iPhone tops smartphone reliability study

Smartphones are a technological wonder, but each brand differs when it comes to reliability. Conall Ó Fátharta takes a closer look

THE iPhone is not just the best selling smartphone on the planet, it’s also the most reliable.

A new study carried out by community-based trouble shooting resource FixYa used data from over 722,500 problems reported along with market share data from StatCounter, to come up with a reliability score for each of the leading smartphones on the market.

The Apple iPhone was found to be the most reliable with a score of 3.47 — nearly 300% better than its primary competitor Samsung which got a score of 1.21.

Nokia came in third with a reliability score of 0.68, while Motorola devices were found to be the least reliable in the study, managing a score of just 0.13.

FixYa’s CEO and founder, Yaniv Bensadon, said the latest report was compiled by using data from its 30m users and 8m product problems and solutions.

“Smartphones are consistently being compared on a case-by-case basis, but no one has looked at the overall trends across a manufacturers’ entire smartphone line. Our newest FixYa report looks at lines like the iPhone, Galaxy, or Lumia, and through a careful analysis of issues versus market share, we’ve been able to directly compare manufacturers using a reliability score.

“The result is an accurate and fair method of scaled approach to fairly compare these top companies to truly see who is the most reliable, and who is barely even competing,” he said.

The FixYa report found:

1. Apple

Top five issues:

1. Battery Life — 35%

2. Lack of New Features — 20%

3. No Customisation ability —15%

4. Can’t Connect Wifi — 15%

5. Other — 15%


Apple has been the major player in the smartphone market since the company revolutionised the mobile phone world by introducing the first touchscreen smartphone in 2007.

It had dominated the market until recent lower-than-expected sales figures.

However, as the company that essentially brought us the modern smartphone, it is still the world’s most popular single smartphone model.


*Simple user interface: FixYa users said they enjoyed the “sleekness” and “simplicity” of the Apple experience, comparing it favourably with other phone manufacturers.

A simple userface that both young and old can use is seen as the hallmark of all iPhone devices and something that Apple has historically been very aware of when designing their products. There were almost no complaints from FixYa users about the usability of the iPhone.

*Reliability: FixYa users praised the reliability of the iPhone, stating that it is almost always working as intended in regards to core features.

The report stressed that this didn’t indicate there were no complaints about the iPhone, just that the issues “weren’t show-stoppers” and rarely continued to crop up consistently on a weekly basis.

*App Ecosystem: As Apple essentially pioneered the app store model, this was obviously seen as a major advantage of the iPhone. The report found that while users on Android or Windows Phone ecosystems had complaints about a specific app not being available, iPhone users did not.


*Lack of customisation ability: While the majority of FixYa users praised the iPhone for its ease of use, some wanted a greater ability to customise the device to their liking while retaining the simple design they enjoy.

*Battery life: The poor quality of the battery is a common complaint among virtually every iPhone user and FixYa users have raised the issue when looking for ways to conserve battery life.

Anyone who uses their phone all day without access to a power point will find a problem with how long the device lasts off of a single charge.

*Lack of new features with new models: Users who have upgraded their old iPhones to new versions felt additions and experience were lacklustre.

2. Samsung

Top 5 issues:

1. Microphone Issues — 40%

2. Speaker Issues — 20%

3. Battery Life — 15%

4. Device Gets Hot — 15%

5. Other — 10%


Samsung has always been a major player in the smartphone market since its inception and is still Apple’s major competitor with impressive sales figures.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is the company’s most prominent product, billed as the Android markets answer to the iPhone, it has been hugely successful.


*Great screen quality: FixYa users’ were most impressed with the quality, with no complaints about dead pixels.

*Enjoyable user interface: A common complaint about smartphones running Android has been the efficiency of its user-interface. The FixYa report found that Samsung has made some big strides in this area, putting it on par with the iPhone.

*Battery life (Galaxy SIII): Samsung’s products have improved consistently with regards to battery life. While complaints about battery life were raised, they were not on the level of those levelled at the iPhone.


*Battery life (Nexus): While battery life for the Galaxy SIII was praised, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus battery life remains a huge issue for users.

*Microphone and& speaker issues: This problem was found to be persistent throughout multiple Samsung products, and despite updates, still persists.

3. Nokia

Top five issues:

1. Laggy Response Time — 35%

2. Poor App Ecosystem — 20%

3. Battery Life — 20%

4. Device Gets Hot — 15%

5. Other — 10%


Once the main player in the phone market during the 1990s and most of the noughties, Nokia has fallen off the pace considerably as the smartphone revolution gathered pace.

However, its recent smartphone, the Lumia, has received a warm welcome from consumers.


*Screen durability and touchscreen: The ‘Nokia Lumia Screen 900 Hammer Test’ which went viral tells you everything you need to know about just how durable the screen is and consumers have found that durability has not impacted upon performance.

*Homescreen user interface: Its ‘Live Tiles’ system which displays the number of unread messages or updates from a variety of programs and apps has been praised. It is not static and provides the user with the option to customise their homescreen.


*Laggy responses: Whether it is with apps or programs already installed, loading times were seen as much slower on Nokia smartphones when compared to competitors.

*Lack of apps: The lack of apps available was cited as a source of frustration.

*Battery life and heat: The Nokia smartphone is not interested in being the thinnest on the market. This bulkiness, along with the display screen, causes the device to get fairly warm when used a lot. FixYa users reported battery life problems that cause it to drain quicker than many smartphones.

4. Motorola

Top five issues:

1. Pre installed Apps — 30%

2. Touchscreen Issues — 25%

3. Speaker Quality — 20%

4. Camera Quality — 15%

5. Other — 10%


Motorola’s Droid was released in 2009 and entered the market as one of the major competitors to the iPhone. Numerous new versions of the Droid and RAZR have been released since.


*Great battery life: FixYa users mentioned not having to charge their phone every day despite normal usage, which definitely gives Motorola an advantage among competitors.

*Design of phone: Consumers want a phone that not only looks good, but feels good in their hands. According to FixYa, Motorola has caught up to Apple and Samsung in this area.


*Unable to remove pre-installed apps: Also known as bloatware, the Motorola phones come with a lot of pre-installed apps which users were unable to remove. Apart from taking up storage space, users felt the phone didn’t feel like their own and as a result lessened the appeal of the homescreen.

*Touchscreen issues: Motorola’s smartphones, specifically the Droid, were found to have a tendency to run into some touchscreen issues at certain points.

*Speaker and camera quality: FixYa users found that Motorola has fallen behind in this area with photos blurring particularly with detailed shots taken with a flash.

The speaker quality of the phone was also found to have a “grainy” sound to it.


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