Posted on January 17, 2014
Here at RepairLabs, we deal with water damaged smart phones and tablets on a daily basis, and get asked quite often by the poor victims of water damage what they can do to help protect their phone. Besides the obvious advice to not get your phone wet, there really isn't much we can offer them in the way of protecting it after we've gone in and fixed it.
With that in mind, we were approached by Liquipel not too long ago after doing our Guide to Dealing with a Water Damaged Phone. Liquipel was interested in showcasing their product to us, so that we could do some unbiased testing on the effectiveness of their coating, and to be able to effectively tell if it is indeed a good investment for those of you who are prone to soaking your favorite portable device. To help keep the testing relevant to most readers, we sent Liquipel one of the most common devices on the market, the iPhone 4.
First off, to talk about the process as a whole, we'd just like to state that the folks at Liquipel have been great to work with, always being prompt in response to any questions we've had about the process, and having a quick turnaround rate for a primarily mail-in based company. (which we know a little something about!)
Upon getting the iPhone 4 back from Liquipel, we were greeted by this awesome Liquipel tin case. From there the experience only got better, with there being a large foam cover directly below the top of the case.
Underneath that, the phone was stored in a little shipping bag and encased in foam, making sure that your precious device doesn't get damaged during the return shipping. Nice touch, Liquipel!
As for the iPhone 4 itself, you can see that it came back a bit dirty, but other than that, in perfect working condition!
A little bit of information on the Liquipel process: Liquipel is a nano coating that surrounds all the tiny little electrical parts in and around your device. It’s completely invisible to the human eye and will not void your warranty. While we can’t say your device is waterproof, we can proudly stand by our hydrophobic technology and say it’s great for accidental occurrences.
Both us here at RepairLabs and Liquipel agreed that we should keep the testing simple to help avoid any confusions on what the Liquipel coating actually protects you from, so with that in mind, we agreed upon a test that involved three inches of pool water, which is a combination of chlorine and typical tap water, with the Liquipel-coated iPhone 4 and the uncoated iPhone 4 going in horizontally for 60 seconds, then removed and sat out to dry for a full 24 hours before opening the phones up.
As you'd expect from testing as simple as this, the testing went perfectly, with both iPhones getting a nice soak in the pool water for an entire minute before being removed. After we removed them from the water, we sat them aside on a microfiber cloth to air dry without being touched for the next 24 hours.
After sitting out for the next 24 hours, we carefully removed the back covers from both iPhones, and were greeted with not-so-surprising results. Liquipel claims that their coating will protect you from your average accident involving liquids, not a coating that would survive a couple days in the Ocean, and the results show just that, with the Liquipel-coated phone being completely dry.
Both phones side-by-side show very different results, with the uncoated phone still having expected water residue on the battery, even though the outside of the phone has almost completely dried-up, whereas the Liquipel phone looked as if it hadn't even been in the water at all.
What does all this mean for you, the consumer? It means that if you're accident prone around water, Liquipel is not just a worthy investment, but an investment that we here at RepairLabs absolutely recommend!
You're not paying for a super-fancy coating, (well you are) you're paying for the peace-of-mind in knowing that your phone can withstand just a little bit more punishment from you before it croaks. And if you have a device that has already taken a spill, call the experts here at RepairLabs, we'll get you fixed up and running like new in no time.
Note that both RepairLabs and Liquipel do not recommend getting your device wet on purpose, and that the Liquipel Watersafe Treatment is only meant for accidental exposure.
Posted on August 5, 2013
We here at RepairLabs spend a lot of time fixing water damaged devices. Now, most of the time, these devices require our specially-designed RepairLabs' Cleaning Process to get back into working order, still we decided it was time to answer the question we get asked all the time: “I got my phone wet, what can I do to fix it?”
To do this test properly, we had to document each step of the process so that you guys can see exactly why one option is better than another. The most common thing people do when they get their device wet, is stick it in rice... That’s the worst thing you can do. Yes, rice will eventually absorb the water, what it will also do is cause massive corrosion build-up inside your device, which is the reason it isn’t working in the first place.
Rice has always been considered by many to be the top option for drying out a water damaged device, but the truth is that rice doesn’t absorb liquid out of your device very well, increasing the risk of a part shorting out inside the phone due to water, and an increased build-up of corrosion from the chlorine in the water.
Though the general idea behind corrosion is that it makes your phone go from working to not working, which is true, but there is more to it than that. It’s time for a RepairLabs’ Super Awesome Scientific Moment!!
Corrosion is the result of an undisturbed chlorinated-liquid sitting inside your device for an extended period of time. What this chlorine does is cause corrosion, which eats away lead-free solder, causing your device to have cold joints which is a bad connection between two connectors where the solder use to be. Another issue with corrosion is that it’s conductive, which can cause parts inside your device to short out, such as the battery and LCD, etc...
Any website or person that has told you to stick your phone in rice after suffering water damage is setting you up for failure. Luckily your friends at RepairLabs are here to help you get things back in working order.
We used the five most common drying methods, which are; rice, an alcohol bath, desiccant crystals, a blow dryer, and running a device through RepairLabs' own Cleaning Process. For the sake of consistency, we used five iPhones that have been submerged in a bucket full of pool water, which consists of water and chlorine, since the water will be more corrosive than tap water, but not quite as bad as salt water.
Each device was submerged for five minutes, removed from the water and shaken out, then put into whatever water drying method it was selected for. After their allotted time, they were all removed and disassembled to get pictures of the rust accumulation inside and the corrosion build up on the LCD connection.
Desiccant Crystals (48hrs) – The trusty 48 hour emergency water kit. All these are is a little bag full of desiccant crystals, which are used to absorb moisture. We followed the directions on the packaging to the letter, getting the phone into the bag as quickly as possible and then sealing it for 48 hours before re-opening it.
