Thursday, September 8, 2016

Phone Death

In June 2015, I got a new smartphone. It had a one year warranty. Fifteen months later, it's non-functional.
The Huawei P8 Lite is a pretty nice piece of equipment, with all the usual things you expect in a smartphone these days. Not at the top end, of course, but plenty for my needs. More, really - I don't really need a front-facing camera, or a 4G connection, or dual SIM cards. When I was able to get it for $200 last year, with a $50 airtime credit toward a pay-as-you-go plan, I jumped on the chance.

For a year, everything worked great. The battery lasted through a day without any trouble. With a set of bluetooth wireless headphones and an arm-band to carry it, the phone was great for taking along on runs. Worked fine in the car as a music and podcast player, and GPS device.

About a month ago, the GPS inexplicably stopped working. I ended up doing a full factory reset of the phone, and that fixed the problem. I assumed at the time that the problem came from some sort of faulty software update. I suppose that's still possible, but it seems more likely now that some of the hardware was already failing.

This morning when I went out for an hour run, everything seemed fine. But as I was finishing up and tried to unlock the phone to stop my run tracker app, my touch didn't register. I tried rebooting the phone a couple of times, no luck. Without the ability to use the touchscreen, you can't do anything other than reboot the phone, so there's not much else in the way of troubleshooting to try.

I took it to a local phone repair shop, thinking maybe there was some simple solution that I just didn't know about. No such luck - the guy there said that he'd seen similar things before, and it meant replacing the digitizer (the "touch" part of the touchscreen). Since the warranty was expired, the cost would be high enough that the phone is effectively dead. Easier to just get a new one.

I'm going much lower-end with my next phone purchase. Amazon has a Motorola Moto E for less than $100. Fewer features, but since all I really need is the ability to run a few Android apps and hook up my headphones, that's fine. If this one only lasts a year like the last one, well, at least I only paid half as much.

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