Apple, Samsung Top Smartphone, Handset Rankings

September 8, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Connected Device Comparisons | Data-driven | Mobile Phone | Telecom

jdpower-smartphone-index-sep-2011.JPGApple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction and Samsung ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with traditional handsets, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, Volume 2 and the 2011 US Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study, Volume 2. Apple achieves a score of 838 out of 1,000 and performs well in all factors, particularly in ease of operation and features.

HTC (801) follows Apple in the smartphone rankings. They were the only two smartphone manufacturers to beat the industry average score of 788. For smartphones, the key factors measured by the study are: performance (35%); ease of operation (24%); features (21%); and physical design (20%).

Samsung Satisfies Traditional Handset Owners

jdpower-handset-index-sep-2011.JPGSamsung ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with traditional handsets with a score of 718. Samsung performs well in three factors: performance, ease of operation and features. LG (717), Sanyo (716) and Sony Ericsson (709) follow Samsung in the traditional handset rankings, all beating the industry average of 708. In order of importance, the key factors of overall satisfaction with traditional wireless handsets are: performance (31%); ease of operation (24%); physical design (24%); and features (20%).

The study also finds that the price of a traditional wireless mobile phone continues to decline and averages $71 in 2011, compared with an average of $81 at the beginning of 2009. J.D. Power analysis indicates the decline is primarily due to discounts provided by handset providers and wireless service carriers to incentivize sales. Currently, 42% of owners report having received a free mobile phone when subscribing to a wireless service.

Physical Design, Dimensions Affect Satisfaction

Study findings suggest satisfaction with both smartphones and traditional feature phones is greatly impacted by the physical design and dimensions of the device. For example, satisfaction ratings are highest (8.1 on a 10-point scale) when the weight of the smartphone device does not exceed five ounces. In comparison, satisfaction averages 7.6 for smartphone devices that are five ounces or heavier.

The same scenario holds true for feature phones, for which satisfaction with the weight of the device peaks between three and 3.5 ounces, and drops considerably when the feature phone weighs four ounces or more.

Smartphone Experience Enhanced by Several Factors

The width and thickness of the smartphone device are also critical in maximizing the ownership experience. Overall physical design satisfaction is highest (852 on a 1,000-point scale) for smartphones that are less than 0.45 inches wide. In comparison, satisfaction averages 783 for smartphones that are 0.65 inches wide or wider.

Technology advancements also impact the experience of mobile devices in a number of areas. For example, touch screen-only smartphones generate considerably higher satisfaction with ease of operation (817 points) than either QWERTY-only based devices or those that have both a touch screen and QWERTY functions (785 and 782 points, respectively).

In addition, faster processing speeds, higher computer chip bit rates and the most advanced display screens (such as Super AMOLED vs. older LCD-based screens) all add significantly to user satisfaction. Even the number of megapixels found in camera-enabled mobile devices influences the ownership experience. In general, the higher the number of megapixels, the higher the satisfaction with camera picture and video quality. However, devices with at least five megapixels achieve nearly as high a satisfaction score as those smartphones with 8 megapixels or more.

Other Findings

  • More than two-thirds of smartphone owners say they have downloaded games and social networking applications to their device. More than one-half (54%) say they have downloaded entertainment-oriented applications, while 52% indicate having downloaded travel software, such as maps and weather applications.
  • Customers are highly satisfied with 4G-capable devices. Satisfaction among customers using 4G-capable phones averages 819, compared with 786 among customers using phones with 3G capability. Owners of 4G devices are also more active in terms of calling, texting and browsing the internet.

Verizon Top Wireless Network in Most Regions

Verizon Wireless is ranked number one in overall wireless network performance in five of the six US regions analyzed by the J.D. Power and Associates U.S. 2011 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study , Volume 2. Verizon Wireless ranks first in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions, but comes in second to US Cellular in the North Central region.

About the Data: The 2011 US Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, Volume 2 and the 2011 US Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study, Volume 2 are based on experiences reported by 6,898 smartphone owners and 8,775 traditional mobile phone owners. Both studies were fielded between January and June 2011 by J.D. Power and Associates and are the source of the enclosed charts.


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