She holds her breath and cringes as a thumping sound fills her ears from the concrete.
El Paso Community College psychology student Nikki Flores opens her eyes and looks below, seeing her gold iPhone 6 face-down. Anticipation, then frustration takes over as she inspects the impact.
For the second time in less than 8 months, Flores’ iPhone screen is cracked and shattered.
“The drop was so bad that my fingers would get cut from the cracked glass if I touched a certain part of the screen,” Flores said. “I had the screen like that for two weeks before I was able to get it fixed, but it still took most of my paycheck.”
For Flores, shelling out $100 to fix her screen was better than nearly $900 for a new phone, but she’s not alone in her cracked-screen dilemma.
According to Gazelle.com, an electronics trade-in site for used and broken devices as well as a site where you can buy certified pre-owned devices, El Paso ranks third in the nation when it comes to college towns most careless with smart devices.
Based on the percentage of broken devices received throughout the U.S. from cites either with a major college or a large university within city limits, El Pasoans accounted for 27 percent of devices with cracked screens or other damage traded in to Gazelle.
“This is the first year El Paso is ranked on the list,” Kevin Walther, Gazelle communications specialist, said. “After compiling our data, we saw that each top 10 city hosts a large university or is itself a college town. It’s not so surprising that the klutziest cities correlate with college towns.”
To help combat the chances of a cracked screen or broken device, Verizon Wireless sales associate Mike Olmedo said accessories are a good investment.
“We get customers daily with cracked screens,” Olmedo said. “We can’t fix screens here [at Verizon stores]. If they have insurance for their devices it costs about $99, but without it, they would have to get a new device.
We recommend the Otterbox and Lifeproof cases for all smart devices, they absorb impact, and tempered glass screen protectors to care for your device.”
Calling himself “fortunate” because he has not cracked his smartphone screen, mechanical engineering student Manuel Ortiz said he always tries to take “really good” care of his device.
“I do buy the protective cases,” he said. “But when I become annoyed of carrying a brick around in my pocket, I’ll take it off and just really guard and protect my phone the best I can. I’ll take care of it [smart phone] as if it was my baby.”