Results – The rust build-up was pretty severe on the screws inside the phone, along with most of the back housing and metal internal components. There was also a bit of moisture still on the battery, leaving it moist in areas.
The LCD connection was surprisingly relatively clean of any corrosion, raising the chances that we would be able to fix this particular phone.
Alcohol (24hrs) – Considered by some our Certified Technicians to be the best way to save your phone after a dip in some liquid. The alcohol will help break down the water while working as a non-conductive liquid to keep your device from shorting out. Note that five to ten minutes is all that is needed in the alcohol. We let it sit in the alcohol for five minutes before removing the phone and letting it air dry for another 24 hours.
Interesting to see that the phone worked the moment we put it in the alcohol, even after sitting in the pool water for five whole minutes.
Results – Not nearly as much rust inside the phone as the crystal phone. The screws are rusted and of course the water sensor has been tripped on the phone, which is a given. There is no standing water on the battery or within the device itself, being completely dry, but you can clearly see the water damage to the battery.
Underneath the cables is the LCD connection, which is almost spotless except for the bit of corrosion on the connector itself, you can tell the corrosion by its teal color.
Blow Dryer (48hrs) – This is probably your second best bet when it comes to getting your phone working again after dropping it in water. Using a blow dryer on low heat and low speed will gently push the water molecules out of the phone from the open areas. Do this for roughly five minutes, and you’ve raised the chances of getting your phone back in working condition exponentially. After blow drying it, we let it sit for an additional 48 hours to let it completely dry out.
We used the blow dryer for five minutes on the phone, constantly turning and flipping the phone to help evaporate as much water as we could.
Results – Similar results to that of the alcohol bath phone. There is minor rust damage inside the phone besides the screws. Again the battery is pretty thrashed, which is why we call it water damage.
Not surprising, since the rest of the internals look similar, the LCD connection is roughly the same as well (in comparison to the alcohol phone), with there only being minor corrosion damage on the connector cable itself.
RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process (24hrs) – The idea here is to let the phone sit powered down for 24 hours, the average amount of time a water damaged phone sits before it is normally taken/shipped to a repair center for water damage repairs. After 24 hours, we ran the phone through our RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process to break away the corrosion.
Results – After getting the 24 hour treatment, this phone was torn apart and cleaned of all corrosion, and the results are pretty amazing, with the phone showing next to no signs of water damage after having been submerged in pool water for five minutes.
The LCD connection is spotless, with not an ounce of corrosion to be found.
Rice (72hrs) – The most misleading myth when it comes to phone repair probably ever. Putting your phone in rice is a terrible idea. The moisture absorbed is minimal at best compared to the amount of corrosion you will build in return. We let the iPhone sit inside a full bag of rice for 72 hours before opening it to check for corrosion.
Results – Wow... There really is not a better word to explain the phone after sitting in the rice for three whole days. The rust build-up is intense and there is still water on the battery itself, leading me to conclusion that the rice did an absolutely porous job of absorbing the water. In the battle between rice and water damage, water damage won hands down!
Gross, that corrosion means this phone is basically shot. Yes, it could be put through our water damage cleaning process, but there is no guarantee this phone could be saved with this much damage to the internals.
For reference, this is what an iPhone looks like after getting wet in pool water and sitting for eight whole days. The corrosion inside is so bad that this phone has probably seen its last days. Though we clean all phones that come through, not every phone can be saved.
The results speak for themselves. If there is no way for you to get your phone to us right away, either put your phone in a quick alcohol bath or run a blow dryer over it on low for a bit. The 48 hour emergency kits aren’t a bad idea if you’re out and about when this happens, but the two previously stated methods are cheaper and you normally have both in-house.
Putting your phone in rice doesn’t help, so don’t bother. The standing water on the battery and corrosion build-up makes it pretty clear that you’re much better off doing something else with your phone if you get it wet.
Posted on August 1, 2013
Over the course of the past year, RepairLabs, the nation's most trusted repair service has partnered with some of the finest charitable organizations around to help cloth children in China, combat diabetes, support animals in need, and help fight drug addiction. Now it’s time for RepairLabs to step in once again with our Op:HERO program to help with another major issue in our beautiful country, and that’s children with special needs who do not or cannot receive the proper help they need to lead the fullest life possible, Canines for Disabled Kids has been helping with this very issue for years, and is committed for the long haul, so we thought it was time that we got involved.
Though Canines for Disabled Kids is mostly known for the public awareness and education they spread across the nation by talking to civic/religious groups, and students of all ages, they also help promote the care of these children even further by offering Scholarships to help offset the cost of getting a service animal for your child in need. You don’t consider your child a burden, so why should an animal to better their life become one.
Getting a service dog for your child is a huge responsibility for not only the little one, but for you as a parent as well. Make sure you study the materials available on their website as much as possible before making the decision. Service dogs are there to make life a little bit easier, but still require the same amount of care that any other animal would need, as the old saying goes, everyone poops.
With years of experience in helping parents find the right animal to fit their child’s special needs, Canines for Disabled Kids will help you every step of the way, from picking the correct dog that has been specially trained, to the financial situation, all the way to getting your child the animal they deserve.
Our Op:HERO (Help Every Repair Overcome) program was started with these exact same ideals in mind that Canines for Disabled Kids was founded on. Helping those who need it has always been our biggest concern, and by donating to Canines for Disabled Kids, we all make sure these children get paired with the right animal to help them, and that’s what it’s all about.
Each dollar you donate to Canines for Disabled Kids we’ll match, up to $100 per order, and if you’re the parent of a child you feel may be in need of one of these specially-trained animals, please head over to the Canines for Disabled Kids website to learn more.
