J.D. Power: iPhone tops consumer smartphone satisfaction... again

Choosing the right smartphone isn’t always easy, especially for those who don’t studiously examine every detail of a device’s spec sheet. The ‘average’ consumer – if there is such a thing – probably doesn’t care that this phone is 0.5mm thinner than that one, and most end-users would struggle to articulate the benefits of having more RAM or a multi-core processor. Ultimately, many buyers rely not on which handset has the most extreme components, but rather on recommendations, including those from consumer groups and market research organisations.

J.D. Power and Associates is a leading organisation in this field, and it has just delivered the results of its latest smartphone satisfaction survey. In its seventh consecutive win, Apple has beaten other smartphone manufacturers to the top of the satisfaction chart, achieving a score of 839 out of a possible 1000 points. HTC was second in the chart, achieving an impressive 798; these were the only two companies to exceed the industry average score of 774.

LG and RIM came in well below average in the satisfaction index, but Nokia is perhaps the brand that's got the most work to do here, scoring just 702, and lagging some way behind its smartphone rivals. Only Palm performed worse, and given its current status - in a sort of open-source limbo - it's unlikely to see significant gains any time soon.

A key finding of the study was the impact that battery life has on a user’s enjoyment of their handset. Owners of 4G devices rated battery life on their devices at 6.1 out of 10, compared with 6.7 out of 10 for 3G handsets, with both of these figures declining significantly compared with the results of the last study in September 2011.

Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates, noted that when it comes to battery life, “the study uncovers the need for a greater sense of urgency – short battery life can result in perceived phone problems, higher rates of merchandise returns and customer defections.” Just 25% of 4G smartphone owners said they were ‘highly satisfied’ with their battery life and ‘definitely will’ buy another handset from the same manufacturer.

The survey also found that 21% of smartphone owners reported a software or hardware malfunction with their handset during the review period. Worryingly, this included numerous customers who reported that their handset’s software crashed at least once a week.

Interestingly, consumers identified the physical design of a device as the least important measure of their satisfaction with it, with just 20% of users identifying this as a priority. 35% of users stated that the performance of their smartphone was the key factor here, with 24% claiming that ease of use mattered most. Evidently, some consumers are just happy to know that they’ve got the horsepower under the hood, even if it’s not particularly easy for them to unleash it.

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23 Comments

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I've always been happy with every phone i've owned. None of them Apple, nor will they ever be - they don't satisfy me, or many others I know.

Surprised HTC is 2nd, I bloody hated my HTC Hero. After that phone, I ditched Android forever, never being stuck in a contract with a HTC phone ever again.

Lunfai said,
Surprised HTC is 2nd, I bloody hated my HTC Hero. After that phone, I ditched Android forever, never being stuck in a contract with a HTC phone ever again.

The only HTC phone I ever liked was the original EVO, had the 3D and the hero, hated them both, the original evo was rock solid, battery life was poor but that thing was fast for its time, had a great display, easy to root and had a huge library of custom roms available for it plus it just never let me down, unlike the hero and the 3D.

I think you really need to consider the branding here, I mean i'm not trying to troll so dont hit me with that but most of the survey results by owners are going to be flawed.

Most HTC/Samsung owners are a little more tech based in general, therefore when asked to review we are going to actively criticize things. It's true, you see It on reviews about all sorts of tech stuff, us techies like to find the good and bad.

In my real world experience with iPhone owners (I repair the damn glass covered *******) the owners in GENERAL don't care about the fault BECAUSE its an iPhone. After fixing the screen on a 4S for the 5th time for one customer (after giving her a free case and instructions on how not to throw it at concrete) she had pretty much spent enough to buy a new phone. I asked why she kept it when there are many smartphones that don't smash like that. Her reply was "because it's an iPhone"

Thats just one example of many but I firmly believe that many (but not all) people just accept faults in iPhones because they ignore them or don't go looking for them.

Auzeras said,
I think you really need to consider the branding here, I mean i'm not trying to troll so dont hit me with that but most of the survey results by owners are going to be flawed.

Most HTC/Samsung owners are a little more tech based in general, therefore when asked to review we are going to actively criticize things. It's true, you see It on reviews about all sorts of tech stuff, us techies like to find the good and bad.

