J.D. Power finds higher-end phones make you happier

The consumer satisfaction researcher finds US phone owners are better pleased by pricier handsets from major carriers.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy | Team leadership | Audience engagement | Tips and FAQs | iPhone | Samsung | Android | iOS
Jessica Dolcourt

Does a higher-end phone make you happier?

James Martin/CNET

Into a barrage of damaging headlines comes a rare bright spot for Samsung, whose fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 has been nothing short of disastrous. A J.D. Power study published Thursday found that Samsung phones rank highest in overall satisfaction among AT&T and Sprint customers. T-Mobile and Verizon customers liked Apple iPhones best.

Drawing on that study and a companion study, both fielded in the months leading up to August of this year, J.D. Power also concluded that:

  • Customers of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon (full-service carriers) report more satisfaction than customers on Boost Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile (no-contract carriers).
  • Full-service customers pay an average of $361 for their phones compared with prepaid customers' $137 average.
  • Customers who pay more for their phones report higher satisfaction.
  • This is likely because high-cost phones perform better.

Forgive me for not being to stifle a no duh on the last point. It'll be interesting to see if phone owners still feel the same way about Samsung in J.D. Power's future reports, or if this year's troubled Galaxy Note 7 release and subsequent recall drops the phone below Apple, LG and maybe Google's new Pixels.