and all over the web.

Profitability

The ad campaigns have us all believing that these delicate glass slates are what we want. Whether it’s because that’s naturally how we’d lean anyways or because we’re all just a herd of consumerist sheep, that’s what sells. And, oh, how convenient that is for the manufacturers! If we want these feather-weight glossy phones with nothing to protect them (as they come out of the box), naturally, they are going to be more susceptible to breakage than something built to spill. And when they inevitably break, you have the choice of repairing or replacing. Apple and Samsung (not to mention Telus and Rogers) would most certainly like you to throw down for their latest and greatest offerings and, for some reason, many of us do. Pro tip: it’s cheaper to repair than replace so come by GoMobile repair for all your smartphone, tablet, and laptop service, folks!

Alternatives Exist

You won’t find it offered by your phone service provider but, if you really want a rugged military-grade smartphone capable of surviving a toss out a 5th-story window, being left in the ocean overnight, or run over by a small car, they are out there but they come at a bit of a compromise. As mentioned, rugged phones tend to look like they belong on a construction site rather than in the well-manicured hand of a Cardashian, though there are some exceptions. For the most part, you probably haven’t heard of Ulephone, Blackview, or Doogee - some of the more popular rugged-smartphone brands out there. They’re mostly sold overseas or sell to a niche audience and just aren’t marketed here. Moreover, they won’t have the most cutting-edge technology within. The cameras and processing power are typically serviceable at best. 

Having a smartphone resilient to the elements and sturdy enough to endure abuse comes at a trade off. That said, Nokia released the rugged XR20 last year with pretty solid reviews. iPhone loyalists options are limited but, if you like Androids, there are literally thousands of phones released every year. Rather than taking whatever your service provider pushes on you (all while your bill inflated), do your research and consider your options. You might be surprised by what's out there. 

Should I Use A Screen Guard?

As a phone repair technician, I see a lot of damaged smartphones. More often than not, those phones have a broken screen which is usually the first thing to go in the case of a fall or impact. For this reason, I highly recommend not only a high-quality case but also some form of compatible screen protection. In this article, I will go over a variety of different types of screen guard.

Plastic

When discussing screen guards, many people cringe and say something like “oh, I hate those things” or “I always get bubbles underneath”. These are usually people who haven’t used a screen guard since plastic was the only mainstream option and, honestly, I can’t blame them for that reaction. Plastic screen guards don’t really do much, if anything, to protect your phone screen from impact - they are largely there to protect against scratches. And because plastic is much softer than glass, it ends up getting scratched even more than your screen would have in the first place. Bubbles and dust will eventually make their way under the film and, along with the aforementioned scratches, make your screen a blurry mess. Not only that but plastic protectors can be rather tricky to apply. My recommendation to you if you have one of these on your phone: throw it in the trash bin!

Hydrogel

Another form of plastic screen guard is that of the “hydrogel” variety. The tactile experience with these is kinda nasty and I personally would never use them. It feels like thick, gummy, processed plastic that is easily damaged even with a fingernail (though, it’s said that these have “self-healing” properties. Would not recommend!

Tempered Glass

This is my preferred type of screen protection despite its flaws. Glass screen guards, being made of glass, feel just like the naked screen and, if it is a quality product, will not interfere with the touch-interface sensitivity. If you’re using a modern flat-faced phone with no buttons on the front, a glass screen protector can be the same size and shape of your screen meaning you will nary even be aware of its existence. The one thing to consider with this style is that they tend to crack and they will do so more easily than your screen, however, they are easily and affordably replaced. Glass guards take the hit, absorb the impact, and save your expensive screen from getting damaged. If you keep your phone in your pocket or purse along with keys, coins, or anything metal, glass screen guards tend to chip or spider-web with not much pressure. It’s safe practice to avoid your keys pressing into your phone screen with or without protection so I don’t see this as much of a downside.

Curved Glass

The curved tempered glass screen guards are perhaps the strongest and most effective of all, however, you’ll only ever see them made for devices with curved screens like the Samsung Galaxy S-series of phones. What makes them so good is the liquid adhesive used to stick the glass to the screen which, once cured, makes a gummy impact-absorbing layer without ruining the feel of the glass or the clarity of the display. The adhesive cures with UV light - a small disposable light-emitting device will usually be included with the product - and application is extremely messy. While you can apply it yourself, I would recommend paying to have it done for you. If you get bubbles in the adhesive, it will be very difficult to salvage the screen protector.

