CHOICE membership

Mobile phones review - Best smartphones

The difference is likely due to sampling/response bias - although I would have thought that CHOICE survey respondents were more likely to have Apple phones.


There are some interesting unexpected contradictions evident in the Choice reliability results table. Approx 4300 phones scored from 6000 responses, is perhaps the data that needs clarification. What happened with the other 1700 responses?

I’d expect on a value proposition Apple might be less popular, but more reliable and in use for more years. Hence cheap and cheerful for one part of the market might describe some products with a short life cycle, hence more sales and unlikely Apple product. At the higher end, higher cost and hopefully durability with a longer time to replacement for Apple. Perhaps users hanging on to their iPhones sees more over time going for minor repair/fault remedy compared to other brands which some might consider more disposable. Samsung make both high end and cheap and cheerful models. Should reliability be on more than just brand to find the best value?


I’ll jump in on the reliability survey results to provide some more background on the different sample sizes that’s what we do in the Consumer Insights team (with the help of a lot of other people).

As some of you would know, the survey covers different product categories, smartphones being one of them.

This year, 6009 people overall took the survey (thank you to everyone who participated!).

One of the first questions in the survey is to understand who has bought which products new in a given time period. For smartphones we look at a 5 year purchase period, 2015-2019. That gives us the number of products for the smartphone category, here nearly 4,300 that were then analysed by brand to establish the respective brand reliability and service satisfaction scores.

I’ll share your questions and feedback on the sampling with the wider team as well, as it’s important for us to know that this point could be clearer.


You are brave - mention numbers here and the community will split hairs or discuss the finer points of statistical analysis for days!

(It’s a hobby - much more interesting than a vocation.)


:laughing: Thanks for the warning - that’s all good.


Another quick note from me to let you know that we’re updating the article based on your feedback so that it’s clearer what sample size the results are based.


:slightly_smiling_face: Thanks.

No splitting hairs, although statistically it might make the few that remain appear to be more numerous.

I follow keeping a quality phone for longer. That may explain an interest in the average age of certain brands/models and at what point in time they needed repair or attention. Broadly within the first month of purchase, first year, or more than two years. Between work and home and my partner over 25 years I can’t recount a phone physically failing. Two had cracked screens due to misadventure. One a Samsung S2 or S3 had an intermittent software bug long passed warranty (Android update, or not supported anymore?). In the modern era of non removable batteries, the iPhone 4S became awkward with short battery life after 6yrs. But by then it was at end of Apple support anyway. The reliability report offers a less optimistic view. Are the mobiles of the previous 5 years poorly made? It’s a rhetorical question. :wink:


You might mean it rhetorically, but I intend to treat it literally.

Companies at this time in history exist to make profits they can pass on to their shareholders. There are only a few ways of making profits:

  1. Grow the market. Worked fine with mobile phones for a couple of decades, but the market is close to saturated.
  2. Charge more per unit. Well, Apple already does this.
  3. Use cheaper parts/suppliers. Prices tend to go down for consumer electronics anyway, but this helps companies to save on what they manufacture.
  4. Give your product a limited useful life (build in obsolescence). This has been done for decades, but with computers and mobile phones manufacturers and software providers are effectively colluding to ensure people have to upgrade. (Again, in Apple’s case no collusion is required because it sells both hardware and software.) Windows 10 no longer supports older CPUs and motherboards, for instance.

Little of this is consumer-friendly, but companies do not exist to be consumer-friendly.