Samsung vs. Apple: The J.D. Power satisfaction shakeup

While the iPad lost out by a slim margin in overall satisfaction, it still proved strongest in areas ranging from performance to design. So who's the real winner?

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
A look at J.D. Power's rankings.
A look at J.D. Power's rankings. J.D. Power

Did J.D. Power overreach in giving its top customer satisfaction nod to Samsung instead of Apple?

The company on Thursday announced that Apple had come in second behind Samsung overall in its consumer study on tablet satisfaction. Apple's iPad scored 833 points out of 1,000 in tablet satisfaction, while Samsung topped that by a small margin at 835.

Not surprisingly, much has been made about Samsung's getting one up on Apple. But as Fortune pointed out Friday, Samsung's win doesn't necessarily add up.

A table that J.D. Power didn't provide with its press release showed rankings in five key areas -- performance, ease of use, physical design, tablet features, and cost. Those metrics were then used to determine overall satisfaction. According to J.D. Power, it measures satisfaction through this metric: performance (26 percent); ease of operation (22 percent); styling and design (19 percent); features (17 percent); and cost (16 percent). The study, by the way, took place between March and August among 3,375 tablet owners who have had their current device for less than a year.

According to the rankings across those categories, the iPad beat out Samsung on performance, ease of use, physical design, and tablet features. Samsung won (and handily) on cost -- the smallest portion in terms of weighting. So setting tablet prices aside, it would appear that the iPad proved more satisfying than Samsung's Galaxy Tab line.

That said, the ratings on those categories are imprecise. From performance to cost, the company's scoring legend shows only colored balls to represent scoring. Those ratings range from "among the best" to "the rest."

Meanwhile, J.D. Power also pointed out that Samsung was the only manufacturer to show improvement across all five ranking factors since the previous reporting period in April.

So who's the real winner? CNET has contacted J.D. Power for more information the survey and will update this story when we have more information.