Study says Apple's iPhone 4 most reliable, most fragile smartphone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A recent study of over 50,000 smartphones has concluded that Apple's iPhone has the fewest malfunctions, but is particularly at risk to accidental drop-related damage.



Third-party warranty provider SquareTrade analyzed data from more than 50,000 smartphones covered by its warranty plans. Among the smartphones included in the study were the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS from Apple; the Droid, Droid X, Cliq from Motorola; the Nexus One, Evo, Droid Incredible from HTC; and the BlackBerry Curve, Bold, Storm from Research in Motion. Handsets from other manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG, Palm, Nokia and Sony-Ericsson were also included.



The study found that the iPhone 4 was the most reliable phone of the group with just 2.1 percent of owners projected to have a non-accident malfunction in the first 12 months. The iPhone 3GS and Motorola came in just behind the iPhone 4 tied at 2.3 percent.



Though the iPhone 4 performed well with regard to reliability, it also appeared to be more accident-prone. Apple's newest smartphone is projected to have the highest accidental damage rate after 12 months: 13.8 percent. According to the study, the iPhone 4 has a higher rate of drop damage than other smartphones, possibly due to the iPhone 4's two sides of glass.







"The data seems to suggest that the likelihood of drop damage is directly proportional to the amount of glass on the device," the report noted. As the main cause of accidents, drops make up 77 percent of accident claims, according to the report.







In more good news for Apple, the iPhone 3GS had the lowest overall failure rates, which included malfunctions and accidents. Just 11.8 percent of iPhone 3GS owners reported a failure in the first 12 months of use.



BlackBerry devices posted a higher malfunction rate of 6.3 percent after 12 months, but made up for it with a lower than average accident rate of 6.7 percent. Android phones from HTC and Motorola had a matching accident rate of 12.2 percent, although Motorola's malfunction rate of 2.3 percent bested HTC's rate of 3.7 percent.



Overall, smartphone reliability has improved significantly since SquareTrade's 2008 Cell Phone Comparison Study. For example, Apple has cut its malfunction rates for the iPhone by roughly 60 percent since 2008.



In October, SquareTrade reported that iPhone 4 owners were submitting accident claims 68 percent more often than iPhone 3GS owners, with the majority of claims involving a cracked screen. According to the report, approximately a quarter of the broken glass claims involved the back screen.



Apple has reportedly suspended sales of slide-on iPhone 4 cases at its stores because of potential scratches and cracks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,420member
    Beauty costs.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,220member
    Given the perception of antennae and durability issues in the media I guess Apple will aim for a complete redesign rather than increment some of the features.



    From an aesthetic standpoint I think the iPhone 4 is the most beautiful consumer product of the last decade.



    A model with 64GB storage wouldn't go astray though.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Beauty costs.



    Agreed.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    50K? That's a lot of junk non-smart phones in the last 10 years. Or did they go all the way back to WW2 field radios?
  • Reply 5 of 50
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,125member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dunks View Post


    Given the perception of antennae and durability issues in the media I guess Apple will aim for a complete redesign rather than increment some of the features.



    From an aesthetic standpoint I think the iPhone 4 is the most beautiful consumer product of the last decade.



    A model with 64GB storage wouldn't go astray though.



    Not likely. The antenna issue was overblown FUD and the iPhone 4 is as durable as the 3 series if not more. The rear glass panel can be replaced fairly easily so as long as the front glass isn't cracked most people are going to be fine IMO.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    IPHONE4 may be fragile but its dependability, design and functional superiority make up for it.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Pretty obvious that if you compare failure rates for a device that has only been available for 5 months with others that have been available for 12, the numbers will flatter the newcomer.



    Will have to wait until next June for a meaningful comparison IMO.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    asciiascii Posts: 5,845member
    Most fragile? That surprises me because Apple (appears at least) to do significant research in to new building materials and construction techniques. I wonder what a plain old physics strength test would reveal (as against insurance company records).
  • Reply 9 of 50
    Says: "Just 11.8 percent of iPhone 3GS owners reported a failure in the first 12 months of use."



    JUST one in eight fails? And you call that "good news"? God you people are unobjective tools.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post


    Says: "Just 11.8 percent of iPhone 3GS owners reported a failure in the first 12 months of use."



    JUST one in eight fails? And you call that "good news"? God you people are unobjective tools.



    Nope. The tool is YOU. It's comparative fool.



