The Case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Screen Crack (by itself)

The Case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Screen Crack (by itself)

Update 2: Despite my previous mis-givings, I replaced the screen with one from Amazon (make sure you order the digitizer, not just the front glass – see here) and the replacement screen proved to be MUCH more resilient that the original.  I have sat on it numerous times with no cracks.  I also bought a tempered glass screen protector for it to protect against knocks and sharp things hitting it – I have broken two of those and both times it clearly saved the screen.

Update: I’ve decided to leave my Galaxy S4 to it’s fate – so many people are having unexplained breaks and I don’t want to spend £200 on a repair only to have it happen again.

So it seems I’ve recently fallen foul of a much reported issue with the Samsung Galaxy S4, that of a weak screen.
There are literally thousands of posts out there about this issue with victims pointing out the screen cracked for no reason and everyone else saying they must have done something to cause it (until it happens to them). For my part, my phone was sat on my desk in my office – the only unusual thing compared to the first month or so of operation is that I’m in the Caribbean and so am going from hot weather outside to air conditioned offices inside – something I would expect the much-vaunted ‘Gorilla Glass’ to be able to handle.

I always carry my phones in my front pocket and I’m not a small guy so my pockets are pretty big.  I’ve had numerous smart phones over the years from HTC, Samsung, etc. and never had any issues – in fact I’m back working on my Galaxy S2 now while deciding whether or not to send my S4 to phone hospital or cut my losses and get a stronger phone.

A Tale of Two Cracks

So it seems the people reporting issues are generally split in to two camps; those with the outer glass and the AMOLED (the bit that actually displays the image); and those with an intact outer glass but still have a cracked AMOLED underneath it.  Given the sheer number of people reporting both, I suspect both of these are down to a weakness/design flaw within the Galaxy S4 but it’s pretty clear that the latter – cracks in the AMOLED with an intact cover glass – is definitely a fault.  After all, the purpose of the Gorilla Glass is to protect the AMOLED underneath.

Some on the web are suggesting that the AMOLED might be cracked from underneath by a swollen battery – another known issue – but this seems unlikely to me as the battery comes out very easily and is really only held in my the back panel which has plenty of ‘give’ in it and also pops of easily too.  What I figure is more likely but probably isn’t what people want to hear is that the Gorilla Glass is more flexible than the AMOLED underneath and so flexing the phone breaks the AMOLED, leaving the Gorilla Glass untouched.

Contractual Obligations

Frustratingly – and like many others – I got my phone with a phone contract and so am now paying an increased monthly rate for a phone I don’t have and will continue to do so for the next 18 months.

Unfortunately there’s no way Samsung are going to admit liability or any kind of fault on their flagship phone so all i can suggest is people opt for the Galaxy S4 Mini which is cheaper and doesn’t seem to have many people complaining about screen weakness.

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob McKay works at Perfect Image, is a father, programmer and a self confessed techie-geek type.

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13 comments on «The Case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Screen Crack (by itself)»

  1. paul says:

    My screen just cracked. I heard it pop too. And my mrs did she thought it was a toe cracking.
    Funny thing i was looking at phone wondering what to google next…so on black screen.
    It must be a heat thing at phone was on charge i have a whole bunch of games running in the background and i have just been reading the web so the face is pretty hot. Ahh its insured just annoying thanks samsung.. i completely lost faith in samsung.. for years all my white good and tvs have always been samsung… i lost it with tthen out a few tv question’s so decided to go LG an do you know what Life is Good lol… when spending 3k gbp on a tv i expect then to answer a few questions… lg could?

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Paul,

      I know what you mean – I was really annoyed when my screen cracked so quickly. In the end I did buy a replacement screen from Amazon (see update at the top of the post I just added) and a tempered glass protector. The replacement is MUCH more resilient that the original so I’m sure there was a manufacturing fault with a bunch of the S4 screens. I’m more annoyed that the GPS has crapped out on my S4 now despite being only 15 months old.

      Good luck whatever you decide to do!

      Bob

  2. Kaelyn says:

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and I live in the states. I loved my phone up until tonight. I have dropped it many times on hard surfaces and nothing has happened. Keep in mind that I got this phone in November. I go to plug my phone in and I lay it under my pillow to charge. There were no cracks what so ever before I plugged it in. I go to check on my phone and I see several cracks in the middle and on the side of my phone. I really don’t know what I did wrong and I would love some help trying to understand it.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Kaelyn,

      A lot of people are saying its a heat dissaptation fault. All I can say is that since I bought a replacement screen kit (see my link in the blog), I’ve had no problems with the screen.

  3. Andrew says:

    I have a Samsung Galaxy s4 where the plastic edge cracked and developed a half moon shape crack around the split in the plastic edge phone would get so hot you physically could not hold the phone

    When sent in for repair they had to resolder the battery contacts and realign the sim card contacts but refused to do anything about the screan claiming it was external impact so much for Samsung i will never buy an other Samsung product again still fighting this 7 months later

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment! I just had to decommission my Galaxy S4 as for no apparent reason, it suddenly started getting incredibly hot when on or charging. Tried everything I could but ultimately have had to write it off. Replaced with a $120 Huawei ASscent which actually seems just as good!

  4. Maebh says:

    I was so upset when this happened to me. Still am. My phone was next to me on the couch and when I picked it up it had a huge crack across the screen. It isn’t super visible straight on but at an angle it’s a clear line. Funny thing is my boss has an extra s3 she uses to have two batteries for her main phone and the backup has the exact crack in he exact same spot. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Maebh,
      Thanks for the post. I’ve actually given up on my Galaxy S4 now. It died when I turned it on recently after a long haul flight – it got insanely hot even when ‘off’ and charging. I tried a different battery but no luck. I needed a phone while I was travelling so bought a $99 Huawei Ascend Y530 as a temporary fix. I wasn’t expecting much but it does everything the S4 did except the GPS actually works on the Huawei phone. I can buy six of them for the price of an S6 and have spares!

  5. Rick says:

    I have had this happen too. I was reading email and set my phone down to get a coffee. When I picked up my phone again, the screen was black white and multicolored. Samsung refuses to fix it under warranty as their warranty conveniently voids when there is physical damage. I am seriously considering look up what it takes to launch a class action suit; it seems this is a rather widespread issue

  6. Pete says:

    I literally woke up in the morning to a disfunctioning screen and i couldn’t figure out why jist over night it stopped working, untill.i noticed a hairline crack in the screen. :/ so angry.

  7. M Nemier says:

    My husbands S4 mini also has a cracked AMOLED panel. He has the phone for 8 months. So maybe it’t not just regular S4!

  8. G Shepherd says:

    Many people also saying the mini has this problem too (including me). They all seem to show cracks near the front facing camera, coincidence? Unlikely.

  9. JJ says:

    Literally i put my phone on a table and went outside, i come back to my phone completely shattered! It looks like a drop crack but i didnt drop it! this is bull.

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