iphone – Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 What’s the Best Fix for a Broken iPhone 5 Screen? http://yourpfpro.com/whats-best-fix-broken-iphone-screen/ http://yourpfpro.com/whats-best-fix-broken-iphone-screen/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:41:57 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=3958 So you pull into a parking spot, take your seat belt off and start to get out of the car when you suddenly remember your phone is still on your lap. But it’s too late, the soft thud of your phone hitting the ground is a sound that I’m all too familiar with. Back when […]

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What's the Best Fix for a Broken iPhone Screen?So you pull into a parking spot, take your seat belt off and start to get out of the car when you suddenly remember your phone is still on your lap. But it’s too late, the soft thud of your phone hitting the ground is a sound that I’m all too familiar with. Back when I used to own an iPhone, that exact scenario happened to me at the gas station. Fortunately, the phone was only a month and a half old so it was still covered under my credit card’s protection plan. I really lucked out but most people are not so fortunate.

If you’ve ever dropped your precious smart phone, it’s almost like slow motion watching the agonizing 3-4 foot drop happen in real time. The odds are, you’re going to pick up your phone and there’s going to be a nice sized spider crack on the front of the screen. For whatever reason, smartphones these days are very vulnerable to drops and this problem is magnified with iPhones. Some people can live with a cracked screen but I don’t think it’s very safe or aesthetically pleasing to have a giant crack taking up most of your screen. Who wants to be surfing the internet with a piece of broken glass in their finger? I usually joke that the spider crack app is the most popular one around since it seems like everyone’s broken their iPhone screen at one point or another.

I have a hunch(or maybe it’s more like a conspiracy theory) that Apple made their screens so weak on purpose so that consumers would be forced to buy replacement screens at a huge mark-up. It wouldn’t be the first time a mega-corporation did something like this. Luckily, you’ve got the PF Pro on your side to help you figure out what the best fix for a broken iPhone screen is.

The Cheapest Solution

The cheapest solution to a broken iPhone screen is probably the pre-emptive one: buy a solid case. But I know that most people(myself included) don’t like walking around with a 2 pound brick in their pocket. It kind of defeats the purpose of a portable device if the case is 2-3x as thick as the phone. But not only do I prefer the feel of my naked phone, I also think it looks way better without a case. The engineers at Apple and Samsung put a lot of work into their designs so why cover it up with some hideous case?

Some people are definitely more prone to drops than others. So if you consider yourself a little bit clumsy or even a lot, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a solid case like the Otterbox. If I had a kid with a smart phone, there’s no way I’d ever let him go without a case. These phones are just too fragile to be put in the hands of someone that’s likely to drop them. Buying a case after you drop your phone won’t do much good either, since you’ll be a lot more careful once you’ve broken it once.

The Do It Yourself Repair

I’ve been using a GS3 now for about a year and a half without a case and so far so good. I’ve dropped it short distances onto soft surfaces a couple times but the screen hasn’t cracked yet. If it does break, or if my fiancee’s iPhone 5 screen gets shattered, I’ll probably go the do it yourself route. I’m kind of curious to know what the inside of a phone looks like anyways and it seems like a pretty fun project. You have to be very careful though since it’s easy to screw up other things when your phone’s guts are exposed. There are lots of detailed instructional videos on Youtube if you need some help.

I found a very highly rated kit(4.5 stars) on Amazon for $90. That seems like a pretty fair price to me since it includes the screen, all the tools you’d need to take the screen off(apparently there are a lot of little tiny screws), some other miscellaneous items and instructions. The actual screens aren’t too expensive but it looks like a lot of the ancillary parts bring up the cost. You can probably get just the screen for a whole lot less but the ones I found on Amazon didn’t have very high reviews.

Craigslist or Yelp

If you’re not the do it yourself type, the next cheapest option is to find a respectable third party dealer that can do it for you. They’ll basically do the same thing as the kit above but charge you for their labor. Most repair guys charge in the $75-$125 range but you’ll need to verify their work somehow. Normally, I would go to Craigslist for something like this but I think Yelp might yield better results since you want someone who has a lot of positive reviews. I’d be very apprehensive to meet someone in the back of an alley to fix my iPhone since you’re ultimately on the hook if they screw up.

Look for someone with a small shop or a decent customer base so that you know they’ll stand behind their work. I went on Yelp and I was able to find several 5 star(multiple reviews) rated iPhone repair guys.

