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Touch-screen phones have the edge, surveys show

Owners of cell phones with touch screens are happier with their devices than are those who use physical keyboards and other input methods on their phones, says J.D. Power.

Customer satisfaction is greater among users of smartphones and handsets sporting touch screens than among those whose wireless phones require other input methods, according to two new J.D. Power surveys released Thursday.

The survey measuring customer satisfaction among smartphone owners in the U.S. found that smartphones with touch screens ranked 771 out of 1,000 points, a full 40 points higher than smartphones without a touch screen. A little more than half of owners said their smartphone has a touch screen. Though touch screens aren't as prevalent on traditional mobile phones, satisfaction with those devices reached 756 points on the scale, 53 points higher than the industry average, the survey of traditional-handset owners showed.

Smartphones were ranked for ease of operation, operating system, physical design, features, and battery power. Traditional handsets were graded for their operation, overall design, features, and battery life. Individual scores in each category were added up to create a total grade for each different brand of popular phones.

Among smartphone manufacturers, Apple hit the No. 1 spot for overall satisfaction with a score of 810, followed by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion with a grade of 741. Among companies who make traditional handsets, LG won the top spot by scoring 729, following by Sanyo at 712 and Samsung at 703.

J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power and Associates

The surveys also found that both smartphone and traditional-handset owners are using their phones more for entertainment and to share photos, music, and videos with family, friends, and social networks. Among smartphone users, 50 percent said they share multimedia, while 25 percent of traditional-handset users said the same.

The surveys were based on feedback from 13,590 owners of traditional mobile phones and 4,480 smartphone owners who've used their current phones for less than two years. Both surveys were conducted between July and December.