Other

Lastly we have Whoosh! Diamond Defense. This product is perfect for the “smartphone nudist”. Unlike other forms of screen protection, Diamond Defense is a treatment for the screen’s glass making it up to 15-times stronger and, therefore, less likely to crack or scratch. Think of it as steroids as opposed to armour. The formulation comes in the form of a wet-wipe - just rub it on to your screen, wait for 5 minutes, buff it with the included microfibre cloth, and repeat one to three times. It couldn’t be easier to apply so no need to recoil in fear of getting bubbles underneath! If, however, you would prefer it to be installed by a professional, we here at GoMobile will do it for you at no additional cost. The product can also be used on the back glass of your phone as well. Whoosh! recommends applying Diamond Defense annually. 

Most of the screen guards mentioned here are available in a variety of flavours be it clear, matte anti-glare, privacy, case-friendly, anti-bacterial, blue-light-filtering, etc. Come on by the shop and one of our friendly and knowledgeable technicians will help you find the screen protector that’s right for you!

Is Your Smartphone At Risk Of Getting Hacked?

For the typical phone owner, it’s unlikely your device would be hacked or infected with malware. Smartphone security, especially that of iPhones, is not easily breached but it can be bypassed.

What’s more likely than getting hacked is having your bank account or Facebook profile hijacked. Have you ever gotten a vague Messenger text like “OMG so funny, thought of you” and a link in which you’re asked to log back into Facebook? Looks like Facebook but, oops, you just gave away your login info. Usually, it’s the user who is the weak link in the security chain.

Hacking, on the other hand, is done by remotely exploiting weaknesses in the operating systems of any networked digital device like a smartphone, laptop, or home computer. The goal of the hacker is to obtain unauthorized control of an individual’s device or network. Because our phones house so much personal data, they are a prime target for hackery, though unlikely it may be. Personal details, banking info, socials logins, photos, message history, and phone conversations could all potentially be compromised.

How is that different from a virus? Simply put, a computer virus is a piece of software hidden in a file or document that has the ability to replicate itself in computer, phone, and network systems to spread rapidly. Much like getting hacked, a virus can steal data and passwords, log your inputs, corrupt files, or spam your email contacts.

It’s not always easy to detect a hack or virus but here are some telltale signs. You may experience unusual popups or that apps are continually crashing. If you notice your battery suddenly starts draining quickly or doesn’t hold a charge as long, you could have malicious spyware running in the background and consuming power. Similarly, if you find your data usage suddenly increasing, this could be due to a virus sending your data to a remote server and using up your data allowance. In either case, go into settings to check the battery consumption and data usage for resource-hungry apps that you don’t recognize.

What should you do if your phone is compromised? You can download a trusted antivirus app and scan for infections, delete any apps that look suspicious, and – the coup de grâce – perform a factory reset. Of course, the latter will erase all of your data so make sure you have it backed up locally or your phone’s built-in cloud storage service. 
To protect your devices from virus infection and hacker intrusion, always use a highly-rated antivirus app. Use a VPN (virtual private network) if you use public wi-fi networks (now or in the future). Always turn on two-factor authentication for accounts that support it. Don't’ save passwords as plain text – use an encrypted password manager instead. Don’t download apps from third-party sources. Keep your phone and its apps up to date. Don’t visit suspicious websites or click on suspicious links. Stay off the Dark Web – If you don’t know what that is, you’re probably better off!

Top Smartphone Cameras

What’s up, shutterbugs? Wondering which smartphone has the best camera(s) these days? I’ve done the research and narrowed it down to the absolute best camera specs for phones (as of this post) in hopes that I can help narrow down you next phone choice. Without further adieu (and in no particular order), I give you the Top Smartphone Cameras:

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy S22

So which one is right for you? Well firstly, you probably have already made your allegiance for one camp or the other - iPhone or Android. If you’re staunchly within the Apple ecosystem, your choice has mostly been made for you. All four cameras (What a time to be alive!) in both the iPhone 13 Pro and the gargantuan 13 Pro Max are identical. Both options have fantastic cameras sporting optical zoom and stabilized lenses and, being in the Apple family, a wide variety of third-party camera and social media apps will be supported. To compare the measurements, The Pro is over 80 cm2 vs. the Pro Max coming in at almost 100 cm2 making the Max nearly 20% larger than it's little brother. So if you value your extra pocket space, go for the regular Pro. That said, the Pro Max is excellent for content creators with its bigger screen and longer battery life - you’ll be able to view and edit your photos and videos more easily and for longer between charges. 

