Damaged Laptop Screen? Here are Your Options

Damaging the screen on your laptop can put you in a difficult situation. Technically, if this is the only damage, your laptop is still usable. It just becomes a large pain and very inconvenient. Suddenly there are lines and or areas where nothing can be viewed. You have to scroll around your document, email, web page, etc., just to see everything you want to. Assuming you are no longer under warranty, it creates a difficult decision of whether to replace the laptop or fix it.

I had a remote drop on my MacBook and was horrified as I watched the liquid crystals slowly spread through the LED display. I knew I was out of warranty. I keep myself on a regular schedule of replacing my laptops and was still six months away from replacing it. Should I bite the bullet and replace it? Should I pay to fix it? I took it into the Genius Bar at the Apple Store just to find out my options.

Option 1: Buy a New Laptop


The first option is the most obvious, but it’s also the hardest to justify. Putting down anywhere from a several hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars, depending on brand and options, for a new laptop isn’t an easy choice, especially when it’s in completely working order other than the damaged part of the screen. And in this economy, that money to replace it is most likely already earmarked for other things.

Option 2: Fix It


The worker at the Genius Bar couldn’t quote me an exact price, but he could point me in a general direction. It would be at least $300 to have it replaced in house. Or, I could go to a non-Apple repair for $150 to $200. This is because Apple doesn’t just repair the screen, but replaces the whole top half of the computer that includes the screen. The worst part was the time. Apple would keep it for a few days, and an outside source could end up being several days. I needed my laptop.

Option 3: Use as Desktop


The final option was one I hadn’t even though of. The Genius Bar worker suggested I just close the laptop and use it as a desktop. It functions just the same. By closing it up, you obviously lose the screen, keyboard and mouse/trackpad options. But by adding on a monitor, cable, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad, it makes it like a desktop computer. The main negative with this solution is that you lose the mobility of a laptop, which was most likely why you bought a laptop to begin with. The main positive is it puts you back in business with no days lost after a quick trip to Best Buy.

All three solutions have advantages and disadvantages, and different situations will make one or the other more feasible. Since I was looking for a solution for just a few months, I chose to close it up and use it like a desktop. Nearly three years later, it’s still working just the same. The wireless keyboard and mouse pooped out long ago, and the display on the monitor is now starting to go, but the closed MacBook is still working well, while too old/small for Apple software upgrades. It’s been passed down to my daughter who doesn’t need the mobility.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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