Fixya, the problem-solving website, has analyzed 13,037 fix-it requests concerning four leading smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy S4, Apple iPhone 5S, Google Moto X, and HTC One. These provide a general guide to the things that concern large numbers of users, and thus things to consider if you're shopping on Black Friday or in the run-up to Christmas.
In brief, some Galaxy S4 users are experiencing overheating issues, Moto X users are frustrated by the lack of storage space, and HTC One users find the device falls short in camera quality. Apple iPhone users have battery and fingerprint issues, but on the whole, have the fewest problems.
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners were most likely to raise overheating problems (25 percent), followed by battery and screen problems (20 percent each). Fixya speculates that this may be due to the plastic (as opposed to aluminium) casing. The report says: "Typically this issue presents itself when users are running a gaming app and browsing the web."
With regard to the S4 screen, Fixya says: "The display is relatively darker than other devices, which affects day-to-day activities that relate to viewing the device." This may make it harder for some users to read text on web pages, and it affects games with dynamic lighting effects.
Google Moto X owners complain most about a lack of storage space (30 percent), followed by screen quality and camera quality (20 percent each), then GPS problems (15 percent). However, unlike iPhone 5S and HTC One owners, they're not complaining as much about battery life.
Lack of storage space is a major problem with the Moto X because it can't be expanded with a MicroSD card. Although users can store things in the cloud, it's not always convenient to access cloud data, and it can add to usage costs, especially when roaming.
On the quality of the Moto X's 720p (not 1080p) screen, Fixya comments: "The quality of the Moto X screen falls short of the standards set by many other competitive devices. Items such as text pixelation and saturation (overly bright colors) are common threads for the device, and relate directly to how users view basic media like text on web pages as well as rich media such as pictures and graphics when using the phone."
On the camera, Fixya says the Moto X "doesn’t appear to offer the high-end quality performance expected out of the top phones. Photos taken in seemingly perfect light will sometimes have strange, pixelated shapes in the photo caused by a lackluster sensor, and other times the phone’s automatic focusing will distort the photo and blur areas seemingly at random."
Apple iPhone 5S users are most likely to complain about battery life -- not exactly a new complaint for iPhone owners -- and concerns over the fingerprint password (25 percent each). After those come the screen size, and apps crashing (15 percent each).
It's not clear why the fingerprint access is a problem as iPhone 5S owners can use a code instead. Also, Fixya says "there doesn’t appear to be a widespread issue with the passwords not working or anything of the sort."
As for screen problems, buyers already knew the iPhone 5S screen was small compared to rival devices, but Fixya says "users do complain about the phone occasionally crashing and being forced to reboot due to screen freeze."
HTC One owners mostly complain about battery life (30 percent), then camera quality and audio issues (20 percent each).
The HTC One's battery has to handle a big screen and a fast processor, which is a challenge. However, users complain that it takes too long to recharge.
Re the HTC One camera, Fixya says "users report having a lot of difficulty shooting pictures in the middle of the day with photos coming out extremely saturated. However, night photographs appear to come out much better."
Unusually, the HTC One has "audio issues". Fixya says some users report "hearing a subtle hiss in the background while making phone calls and (less so) when listening to music on the device via the speaker system. However, it does not appear to affect the other person on the line."
It's a pity that the Nokia Lumia 1020 wasn't included in the report, because Fixya doesn't have enough Lumia owners, not that the phone is perfect. This would have made the report more interesting for European users in particular. Windows Phone has a 10 percent share across the five main European countries, and has overtaken iOS in Italy, according to Kantar.