Back story: I dropped my GNex on a concrete floor, and it landed perfectly face down (just like buttered toast ). There happened to be dirt and sand on the floor with a couple of pebbles just big enough to still contact the screen, despite its curve. These pebbles caused pressure points on the glass, and it was enough of an impact that those pebbles chipped the glass and started a spiderweb of cracks across about 40% of the screen. Needless to say I was pretty pissed off.
The AMOLED screen still worked, and all touch functionality was still there, so I figured it must be an easy fix. As I'm sure you are aware, I was grossly mistaken. I didn't find a single forum post or youtube video of anybody replacing just the glass on a Galaxy Nexus. The general consensus was that you would ruin your digitizer if you attempted to do the repair, as it was fused to the glass. I was almost ready to buy a whole new screen when I found this video. I saw the video was for doing the repair on a Galaxy S3, but watched it anyways. A friend of mine had recently shattered the glass on his S3 and had told me he couldn't repair it because the digitizer was fused to the glass. When I watched the video and saw it could be done on an S3, I figured I would give it a shot on my Nexus anyways, with the worst outcome being replacing the entire AMOLED screen.
I bought a replacement glass/lens (not sure of the proper term) off eBay, along with some new adhesive. Total cost for parts was $35.96 USD including shipping from Hong Kong, and delivery to Canada (Toronto area) was surprisingly quick - about 4 business days.
I don't own a heat gun, so I substituted it with a hair dryer instead (high heat, low blower setting).
A few lessons learned:
- Go slow, don't rush yourself. I ended up knicking the digitizer in a couple places because I went too fast (I was excited!). It didn't end up causing any functionality problems, but I can see a couple of small permanent marks under the new glass (not a big deal to me, but annoying nonetheless).
- Use a slim knife blade to separate the glass from the frame. I used a small paring knife which was probably a bit too big. A standard utility knife/box cutter should work.
- Make sure to remove ALL of the old glue before applying the new adhesive and glass. I didn't have any issues, but I can see how it would cause problems if you don't. The youtube video said to reuse the old glue - not recommended on the Galaxy Nexus. My new adhesive did not have glue for the transparent part of the glass, only the edges, but it doesn't cause any problems.
- The digitizer is NOT fused to the glass. This rumour needs to be killed. It is fused to the AMOLED display.
- The glue between the glass and the digitizer is similar in consistency to the glue used to stick credit cards to the letter they are mailed on. It's very rubbery and rolls up in a ball quite easily. This makes for fairly easy removal. Use a plastic scraper for this process (I used the green tools that came with the new glass - see the eBay item for details).
- You can use nail polish remover (acetone) to clean off the remaining glue residue from the digitizer. It does not leave any of it's own residue. Clean with a lintless cloth, like a glasses cleaning cloth.
- Do this whole process in the cleanest environment you can, every little bit of dust or pet hair will cause you grief! Make sure you completely clean and dust the digitizer seconds before applying the new glass, or you will see the dust permanently embedded in your screen. I didn't have this problem, but it could be easily done.
I started taking pictures of the process after I had removed the glass (sorry, forgot to take some before I started). My damaged screen was basically like the S3 in the video, and the glass removal process was about the same. Here's an album of all the pictures.
If I've missed anything, feel free to post any questions! I'm quite happy with my revived Galaxy Nexus.