The Ripoff(I mean Apple) Store

I think it’s pretty wrong to charge customers $149 for a little piece of glass that was probably made in China for under a dollar, especially after you’ve already shelled out $700+ for the phone but that’s exactly what Apple does. Ok enough complaining, going to the Apple store is obviously the safest route since you won’t void your warranty by using a third party retailer and you’ll get a refurbished phone that is guaranteed to work. But it’s going to cost you a lot more. The Apple store is considerably more expensive than the other options so it’s up to you to decide what’s the best fit.

(Note: The prices may vary to get your screen replaced at the Apple store and some of the newer phones may not be available for repair in store just yet)

Readers, have you ever shattered your iPhone screen? What do you think are the best repair options: Otterbox, Do It Yourself Kit, Third Party Retailer or Apple Store?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Editor’s Note: If you buy a product from Amazon using one of my links I will get a small commission.

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Save $500 on a New iPhone 5 Through Walmart/Straight Talk http://yourpfpro.com/save-500-on-a-new-iphone-5-through-walmartstraight-talk/ http://yourpfpro.com/save-500-on-a-new-iphone-5-through-walmartstraight-talk/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 02:22:39 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1694 Ever since I graduated college, the one thing I’ve resisted doing on my own is signing up for my own cell phone plan.  I’ve been on my mom’s family plan since freshman year of college and I intend to keep it that way.  AT&T’s family plan lets you to add a line for $20 and […]

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Walmart_Straight-talk_iPhone_5Ever since I graduated college, the one thing I’ve resisted doing on my own is signing up for my own cell phone plan.  I’ve been on my mom’s family plan since freshman year of college and I intend to keep it that way.  AT&T’s family plan lets you to add a line for $20 and get unlimited data for $30.  So back in the day, before I switched to a Galaxy S3, my iPhone plan was only $50 a month.  That’s probably a shock to anyone that pays their cell phone bill on their own but I don’t know if I could justify having a smartphone otherwise.

Now that the big three carriers are limiting data, plans are getting even more expensive(I will do everything I can to keep my unlimited plan and you should too!).  For unlimited talk and text and just 1GB of data, AT&T is currently charging $40 and $45 respectively.  $85 plus taxes seems like a ridiculous amount to pay per month and if I had to pay that I think I’d probably cut my smartphone like my friend Cat did here.  That’s why I really like this new cell phone deal that Walmart is offering.

Can You Do The Math?

The only reason that I fear this deal may not catch on is that most Americans can’t do the math.  There are countless studies that say how little Americans are saving for retirement each year but maybe it will be different when it comes to technology?  So here’s the deal, Walmart is currently offering the iPhone 5 at it’s wholesale price of $650, but it comes with the option to sign up for an unlimited data plan through Straight Talk Wireless for $45/month.  Here’s the not so complicated math:

Walmart: $650 for the phone + $45/mo. for unlimited data = $1,730 over two years
AT&T: $200 for the phone + $85/mo. for 1 GB of data = $2,240 over two years

(Wow, when you put it in these terms I can’t believe so many people spend so much on a cell phone but on to the analysis!)

Making the Switch

The Walmart/Straight Talk plan saves you $500 over the course of two years and you get unlimited data vs only 1 GB with AT&T.  I primarily use my phone for data so this plan would suit me well if I wasn’t already on a family plan.  And as an AT&T user I can tell you that their cell service is horrible, I always drop calls(whether it was my iphone or my new S3) so I would guess that Straight Talk is at least comparable if not better in the voice department.

According to Walmart/Straight Talk, it’s pretty easy to make the switch to their new plan.  If you already have an AT&T phone or an unlocked iPhone all you’ll need is a Straight Talk SIM card and you can keep the same number.  Otherwise, you’ll have to buy the phone at Walmart for $650 but it will come with a Straight Talk SIM card and you can activate the phone and port your existing number online through Straight Talk’s website.

I can’t really speak to the quality of the Straight Talk network but I know that their phone service can’t be worse than AT&T.  Based on online reviews, it seems like their data service is slightly inferior to the big carriers but that’s expected if you’re saving $500 or more.  If I wasn’t on a family plan, I would definitely consider this phone since $500 is a ton of money to save over just two years.  And since $85 is the minimum you’d pay with AT&T, be sure to take a look at what you pay and compare that number to what it would cost to go with Walmart/Straight Talk.