    You might find the failure rate of other phones to be considerably higher. So the word 'just' is quite justified.



    As a rule I find Mac/iPhone users to be considerably more 'objective' than your average PC/Android toting media puppet who is incapable of thinking for himself.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post


    Says: "Just 11.8 percent of iPhone 3GS owners reported a failure in the first 12 months of use."



    JUST one in eight fails? And you call that "good news"? God you people are unobjective tools.



    Who cares how much it fails. It's just gorgeous, sexy, magical, and oh so elegant!



    You obviously don't understand the things that's really important to us TRUE Apple fans. Didn't you listen to Steve? He said it has the Sex!!!



    Let's not let a few minor things like high failure rates, a defective antenna, and being fragile blind us from how truly revolutionary this game changer is!!!
  • Reply 12 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Nope. The tool is YOU. It's comparative fool.



    You might find the failure rate of other phones to be considerably higher. So the word 'just' is quite justified.



    As a rule I find Mac/iPhone users to be considerably more 'objective' than your average PC/Android toting media puppet who is incapable of thinking for himself.



    ***



    Anybody who thinks a product category with such lousy products that a 1/8 failure rate is somehow good is an idiot. You should really look at what you wrote and think about how stupid that comment really is. Those who think for themselves look for excellence. We don't compare lousy choices and crow about selecting the best of the worst.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Looks like my ignore list is going to get a real workout with this one.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Not likely. The antenna issue was overblown FUD and the iPhone 4 is as durable as the 3 series if not more. The rear glass panel can be replaced fairly easily so as long as the front glass isn't cracked most people are going to be fine IMO.



    Err since when were things ok because you could replace the bit that breaks. That's like saying it would be fine buying a car where the wheels keep breaking because you can just replace them. I tend to think when I spend a few hundred pounds on something that it's going to last a few years.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post


    ***



    Anybody who thinks a product category with such lousy products that a 1/8 failure rate is somehow good is an idiot. You should really look at what you wrote and think about how stupid that comment really is. Those who think for themselves look for excellence. We don't compare lousy choices and crow about selecting the best of the worst.



    Maybe you should read the context of the article and the data before you jump to conclusions and start name-calling people. The data compares the percentage of claims, which means that 11.8% of the phones that are BROUGHT IN FOR SERVICE are because of defects. This does not take into account the millions upon millions of phones that have zero problems. Read before you react, unless you like the way your foot tastes.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A recent study of over 50,000 smartphones has concluded that Apple's iPhone has the fewest malfunctions, but is particularly at risk to accidental drop-related damage.

    ]



    Form over function. Again.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Maybe you should read the context of the article and the data before you jump to conclusions and start name-calling people. The data compares the percentage of claims, which means that 11.8% of the phones that are BROUGHT IN FOR SERVICE are because of defects. This does not take into account the millions upon millions of phones that have zero problems. Read before you react, unless you like the way your foot tastes.



    Ah, reading. I recall the days when it was not overrated. Sigh.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I wonder what a plain old physics strength test would reveal.



    Likely they would reveal that glass is prone to breakage.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post




    As a rule I find Mac/iPhone users to be considerably more 'objective' than your average PC/Android toting media puppet who is incapable of thinking for himself.







    God I love this forum!
  • Reply 20 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Nope. The tool is YOU. It's comparative fool.



    You might find the failure rate of other phones to be considerably higher. So the word 'just' is quite justified.



    As a rule I find Mac/iPhone users to be considerably more 'objective' than your average PC/Android toting media puppet who is incapable of thinking for himself.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Maybe you should read the context of the article and the data before you jump to conclusions and start name-calling people. The data compares the percentage of claims, which means that 11.8% of the phones that are BROUGHT IN FOR SERVICE are because of defects. This does not take into account the millions upon millions of phones that have zero problems. Read before you react, unless you like the way your foot tastes.



    ***



    Try again Zeke. Those are failure rates including when someone drops the precious little device. Do you think only 1/8 of the phones brought in for service actually need service? What the heck are the other 7/8ths doing. Looking for love at the Apple store?



    Let's thank god the Apple gullibility field doesn't hold sway in important industries like aviation. Planes would be constantly falling out of the air, but there'd be plenty of excuses how it isn't really so bad, and how "our" planes crash less than "theirs".



    Hoo Hoo, you guys are awesome!
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