The opportunity to help these children really gets us here at RepairLabs excited, if there is one thing we love to do, its help in any way we can, but if you’d like to make a donation without purchasing one of our fine services, you may do so here.
Posted on July 1, 2013
Op:HERO has decided to tackle a special mission. At RepairLabs we’re teaming with our customers to provide warm coats to orphans in China through the Love Without Boundaries charitable organization. We are honored to have the opportunity to help children in need through a special use of our Op:HERO program. In the past we’ve developed relationships with other amazing charitable organizations to collect donations for them from our customers. And in the past we’ve always matched 100% of customer donations (from $1 to $100), so their gift was worth double.
This time RepairLabs is going to match 200% of every donation. We have the opportunity to donate a coat with every customer contribution and we’re going to stretch every dollar. Love Without Boundaries can purchase a coat for an orphan in China for only $15. We’re asking customers who’d like to participate in this program to donate just $5, and we’ll match it with the last $10. We’re asking for a little bit more from our customers, and we intend to give a lot more ourselves.
So why do we here at RepairLabs feel so passionate about this particular charity? Love Without Boundaries has been helping the neediest children in the orphanages of rural China since 2003. And since that time, the demographic face of kids in need there has changed. Instead of orphanages mainly filled with healthy baby girls, the population of orphanages has shifted to children with severe health problems or birth defects. Most of these kids have been abandoned because their parents can’t afford to treat them or because of the stigma associated with birth defects in China, which have been on the rise with pollution.
Rural orphanages in China suffer great deprivation. Often the children go hungry and caregivers are stretched to the limit to provide them with attention. There is no central heating in most facilities, and children from orphanages aren’t allowed to attend school with other children. Love Without Boundaries works to supplement education, nutrition, and warm clothing for these kids. They provide roads to foster homes for the neediest children, and finance many surgeries that will ultimately make these children adoptable domestically and abroad. They wholeheartedly believe that it’s best. Their mission is to provide hope and healing to transform the lives of orphaned and impoverished children.
So where does Operation HERO (Help Each Repair Overcome) fit into this picture? We wanted to help, and when we contacted Love Without Boundaries, they shared with us a need for coats for the kids. Without central heat the children are often bundled into many layers that rarely come off, and in the frigid temperatures that can come about there, there’s a desperate need for warm clothing. We thought we could make a real difference in a little person’s life with this simple donation. We here at RepairLabs are honored to do our small part to make a big difference in a little person’s life. And we’re extra proud that we can empower our customers to make that difference as well.
Operation HERO was started to provide an easy and inexpensive donation opportunity for our customers. Anyone making a purchase from us can choose to add a donation to one of our charities to their checkout cart, and we’ll match that donation 100%--or more! In developing relationships with multiple charities, we wanted to provide our customers with multiple options for charitable giving, and give them the chance to find a cause that resonated for them. Currently we work with an animal shelter charity, an anti-drug organization, and a diabetes cure organization, as well as Love Without Boundaries, and we would like to continue adding more great charities those we support. Most importantly, we think there’s a little hero in each of us, and we’d like to help our customers find that hero too.
This post was posted in What We Do, About Us and was tagged with about us, charitable, charitable giving, boundaries, without, love, love without boundaries, RepairLabs and love without boundaries, what we do, labs, repairlabs, Charity, repair
Posted on June 14, 2013
Those quotes above are from some of the most well-respected technical news sites around today. What they were saying was true, but it’s not anymore. With costs for iPhone 5 glass replacements ranging anywhere from $199 for a cheap repair to over $300 for a repair by a quality, trusted repair shop – the idea of fixing a broken iPhone 5 was ludicrous.
What does MarketWatch, BGR and Geek all have in common? They all agree that the cost of parts is why the iPhone 5 costs so much to get it fixed. It’s quite simple really; the OEM screens are sold at a premium, with the number available being low, which causes the repair shops to drive the price up to actually make any profit.
Almost one out of every three iPhone users will damage their phone this year... You read that right, think of how many people you know that have an iPhone. It’s an epidemic, and Repair Shops are beginning to refuse iPhone 5’s for repair because they’re not profitable for them.
What is the point of dropping that much money, when you could go out and practically buy a replacement phone for that? In the ideal world, you could have your cake, and eat it too, but that’s not the case, until now.
Look around the web; you’ll still see prices varying wildly, with a lot of the cheaper options being from repair shops that don’t have a solid, credible reputation. The cheapest option available to the public right now is through Apple themselves, who recently announced that they will be repairing iPhone 5 glass for $150 per unit, which is substantially less than the 3rd party shops.
The problem with going through Apple is the hassle of finding an Apple Store, scheduling an appointment to get the phone in, and then having to wait even longer while they do a full system quality check before fixing the screen. Is the price great? Sure, but it doesn’t make it any more convenient.
Seeing how the Industry was taking such a large hit from the cost of parts with this new generation of phones, the Research and Development Department here at RepairLabs began work on a new, revolutionary process that would completely change the repair business as we know it. To this point, they’ve put over 100 hours into this new process.
Most companies are willing to stand idly by and only replace a handful of iPhone 5 screens each month because of the cost of the parts alone, but we weren’t satisfied with just replacing the part at a huge premium to the customer. Instead, we took the time to learn the ins and outs of the iPhone 5, what makes it such an expensive device to repair, what the common issues were, and how we could work to bring the best service available to you at a more manageable price.
It’s with great joy that I bring to you today the news that not only has our R&D Department figured out what is needed to fix the iPhone 5 instead of replace the broken screen, but also a way to do it at a price that our competitors just cannot match.
With our new specially designed RepairLabs process, we’re able to fix your iPhone 5 glass for a fraction of the cost of our competitors, while bringing you the highest quality repair possible, which is what RepairLabs has always been known for.
