Broken Nexus 7 Screen

Yes, I did. I had only had it 5 days when an unfortunate meeting with the bathroom floor resulted in a cracked screen. Not only is the screen cracked, the digitiser below it has also stopped working.

Solutions?

  1. Send back to ASUS
  2. Buy a replacement screen/digitiser
  3. Buy another Nexus 7 and sell this for spares

I called ASUS and went through the motions of getting a returns number and arranging a collection. Only when I read the small print did I see that I would have to pay a €70 admin charge even if I didn't want the repair to go ahead. I called the helpline and chatted to the guy and when he realised it was a Nexus 7, his opinion was just like mine, it is not worth sending back. I might as well buy a new one, he said.

A good scout around on the Internet meant that option 2 was also out. Ifixit.com showed how to replace the screen/digitiser but can you find them for sale anywhere? No.

I was now on my last option. My plan was to buy an 8GB model from Google's Play Store and swap over the screen with my 16GB model. That way, when I sold the 8GB for spares, I wouldn't be losing as much money. I have been looking on eBay and both models are going for silly money still. Why would anyone pay more on eBay than you can buy them direct from Google for? Tsk. So, it would end up costing me £359 (£199 for the 16GB original and an extra £159 for the donor 8GB) for a 16GB Nexus 7 minus what I could get for the old one as spares (probably not a lot). I would obviously also void the warranty on both devices by swapping the screens over.

Then, I had a brainwave.

I was slightly worried that I couldn't get my data off the device as I couldn't select anything on screen. I remember reading about a cable that you could buy that would allow USB mouse and keyboard to be attached to the micro USB port on the bottom of the Nexus 7. The cable is called an OTG cable and it looks like this:

The Nexus 7 has USB On The Go (OTG) built in which means that a cable will allow USB peripherals to be attached. I guess it is a bit like the Asus Transformer laptops with their detachable keyboard/trackpad. Anyway, I have picked up the cable for a few pounds and found an old Apple mouse to attach.

The cable was supposed to have a right-angle connector at the Nexus end but I'm not too fussed about that right now. Once the mouse was plugged into the cable and the cable plugged into the Nexus 7, a normal desktop style cursor appears on screen. The tablet can now be used as normal.

I decided that I would only be using it as a Kindle reader until I find a replacement screen on the Internet so I factory reset it and just loaded on the Kindle app and an app called 'Tablet Remote' (more on that later).

I have removed the security when you turn the device on and have downloaded all my books to the device. I have set the Kindle app up so that the volume buttons turn the pages so as of now, I turn it on and just flip the pages. Simple.

“What if you need to change books when away from your mouse/OTG cable”, I hear you ask. Well, that is where Table Remote comes in.

You need to install it on your Nexus 7 and your Android phone – a HTC One X, in my case. You then turn on Bluetooth on both devices and pair them using the app. I can now control my Nexus 7 using the app on my phone so that I can swap books and do anything else on there I like.

I suppose it still is a bit of a waste to use the Nexus 7 as a book reader but it at least stops it gathering dust until the screen becomes available.

 

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