HOUSTON - Have a cell phone with a cracked screen? Or a laptop that takes forever to do anything?
Now that students are heading back to school, you may be getting ready to buy new laptops, tablets, or smartphones. But shortages are making them expensive, and you may not need to spend that much money. Repairs and tune-ups can be a fraction of the cost.
Electronic repair technicians say they are busy repairing laptops, tablets, and smartphones after the pandemic forced students to attend virtual school.
"Cracked screen with phones and tablets and kids going to school and off the bus. Water damage would be one of the things we see," said John Campbell, III with electronics repair company uBreakiFix.
Many repair shops, like uBreakiFix, say they can fix anything with a power button and offer free diagnostics.
"You can bring it in, we’ll tell you exactly what it costs to repair it before we start the repairs," said Campbell.
Use the 50% rule. Consider repairs if they're less than half the cost of a new device. Industry periodicals say common cell phone repairs run $50 to $100, laptop repairs are usually $100 to $250, and typical tablet repairs cost $150 to $200.
"So it typically would be anywhere from 40% to 50% cheaper than purchasing new," said Campbell.
If your device is running slow, you may just need to have spyware or viruses removed.
And to keep your devices running smoothly, Campbell says clean them with wipes made for electronics, blow dirt and crumbs out of keyboards with compressed air, say yes when asked to update software, which can help block viruses and spyware.
"I think we're all guilty of those times where the icon pops up and we hit install later or ignore," said Campbell.
You can buy insurance for electronic devices for about $5 to $20 a month. But make sure you're not spending more overall for insurance than you'd pay to repair or replace it. Here's a comparison of some electronics insurance policies.
If you bought a device with a credit card, some cards give you an extended warranty.