This post was posted in Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with marketwatch, geek, bgr, iphone 5 glass repair, glass, 139 glass repair, ecto-dynamic system, replace, iphone 5 screen replace, iphone 5 screen repair, what we do, repairlabs, screen, repair, iPhone 5
Posted on June 11, 2013
Please note people that the version of iOS 7 used within this post is the beta developer’s version, and that the final product may differ from what you’re about to see.
Ok for those of you didn’t hear or are living under a rock with poor internet reception, yesterday Apple announced the new iOS 7, among many other things. iOS has been criticized for a long time now for being the same with every “new” iteration. What was Apple’s answer to this? Why to pretty much blow up the look of the operating system and rebuild it.
We here at RepairLabs have gotten our hands on the new beta version of iOS 7, and are here to give you a full rundown of our thoughts and opinions on it up to this point.
The results are mixed, at best. I personally dislike the whole look. It’s like Apple thought to themselves “WWAHD?” or “What would a hipster do?” This was the result. Now for the sake of being fair, I got past my initial disgust of the design and utilized the new features to test out the actual functionality of the new iOS.
From a design standpoint, my feelings are pretty clear. I don’t like the new look at all. The icons all have a bright, colorful vector feel to them that I feel is far too hipster for the phone’s own good. Nothing else really changed when it comes to design for the icons. You still have the standard layout with the app rows and the main functions at the bottom.
The lock screen is one of those interesting changes. It’s essentially identical to its predecessor in how it functions, but it now looks nearly identical to a handful of Android phones.. Very interesting.
When it comes to additions to the design, this is where Apple has made improvements. With the new slide down menus on the top and bottom, which are called the Control Center and the Navigation Center, along with the redesigned unlock screen, we get the feeling that Apple has been watching the competition closely while working on this latest version.
The slide down from the top gives you access to the Navigation Center, which houses your calendar and the stock market widget. I find them to be an odd combination, but having instant access to your calendar is a handy feature.
Sliding the screen from the bottom up gives you the Control Center, much like the top bar of an Android phone. From here you can change your general settings such as WiFi and whatnot, below that is the media player, brightness, and a few of the essential apps; flashlight, (handy) stopwatch, calculator, and camera.
You may have noticed that the search page is now gone. Replacing it is this new frustrating feature where you have to do an angled swipe down to pull down the search. It feels silly and they should have left it be. You know that they say, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Also note that you can now voice search, much like Android phones.
This is where Apple impressed me. The aesthetic changes were an extremely mixed bag, but the functionality changes were across the board positives. The speed to open apps is unrivaled at this point, and the way it pulls you into the app instead of simply opening it is a nice touch.
I felt that in general the phone was a lot more snappy and quick while moving from app to app. The only issue I’ve had functionality wise is that Siri is currently broken. Now I don’t know if this is because of the phone or the update, and am not going to hold it against Apple right this very moment, but it is an issue that is apparent as this time.
While I’ll show you the difference in design for a lot of the apps, the only two apps that seem to function differently are the camera and the music player.
iTunes Radio – This is the music player that iPhone users have deserved for a long time. It’s clean and simple and runs really well. I love the design of it, and found navigating through it was a breeze.
Camera – The camera is essentially the same, Apple just made a handful of thoughtful additions to it, including the ability to add filters on the fly, like Instagram, but not… Instagram..
Parallax effects and a new App Cleaning function are really the highlights of the new features at this time. I’m sure as we get further into development Apple will add more new features, including access to Airdrop, which I couldn’t use at this time.
Parallax Effects – Ok, these are silly and unnecessary, but dang-it they look cool! With the parallax, you get the effect of depth with your screen, which is compounded by the fact that the background shifts and skews as you twist and turn the phone, really adding to the depth effect.
App Cleaning – Goodness, I honestly can’t believe it has taken Apple this long to implement a quality app cleaning function. The App Cleaning function that Android and Windows use are extremely intuitive; and the Apple version is no different. Flinging apps up causes them to close-out, helping to conserve your battery life and improve overall performance.
The Good – Speedy, Intuitive and finally adding features that the other OS’s have had for a long time now. New iTunes Radio and App Cleaning functions are handy and feel like they should have been introduced a few iterations ago.
The Bad – Vector.. Really, Apple? The feel of the new colors and icons is extremely hipster and may turn off more serious or mature users. I still would like to see widgets instead of just little app bubble icons.
The Ugly – Why is Siri broken?? On top of that the phone runs extremely hot with this new update. We’re not talking thermal meltdown, but rather uncomfortable in the hand after 30-45 minutes of use.
Other Thoughts – I feel that Apple really hasn’t take a huge leap forward with this new “revolutionary” iOS 7 update. Yes, it’s an upgrade on iOS 6, I’m not denying that – BUT where is the features that have become common-place with the competition that Apple still lacks?
The design is silly in my opinion, but the speed and functionality increases make this a worthwhile upgrade. We can only hope that it gets better as it gets closer to release.
How varying are opinions on the new iOS so far? Well check out some thoughts from the RepairLabs staff. And remember, the next time you break your iPhone or need to get your iPad repaired, to think of your friends here at RepairLabs!
Taylor ~ Lead Repair Technician - It's ugly.. The flat bright colors for the icons just looks flat out stupid. I'm definitely going to Android.
Jason ~ I.T. Manager - I don't understand why they went away from the old icons, there was nothing wrong with them. The new parallax effects are cool, but the icons are bad.
Brittany ~ Nobody Knows What Brittany Does - I love it! Granted, I understand why guys who aren't hipsters may not like it, but it's so bright and happy!
Michelle ~ Graphic Designer - The vector design is really eye-catching, and I like it. It definitely has a hipster feel to it, but I still like iOS 7.
