Best mobile phone brandsby Jessica Moreton
We questioned thousands of mobile phone owners to find out which brands are best and who makes handsets that are built to last.
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Want to know which mobile phones are built to last? Then read on, as we reveal the best and worst mobile phone brands.
There’s nothing smart about a phone that struggles to get a signal or runs out of battery halfway through the day. And from screens that crack to buttons that won’t press, faulty phones can be expensive to fix.
Every year, we test dozens of mobile phones. These tests include charging and recharging the battery to find out how long it really lasts, and making phone calls with background noise to test the true call quality. This lets us tell you which phones are the best. But you also need to know if the phone will carry on working over the next few years. That’s why we ask owners to tell us about their phone – from Google and Motorola to Apple and Samsung, we can rate the brands that make phones that are built to last.
Scroll down to see our table which reveals the best and worst mobile phone brands.
Here, we compare mobile phone brands. If you just want to find out which mobile phones were the highest scoring in our tough lab tests, take a look at our Best Buy mobile phones.
The best and worst mobile phone brands
Our survey shows us what happens once you get your new phone home – and there's a big difference between the best and the worst brand. Below, we share what we've learnt about the big mobile phone brands, to help you decide which is best.
We've ranked brands by their customer score - which relates to whether their customers would recommend the brand. And the more stars for reliability, the fewer the problems reported by mobile phone owners.
If you're not a member, you can take out a £1 Which? trial to unlock our table and access all of our online reviews - including our mobile phone reviews.
|Brand||Average test score||Customer score||Reliability rating|
With an impressive clutch of Best Buys and numerous high-scoring phones, this brand does incredibly well in the test lab. It's popular with our members, too, achieving the highest customer score of all mobile phone manufacturers in our survey. It's a premium brand, but these results show it's a solid investment.
This brand offers a small but credible range of mobile phones. Its handsets don't achieve the very top scores in our tests, but are nevertheless highly regarded by our members. Its phones aren't often the cheapest, but they're well worth considering.
With a few handsets for under £150, this brand is ideal for those on a budget. It scores well with our members and although we've found only a few worthy of our Best Buy recommendation, they're nevertheless some of the best value models around and certainty worth a look.
One of the biggest and most popular mobile phone brands in the market, this manufacturer has a huge range and a phone to suit any budget. It has some of the best scoring phones, but also some of the worst. Also, the customer score and reliability rating are OK, but nothing special.
This brand has a large range, from cheap sub-£100 models to those closer to the £500 mark. Its more expensive phones offer quirky designs and solid performance, and they often score well in our lab. Members are less impressed, though, with an average customer score and mediocre reliability rating.
This manufacturer has a few phones that score highly in our test lab. But its reliability rating is among the lowest, and its customer score is nothing to write home about, either.
This is another brand that focuses on the more affordable end of the market; and some of its handsets are good for those on a budget. Sadly our members don't rate it as highly as other budget brands.
In 2015, this brand earned a paltry two stars for reliability, but this year stormed into first place for reliability. But there's a word of caution - most of this brand's phones in our survey were bought in the last two years, as it's relatively new to the UK, so we're looking forward to seeing how its reliability fares in the future. Its customer score is still low.
We've found some Best Buy mobile phones from this brand, but it receives the lowest customer score of the bunch. Its more affordable phones impress less in our tests, so make sure you consult our reviews before you buy a phone from this brand.
Sample sizes: Reliability 2,950; Customer score 3,428.
Choosing the best brand of mobile phone
The reliability ratings in the table are based on feedback from 2,512 Which? members. We asked about faults they experienced with their handset and the seriousness of those faults – from minor annoyances to handsets that wouldn’t work at all. The fewer problems and the less-serious the issues reported, the higher the reliability score. The best brand for reliability achieved a score of 92%, while the worst for 72%. Reliability data was gathered from those who have owned their phones for up to three years.
92%The highest mobile phone reliability score
Our research also revealed the most common mobile phone problems to be:
- Not charging or quickly losing charge Quite simply, we're all busy people with more important and exciting things to do than worry about our phone losing juice on a day out.
- Freezing A frozen phone means you can't use the handset at all. While turning it off and on again sometimes solves the problem, it becomes hugely frustrating if this happens frequently.
- Apps stop working A smartphone isn't very smart without apps, and if your email or music player app stop working, it can be very annoying.
We also asked how satisfied owners were with their phone and how likely they would be to recommend the brand to friends. This is our customer score. As you’ll see in the table above, many of the big brands don’t come highly recommended.
To complete the picture, we’ve also included the average test score for each brand from our tough lab test results.
Find the perfect handset for you by checking our mobile phone reviews.