O2’s free screen replacement isn’t as great as it seems

Phones aren’t as durable as they used to be. While the old 3310 felt like it was military grade, our thirst for prettier products has meant our handsets are now super fragile. Glass – even of the Gorilla variety – is no match for repeated drops, which is why we don’t wander around with finest Waterford crystal in our pockets. Well, it’s one reason anyway.

O2’s free screen replacement isn’t as great as it seems

Personally, I’ve shattered three phones screens in the past seven years, each time requiring me to decide whether I’d rather pay more than £100 for a repair, or feel a little bit sadder every time I use my phone.

O2 claims to have the answer. The company’s free screen replacement service will fix your damaged screen up at any point over the 24-month duration of your contract, keeping your new handset looking shiny and new. Caveat: the offer is good for just one smash, but far more importantly, the prices of the tariffs included are eye-wateringly expensive.

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The free screen deal is only available on the 30GB+ tariffs on top end handsets: The Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8 and OnePlus 5 to be precise. Now the OnePlus 5 is one of the most affordable flagships around, retailing at £449 SIM-free, or cheaper for students. On O2, however, the cheapest tariff that includes the free screen replacement service starts at a whopping £58 per month with £90 upfront for the phone. That adds up to £1,481.99 over two years. The Note 8 is even more prohibitive, with the cheapest tariff coming in at £68 per month with £150 upfront: £1,782.o2s_free_screen_replacement_isnt_as_great_as_it_seems_

Don’t get me wrong: replacing a busted screen is expensive – it cost me around £170 at iSmash, but it was all done professionally in an hour. Dixons Carphone Warehouse group is getting in on the act too, with Team Knowhow. If you live in a major city, you’re not ever going to be too far away from someone with the expertise to fix your screen, in other words.

O2’s offer is nice, but unless you’re the kind of person to buy that kind of exorbitant contract anyway, it’s really not worth looking at. If you’re really that worried about the cost of screen repair, then get an insurance policy. Protect Your Bubble coverage starts at £7.99 per month, which will still be cheaper than O2’s offering on most contracts. Alternatively, there are plenty of robust cases out there for the clumsy.

It’s an eye-catching offer – who isn’t worried that their next butter-fingered moment will be their phone’s last? – but unless you’re rich enough to not worry about out of pocket repair costs, it’s just not worth it. So who is it for exactly?

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