Anna’s Guide to dealing with lost or broken smartphonesAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
We’ve all been in that position where you’re hovering nervously over your smartphone, which is now facing flat on some hard surface after a lengthy drop from your hands to the ground. Should you just turn it over and find out what happened, or should we perform a quick ritual to the smartphone gods to magically fix any issues that might have occurred? Or maybe you were unfortunate enough to have your phone magically fall in the toilet, sink, bathtub, or other body of water - which happens to be one of electricity’s worst enemies. Either way, accidents happen to our phones all the time, and although your first reaction is probably to think that life ends here, rest assured things can only get better from here.
If you’re fortunate enough to be reading this while your phone is still perfectly in tact and in your possession, the first thing to ensure the easiest recovery from such a mishap is to sign up for phone insurance. While many people consider this a waste of money (and sometimes it does end up being that way) you’ll be thankful if there ever comes a time when you really need it. Instead of having to shell out several hundreds of dollars to replace your beloved (and probably expensive) smartphone, you can generally have yours replaced with just one or two hundred dollars - similar to if you were buying a new smartphone with a yearly upgrade price. This also gives you peace of mind, which is always nice to have.
Also, if this hasn’t happened to you yet, I also suggest keeping a “spare” smartphone (perhaps an old phone of yours) around at all times just in case - this will get you by if you ever find yourself in these situations while you search for a real replacement phone.
On the other hand, you might be reading this when it’s already too late. Your phone has been lost, stolen, or broken, and you didn’t sign up for insurance. Unfortunately, you can’t sign up for insurance after something bad has already happened; however, the good news is is that there are alternatives for getting a decent smartphone replacement without breaking the bank. While you may not be able to get the exact model of phone you were using for cheap, we fortunately live in a time where there are decent smartphone alternatives for cheap.
You may or may not have heard of the Moto G at this point. If you’re out a smartphone and looking for a cheap replacement, now might be the time to get familiar with the Moto G. The Moto G is a lower end Android smartphone that costs less than $200 off-contract, and available through various providers. While the Moto G might not be the most high-end phone on the market, you know what you’re getting into. When discussing how to deal with a lost or broken phone a year or two ago, my first suggestion would be to browse Craigslist or eBay to find a gently used phone - but that also came with risks. With the Moto G, you’re able to get a brand new device without any worries of bad ESNs or experiencing surprise technical difficulties that the previous owner may have neglected to mention.
You could also check out some of the cheaper Nokia Lumia devices, such as the 520 or the 521. These devices can be purchased for less than $100 at various retailers. These particular models are also considered lower end when it comes to specs, but one of the better aspects of the Windows Phone platform is that the platform can perform relatively well even after the fact that they’re using less than stellar specs.
If settling for a low-end smartphone isn’t your first choice, you could also try talking to your carrier about moving your upgrade date up. This is a risky move and doesn’t always work, but the worst that can happen is they end up telling you that they can’t do it. However, being somebody that used to work in that part of the industry I can say that I’ve seen some miracles come through - only sometimes though.
You could also check reputable websites like Swappa to find gently used smartphones. You can bargain prices or even try trading for phones on this website. I’ve used it twice and have had good luck here so far, so I find it to be a good resource whether you’re buying or selling.
As previously mentioned, you could also check craigslist or eBay for replacements, but as always it’s best to remain cautious with these methods as they don’t always pan out in everyone’s favor.
Losing or breaking a smartphone is never a fun ordeal to go through, but unfortunately it’s one of those things that sometimes just happens. Fortunately there are several ways to help mend the situation if you ever find yourself there.
Readers, when is the last time you lost or broke a phone? How did you go about getting a new one? Let us know in the comments below!