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Smartphone Reliability and Satisfaction: iPhone Tops the List  December 11, 2022 – 11:32 pm

smartphone reliability and serviceIllustration by FlorafaunaPCWorld readers like their iPhones. More survey participants own this model than any other phone, and an unusually high proportion of them praised its durability, ease-of-use, design, and camera quality in our 2011 Reliability and Service survey. HTC phones scored well in those areas, too. But readers had little good to say about LG and Samsung phones, finding fault with their phones' ease of use and with features such as design, touchscreen responsiveness, and overall speed.

Highlighted in the first three charts below are our survey participants' ratings of smartphone manufacturers in three general areas: reliability, ease of use, and features. The final two charts focus on cell phone carriers in two critical areas: wireless service quality and customer service. All of these results are drawn from our 2011 Reliability and Service survey of some 63, 000 PCWorld readers. The other product categories covered in this survey were desktop PCs, laptop PCs, tablets, HDTVs, printers, and digital cameras. For a closer look at the methodology we used in our survey to gauge manufacturer reliability and customer satisfaction, see "Reliability and Satisfaction: What the Measures Mean."

Notes and Quotes

In compiling our survey results this year, we noticed some thought-provoking statistics, and we also received some telling comments from readers. Here are some of them:

• The percentage of Motorola phone users participating in our survey who reported a problem with their phone has grown from 21.7 percent in 2010 to 31.3 percent in 2011.

• Over the past two years, 32.5 percent of Samsung phone owners in our survey say that they have encountered a significant problem with their phone.

• Satisfaction with battery life varied widely among users of different manufacturers' phones. The vendors that received the highest marks ("extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied") in our survey are as follows (in descending order): Nokia (49.5 percent), Apple (47.1 percent), RIM (45.4 percent), LG (36.6 percent), Samsung (28.9 percent), Motorola (28.6 percent), and HTC (23.1 percent).

• In the smartphone category as a whole, three out of four phones were trouble-free, according to survey participants.

• Among smartphone users who did encounter problems, however, two out of five couldn't resolve their problem through carrier support.

• Though satisfaction with the ease of use of smartphones industrywide has improved from 59 percent in our 2009 survey to 63 percent in our 2011 survey, the numbers for RIM's BlackBerry smartphones have actually regressed, from 55 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2011.

• The most frequently broken or dead components of a smartphone, according to our survey respondents, are (in descending order) the operating system (32.6 percent), the battery 12.3 percent), the touchscreen (12.2 percent), the microphone or speaker (6.1 percent), the GPS device (4.0 percent), Bluetooth (3.7 percent), the physical keyboard (3.3 percent), the display screen (2.8 percent), and the power port (1.9 percent).

• "The iPhone 4 is a great device that performs and does what it says it will do. If there is a problem, Apple stands behind it 100% with great phone support." -iPhone owner

• "Between Samsung's slow pace to roll out OS upgrades, the email client imploding, and Android's poorly thought out backup, I think I've had enough." -Samsung Android phone owner

• "I'm concerned about RIM's longevity on the market. I'll probably look at HTC or Samsung next." -BlackBerry phone owner


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