Study: iPhone 4 Most Reliable, Just Don't Drop It
According to a recent research survey, iPhone 4s are the most reliable smartphones, while still being the most prone to accidental damage. Third-party warranty provider SquareTrade looked at their SquareTrade Care Plan database
and analyzed failure rates of over 50,000 smart phones covered by the company's Care Plans, finding that the iPhone 4 had the least malfunctions but was the most susceptible to accidents. The study also showed that all manufacturers improved their failure rate since the first such study in 2008.
SquareTrade looked at four months of iPhone 4 warranty claims, eight months of claims from Motorola and HTC owners, and a year of iPhone 3GS claims, then extrapolated a 12-month failure rate - excluding accidental damage - for all devices. The iPhone 4 device was the most reliable with only 2.1% of the owners reporting a malfunction, followed closely by iPhone 3GS and Motorola with 2.3%. HTC's projected one-year failure rate was pegged at 3.7% and Blackberry's at 6.3%.
However, malfunctions only tell part of the story. "Accidental damage is responsible for over 75% of smart phone failures," the report
notes. And the metrics for damage are almost perfectly inverted when compared to failure rate: BlackBerrys are the most rugged with only 6.7% suffering an accident in the first 12 months, and the iPhone 4 - with a projected 9.4% suffering damage after a year - is the most fragile.
Both manufacturers have made their devices more reliable since SquareTrade did its first study in November 2008. In that study, 11.9% of BlackBerrys and 5.6% of iPhone 3Gs failed due to malfunction in the first year. So Apple improved its failure rate by 62% with the last two models, and RIM reduced its incidence of malfunctions by 47%.