Posted on June 3, 2013
In our continuing effort to save the world one repair at a time, RepairLabs has joined forces with The Partnership at DrugFree.org. We here at RepairLabs are delighted to announce that we will begin raising money to help educate kids and parents about drug abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery, through our Operation HERO Donate-at-Checkout program.
The Partnership at DrugFree.org is a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, law enforcement, and communities to face and tackle issues of drug abuse. If you’re a parent this is a must-read website with hundreds of great ideas for how to talk to your kids (at any age) about drugs. They offer strategies for preventing drug use before it ever becomes a problem. If you are struggling with drug abuse or addiction this website is a place that you can turn to for finding help. If you just want to get involved and help your community to be a better place, this site has comprehensive resources to help you get connected with the right people and organizations that can make a difference in your community. They also offer resources in Spanish for those who have need of them, so that they’re able to be able to serve all aspects of our communities.
Recently DrugFree.org started a program called “The Hope Share.” This is an interactive forum where teens and parents can share their experiences that involve drug abuse. Many people don’t seek help because of the stigma associated with drug use. Many struggling with drug abuse face discrimination and blame. This program provides a safe space where individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction can share their stories, seek support, and offer support to others.
The Partnership at DrugFree.org has evolved from a late 80s advertising campaign aimed at unselling drugs to the American public to the largest public service campaign in US history. The DrugFree.org site is an online resource center that features interactive tools and the latest scientific data regarding teen behavior, addiction, and tools. They promote only methods of treatment and prevention that have proven scientific results, and they use everyday language that teens and parents (not just scientists) can understand to present it. They offer a toll free hotline for help for parents as well at 1-855-DRUGFREE.
The great and good geeks at Repairlabs are honored to be able to use their techie skills and web expertise to promote this mission. All of us have known people who’ve suffered because of drugs. Many of our friends and families have suffered in silence because of the stigma that’s associated with drug abuse. We’ve witnessed friends and family who refuse to seek help because of the shame associated with it, and we want to help.
We intend to promote DrugFree.org’s mission with all of our “superpowers:” we’ll blog, tweet, pin, and Facebook their mission with all of our enthusiasm and strength. We’ll design educational infographics, create a DrugFree.org page on our site, and spread the word every way we can. Most importantly, though, we collect donations for the organization.
Our OpHERO (Help Each Repair Overcome) Program is a donation-at-checkout program where give our customers the option to donate an amount from $1 to $100 to an organization. So with every repair we make, our customers can donate to help overcome drug addictions. And we match every donation 100%. Our mission was to provide an easy and inexpensive way for our customers to give back and to feel like a hero.
Together with DrugFree.org and our customers, we can literally save the life of another person who may have nowhere else to go. If we can help people to know that they’re not alone, and that help is out there, even for the problems and life situations that they’re most ashamed of and afraid to talk about, we will all be superheroes together.
Posted on May 21, 2013
Well the Xbox launch event has come and gone. We here at RepairLabs got to admit, we were pleasantly surprised. For the past month, everybody has been throwing around rumors and speculation, and frankly, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the whole process. As much as I love my Xbox 360, my PlayStation 3 has received quite a bit more playtime. Not only because it has a Blu-Ray drive and a lot more quality exclusive titles, but also because it supports 7.1 HD Audio and is free to use online, plus we won't even get into the Red Ring of Death.
When the Xbox launch started up, and Microsoft came out instantly talking about, and showcasing the console, I became extremely interested. First thing’s first, the name of the new Xbox is the Xbox One... I find it a bit confusing and even contradicting. It is, after all, the third Xbox console, but I understand what they’re going for – one console to rule them all! Anyways, from a design perspective, the new console is really going for that HTPC look, which I really dig. Nice clean lines and the look of a glossy and matte black body. Now if it’s made from aluminum, or some form of light metal, I will be completely sold on the design.
With no word on pricing or release date, (Coming Later This Year) the specs are really the biggest thing we have to go off of. Looking at them, I can tell that Microsoft wants to compete with Sony, and the pieces are in place to do so – I’m just not sure if going with DDR3 memory was the best course of action. If you recall, I did a piece awhile back on the differences between GDD3 and GDDR5, and why it’s a worthy investment for console developers.
What it may lack in processing bandwidth via the memory, it will more than make up for with its eight-core CPU – twice as many as what’s in the PlayStation 4. The inclusion of a Blu-Ray Drive, HDMI Out AND In, as well voice and gesture controls made possible by the brand-new Kinect Sensor, and USB 3.0, 4K Video, and Cloud-Based support, Microsoft is really building the Xbox One with the future in mind. At this time, there aren’t many games or tech that can fully utilize eight-cores or 4K video, but when they become industry standards somewhere down the road, the Xbox One will be ready to go, instead of falling behind the times like the Xbox 360 with its measly 512mb of RAM.
Xbox One Specifications
Sadly the event lacked much in the way of gameplay for upcoming titles. It did, however give us a rather in-depth look at the new Kinect, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed, and that’s hard to do!
Now I have a Kinect at home – and like most of you, I never use it. With the new Kinect offering up a sensor that completely blows its predecessor away in every way imaginable, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Sure, I’ll probably tear it apart and see what makes it tick, but I’m sure before I do that, I’ll yell at my TV and flail my arms like a dummy for a while first.
Seriously, the hand gestures, voice control, responsiveness, and intuitiveness of the entire system makes me excited! I think the redesign of the controller is cool, but the new functionality of the Kinect will make the controller unnecessary when utilizing the system outside of gaming. I only hope that the Kinect sensor doesn’t need to dial itself back in often like the previous iteration does to be at its best.