Mental Block of Paying More Upfront

The math is one thing, but do you think you’d be able to get over the psychology of having to pay so much up front to save money over the course of two years?  Anyone reading this blog would probably at least consider this offer and do the research into Straight Talk to see if the savings are worth it but I’m not convinced this type of plan will become popular.  Walmart is one of the first companies to offer a top of the line phone with a prepaid plan and for the consumer’s sake, I hope it catches on.

Readers, does this sound like a good deal to you?  Is it something you would consider or do you think the Straight Talk network isn’t worth the $500+ savings?  Btw, there are NO affiliate links in this post, so feel free to click away and explore the articles I linked to.

-Harry @ PF Pro

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The Apple Price Premium: Are Mac Computers, Ipods and Iphones Worth the Extra Money? http://yourpfpro.com/the-apple-price-premium-are-mac-computers-ipods-and-iphones-worth-the-extra-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/the-apple-price-premium-are-mac-computers-ipods-and-iphones-worth-the-extra-money/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2012 04:47:07 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1539 From my seat on the couch I can look around and see my fiancee’s iPhone 5, my old iPhone 4, my Apple TV and oh yeah I’m typing on a MacBook Pro.  Obivously, we’ve been using Apple products for quite some time now but I still remember our family’s first Macintosh computer in the early […]

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apple products computers iphone worth the extra moneyFrom my seat on the couch I can look around and see my fiancee’s iPhone 5, my old iPhone 4, my Apple TV and oh yeah I’m typing on a MacBook Pro.  Obivously, we’ve been using Apple products for quite some time now but I still remember our family’s first Macintosh computer in the early 90’s.  Mac products have come a long way since then and the company has come to epitomize a top of the line electronics brand.

The sales statistics are staggering and if you invested in their stock(AAPL) any time in the past 10 years, you’ve probably made some money.  I don’t own any shares specifically but I know they’re one of the top holdings in all my large cap index funds.  I’ve never really been an Apple fan boy, but I have enjoyed many of their products over the past 10 years.  I’ve owned everything from iPods and shuffles to currently, my Apple TV and MacBook Pro.  They’ve always been on the cutting edge of technology and their products are very simple and easy to use.

But even though I’ve made countless Apple purchases in the past, I’m slowly shifting away from the Apple brand.  I ditched my iPhone 4 for the Galaxy S3 a few months ago and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m currently in the market for a new desktop computer, and in addition to RAM, memory and technical details, I look at the quality of antivirus software offered on a new desktop computer, Mac has literally hundreds of options.  In addition, the price of a PC is literally 3-4 times cheaper than a comparable Mac. I don’t even use my iPod anymore since I primarily play music through my phone so there’s no need for a redundant device there. While Apple does still make some good products, I think you can find other brands of comparable quality for a lot less.

Price Premium

When you hear the word Apple behind a product’s name, you know it can be trusted.  When iPods first came out, the Apple iPod was vastly superior to others.  I remember using a Rio MP3 player in middle school and that thing was an absolute piece of crap.  At the time, Apple was so far ahead of other companies, it made sense that their iPod cost 2-3 times more than a Rio MP3 player.

I don’t know if people still buy iPods(since you can use a smartphone to play music), but I don’t see one good reason to pay the Apple price premium anymore.  Other companies are producing electronic devices of the exact same quality but cheaper(Apple’s iPad vs Amazon’s Kindle Fire).  In fact, most of the suppliers for Apple parts are allowed(and do) sell the exact same parts to any third or fourth party.  The iPhone 5 A6 chip was even manufactured by Samsung, makers of the Galaxy S3, one of the iPhone 5’s biggest rivals.

Apple Keeps It Simple

I think most would agree that you’re going to pay top dollar for Apple products.  They don’t need to have sales or deals on their products since more than enough people are willing to line up when their newest products hit the shelves.  But one of the reasons their products are in such high demand is their simplicity.  I’ve seen everyone from 5 year old kids to 75 year old grandparents using Apple products.

But their are a couple drawbacks to this approach.  Ever wonder why you can’t visit websites that use Flash on an Apple phone or iPad?  They have very strict developer rules which severely limits third party software.  Companies like Google take more of an open source approach with their products: everything is customizable, everything is accessible and you can make your phone or your computer the way you like.  Personally, I like the customizability aspect of Google products.  I want to have the ability to change settings, update software, etc.

