Apple trumps Samsung in smartphone reliability tests

A report released by FixYa suggests that although Apple's iPhone comes with a premium price tag, you get what you pay for in terms of reliability.

Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5. CNET

What is the most reliable smartphone currently on the market?

Samsung's Galaxy models? Apple's iPhone 5? Or how about a Nokia or Motorola offering? According to FixYa, a community-based body that regularly breaks down gadgets and issues repair reports about consumer products, smartphones may be useful, but with the rapid product cycle and constantly changing expectations of consumers, problems can emerge with the hardware.

Most of us have preferences when it comes to smartphones and tablet models, whether you look for security and encryption, speed, battery life, or camera features. However, no model is perfect -- FixYa found that Motorola tends to bloat its products with unnecessary software; Samsung smartphones are dogged by microphone issues; Nokia has a "laggy" interface; and Apple's iPhone comes equipped with a number of battery issues.

Pitting Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia head-to-head, the FixYa team have compared the Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy, and Nokia Lumia smartphone lines. The report says that Apple's iPhone is three times more reliable than its closest rival, Korean firm Samsung, as well as being 25 times more reliable than Motorola's Droid.

The information below compares the most persistent problems with each device. By combining and analyzing data from 722,558 problem impressions -- in other words, consumer problems which have been posted either through the organization's Web site or mobile app, and then adding market share data from StatCounter, the "Smartphone Reliability Report" has assigned each manufacturer a reliability score, relative to its market share and reported gadget problems.

All in all, FixYa has given Apple a reliability rating of 3.47 and Samsung 1.21, whereas Nokia and Motorola fall behind with ratings of 0.69 and 0.13, respectively. The main trends for each smartphone model are documented below:

most reliable smartphones on market apple samsung nokia motorola fixya report

Apple dominated the reliability tests with the fewest number of problems in relation to the iPad and iPhone maker's estimated market share, although most were related to battery life. However, the interface, camera, and App Store still make sure that Apple remains a key favorite for smartphone users. A recent report by Strategy Analytics suggested the iPhone 5 managed to become the top selling model in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Reports suggested that iPhone users enjoyed the "sleekness and simplicity" of the Apple interface, and although complaints cropped up, most technical issues rarely became a roadblock for longer than a week or so.

However, many consumers are still seeking ways to help conserve their iPhone's battery life, a complaint which took hold after the launch of the iPhone 4S.

most reliable smartphones on market apple samsung nokia motorola fixya report

Samsung, on the other hand, came in behind its rival with the second-highest reliability score. Users approved the Samsung Galaxy's interface across all models, but hardware issues including the microphone and speakers remained cause for complaint.

One element which raised very few complaints, however, was the battery life of Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones, although the Samsung Galaxy Nexus performed far more poorly in this category.

Nokia, which was granted the third-lowest reliability score, tended to be slower to load than other smartphone models, according to 35 percent of consumers. In addition, 20 percent of consumers were frustrated at the sparse application ecosystem with Windows Phone, although this is slowly improving. Fifteen percent of users reported failures when it came to battery life, and 15 percent found that Nokia's Lumia smartphone sometimes becomes too hot.

However, Nokia users did report that they appreciated the durability of the Nokia Lumia's screen, and the "Live tiles" feature on the home screen was a great addition.

Motorola has the lowest market share of these smartphone manufacturers, and also was given the lowest reliability score. Users of Motorola products have been dogged by a plethora of issues -- with 136,436 problem impressions reported on FixYa -- ranging from the audio hardware to software. Thirty percent of users reported problems with preinstalled apps, or "bloatware" which cannot be removed; 25 percent said they experienced issues with Motorola touchscreens; and 20 percent complained about speaker quality. In addition, 15 percent of users reported problems with the quality of Motorola's Droid camera.

However, Motorola shone in terms of battery life as well as the overall phone's design.

"Smartphones are consistently being compared on a case-by-case basis, but no one has looked at the overall trends across a manufacturer's entire smartphone line," said FixYa CEO and founder Yaniv Bensadon. "The result is an accurate and fair method, and a scaled approach to fairly compare these top companies to truly see who is the most reliable, and who is barely even competing."

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Apple v. Samsung: What are the most reliable smartphones on the market?"

 

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