So how about the best camera for all you Android fans out there? This might be another situation where you are already entrenched in Samsung territory so your choice will be easy. That in mind, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S22 are still both running the same basic OS. Yes, Samsung does have its own custom version of Android that includes some Sammy-specific apps (which some might call bloatware).

First off, the Galaxy S22 Ultra does have one additional back camera compared to the Pixel 6 Pro - it’s a periscope telephoto camera which offers a longer zoom than a standard telephoto camera and offers more background blur than wide and ultra-wide cameras. That’s 10x optical zoom and 100x digital. In the right hands, you can really get DSLR-like photos without effects or filters. To compare the main wide cameras, again, Samsung comes out on top with 108 MP vs Google’s 50 MP. The Ultra is perfect for sports and nature photography at a distance and to get more candid portraits than the standard up-close-and-personal variety.

So what keeps Google’s Pixel 6 Pro competitive when hardware specifications don’t match up? Put simply, it’s a combo of extra sensors and lenses as well as software and processor algorithms. Google has included some built-in software effects like Magic Eraser, Real Tone, and Face Unblur so you can erase photobombers, adjust for accurate skintones, and remove blur from faces in motion to your heart’s content. If you don’t need the superzoom that the S22 Ultra provides, the Pixel 6 Pro will offer better usability and more options without requiring third-party apps.
In summary, the iPhone 13 Pros offer incredible point-and-shoot quality that can be made even better with built-in effects and third-party editing apps. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has the most raw power and you’ll get higher quality out of your photos and videos than anything from Apple or Google if you really know your stuff - you may have to spend more time tweaking settings or editing with extra apps but you can get some truly professional results. With a one-stop suite of features, the Pixel 6 Pro offers the best pics with minimal work right out of the box for impressive shots easily taken. All three are extremely competitive so choose whichever one has the most appealing feature to you. Happy snapping!

The Commendable Bendable Phone!

Decades ago, before the advent of smartphones, I remember hearing about some distant-future technology called “digital paper” that was actually in development - this idea has stuck with me through the years. Imagine, they said, a city map that you could zoom in and out on, see live traffic updates and bus schedules, and even be updated for construction zones and accidents - all this on something you could fold up and stick in your pocket. This seems quaint by today’s standards as the devices we now carry in our pockets can do all that and more. 

But what was that about folding it up? Well, the technology Is something that has recently come to mass market from several electronics manufacturers, though, they’re not at all paper-like. Rather, it’s essentially a new form-factor for your smartphone or tablet - kind of like a book or a large flip phone. Regardless of which way it hinges, the idea is to open the phone 90-degrees to form a flat surface twice the size of its compacted form. And, yes, the display itself is flexible - it’s not like a Nintendo DS which has two screens separated by a hinge.

Samsung and Oppo seem to have the most highly-regarded folding phones, Samsung with its Galaxy Z series and Oppo with the awkwardly-named Find N. The latter opens horizontally like a book but Samsung, with its love of spamming the market with a wide variety of phone models, has the similar Z Fold 3 (which I can say, having worked in the print industry, is no Z-fold!) but also the Z Flip 4 which closely resembles the flip phone of old. Personally, I like the idea of the vertical Flip as the horizontal Fold kind of turns into a big square tablet. The Flip, while open, is just the size of a modern-day phone but, folded, takes up much less of a footprint in your pocket.

As appealing as this may sound, the technology is still young and, therefore, comes at a price. Moreover, the screens aren’t as durable and have an expected expiry date after 200,000 folds or so. That sounds like a lot but divide that by the number of unlocks you perform daily!

What Exactly Is Gorilla Glass?

In this industry, we hear a lot of buzzwords. Many of them are misunderstood or conflated or flat out nonsense. One thing I get asked about a lot is “Gorilla Glass” and there seems to be a lot of false preconceptions about what it is. So what’s the deal with Gorilla Glass (GG)?

According to Wikipedia, “Gorilla Glass is a brand of chemically strengthened glass developed and manufactured by Corning, now in its seventh generation, designed to be thin, light and damage-resistant. As a brand, Gorilla Glass is specific to Corning, but close equivalents exist, including AGC Inc.'s Dragontrail and Schott AG's Xensation.” So, there you go. It’s just a brand name and, like iPhones, there’s a whole family of GG - different types and different versions as technology advances.

Many think Gorilla Glass is the Super Man of glass tech - bullet-proof even. While it is very strong, it’s not unbreakable. Corning boasts that GG’s 6th iteration can withstand 15 one-meter-plus drops onto hard surfaces and stay in one piece. While this is impressive, Samsung has revealed a new display panel that, according to the Underwriters Laboratories testing company, is certifiably unbreakable. (Personally, I won’t be holding my breath for this to come to market.)