If you’re like me though, the power and functionality of the system are great, but I want to know what games are going to be like on the system, I want to see Fable 4 and Halo 5 (yeah, right) in action on this baby, but alas we’re going to have to wait until E3 to get a glimpse of some in-game footage. The only true action we got was the Call of Duty: Ghosts world-first footage, which looked brilliant, but doesn’t have the same effect as seeing an Xbox-Exclusive title on the system.
What did you think of the event? Did Microsoft hit all of the necessary highs and avoid the lows? Personally, I think the only way the event could’ve been better was if there was some Fable 4 footage shown. A few things that I think would've been nice to get more info on is if it'll be able to play used games, and if it requires being online all the time. The announcement by The Verge that it will not be backwards compatible is sad news though. Other than that, they gave us the console, controller, specs, and announced some exciting things like 15 exclusive titles in the works, with eight being entirely new franchises!
The future is looking awfully bright for game consoles, and I can't help but feel that the Xbox One may be leading the pack when it's all said and done. Sony impressed me a few months back, but Microsoft and the Xbox One just took it to a whole new level, especially with their willingness to run through the demonstrations two or three times, showing that it's fully functional, which is key to their entire design.
Posted on May 10, 2013
Every geek needs a sidekick, and here at RepairLabs we have our own sidekicks: our pets. Just like Shaggy and Scooby, the Lone Ranger and Silver, and Dorothy and Toto, each of us has our own beloved pet, and our own unique superpower. (Okay, we wish we had our own superpowers. It would probably be more accurate to say we’re marginally skilled at our respective jobs.) But our critters do manage to make us at least feel like superheroes every day. When I walk through the door at night, my dog greets me like I have just single-handedly saved the world.
That’s why we here at RepairLabs, are delighted to announce our charitable partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal shelter and rescue mission. RepairLabs is proud to include Best Friends in our new donation-at-checkout program: Operation HERO.
Best Friends Animal Society coordinates efforts across the country to help homeless pets. They operate nationwide animal initiatives to bring about a future where no adoptable animals are destroyed in shelters. They are pioneers in the no-kill movement. And they’ve had amazing success: When they began work in the 1980s, every year 17 million animals were euthanized in shelters. Through continued and concentrated efforts that number has now dropped to 4 million. That’s 13 million animals every year who live and find loving homes, who otherwise would have been destroyed.
And they aren’t stopping there. They intend to reduce the number of destroyed animals to zero. The mission of Best Friends is to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. Best Friends also partners with local governments, shelters, and grassroots organizations to end the unnecessary killing of shelter pets. They feature several initiatives including positive pit bull PR programs, anti-puppy mill programs, and trap-neuter-and-return programs for free-roaming cats. Their Utah facility has grown from a rehabilitation sanctuary to be the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US. It began as stepping stone for “problem” pets slated for euthanasia to be rehabbed and placed into forever homes and has grown into a voice for animals all over the nation.
And we are deeply honored to be able to contribute to their mission. We have long been a pet-friendly office, with our dogs visiting during the day, and even appearing in Halloween Costumes. “Our pets really make the office a more relaxed and fun place to be,” says CEO and ‘dad’ to German Shepherd Axis, Sean Hennessy, “They really enrich our office. We are so excited to have the opportunity to give back by working with Best Friends.”
And the pets love to visit the office. (It’s always a fun field trip to go and help mom or dad at the office.) Most of our cats tend to prefer to stay at home, so it’s usually just the dogs who like to come along, but we’ve even had a visit from a bearded dragon! The wee beasties always inject a little humor and unconditional affection into the office. The point is that we believe that all types of companion creatures deserve the dignity of a loving forever home. We love pet pigs, birds, horses and cats just as much as we love our dogs and lizards. And Best Friends advocates for all of them.
The Office Crocodile and bumblebee. Can you tell which is which? (Axis and Madison on Halloween)
Best Friends spearheads adoption initiatives, funds educational resources, helps organizations across the country with their spray and neuter programs, and also helps individual animals to be adopted. They’ve even been known to fly an adopted pet to his new home, free of charge. They provide grants to select organizations that make a significant impact on shelter deaths in their communities. At the sanctuary each animal is treated with love and attention, and as an individual. Each animal receives top-of-the-line medical care as well; the animals can overcome past traumas and heal as they prepare for a new, forever home. Each animal is loved and cherished like a family pet the minute she comes through the gates.
We here at RepairLabs feel truly privileged to help raise funds for an organization that does such great work for pets across the country. You can make a donation to them at checkout if you are purchasing a repair, or you can donate directly to Best Friends here. We’re honored that we can do something to better the lives of animals. And that really does make us feel like we have superpowers. Remember, we can all make a difference in the lives of our new Best Friends.
This post was posted in What We Do and was tagged with repairlabs and best friends, repair labs, labs, repairlabs, animal society, best friends, best friends animal society, Operation: HERO, Op:HERO, repair
Posted on April 23, 2013
Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation. You’re at work, right in the middle of a business call and bam your phone dies. Has this ever happened to you? Well, even if it hasn’t, it’s happening to plenty of people around the globe on a daily basis.
As I’m sure you are well aware, there have been quite a few solid guides and how-to videos made over the past couple years that go into the general questions as to why your phone is always dead, and things you can do to help prevent the battery from draining so quickly. (Close some apps people) That’s all fine and dandy, and most definitely not the reason we are here today.
Today RepairLabs is going to present the technical reasoning behind your phone always being dead. We’re going to cover the different types of batteries on the market today and how they compare, then we’ll have a throw down between three of the hottest phones on the market, with each one having a specific role to play in the testing of the batteries held within. Last but not least we’ll talk about the future of batteries; what’s out there, what’s the next logical step, things of that nature.
Strap yourselves in, because you’re about to get a crash course in phone batteries!
