Hi Lifehacker, I recently put a crack in the screen in my Sony Xperia Z tablet rendering a third of the screen unusable. According to Sony this would cost $450 to repair, nearly the value of the tablet itself. I could not find anywhere in Melbourne that would repair a Sony tablet but I was able to keep using it, albeit with much reduced functionality. However, a recent software update has made the tablet completely unusable as I cannot get past the language selection screen (as pictured).
I would like to know what to do with my rather expensive but useless tablet. Is there a way to repair it that I have not found or should I sell it? Is there anything at all I can do with it? Thanks, Bad Medicine
From your brief explanation, the problem seems to be the placement of the "Done" icon which happens to coincide with the non-responsive portion of the screen. If this is indeed the case, the solution is so simple you're going to kick yourself.
Like most Android tablets, the Sony Xperia Z comes with a Micro USB 2.0 port — simply buy a USB OTG cable and plug in your mouse. You should now be able to click on the damaged section of the screen with your cursor.
It's possible that the USB host software won't be able to recognise the mouse due to the incomplete update. If that's the case, you could try removing the pre-installed screen protector from the tablet. This can reportedly help to improve touchscreen sensitivity, although you should naturally proceed with caution when dealing with severe cracks.
Mind you, even if you do manage to get past the language selection screen, you're still going to be left with a tablet that's barely functional. We doubt you'd be able to sell this for anything more than chump change.
Seeing as you've got nothing to lose, you might as well attempt to fix the device yourself. This actually isn't as difficult as you might think. You can pick up Xperia Z screen replacement kits from various online suppliers; all of which are just a Google search away.
In your case, the actual LCD that supplies the visuals appears to be fine, which means you only need to replace the outer touch-sensitive panel. This will set you back no more than $40, which is a damn sight cheaper than what Sony is charging.
So how's it done? There are numerous tutorials available online that will talk you through the screen-swap process. All tablets follow the same basic build principle comprising a back cover, motherboard, glass chassis, LCD, front frame or bezel and touch-sensitive panel. In other words, don't be afraid to follow the steps for a different model.
As long as the parts are in roughly the same place, the same advice should translate to your device. The below video guide will help to give you some idea of what's involved:
Good luck! If any readers have suggestions or tips of their own they'd like to share, let BM know in the comments section below.
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