When I first picked up my Apple iPhone 4, I thought about getting a case for it, but with being a student, I found that spending $40+ on a case for my phone was a bit high. I’m really good with taking care of my electronics, and I didn’t think that having my iPhone 4 caseless would be a big deal. Silly right? Spending $40 to help protect a $800 phone? Anyway…
I do like the quality of the camera with the iPhone 4, and people have said the iPhone 4S camera is even better. Granted, it will never replace a dSLR for me, but I do like to use it when I am out and about without a camera in tow. What I didn’t notice, so how easily scratched the back glass of the iPhone can become. Even with Apple boosting a scratch “resistant” feature, it still will scratch, scuff and even crack over time.
I haven’t dropped my camera and have not experienced the front or back glass shattering (as so many horror stories I have heard), but with general usage and over time, I did notice that there were small scratches and marks on the back. What I did not notice, is that over time the picture quality of my iPhone 4 was becoming worse. Worse to the point of me not wanting to take photos with it anymore and at that time, I could not figure out what it was, until Robyn picked up her new iPhone 4. Robyn’s phone took great photos, whereas my iPhone 4 was taking heavily “soft focus” photos.
I carefully inspected my iPhone’s back glass, especially the area over the camera. The glass in front of the camera was scratched and scuffed, almost to the point that it looked liked someone had taken sandpaper to it. No wonder why my photos were turning out like crap.
Here is an example of a more recent photo when the glass was scratched:
Doesn’t look too bad right? Notice the upper left side of the photo how it looks soft? One might even think that it could be the sunlight entering from the side. But, it’s not. It’s because of the scratches over the lens! I verified this with various other recent photos I have taken with my iPhone 4. All show similar softness or even haze.
So what did I do to fix this?
Luckily, it is not an expensive fix. I remember reading (don’t remember where though) that you can have Apple replace the back glass of the iPhone 4 for $29. I was willing to spend the $29 in hope that it would fix the picture quality issue I was having. I have seen various instructional videos on YouTube where you can buy the back glass + tool to DIY, but at $39 + shipping. I thought that the Apple fix for $29 was worth it.
So, without making a Genius appointment, I headed over to the Pacific Centre Apple Store location and inquired about it. A friendly gentleman (who in the apple store isn’t friendly and bubbly?) was quick to help me out. He looked up my warranty period (expired by 39 days) but said for $29 we could replace it for me within 15 minutes. I said go for it. About 10 minutes later, my phone was back in my hands and the back look brand new!
Yesterday on a walk I took the same photo, at roughly the the same time of day and this is the result of having my back glass replaced:
Not to shabby eh? The picture quality is back to where it was when I first purchased the phone. I was happy again with quality and the camera and it really did not cost me a lot either.
I also picked up a Speck Fitted Burton for my phone at London Drugs (cheaper than the Apple Store). I should have probably picked up a case when I first bought the phone. The nice thing about having a case for the phone, is that the camera area is protected from being scratched up when left on a flat surface such as a desk or a counter.The case provides a bit of a resesed area for the camera to be in. I should (hopefully) not have the issue of scratching up the glass in front of the camera.
Let this be a lesson to those who think they don’t need a case t protect their phones. Even if you think you are perfect at protecting your phone, little things eventually creep up. I guess I could have also looked at something like the Zagg InvisibleShield, but I like the look of this particular Speck case (and it’s Burton approved!)