The cheapest Nexus 7 digitizer replacement is another broken tablet
It has been a while since I talked about my broken 32GB Nexus 7, which ASUS sent to me in the condition you see above back in early March of this year. Mostly, this is because the tablet has been sitting on a shelf next to my computer waiting for me to decide whether to fix it or wait for the next Nexus 7. When the new Nexus 7 wasn’t announced at Google I/O, I decided to go ahead and try to get my Nexus 7 working again.
As it turns out, prices for replacement digitizers had gone down since I first checked, with some nearing $100 on eBay. Still, I wanted a more economical option. After reconsidering purchasing a new 16GB tablet at sale prices and switching out the mainboard, I decided to follow the advice of commentor Paul on my original post about the broken Nexus. He suggested getting another tablet from eBay once the prices went down, then swapping the mainboards and selling the broken hardware as parts to offset losses.
While the original theory hinged on the new Nexus 7 driving prices for the original down right about now due to the new Nexus 7, that obviously didn’t happen. However, I instead found another way to get a cheap, replacement digitizer for the Nexus 7: a tablet with a broken mainboard. After scouring eBay for a few days, I found a couple of broken Nexus 7s with the digitizer and screen intact. While rare, these seemed to command about $100. I placed my bids, and eventually won one for $105 shipped.
The broken tablet finally arrived, and while it had some slight scratches on the glass, I quickly swapped it out to see if my tablet would work. The actual switch only required a few small screwdrivers, and could easily be done by anyone who can follow directions on iFixIt. It booted right up, although I had to reinstall the OS which ASUS had apparantly removed when “repairing” the device.
Obviously, $100 is not much cheaper than buying a new digitizer, but the benefit of buying another broken tablet is that I can still sell the remaining hardware for parts. In general, broken 16GB tablets seem to get about $30-$50 when sold for parts, so assuming the worst the total cost for this repair was probably around $70.
This certainly isn’t a great price, but considering the previous quote for nearly twice as much, I don’t find it too hard to deal with. The one thing I regret is that if I had known that the new Nexus 7 was as likely to arrive in a month, but at least now I have a working 32GB tablet to sell in order to cover that purchase. I wouldn’t recommend it for those interested in buying the next Nexus 7, but for those who just want to get their tablet back up an running, another broken tablet seems to be the most economical solution.