With Apple, it’s either their way or the highway, and it’s getting worse.  In the past, you could always buy a Mac computer with minimal RAM and pay anywhere from $30 – $100 to upgrade it yourself(if you go through Apple, they charge hundreds of dollars for RAM upgrades – ridiculous!).  But with Apple’s newest MacBook Pro, the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard so you can never upgrade the RAM or replace corrupted RAM.

Where’s The Innovation?

Apple has done a great job building their brand to the point where they can release a 5th version of a phone that is exactly the same as the previous(except for a weird vertical extension in length) one and it becomes their best selling phone ever.  The iPhone 5 still sold millions but I think people are eventually going to notice this lack of innovation.

I don’t see the same ingenuity that Apple products once had, therefore, I don’t see a reason to pay top dollar for them anymore.  I don’t care what brand name is on my phone(I’m probably going to put a cover on it anyways).  As long as the product delivers and keeps me happy, I’m going to pay the lowest price possible.

Readers, do you buy Apple products because of the name or do you truly think they make a better product?  Have you ever tried switching from say an iPhone 5 to a Galaxy S3 or a MacBook Pro to a Windows PC?  Don’t be scared, do it and I think you’ll be surprised.

-Harry @ PF Pro

 

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Upgrading Your Smartphone: My Switch From the iPhone 4 to the Samsung Galaxy S3 http://yourpfpro.com/upgrading-your-smartphone-my-switch-from-the-iphone-4-to-the-samsung-galaxy-s3/ http://yourpfpro.com/upgrading-your-smartphone-my-switch-from-the-iphone-4-to-the-samsung-galaxy-s3/#comments Sun, 07 Oct 2012 23:09:31 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1266 I’ve had an iPhone for the past four years, but the other day I finally decided to switch to the Android OS and get a Galaxy S3.  I was pretty disappointed with the iPhone 5 release, essentially the same phone as the iPhone 4, but slightly taller and skinnier.  So far, I really love my […]

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Iphone5_vs_Samsung_GalaxyS3I’ve had an iPhone for the past four years, but the other day I finally decided to switch to the Android OS and get a Galaxy S3.  I was pretty disappointed with the iPhone 5 release, essentially the same phone as the iPhone 4, but slightly taller and skinnier.  So far, I really love my S3, the Android operating system is much more customizable and the phone has a lot of cool widgets and functions.  Whether you decide on the new iPhone, the Galaxy S3 or some other smartphone, upgrading can be a pain(and expensive).  I’ll tell you how I got the best price with the least hassle.

I did a lot of comparison shopping and ended up buying my phone at Best Buy for $50 less than it would have cost me at the AT&T store.  When I first started shopping around, I never would have guessed that Best Buy would have the cheapest price!  But in the end, they gave me the best deal and helped me transfer over all of my contacts, music and photos for free.

Only $200 for a Smartphone?

Although the list price of most new smartphones is $200, the actual MSRP is close to $500-$600.   The reason why you only have to pay $200 is that the phone carrier(in this instance AT&T) will subsidize the difference.  Since you’re agreeing to stay with them for two more years when you upgrade, they take the $400 hit here to lock you in at $100/month for two more years.

Smartphones are pretty common these days, and although there are still some people still using flip phones, I think it’s only a matter of time before every phone is a smartphone.  Even if you don’t use it to browse the internet or go on Facebook, things like maps(driving directions) and e-mail are pretty invaluable.  It’s been about 4 years since I had to print out driving directions from Mapquest(is that site even still around?)  Now I can just look up my destination on my way out the door.

Where to Buy 

I, like most people, assumed that my carrier(AT&T) would have the lowest prices on this phone.  After all, they are the ones subsidizing the cost of the phone, and they have a direct relationship with the manufacturer.  But in reality, they actually had the highest prices.  If you’re looking for a new smartphone, make sure to compare prices with stores like Amazon Wireless, Best Buy, Costco, Target and Walmart.  I’m not sure why these stores have lower prices, but they always seem to beat the carrier’s prices.

I actually found the lowest price on Amazon Wireless, my phonewas only $120, but they wouldn’t allow me to keep my unlimited data plan.  When I called Amazon Wireless customer service, they told me that AT&T was not allowing anyone to upgrade without dropping their unlimited data plans to a standard 3 gb per month plan, through a third party vendor.  I didn’t run into this problem though at Best Buy so your results may vary.

