Apple v. Samsung: What are the most reliable smartphones on the market?

Apple v. Samsung: What are the most reliable smartphones on the market?

Summary: The latest report released by FixYa suggests that although Apple's iPhone comes with a premium price tag, you do get what you pay for in terms of reliability.


What is the most reliable smartphone currently on the market?

most reliable smartphones on market apple samsung nokia motorola fixya report
Credit: FixYa

Samsung's Galaxy models? Apple's iPhone 5? Or how about a Nokia or Motorola offering? According to FixYa, a community-based body that regularly breaks down gadgets and issues repair reports about consumer products, smartphones may be useful, but with the rapid product cycle and constantly changing expectations of consumers, problems can emerge with the hardware.

Most of us have preferences when it comes to smartphones and tablet models, whether you look for security and encryption, speed, battery life or camera features. However, no model is perfect -- FixYa finding that Motorola tends to bloat their products with unnecessary software, Samsung smartphones are dogged by microphone issues, Nokia has a "laggy" interface, whereas Apple's iPhone comes equipped with a number of battery issues.

Pitting Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Nokia head-to-head, the FixYa team have compared the Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy, and Nokia Lumia smartphone lines. The report says that Apple's iPhone is three times more reliable than its closest rival, Korean firm Samsung, as well as being 25 times more reliable than Motorola's Droid.

The information below compares the most persistent problems with each device. By combining and analyzing data from 722,558 combined problem impressions -- in other words, consumer problems which have been posted either through the organization's website or mobile app and then adding marketshare data from StatCounter, the "Smartphone Reliability Report" has assigned each manufacturer a reliability score, relative to their market share and reported gadget problems.

All in all, FixYa has given Apple a reliability rating of 3.47 and Samsung 1.21, whereas Nokia and Motorola fall behind with ratings of 0.69 and 0.13 respectively. The main trends for each smartphone model are documented below:


most reliable smartphones on market apple samsung nokia motorola fixya report

Apple dominated the reliability tests with the fewest number of problems in relation to the iPad and iPhone maker's estimated marketshare, although most were related to battery life. However, the interface, camera and app store still make sure that Apple remains a key favorite for smartphone users. A recent report by Strategy Analytics which suggested the iPhone 5 managed to become the top selling model in Q4 2012.

Reports suggested that iPhone users enjoyed the "sleekness and simplicity" of the Apple interface, and although complaints cropped up, most technical issues rarely became a roadblock for longer than a week or so. 

However, many consumers still seeking ways to help conserve their iPhone's battery life, a complaint which took hold after the launch of the iPhone 4S.  


most reliable smartphones on market apple samsung nokia motorola fixya report

Samsung, on the other hand, came in behind its rival with the second-highest reliability score. Users approved the Samsung Galaxy's interface across all models, but hardware issues including the microphone and speakers remained cause for complaint.

One element which raised very few complaints, however, was the battery life of Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones, although the Samsung Galaxy Nexus performed far more poorly in this category.  

Nokia, who was granted the third lowest reliability score, tended to be slower to load than other smartphone models, according to 35 percent of consumers. In addition, 20 percent of consumers were frustrated at the sparse application ecosystem with Windows Phone, although this is slowly improving. 15 percent of users reported failures when it came down to battery life, and 15 percent found that Nokia's Lumia smartphone sometimes becomes too hot.

However, Nokia uses did report that they appreciated the durability of the Nokia Lumia's screen, and the "Live tiles" feature on the homescreen was a great addition. 

Motorola has the lowest marketshare of these smartphone manufacturers and also was given the lowest reliability score. Users of Motorola products have been dogged by a plethora of issues -- with 136,436 problem impressions reported on FixYa -- ranging from the audio hardware to software. 30 percent of users reported problems with preinstalled apps, or "bloatware" which cannot be removed, 25 percent said they experienced issues with Motorola touchscreens, and 20 percent complained about speaker quality. In addition, 15 percent of users reported problems with the quality of Motorola's Droid camera.

However, Motorola shone in terms of battery life as well as the overall phone's design. 

"Smartphones are consistently being compared on a case by case basis, but no one has looked at the overall trends across a manufacturers’ entire smartphone line," said FixYa CEO and founder Yaniv Bensadon. "The result is an accurate and fair method, and a scaled approach to fairly compare these top companies to truly see who is the most reliable, and who is barely even competing."

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, BlackBerry, Samsung

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  • Junk Science

    How can you calculate a reliability score based on supposed slowness and application ecosystem? That doesn't have anything to do with reliability.
    • I agree. It almost sounds tailor made to have Apple come out on top.

      By including ecosystem size as a reliability factor.
      John Zern
      • Hardly

        They count battery life as reliability. It isn't it's design error. If these batteries were failing then it's be reliability, but they aren't, people are Just complaining about the life they get from the hardware working correctly, just like windows OS boot time is nothing to do with build quality or reliability.

        It is a joke, but I suppose they can't get real info easily; insurance claims and warranty claims. - the OEM's don't want to release that!!

        This seems to be a "pet peeves" list?? Who cares about that?! My blackberry used to take a lifetime to turn back on, and it's app ecosystem was laughable, but it never broke down... It was therefore reliable in my instance.

