The results of our annual Which? sound and vision reliability survey have revealed a significant gap between the most and least faulty smartphone brands. For the second year in a row, Huawei beat off competition from tech giants Apple and Samsung to be crowned the most reliable smartphone brand.
Only 7% of Huawei’s phones experienced any kind of problem over our three-year survey period, while bottom-ranked LG phones are 32% likely to develop a fault over the same time frame. Faults were classified as minor, major or catastrophic – a minor fault is one that doesn’t hinder use of the phone significantly, whereas a catastrophic one would render it completely useless.
The starkest difference between the most and least reliable brands was in the number of catastrophic faults. A Huawei owner has a 2% chance that their phone will break completely over the first three years of ownership, but for LG this chance rises to a worrying 17% – more than eight times the level of risk. The average respondent in the survey said they spent £200-250 on their smartphone, so going for an LG over a Huawei could end up being an expensive mistake.
Huawei scores 93% overall for reliability – 20 percentage points more than LG with 73%.
Read more about how smartphone brands compare on our most reliable smartphone brands page.
Most and least reliable tech brands
Our huge survey of nearly 10,000 people shows the winners and losers across 17 sound-and-vision product areas. From set-top boxes to smartphones, brands are ranked based on how many problems people experience with their products. We collect data for tens of thousands of faults that have occurred with products bought over the last five years.
Respondents tell us what’s gone wrong with their products, when this happened and how bad the fault was. We then calculate a brand reliability score, taking into account the number of faults for each brand, how bad they were and how soon they happened after the product was bought. A product that goes wrong after five minutes is treated much more harshly than one that gives up after five years.
The reliability score can be a useful tool when you’re deciding on your next big purchase. Our product tests are great for telling us about brand new products, but we don’t always know how they’re going to perform years down the line. We also ask questions on customer satisfaction, to get a clear picture of which brands will serve you best into the future.
Find out full results
The surprising smartphone results are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our reliability survey. We have masses of data on each product area that could help you decide what to buy.
If you’re looking for a new compact camera, Canon and Nikon are two of the biggest names in the business. However, you might be surprised to learn that one of them is significantly more reliable than the other. This brand also keeps its customers far happier – about half of its customers choose to stick with the brand when replacing their camera. By contrast, the less reliable brand loses more than 70% of its customers to other brands. Find out whether it’s Canon or Nikon you should be going for in our best compact camera brands guide.
When it comes to headphones, in-ear models are much more likely to let you down than the sturdier on-ear and over-ear models. About 19% of in-ear models fail within five years, compared to 8-9% for on-ear and over-ear. However, there’s one in-ear brand that manages to buck this trend, with only 6% of its headphones experiencing any kind of fault. What’s more, this brand produces cheap pairs available for around £30. Find out which brand will give you great-value quality in our best headphone brands guide.
The full list of product areas in our reliability survey is below. Click the links to find out more about which brands to go for.