$50 Taxes & a $36 Activation Fee, Huh?

Unfortunately, you are required to pay taxes on the full MSRP of the phone so instead of paying taxes on $200, I had to pay taxes on $550.  This seems a little shady to me, but there’s not much you can do about it.  If you live in a state where Amazon doesn’t charge sales tax, you should be able to upgrade your phone through them and avoid this tax.

The other PITA charge is the $36 activation fee.  Now this one really pisses me off, but again, there’s not a whole lot you can do.  I don’t know why AT&T doesn’t just charge more for the phone, and not hit us with this back-end fee.  How hard can it be to activate a phone?  You press a couple buttons, and the computers do the rest, I don’t see how on earth it could possibly cost this much.  It kind of reminds me of the fee ticketmaster charges you when you want to print out tickets, what the hell?

However, I did find one way around this fee.  If you work for a large company, chances are they have discount arrangements in place with the major cell carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.  Most corporate discount plans will waive this activation fee and give you a discount of up to 25% on your bill.  My company actually offers a 25% discount and will waive activation fees on new phones.  Since I’m still on my family plan(and only paying $50/month for my smartphone), the bill is under my mom’s name but she also receives a similar discount through her employer so there were no activation fees.

I ended up buying my phone at Best Buy because they had the phone I wanted, in stock and at the lowest price.  The upgrade was relatively painless and I had my new smartphone ready to use within 45 minutes.  My final cost was $150 for the phone plus $50 in taxes.  I even saved an additional $20 by using my Amex card!

Readers, have you upgraded your smartphone recently?  Did you buy your phone straight from the manufacturer, the carrier or a third party store?  Is it worth it to upgrade?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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September 2012 Favorite Posts http://yourpfpro.com/september-2012-favorite-posts/ http://yourpfpro.com/september-2012-favorite-posts/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 05:44:19 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1208 Even though it’s the middle of September, the weather has been great here in Southern California.  It’s actually been almost too hot, with temperatures close to 100 degrees last week.  When I played golf the other day it was 95 degrees out, way too hot; plus I don’t like to sweat when I’m playing golf. […]

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Sunset in North PB

Even though it’s the middle of September, the weather has been great here in Southern California.  It’s actually been almost too hot, with temperatures close to 100 degrees last week.  When I played golf the other day it was 95 degrees out, way too hot; plus I don’t like to sweat when I’m playing golf.  I figured the heat would let up this week though, since I finally broke down and got my A/C tuned up last weekend for $245.  Since then, the temperature has steadily been decreasing, figures.

I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth it to get the iPhone 5 or not.  I was pretty disappointed with what they unveiled.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was hoping there would be some new feature that would wow me.  At $200 plus $50 in taxes(what the heck’s up with that?) plus a 2 year contract, I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  I have my jailbroken iPhone 4 so my phone already has a lot of the features that the new iPhone 5 has.  Did anyone else notice that most of the new iPhone 5 features were solely software updates and not hardware?  I’m thinking about switching to a Samsung S3, so I’d love to hear anyone’s opinion on the matter.

Work hasn’t been too busy this summer so I’ve had plenty of time to work on the blog and develop some relationships with other bloggers.  And speaking of iPhones, I even had time to submit a guest post on Modest Money: How My Credit Card’s Purchase Protection Plan Saved My iPhone 4.  Check it out!

I’ve read some really great articles over the past couple weeks too so I thought I’d share a few:

Some of My Favorite September Posts

Putting the 1% Into Perspective on Freedom Thirty Five Blog

Redefining Retirement on Married With Debt

With Blog Networking It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know on Modest Money

What the One Percent Buy at Disney World on Money Life and More

Is It Ethical to Buy at Flea Markets? on Add Vodka

My Dance With Credit Card Debt (And How I Got Out of it) on Frugal Rules

Go Green and Save Money with Energy Efficient Appliances on Prairie Eco-Thrifter

Should You Let Your Employer Know About Your Side Business? on Faithful With a Few

How Can a College Student Build Credit? on Young Adult Finances

Pork Belly or Sausage on Planting Our Pennies

One Year Without A Smartphone on Budget Blonde

-Harry @ PF Pro

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