Wednesday, 11 March 2015

To LOCA or not to LOCA

I recently broke the screen on my Samsung Galaxy S3.  I paid £60 to have it repaired by a guy at the local market.

To clarify at this point it was only the glass that was broken, not the digitiser.  This means, to the layman, that although the glass was broken I could still see the display clearly and the touch screen still worked.  If you have any form of screen corruption and/or loss of touch capability then you need an entirely new digitiser which will set you back £70- £120 for just the screen, or the screen and fitting respectively.

So, as I was saying, the bloke at the market fixed my screen over night and within 24 hours I had the repaired phone back.  There were a couple of scratches underneath the glass where I assume they had scratched the digitiser during removal but to be fair it's a technical process with a hot air gun.  If you get it too hot you melt the digitiser and too cold and the screen is hard to remove.

The only issue was that within 2 weeks it was broken again.  Why ?  Of course it was partly due to my clumsy handling but also, in my opinion, the flexing of the repaired screen.  There are two ways of repairing a screen

Non LOCA repair

This is exactly the same as a LOCA repair but without the glue.

  • Easier
  • Cheaper
  • Less messy


  • The glue adds strength and reduces flex.  By making the glass and digitiser in to a single unit it increases the strength of both the glass and the digitiser
  • You can have dust between the glass and the digitiser which you can't remove
  • The contrast in daylight is lower due to the extra space between the glass and the digitizer.

LOCA repair

  • Much stronger and less likely to fail than a non-LOCA repair
  • Practically an OEM finish
  • Much better contrast and ability to see in sunlight
  • This is messy and very diffficult
  • It takes MUCH longer and includes more preparation
  • It requires the purchase of more tools (UV bulb/light), LOCA glue
  • You can capture air bubbles in the glue which cannot be removed
  • You can break the phone or touch on the screen

Ebay and Amazon sourcing

I bought these items:

It took me two attempts but I ended up with a perfect looking screen, with only a pinprick of a bubble..... unfortunately the touch screen stopped working.  The screen itself works perfectly but the touch will not respond at all..

In conclusion I would recommend that any broken screen is repaired professionally either by using a warranty repair, applecare or by taking it to a well known highstreet vendor.  Alternatively I would buy the entire unit, digitizer and screen and replace the whole unit.

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