Water Damaged Nexus 5X Screen

The water-damaged Nexus 5X is somewhat functional again after cleaning off the swimming pool water chemicals, but suffers from a severe battery drain turning precious power into heat. This makes the phone unusable as a phone: it can only last an hour or two on battery, and being so hard on the battery raises worry of battery failure. Not “is the battery going to be flat?” kind, the really bad “is it going to burst into flames?” kind of worry. Before I put the phone aside (with battery disconnected) one final post about the screen assembly.

The screen is in bad shape even if the rest of the phone had fully recovered. The screen is legible and the touchscreen still works, but there are a lot of visually distracting marks left by liquid intrusion.

Liquid Screen.jpg

The big blotches in the center act like a bits of liquid still trapped in a gap. The size of the blotch changes depending on the pressure on the screen. I hope it evaporates in time, though I’m sure it’ll leave even more marks as it does. In contrast, the diagonal streaks do not respond to pressure and are likely residue left by drying liquid.

The obvious answer is to separate the touch digitizer layer from the display panel so I could clean the gap in between them. Unfortunately, even though the Nexus 5X is relatively easy to repair, this specific part is not repair-friendly. There are no more fasteners to access – the front of the phone, including the touch digitizer and the screen, appear to be a single bonded assembly.

Replacement assemblies are available online for $50-$60 dollars, which is a significant percentage of the $200-$250 asking price of a refurbished Nexus 5X. Even if the rest of the phone had recovered, I would have thought long and hard about spending that much money just for cosmetic concerns on a backup phone. And given the battery issue, the decision is clear to just leave it as is.

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