So what phones use Gorilla Glass? The truth is that many electronics manufacturers don’t disclose this information. According to those in the know, Apple has been using GG in most of  their iPhones since the iPhone XS, released in 2018. Asus, on the other hand, is happy to tout their Series 5 Republic Of Gamers phone features “featuring Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the toughest Gorilla® Glass yet.”

So Gorilla Glass is impressively strong, lightweight, and scratch resistant but, as stated, it’s not indestructible. So I would recommend that you use a good quality case and glass screen protector regardless of what kind of screen your device is toting. 

How To Choose A Phone Case

As one of Vancouver’s longest-running phone repair services, we’ve seen it all when it comes to phone damage. Most commonly, it’s a cracked screen be it just the glass or display and touch-interface damage as well. The best way to avoid this kind of damage is by having a quality case on your device. But how does one choose a case that will do the job?

What I would recommend is something that covers the back and sides of your phone and has a sturdy rubber or silicone lip that, when viewing the phone from the side, extends beyond the screen - that way, if your phone lands face down on a flat surface, the case will take the hit as intended leaving your screen unscathed. It’s also important for the corners of the case to be significantly fortified as there is a good chance the corner of the phone will be the first thing to break the fall. Even if it’s just the frame that takes the impact, that force can easily transfer to the screen and cause it to crack.

I see a lot of cases that come just short of the front edge of the phone which does nothing for the screen. They’re usually a flimsy plastic fancifully decorated which, sure, can protect the housing from wear but that’s about it. For some, anything more than a slim case like this is too bulky but, rest assured, you’ll most likely pay for it down the line.

While you can get big bulky water-and-dust-proof cases that have a clear plastic film that covers the screen itself, I wouldn’t recommend them for every-day use unless you work in construction or another field where there are ample opportunities for accidents. They tend to ruin the tactile nature of the screen and force you to be more deliberate with every tap and swipe. Moreover, they get scratched up fairly easily and, with enough wear, will make the screen look like a blurry mess. If you use these, you’ll probably want to replace them semi-annually.

I do, however, recommend a high-quality tempered-glass screen guard in the instance that the face of your phone takes a direct hit. This type of protection will usually do the job and won’t get all scratched up and bubbly like those old plastic screen protectors. Yes, the glass ones can break but that’s what they’re there for - to take the hit instead of your screen. A much cheaper fix than a new screen which, for many, is the most expensive part of the phone.

Here at GoMobile, we have many cases for a variety of phones so come on by to see what we have in store!

LCD vs. OLED Screens

If you’re reading this, then you’re no stranger to viewing a digital display. In fact, the average person’s daily screen-time worldwide is nearly seven hours a day according to comparitech.com! But what is it that makes a screen work? What is the technology behind it? 

There have been many types of electronic screen over the decades but, today, the most common can be broadly categorized as liquid crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode (LED). Phones and tablets all use some form of one or the other. “Organic light-emitting diode” (OLED) technology is considered to be superior due to it’s deeper black levels and bolder colour representation. Without getting too technical, OLED in it’s various forms uses self-illuminating pixels while LCDs require a backlight to be visible.

While OLED has only recently hit the mainstream for TVs, they have been in use as early as 2003. That’s right, some flip phones did use OLED screens, however it was only ever featured as the secondary outer screen.

Samsung has long had the reputation for having the best-looking screens on their flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series’ of phones. This is because they had been using Super AMOLED (yet another form of LED) right from the start. 

Despite being a market leader for so long, Apple didn’t jump on the OLED bandwagon until 2017’s iPhone X. Even then, the “budget model” phones like this year’s iPhone SE still use LCD.

Pro tip: If you’ve broken your iPhone screen and you’re ever on the market to have it fixed, ask what kind of screen your repair service uses! Yes, many aftermarket screens are LCD even if the phone was designed to use OLED. Here at GoMobile, we carry both so you can decide if you want a top-notch OLED display or the more affordable LCD. Just give us a call or come on by the shop to see what options we can offer you!

What is a Taptic Engine?