        My old old Samsung slide phone went wrong (didn't recognise being slid) so it got fixed on the warranty (4 weeks) 6 months later it did it again. Warranty had expired, so I opened it, found the cable had split where it folded on itself and bought a new cable off ebay and fixed it myself in 3days for 1.99. This was in my instance pretty p*ss poor reliability and poor repair service.

        It's no different with the old iPods; their hard drives would always go wrong because they were not designed with living in pockets in mind. Over the years I owned four different models of iPod with hard drive. Everyone of them went wrong with hdd failure at some point. My 2007 has been replaced 3 times over the last 5 years. Yes some have been dropped, and I know that technically the hdd failure may be accidental damage, but most have happened through normal, day to day use. Very bad design, that lead to widespread un reliability, but the in store "repair"-read swap service softened the blow a bit (plus the ease of purchasing low repairs).
      • Nothing to do with making Apple on top: just compare the number of ...

        ... complaints: Apple has 74 thousand and Samsung has 187 thousand.

        Samsung phones have more than TWICE problem reports. There is nothing you can do about. It includes both software and hardware as it is, making general measure of overall user experience.
        • Did you see their methodology?

          Putting aside the utter ridiculousness of calling "lack of flexibility" a "reliability" issue, their collection methodology involves counting complaints on websites. We all know that apple deletes negative threads from their forums so instantly this study is flawed. We also know that apple users never complain about anything, no matter how bad their apple product is so again, this study is completely and utterly flawed.

          I know it is important to you that no matter what lies have to be told, that apple appear to be the best. It isn't, and this "study" doesn't show any different.
          • utter ridiculousness

            ((( "Putting aside the utter ridiculousness of calling 'lack of flexibility' a 'reliability' issue..." )))

            I agree. Without that category, Apple would have gotten an even higher top score.
        • Yeah, complaing about not enough apps for an Android phone vs the iPhone

          makes the iPhone more rugged and reliable in what way? Does the Galaxy break down more often because of lack of apps?
          William Farrel
          • Well...

            It burned in someone's fucking pant.. It literally caught fire... Provided the owner with 2nd degree burns... That happens to iPhones a lot right?? Come back to reality... How long are you people gonna ignore the truth?? Haha
          • Samsung catching fire

            Didnt an iphone catch fire on an airplane on the way to Australia? Droptest for iphone4, and 4s against all Samsung devices, and which is more reliable? Just sayin....
    • Take away numbers involving app ecosystem

      And compare hardware and OS reliablity.
    • Whitney bitches everywhere...

  • How are these reliability issues?

    iphone can't be customized - it isn't reliable.

    Samsung device gets hot - it isn't reliable.

    Nokia doesn't have enough apps - it isn't reliable.

    Motorola has too many apps - it isn't reliable.

    ifixit should go back to posting screenshots of the insides of things because this is ridiculous.
  • Samsung

    I had samsung focus and it was OK (or so I thought at the time). However, when I got my Nokia Lumia phone I was amazed by the improvement in voice quality. I did not expect that and it is not advertised anywhere but the clarity of calls is unbelievable. Samsung, iPhone, and old dumbphones.. they all sucked. In addition reception on Lumia is better than on any other phone I owned. Anyway, I am a bit offtopic here but so is the article :) Subject is about reliability and content is about something different. Like "phone is hot". Is it reliability issue? If phone melts then yes, but if it does not then who cares as long as it does not burn hole in a pocket.
  • Another rubbish report...

    Who is hell is FixYa and what credibility do they have?
    • You see it as "rubbish"

      Because it put's a black eye on your precious Nokia and WP devices.

      Not that it isn't rubbish but I say that becasue there are many irrelevant issues brought up by the site - te number of apps for example does not affect the reliability of any device.
      • Only 1 target of that black eye

        FixYa is the only one that gets a black eye from this one. You only don't care because it has been paid by apple to try and make up things in order to make your precious apple products look better (see how easy that was?).
      • Hello..

        Yes it does.. All the better features and apps go to android way way later it touches down on ios.. I remember seeing 100m high scores on the leaderboards of temple run 2 in ios.. THE DAY IT LAUNCHED ON ANDROID.. Meaning we moved on after finishing the game when android people got it hahah.. Lets talk about one of my friends.. Dude wants a Nike fuel band but is an android fan.. Need I say more?? Many more I could add... These operating systems are strictly app based.. Lack of or no apps means complete lack of reliability.. You don't see it cuz you are a fanboy.. Step back and see the whole picture.. The report might have its flaws but it's onto something.. We got better apps built strictly for one ecosystem on single thread of hardware for a single device... Unification providing enhanced much superior experience.. That's why ios users are on the net more and buying stuff more often on their devices. It's funny how people fail to see the obvious..hahaha
  • APPLE Payroll

    Just another group on the Apple payroll! Since Android is kicking Apple's rear end they have pay people to make Apple look better then others.
  • If this is based on comments/complaints/questions...

    ... from the message boards of each brand's website.... how does FixYa account for the fact that SOME organizations remove less-than-flattering posts from their sites from time to time? I remember years ago, when I was struggling to figure out my first iPod, people were complaining that threads that they had started in regards to some issue or another had actually disappeared.
  • My god!

    What a bunch of whiners, sheesh. This isn't anything new. Apple has always rated highly in customer satisfaction.