The demand to be digitally connected is one of several “behavioral shifts” that have occurred among Sri Lankans as a result of COVID 19. This era has shown us smartphones and other smart devices are no longer a luxury but a need. Unfortunately, with the government classifying smartphones as non-essential items, the demand exceeded the supply skyrocketing the prices of smartphones, making even the entry-level smartphones out of reach for the average Sri Lankan consumer.
Then in June, the Finance Ministry added an additional tax to several imported commodities. In addition, the government has increased value-added taxes by 4% to raise more money. According to dealers, even an entry-level smartphone currently costs more than Rs. 55,000 or Rs. 60,000, and soon, they predict that the price would rise to Rs. 80,000 or even Rs. 90,000. It’s not just the smartphones or the devices that will be expensive but also the accessories. While the price of phone covers has doubled, dealers say in the future covers will not be available at all.
In the light of this situation, we must safeguard not just our smartphones but any other smart devices such as smartwatches, and tablets, we have in our possession. We took these delicate devices for granted because we could afford them while there was a steady and abundant supply. In the current economy, however, replacing or even repairing one of these damaged devices can burn a hole in the pocket. Today, I want to share five tips to help you care for your smart devices, physically.
Use AppleCare+ for Apple Devices
Someone said, if you don’t know which smartphone to buy, just buy an iPhone. If you are not certain which Tablet to buy just buy an iPad. In the event, you are overwhelmed by the choices and not sure which Laptop to buy just spend on an Apple MacBook Air or a Pro depending on your needs. What he did not tell me was in Sri Lanka repairing an Apple device will cost you an arm and a leg! I remember my colleague and friend Denci spending around Rs. 6,000/- in 2017 to replace a just faulty HDD cable! It’s why AppleCare+ is a must if you own an Apple Device.
Think of AppleCare+ as a 3-year official insurance policy for your Apple Device. In addition to the 1-year complimentary warranty and 90 days of tech support. The cost varies from one device to the other, from country to country. With it, you become eligible to access many after-sale services, but the top advantage is that any hardware or software repairs for your MacBook, iMac, iPad or Apple Watch will be carried out for free or at a cost much lower compared to repairs without AppleCare+. Don’t be a typical Sri Lankan who pays a fortune on an iPhone and skips AppleCare+ Coverage. Be smart and get your coverage today!
Purchase a screen Insurance Plan
My friend and colleague Nimendra showed me his smartphone last week. The screen was so damaged, that it was blurred to the point nothing on the screen was visible. The cost of replacing the display was over Rs. 10,000 (used to be in-between 5,000 and 6,000) Fortunately though when he checked with Dialog, they offered him a brand-new device with an unbelievable discount. Therefore, hopefully, he will not have to spend a fortune to replace his damaged smartphone. Unfortunately, however, you and I might not be so lucky!
Research has revealed that screen damage accounts for 71% of smartphone problems. It can happen to anyone. Judging by the number of smartphone users with damaged screens I have seen, I can tell people were not comfortable replacing screens even when the economy was not as bad as it is now. Now that the economy has hit a rock bottom it’s wise to safeguard what you have with a smartphone screen insurance plan. It seems FairFirst Insurance, offers this facility directly as well as through Dialog Axiata. Whether the services are still active, I am not sure.
Use a full cover Screen Protector
If your device is not eligible for AppleCare+, or if your device is not Apple and you don’t want to spend on a screen insurance plan at least purchase a full cover screen protector. Usually, a screen protector is a sheet of laminated tempered glass that attaches to the display of a smart device. I have never had an Apple Watch in my life. I am not looking forward to buying one either. However, I do know wristwatches are vulnerable to scratches and even cracks on the screen. Smartphones and Tablets are not an exception (The cat happened to chew my sister’s smartphone but the display survived thanks to the screen protector).
Tomorrow, I will be replacing the screen protector on my Oppo A12 for the third time in two years but I have replaced a display only once since the year 2009. It’s the benefit of spending extra cash on a screen protector. Now a screen protector for an iPhone and iPad may cost more but it’s still far more affordable than a replacement screen. A friend of mine once spent Rs. 45,000/- on a replacement display for his iPad while a screen protector would have cost only LKR 4,000 – 5,000.
Use a Back-Cover or a Ring Holder
There are simple steps you can take that make a huge difference in the event of an accidental drop. Using a back cover or a ring holder is one such step. Smartphones and Tablets often have glossy backs making them slippery on flat surfaces. Sometimes they can be quite slim as well weakening the grip. Explains why accidental drops account for 74% of damage to smart devices. iPhones and iPads are not so slippery, but scratches can reduce their used market value significantly. A rugged back cover can save you from all that trouble.
You can also consider a ring holder that attaches to the back of your smart device especially if you are into public speaking and like to hold your iPad on your palm. The idea is to insert your index finger into the ring holder so that you cannot drop the device. You must be careful though because a ring holder may not be easy to remove once you attach it to your smart device. Therefore, it’s much wiser to use a ring holder with a back cover. Replacing a back cover is much easier and more cost-effective than replacing the entire housing.
Care for the Battery & the Charger
Recently my boss encountered an issue with his iPad. The battery kept discharging rapidly even after a full charge. He consulted an Apple authorized technician who informed him that although AppleCare+ will cover the cost of a new battery, batteries for that specific iPad model are not readily available in Sri Lanka owing to import restrictions. Therefore, it must be sent to Singapore. Upon further inspection, however, the technician noticed a pending update to iOS. He installed the update and ran a few tests. Voila! The update fixed the battery.
You and I might not be that lucky now. The battery can wear out sooner if regularly charged with a fast charger or charged with a charger not provided by the manufacturer. There are various reasons. However, overheating is often a reason that we overlook. Always keep your iPhone, iPad, or any other smart device on a flat, hard surface while being charged, and don’t forget to remove the back cover. As for the charger don’t twist or bend the cable. Ensure the power source has a steady flow of electricity. If possible use a surge protector.
I was reminded of the dialog between Eli (Denzel Washington) and Sonara (Mila Kunis) in the film “The Book of Eli” while writing this post. When Sonara asks, “Do you remember what it was like? I mean in the world before.” Eli says, “Yeah” and Sonara asks again, “Well what was it like?” to which Eli says, “People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious, or what wasn’t. We threw away things people kill each other for now.” No, this is not the apocalypse. My point is we can’t take for granted what we used to take for granted.
People often say one can live without his or her gadgets. I strongly disagree. Yes. I can live without my smartphone, my MacBook Air, or an Internet connection if I am on vacation but I can’t survive without them when I am supposed to be working. My smart devices affect the way I work and communicate, and I cannot make a living if I cannot work well. If my smartphone breaks tomorrow it’s going to affect my communication, my banking, keeping track of my credit card transactions, and my finances. If my MacBook Air happens to break down today it will affect the way I work tomorrow.
It’s my work that earns me my bread and butter. The quality of my work has a direct impact on the quality of my lifestyle. So don’t tell me I can survive without my gadgets. You will know you cannot either if you try. Therefore, we must protect what we have until such time the government of Sri Lanka will relax restrictions on imports and the prices of smart devices will drop once again. It will save you plenty of cash and a load of strain on your finances and a lot of headaches!
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