An interesting fact about the 2022 iPhone SE’s home button - It has no moving parts! The last iPhones to use the old-fashioned clicky mechanical button was the iPhone 6S and the little 5S-sized iPhone SE from 2016. While you may get the sensation that this new solid-state button clicks in when you press it, that’s the magic of the Taptic Engine - Apple’s patented haptic feedback module. The home button is actually just a sensor that reacts not only to touch but also to pressure. That way, it can differentiate between a press (for returning to the home screen or activating Siri) or a touch (for unlocking the phone with Touch ID or activating the Reachability feature). This is also the reason why you can customize the way it feels when pressing the home button - it’s just different programming for the little haptic module.

But that’s not all that the Taptic Engine is good for. Any time you get force feedback from your iPhone, that’s the haptic module - if your ringer is set to vibrate, if you have haptic turned on for your keyboard, and spinning the date and time wheels are all examples of the haptic module at work.

The Taptic Engine actually replaces the old style of vibrate motor which is called “eccentric rotating mass” (ERM). Those worked using a small unbalanced piece of material connected to an electric motor that spins it around when activated. New-style haptic modules work using “linear resonant actuators” (LRA) which is a spring that can move up and down with great speed precision offering superior feedback.

When Nintendo announced the Switch back in 2017, one of their big talking points was HD Rumble which uses LRA technology in the Joy-Con controllers to If you look back to the Nintendo 64’s big chunky Rumble pack which used ERM technology, you can see how far we’ve come in shrinking the size of the vibrate motor.

Going far beyond the old buzzing vibrate motors, haptic feedback can now simulate sensations from pouring water or rolling balls within a container to faking a simple button click!

What to do if my iPhone is Lost or Stolen

As experts in everything mobile phone-related, the professionals at GoMobile Repair have seen it all. From cracked screens to ill-functioning iPhones, there are few things anymore that will surprise us. While we are certainly in the broken phone business, our experts also field their fair share of questions regarding lost or stolen iPhones as well. To help tackle this level of inconvenience, we like to break down actionable items into three simple categories before suggesting buying a used phone in Vancouver as a replacement.

Immediate Response

There are a few simple steps to handle immediately, once you realize that your phone is missing. Many of these steps aren’t all that different from when you misplace your wallet or keys. To start, retrace your steps and try to recall where you were last using it. In most instances, you will find your lost phone by systematically retracing your steps. If you don’t find it by simply searching, try prompting Siri to respond by asking her to play a song or give you the news. If Siri is also unhelpful, giving your phone a call is always a smart move. A lot of people keep their phones on vibrate, so it is critical to be quiet while listening for a ring. Consider retracing your steps and calling your phone periodically from one place to the next to eliminate different locations from your search. If this still doesn’t lead to a found phone, don’t panic. It is not yet time to buy a used iPhone in Vancouver as a replacement – just move on to our next steps.

Use Features to Find your Phone

iPhones have built-in features to help users find lost phones, and oftentimes these features do prove rather helpful when used correctly. The first step in this is to activate Find My on your iPhone when it is still in your possession. If you are reading this, and your iPhone is nearby, do this now! Open Settings and click on your Name/Photo. Click on Find My, and make sure Find My iPhone is turned on. On newer phones, the location of your phone is still traceable even if your lost phone is dead or turned off.

Once you have enabled Find My, you can track your device via iCloud or by using the Find My app on another Apple device you own. Ideally, you will be able to track your lost phone’s location and retrieve it in no time. If not, it is time to maybe start considering buying a used phone in Vancouver after you’ve completed the following steps.

Reporting your Phone Lost or Stolen

If you have exhausted all options and are convinced your phone is gone forever, there are some requisite steps to be taken. Perhaps the most critical is to enable Lost Mode. You can do this by opening the Find My app on another device you own, finding your lost phone under-listed devices, and simply marking it as lost. By doing so, any credit cards or bank accounts linked to Apple Pay will be removed and Low Power Mode will be enabled to increase its battery life as you continue searching. From here, you can also add contact information and a message should someone else find your phone and want to return it.

Finally, after you are certain your phone will never turn up again, it is time to have your carrier flag your IMEI number to prevent the phone from being used by someone else, file a claim if you have insurance, and report it stolen to the police if you do indeed believe someone has taken it. From there, it is time to buy a used iPhone in Vancouver or treat yourself to a shiny new (and expensive!) piece of technology.

Buy Used Phone from GoMobile Repair

At GoMobile Repair, we have established ourselves as the leading phone service provider in the Vancouver area. While we are more than capable of fixing and repairing broken phones, we also are the area’s go-to provider for those looking to buy a used phone in Vancouver. Whether your iPhone was lost, stolen, or you need an upgrade, stop in and pay us a visit. Our expert staff is always eager to help customers remain connected to the world at large!