Apple, Samsung top J.D. Power satisfaction survey

Apple and Samsung topped user satisfaction rankings in smartphones and feature phones, respectively, according to J.D. Power.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
3 min read
Apple's iPhone took the top spot in customer satisfaction among smartphones, according to J.D. Power.
Apple's iPhone took the top spot in customer satisfaction among smartphones, according to J.D. Power. Apple

Phones from Apple and Samsung topped a J.D. Power satisfaction survey, which cited size, screen quality, battery life, and processing speeds as crucial. The survey also said satisfaction was high for 4G-capable phones.

Apple ranked highest in customer satisfaction among smartphone manufacturers while Samsung was No.1 among traditional mobile phone manufacturers, according to the results of two J.D. Power studies released Thursday.

Satisfaction is tied closely to the weight, size, quality of displays, processing speeds, battery life, and touch screen capabilities, according to the studies.

For example, satisfaction ratings are highest (8.1 on a 10-point scale) for smartphones that don't exceed 5 ounces. J.D. Power said. But satisfaction averages only 7.6 for smartphones that are 5 ounces or heavier.

The same holds true for traditional phones. Satisfaction peaks between 3 and 3.5 ounces, then drops off when the feature phone weighs 4 ounces or more.

Top rankings:

  • Smartphone: Apple ranked highest with a score of 838, HTC was second with 801.
  • Feature (traditional) phone: Samsung ranked highest with a score of 718, LG was second with 717.

Criteria for phones that get the highest rating from J.D. Power:

  • Weight: Five ounces or under for smartphones; three-and-a-half ounces or under for feature phones.
  • Thickness: For smartphones, less than 0.45 inches thick.
  • Touch screen: Smartphones rated better with a touch screen only.
  • Processor: Phones powered by chips that can manipulate data quickly rated higher.
  • Display: Devices with advanced display screens such as Super AMOLED rated higher.
  • Camera: At least 5 megapixels for high rating.

Touch screen-only smartphones have "considerably higher satisfaction with ease of operation" (817 points) than either QWERTY keyboard-only based devices or those that have both a touch screen and QWERTY capability (785 and 782 points, respectively), according to the studies.

Fast chips and high-end screens boost scores too. "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," J.D. Power said.

And the survey broke down the factors, in order of importance, that determine satisfaction for traditional phones and smartphones. For traditional phones, the key factors are performance (31 percent), ease of operation (24 percent), physical design (24 percent), and features (20 percent). For smartphones, the key factors in order of importance are performance (35 percent), ease of operation (24 percent), features (21 percent), and physical design (20 percent).

For a sixth consecutive time, Apple ranked highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction, with a score of 838. Apple's iPhone performed particularly well in ease of operation and features.

Samsung took the honors in overall customer satisfaction for traditional handsets, with a score of 718. Samsung scored well in performance, ease of operation, and features. LG (717), Sanyo (716) and Sony Ericsson (709) followed Samsung.

The studies also said 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."