In my real world experience with iPhone owners (I repair the damn glass covered *******) the owners in GENERAL don't care about the fault BECAUSE its an iPhone. After fixing the screen on a 4S for the 5th time for one customer (after giving her a free case and instructions on how not to throw it at concrete) she had pretty much spent enough to buy a new phone. I asked why she kept it when there are many smartphones that don't smash like that. Her reply was "because it's an iPhone"

Thats just one example of many but I firmly believe that many (but not all) people just accept faults in iPhones because they ignore them or don't go looking for them.

No product will cover EVERY base, so I would say that applies to people who prefer any smartphone/insert product here/any choice whatsoever - they will accept things they don't like to get the things they do. It does take quite something to drop a phone FIVE times though and not figure out that it is possible to not do so . . .
I'm always pretty shocked how many people I see carrying their iPhone 4/4S around in their pocket completely exposed - I got especially neurotic about this after managing to scratch my Kindle (which is relative to the iPhone pretty cheap and pretty liveable with compared to looking at a scratched £600 phone!!) and have my phone wrapped up in a leather case whenever it's out and about.

The iPhone should top the charts. It is beautifully designed and perfectly constructed, the outside of the iPhone is just glass and steel. The hardware and software works perfectly together and any after sales service at an Apple Store cannot be rivalled by anyone ever.

Is the OS looking dated? I dont think so unless I read comments that say it is, like here on Neowin.....maybe the OS does look dated but it works and users give the phone the highest satisfaction rating (the 7th in a row!) so unless you read tech blogs I expect you have no negative comments about the OS looking dated.

derekaw said,
The iPhone should top the charts. It is beautifully designed and perfectly constructed, the outside of the iPhone is just glass and steel. The hardware and software works perfectly together and any after sales service at an Apple Store cannot be rivalled by anyone ever.

Is the OS looking dated? I dont think so unless I read comments that say it is, like here on Neowin.....maybe the OS does look dated but it works and users give the phone the highest satisfaction rating (the 7th in a row!) so unless you read tech blogs I expect you have no negative comments about the OS looking dated.

Pretty is the most important thing when buying a phone.

My friends in the retail cell phone industry have stories of customers that have bought phones based on smell, and taste. Literally going through every model in a store and sniffing them and licking them.

So pretty seems less crazy, but it is in the same category as the people that sniff the phones.

Maybe features and functionality would be a better choice. A WP7 phone with a 12mp or 16mp camera (with good optics) seems like it should win against an 8mp camera that is isn't getting better images than most quality 5mp cameras.

Or the WP7 truly being faster in gaming graphics (even with lower spec hardware), or the ease and speed of the Metro hub concepts that work. You spend less time using your phone and do more with it. (That should be the next '$100 faster than WP7' campaign.)

The iPhone when I carry it is fairly simple, but flipping between facebook and twitter and 'app' after app, gets tiring, when I can look at a live tile for updates and also tap the tile to see all this on one screen and interact with FB, Twitter, Email, Messaging, and 'People' in general without having to think 'Apps'.

(Android takes time for App flipping, even with the Widgets and I find myself trying to fix or get the phones to do what they are just supposed to do, and finding the source of a consistent FC or why the Camera App is locking up, or why too many photos or a corrupted on locks up the Camera App when I just want to take a picture.)

As for 'pretty' The Nokia 900 isn't shabby. It also has more features and real Gorilla Glass, that Apple may finally be adding this year as their 'version' still shatters.

I admit that when buying a car, I will lean towards 'sexy/pretty', but it has to meet the performance requirements or exceed them compared to the other cars I am considering. There is a new Cadillac 4 door and Wagon that is faster and 'corners' better than virtually every Ferrari and Porsche made. However, there is a Corvette that also can do this, and I then go, ya Cadillac is cool, but not Corvette ZR1 pretty.

To each his own, just don't start licking or smelling phones to make a choice.

Edited by thenetavenger, Mar 16 2012, 9:01pm :

rippleman said,
wait for the "iCry" crowd to show up any moment praising their Android Gods...

