Overall satisfaction with smartphones and traditional mobile phones is considerably higher for devices that are a specific size and weight and are equipped with the latest technological advancements, such as high-quality display screens, faster processing speeds, longer battery life and touch screen capabilities, according to a new J.D. Power and Associates (http://www.JDPower.com study.
For a sixth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 838 and performs well in all factors, particularly in ease of operation and features. HTC (801) follows Apple in the smartphone rankings.
Samsung ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with traditional handsets with a score of 718. Samsung performs well in three factors: performance, ease of operation and features. LG (717), Sanyo (716) and Sony Ericsson (709) follow Samsung in the traditional handset rankings.
Satisfaction with both smartphones and traditional or “feature” phones is greatly impacted by the physical design and dimensions of the device according to J.D. Power. For example, satisfaction ratings are highest (8.1 on a 10-point scale) when the weight of the smartphone device doesn’t exceed five ounces.
In comparison, satisfaction averages 7.6 for smartphone devices that are five ounces or heavier. The same scenario holds true for feature phones, for which satisfaction with the weight of the device peaks between 3 and 3.5 ounces, and drops considerably when the feature phone weighs four ounces or more.
The width and thickness of the smartphone device are also critical in maximizing the ownership experience, and echo the old adage that “thinner is better” holds true, according to J. D. Power. Overall physical design satisfaction is highest (852 on a 1,000-point scale) for smartphones that are less than 0.45 inches wide. In comparison, satisfaction averages 783 for smartphones that are 0.65 inches wide or wider.
Technology advancements also impact the experience of mobile devices in a number of areas. For example, touch screen-only smartphones generate considerably higher satisfaction with ease of operation (817 points) than either QWERTY-only based devices or those that have both a touch screen and QWERTY functions (785 and 782 points, respectively).
In addition, faster processing speeds, higher computer chip bit rates and the most advanced display screens (such as Super AMOLED vs. older LCD-based screens) all add significantly to user satisfaction. Even the number of megapixels found in camera-enabled mobile devices influences the ownership experience. In general, the higher the number of megapixels, the higher the satisfaction with camera picture and video quality. However, devices with at least 5 megapixels achieve nearly as high a satisfaction score as those smartphones with 8 megapixels or more.
“It’s not unexpected that satisfaction is higher for devices that have new technological advances or features,” says Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “Having the right combination of physical dimensions and operating functions and features for both smartphones and traditionally equipped devices is key to creating an exceptional ownership experience with each type of wireless device.”
In order of importance, the key factors of overall satisfaction with traditional wireless handsets are: performance (31%); ease of operation (24%); physical design (24%); and features (20%). For smartphones, the key factors are: performance (35%); ease of operation (24%); features (21%); and physical design (20%).