Most of you probably don’t know what type of battery is in your phone. Perhaps you know the mAh of it, (that’s milliamps per hour) but don’t actually know what type of battery you have. Don’t worry; it’s not relevant knowledge to a large percentage of people. But for those of you who have wondered into my little slice of Tech paradise, you’re about to get the deluxe package when it comes to batteries.
What types of batteries are prevalent on the market today?
There are truly only two options when it comes to batteries in your phone today. Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer.
Lithium-Ion: Li-Ion batteries are the most commonly found type of battery in phones today. They’re older technology than Li-Po batteries, but have also proven themselves to be reliable. Though they may be phased out eventually -- the fact that we’re able to stretch them up to 3,500mAh at this point in time, while still being slim enough to fit in a phone gives credence to the fact that Li-Ion isn’t going down without a fight.
Li-Ion offers the most convenient product to cell phone manufacturers, with its average 5-10% self-[i]discharge rate a month, and components that are environmentally safe. It also doesn’t hurt that they are readily available, and lighter than equivalent batteries.
If these batteries are so great, then why is my phone always dead is what most of you are probably thinking. This is because there are some caveats to Li-Ion batteries, mainly being that the [ii]cell capacity diminishes with use, causing the battery to hold less and less of a charge. This is made even worse when you factor in high [iii]charge levels and elevated temperatures, both of which cause hastened degradation of the battery.
They are also flammable, which is most definitely a con for any product that you hold near your face.
Key Interior Difference Between Li-Ion & Li-Po - “The primary difference is that the lithium-salt electrolyte is not held in an organic solvent but in a solid polymer composite such as polyethylene or polyacrylonitrile” Wikipedia - Lithium-Polymer Batteries
Lithium-Polymer: Li-Po is the younger, more advanced brother to Li-Ion batteries. In theory they are nearly identical in design, as can be seen in the diagram above, but there are some key differences between the two.
For starters, the Li-Po offers a more predictable self-discharge rate, which also happens to be lower than that offered on the Li-Ion batteries in general, clocking in at 5% a month. They also are more adaptable than Li-Ion, offering up the ability to use them in a wide variety of packing and shapes. And I can’t forget to mention that they are more reliable and rugged than the Li-Ion they hope to fully phase-out.
The downside to the Li-Po is that it holds less of a charge than that offered on your standard Li-Ion battery. This reason alone is why they haven’t fully phased out the Li-Ion. Though the technology used is newer and more advanced, it just doesn’t offer the power necessary to reliably power these crazy big devices hitting the market today in its current form.
One of the biggest backers of Li-Po batteries is Apple, including the Li-Po in each iPhone dating back to the iPhone 4. Though the mAh (1440mAh on the iPhone 5) numbers are far below that of the competition, we still see the power necessary to competently power the device for a full day of usage. That may lead you to believe that the battery is indeed in a position to compete with the Li-Ion, but the numbers can be misleading. Though the specs on the iPhone 5 are similar to that of the competition – the biggest deciding factor in battery drain is pixel density and resolution. The pixel density and resolution on the iPhone clock in at 640x1136, giving us a pixel density of 326ppi across its 4” screen. This here is a huge difference from what you get from the Android offerings, which come in at 1280x720 or 1920x1080, stretched across 4.7”+ displays.
Now that you’ve heard about the types of batteries we utilize on a daily basis, let’s get into something a bit more useful to those of you who are visual learners. Below you will find a video that I put together showcasing three of the most popular phones on the market; the Verizon exclusive Droid DNA, the iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Each phone is popular for different reasons, and each one has its faults. One thing that sets them all apart though is the battery within. For the Droid DNA you have a 2020mAh Li-Ion battery, while the iPhone 5 has the previously mentioned 1440mAh Li-Po battery. Bringing up the rear of the pack is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with its massive 3100mAh Li-Ion battery.
As you can tell, the Note 2’s battery is loaded with power, but is running on the older Li-Ion technology. Will this make a difference when going head-to-head with the iPhone 5’s newer but smaller 1440mAh Li-Po battery? Spec-wise the Droid DNA is the one most set up to fail, and that’s thanks to the design choices made by HTC. They took a beautiful 5” 1080p display, with a quad-core processor and 2 GB’s of RAM and stuck it in into a casing that houses a measly 2020mAh Li-Ion battery. Why HTC wouldn’t spend the extra $$ needed to go with either a 2020mAh Li-Po or a more powerful Li-Ion, I don’t know.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Without further ado, let’s get to the video showcasing each phone running the RepairLabs video on loop until they die a horrible death.. You know, by running out of battery life. The test is to simulate a full-day of usage in the span of a few minutes once sped up. Obviously to record actually utilizing the phone all day would be unfeasible, so I went with the next best thing. Will the small Li-Po be able to keep pace with the big and bigger dogs?
The results are exactly what I predicted they would be. Coming in at four hours, the Droid DNA finally saw itself to the afterlife. An hour later and we see the iPhone 5 finally crash out. In a position to either succeed, or crash and burn, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was most definitely the phone hardest to predict. With that huge battery, I expected it to last the longest, but you also have to factor in the lighting needed to properly light such a large display. In the end, it didn’t matter, with the Note 2 going for a whole nine hours! Surprisingly if you watch the screens once the warning battery indicator pops up, we see that both the iPhone 5 and Droid DNA last roughly one hour before completely shutting down, while the Galaxy Note 2 goes for an additional two hours after we get the low battery warning screen.
