updated 01:53 am EDT, Wed July 31, 2013
Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 2 tied for first place; iPhone second
A new study focusing only on smartphones by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has ranked two premier Samsung smartphones -- the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note 2 -- ahead of Apple's iPhone various iPhone models in a new survey of 2,500 buyers. The results have a number of odd notes to them, giving high scores to mostly older models and entirely omitting recent entries such as the HTC One, BlackBerry Z10 and Samsung Galaxy S4; ranking all three iPhone models as essentially equal when the iPhone 4 is now three years old; and using the exact same vaguely-defined methodology as a recent Korean study, suggesting a possible agenda (though the Korean study actually gave the crown to the iPhone).
What is known for sure is that all of the top 10 phones in the ACSI study were very close to each other in rankings, except for the BlackBerry models (which were the older Curve and Bold models, scoring the mid-60s). Apart from them, the two Samsung devices tied at 84 out of a possible 100; the iPhone 5 and 4S at 82 with the iPhone 4 at 81; Motorola Mobility's Droid Razr Maxx HD at 80; Samsung's Galaxy S II at 78, and the Droid Razr at 77. No Windows Phone models appeared in the rankings.
Interestingly, the same group conducted a similar study in May that surveyed both feature phone and smartphone customers, with wildly different results. In that study, Apple took the top spot with a score of 81 and Samsung came in next to last place with a score of 71. No explanation for the huge discrepancy in the two studies was offered by the group.
The ACSI surveys purport to measure several categories of customer reaction to the various products, including "anticipation" of the quality of the product based on history or advertising impressions; the actual perception of quality by owners based on reliability, and a third category that evaluates quality relative to the price paid for the phone. The company has been measuring customer satisfaction with various brands and types of products, including electronics, for the past eight years -- but only began surveying specifically on smartphones last year, with this May's study being the first time Apple, LG, HTC and BlackBerry were included.