Repair Radio Is Back! — Repair Radio Episode 10

After taking a brief hiatus a couple months back, Repair Radio is back with an all-new, audio-only format! Every two weeks we’ll be discussing the latest tech news, repair stories, and answering your questions about fixing your stuff.

If you’re a fan of the old YouTube live streams, don’t worry—we’ll still do those every now and then, and they’ll show up in the Repair Radio feed in your favorite podcast app. But for most regular episodes, we’ll be using this format.

How to Listen

Hosts: Craig Lloyd, Kevin Purdy, and Whitson Gordon
Music: Gypsy (@ArchaicsHipHop)

News Topics

  • Game Boy Teardown: The Nintendo Game Boy was originally released in 1989. While it wasn’t the first handheld game console to hit the market, it popularized the category and kickstarted the portable gaming industry. In honor of its 30th birthday, we tore it down to see what’s inside.
  • An Open Letter to the FTC on Google’s Banning of Repair Business Ads: While the FTC prepares to hold a workshop investigating the ways manufacturers restrict third-party repair, we have concerns about a different restriction: the way Google, the world’s dominant advertising giant and search engine, has entirely shut off online advertisements for third-party repair services on its platforms. This issue deserves scrutiny. Repair shops who cannot find customers cannot help them, regardless of their access to manuals or parts.
  • How to Care for Your Laptop’s Battery (So It Lasts Longer): All batteries wear out over time, but they don’t wear out at the same speed. You and someone else, given the same brand-new laptop on the same day, could have quite different battery life after two years—maybe as much as a 40 percent difference. It depends on charging levels, heat, how you store it, and avoiding the deadly zero-charge.
  • Here’s to Function Keys, the Dying Top Row of Your Keyboard: Apple officially did away with function keys on the MacBook Pro for its mid-2019 refresh, going all-in on the Touch Bar instead. If this is indeed the end of function keys on MacBooks, they had a good run. In fact, function keys have been around since the earliest days of personal computing.

Listener Questions

Since this is our first episode in the new format, we spent the bulk of our time answering a question from our own editor, Whitson.

I’m looking at a Pixel 2 repair that’s rather risky, and could end up being costly. At what point does a repair become less worthwhile than just selling the device and buying a new one?

There are a few things to consider here. There’s a rule of thumb in the world of car repairs that sort of applies: if the repair costs are more than half of what the car is worth, it’s probably better to get a “new” one. You can even think of this in terms of years of use: if you bought a $1,000 phone that you expect to last you three years, that’s about $333 per year. If a new battery will get you another year out of it, it’s a good idea as long as the parts cost less than $333 (which they do). Things get iffier when you start talking about buying used devices, but keep in mind a lot of modern phones are even less repairable than the Pixel 2, so by buying one, you’d just be kicking the can down the road and making it harder for yourself later on.

Have a Question You Want Answered on Repair Radio?

You can email your repair questions to repairradio@ifixit.com, or tag us on Twitter and include the hashtag #repairradio in your tweet. Your question can be anything repair-related, whether it’s how to fix something, tools you should buy, maintenance advice, or anything in between. We’ll pick some of our favorite questions and answer them on the podcast!