The test proved exactly what it is I was trying to show you guys. Even though the Li-Ion is older tech, size does indeed still matter when it comes to phone batteries, but only to a certain extent. The Li-Po showed that even though it was almost 600mAh weaker than the Li-Ion in the Droid DNA, it could outpace it. You can’t do a direct apples-to-apples comparison due to the massive screen differences, but you still get the idea here.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these phones last four, five, and nine hours respectively – but if you used the phones daily for another year and ran this test again, you would be lucky to get even 75% of the performance you got from them when they were brand new, luckily if your battery ever gets to the point where it doesn't hold enough of a charge to get you through the day, we here at RepairLabs can swap the crummy old battery out for a shiny new battery.
The diagram above showcases how the ions inside your battery slowly but surely lose their ability to hold a quality charge. This is why with all phone batteries, they eventually need replaced. The constant charging, discharging, and usage are what cause the breakdown inside the phone. At this point, there is no way to get around this with liquid-based batteries in the state they’re currently in.
Alright so now that you’re a bit more comfortable with where we sit right now when it comes to batteries, let’s move into where we’re headed.
Li-Ion and Li-Po can only carry us so far. Eventually here soon we’re going to have to mix up what it is that we use, then we’ll have to either advance the technologies that we use, or start utilizing something completely new.
This is where some of the brightest minds in the field are hard at work. Some of the most feasible ideas that have been floated around include enhancing preexisting batteries with silicone nanoparticles as well as using new types of conversion alloys – both of which could dramatically improve the viability of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries.
There have even been recent developments regarding Lithium-Ion batteries by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These new batteries have the power density to charge your phone 1000x faster than standard batteries, the only issue is that what the battery offers in power density, it lacks in energy density, so until they make more progress on these inventive new Lithium-Ion batteries, I will have to hold them off the list of the most promising – for now.
Even if we extend the life of current batteries another four or five years, we’re eventually going to need new types of batteries to further the advancement of smartphones. When it comes to future options, there are two that truly stick out in mind as being extremely strong options; Lithium Sulfide based batteries and Solid-State batteries. There are some less exciting options like Lithium-Air and Lithium-Imide batteries, but until there is better information on them, I don’t feel them relevant enough to be included in this section.
Lithium-Sulfide is one of the many options that have presented itself as a solid alternative to the Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries we use now. Li-S not only offers a higher energy density than Li-Ion, but also has reduced production costs due to using sulfur.
Though Li-S batteries are a definite option that we could explore sometime in the near future, like say 2014, there isn’t enough data on the capabilities of Li-S to think that it is the logical next step in batteries. As it stands right now, the engineers who are working on this are still dealing with the fact that sulfur on its own isn’t conductive, which is a massive issue in a product that relies 100% on conductivity!
Solid-State Batteries are definitely the brightest option when it comes to future batteries. Instead of being liquid-based like the batteries on the market these days, Solid-State batteries offer us batteries that are solid inside, much like what you would find inside a solid-state drive for the PC.
Though engineers would love to have these solid-state batteries in our phones right now due to their greatly increased life cycle over legacy batteries, plus they also happen to be safer with a better energy density to that of other options. The reason that we don’t have these already is because of the massive cost of production, with the price soaring up to as high as a $1,500 for a single phone battery.
Engineers are also still trying to work out a solution to their sensitivity to low temperatures. Recently I spoke with Professor Kevin S. Jones from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, about this very subject; this is what he had to say.
”I do believe solid-state batteries have tremendous potential but there are significant research challenges that need to be addressed. Because you replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid that is much thinner you can achieve a significant weight saving, as well as being much safer. However it remains a challenge to develop an inexpensive manufacturing method that overcomes the challenges of joining solid layers together. In addition, there is a new class of materials called conversion alloys that are being explored for liquid batteries. These materials have the potential to significantly increase the capacity of liquid batteries. Research is necessary to prove if these materials will work with solid state batteries. So the potential is there to revolutionize the cell phone battery, but we have work to do before it becomes a reality.”
Professor Jones statement holds true to what I’ve been saying all along. There is still potential for liquid-based batteries, but the future is moving more and more towards solid-state batteries. For those of you who have not read his excellent piece on the state of solid-state batteries, I highly recommend it.
What a ride. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried. Had epiphanies, revelations and probably even a few eye-opening moments.. Ok, perhaps we didn’t quite cover that wide of a spectrum, but we did take a long look at where we’re at with batteries and where we hope to be as soon as possible.
The Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries we use today still prove to be viable options for the time being, but as was made apparent in the time lapse, the more powerful the phone, the less amount of time you will have to enjoy it without a charger. Sure, you can carry around a charger with you, have one at your desk, house, and in your car, but that’s not the point. Phones are portable devices – attaching cables to them defeats the entire purpose of a portable phone.
Though the near future is a bit cloudy on what we’ll do next, with there being a few interesting options floating around. None of them are ready for primetime, that much is apparent, but possibly by mid-2014 we can begin phasing out the old and start ushering in the new.
The future begins to look much brighter 2014+ thanks to the advancements we’ll be making in solid-state technology. As soon as it becomes viable from a price-standpoint, I have no doubt all of the major phone manufacturer’s will begin to use them in their newest devices. (Can anyone say iPhone 9?)
As it stands right now, the degradation rate on batteries is sitting at a manageable but unacceptable one to two years. (If you’re really lucky) With newer and better technologies, hopefully we can extrapolate that number into the double digits, making the need to buy new phone batteries or even phones less of necessity and more of a commodity.
[i] Discharge Rate – The rate, usually expressed in amperes or time, at which electrical current is taken from the battery.
[ii] Cell Capacity – The maximum total electrical charge, expressed in ampere-hours, which a battery can deliver to a load under a specific set of conditions...
[iii] Charge Levels – The percentage of power in phone batteries at any one point in time.
This post was posted in Tech, Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with Li-Po, Solid-State Batteries, Li-Air, Li-S, Li-Ion, Testing Phone Batteries, Phone Batteries, Droid DNA, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, iPhone 5