Why would this chart upset Android users, companies that use Android did well to fairly well.

rippleman said,
wait for the "iCry" crowd to show up any moment praising their Android Gods...

i dont think so... unless u start it...

thealexweb said,

Why would this chart upset Android users, companies that use Android did well to fairly well.

The problem is the same 'Android' companies also did well with WP7 customer satisfaction. If this was not based on 'device OEMs' and separated by OS, it would list:
1. WP7
2. Blackberry
3. iOS
4. Android

WP7 does well because it surprised users, this increases the satisfaction, and it is just quick, consistent, and easy. Blackberry users are faithful, and have a certain set of BB features they are used to having and those work. iOS does well because it is not horrible and get a lot of press and hype.

If Google cared and took the responsibility of being an OS provider and didn't leave all the work to OEMs and Carriers, it could increase the user satisfaction for users and also help the Phone MFRs that use Android by revamping the core problems in the OS model and being responsible for the OS.

thenetavenger said,

The problem is the same 'Android' companies also did well with WP7 customer satisfaction. If this was not based on 'device OEMs' and separated by OS, it would list:
1. WP7
2. Blackberry
3. iOS
4. Android

WP7 does well because it surprised users, this increases the satisfaction, and it is just quick, consistent, and easy. Blackberry users are faithful, and have a certain set of BB features they are used to having and those work. iOS does well because it is not horrible and get a lot of press and hype.

If Google cared and took the responsibility of being an OS provider and didn't leave all the work to OEMs and Carriers, it could increase the user satisfaction for users and also help the Phone MFRs that use Android by revamping the core problems in the OS model and being responsible for the OS.

Your post lost credibility when you listed Blackberry OS above Android, also the main WP backer did crap tbf.

thenetavenger said,

The problem is the same 'Android' companies also did well with WP7 customer satisfaction. If this was not based on 'device OEMs' and separated by OS, it would list:
1. WP7
2. Blackberry
3. iOS
4. Android

WP7 does well because it surprised users, this increases the satisfaction, and it is just quick, consistent, and easy. Blackberry users are faithful, and have a certain set of BB features they are used to having and those work. iOS does well because it is not horrible and get a lot of press and hype.

If Google cared and took the responsibility of being an OS provider and didn't leave all the work to OEMs and Carriers, it could increase the user satisfaction for users and also help the Phone MFRs that use Android by revamping the core problems in the OS model and being responsible for the OS.


did u make this post in the wrong place??? because it seems like it.

Always been happy with every iphone I have owned, battery life and performance has always been the best compared to the other phones I have had and I've owned a lot of phones, the only thing that I would like to see changed on an iphone is a bigger screen.

Order_66 said,
Always been happy with every iphone I have owned, battery life and performance has always been the best compared to the other phones I have had and I've owned a lot of phones, the only thing that I would like to see changed on an iphone is a bigger screen.

GUI change is needed as well, they have been using the same thing since the first iPhone. I'm hoping to see it on iOS 6--iPhone 5.

MaSx said,

GUI change is needed as well, they have been using the same thing since the first iPhone. I'm hoping to see it on iOS 6--iPhone 5.

You mean "the next iPhone" (lol?)

MaSx said,

GUI change is needed as well, they have been using the same thing since the first iPhone. I'm hoping to see it on iOS 6--iPhone 5.

Agreed, the UI is horribly outdated. But I don't see apple changing too many things. Maybe a darker scheme like they've been doing with their higher end apps, but that's it.

Order_66 said,
Always been happy with every iphone I have owned, battery life and performance has always been the best compared to the other phones I have had and I've owned a lot of phones, the only thing that I would like to see changed on an iphone is a bigger screen.

Numbers are fun...
Take marginal truthiness:
+ more models
+ more WP7 devices to shove the user satisfaction up
+ sprinkle in what ya need to help your stocks
= Results ya need.

Samsung has had a few shaky model backlashes this year, so there is probably some truth in this. Samsung was riding high on the 'fastest' Android, not long ago, and then the graphics weren't holding up to expectations, especially when it was benchmarked against non-Android devices.


Tell me something i dont know!!
but i was surprised to see HTC at 2nd place... I thought it was Samsung then HTC.

still1 said,
Tell me something i dont know!!
but i was surprised to see HTC at 2nd place... I thought it was Samsung then HTC.

I was expecting the same!