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19 November 2020

Most reliable mobile phone brands

Which? reliability data can help you choose a smartphone that lasts. We survey owners of the likes of Apple, Samsung and Motorola phones to see which develop the least faults over time.
Alice Williams

When a phone develops a fault, it's likely to be due to the battery, as our exclusive data shows. A problem with the battery or charger accounted for 12% of all faults, with the battery quickly losing charge at another 8%.

Knowing how long a brand will last you, which brands develop the most faults and how long you can expect to see problems is invaluable to making a smart buying decision. That’s why we've asked more than 15,000 Which? members to tell us about the problems and experiences they’ve had with brands over the past eight years. 

Our unique survey data reveals when popular brands developed a fault, how serious this fault was and the reasons why products are replaced. We also look at brand loyalty to find out who you turn to time and again, and crucially reveal how long you can expect smartphone brands to last.

How long do different smartphone brands last? 

To find out how long you can rely on your smartphone, we calculated an average estimated lifetime for each brand, based on how long respondents were able to keep a product before having to replace it because of an issue that was out of their control. 

Estimated lifetimes should only be used as a guide – there’s nothing to say your smartphone will suddenly stop working when this time period is up. But as a comparative indicator between brands, it’s a useful way to get an idea of how a product you own or are shopping for compares to others. 

Another important consideration with mobile phones is security updates. While iPhones tend to receive updates for five to six years, many Android phones stop receiving them after just two or three. Using a phone that's no longer being updated is higher risk, even if it's otherwise working ok. For more information, read our guide on mobile phone security: is it safe to use an old phone?

Brand Estimated average lifespan (years)
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6
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5
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4
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5
M 6
M 5
M 4
M 5
M 5
M 6
M 5

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020 covering 12,611 smartphones.

How quickly do different smartphone brands need replacing? 

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, as well as the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a five-year period in the table below.

Smartphones replaced due to fault after...





Brand One year Three years Five years
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1% 35% 84%
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4% 32% 77%
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1% 49% 88%
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3% 54% 88%
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12% 72% 91%
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7% 52% 93%
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1% 46% 93%
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5% 54% 93%
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7% 26% 65%
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1% 45% 87%
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4% 59% 92%

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020 covering 12,661 smartphones.

How satisfied are customers with different smartphone brands? 

Our survey also reveals how satisfied people are with a brand overall – we use this to calculate a ‘customer satisfaction’ score, based on how likely people are to recommend it. 

Loyalty is also an important factor. Though it doesn’t always correlate directly with satisfaction, some brands have what it takes to keep customers coming back time and again. Our loyalty score is based on whether people stuck to the same brand when they upgraded.

There's a big variation in how the best and worst smartphone brands perform in the test lab, and how customers rate them, but the biggest differences are found in customer loyalty. The best brand for loyalty had 19 out of 20 of its customers buying from them again, whereas the same number abandoned the worst brand when they bought a new phone.

Brand Customer loyalty score Customer satisfaction score
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9% 54%
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95% 85%
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17% 74%
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21% 60%
M 40% 84%
M 6% 64%
M 32% 71%
M 5% 67%
M 57% 77%
M 7% 70%
M 51% 90%
M 74% 81%
M 26% 73%
M 11% 59%

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020 covering 12,661 smartphones.

Common smartphone problems

A problem with the battery or charger is the most common smartphone fault, at 12% of the total. Batteries losing charge too quickly isn't far behind, at 8%. It's inevitable that your lithium-ion battery will degrade over time,  but you can prolong its life by making sure your phone doesn't get too hot or too cold. Also look for a replaceable battery when you choose your phone, so you can swap it when it dies rather than buying a completely new handset.

Smartphone brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more detail about its performance in our survey.

Apple smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 10
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Want to know how long Apple smartphones last on average? The results of our latest survey reveal all.
  • Using feedback from thousands of Which? members, we've identified common faults affecting Apple's iPhone range.
  • Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with their smartphones, and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Doro smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 0
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Doro is known for its simple phones but how long do its smartphones last? See how Doro compares against hotshot smartphone rivals such as Samsung and Huawei.
  • Users report on a range of faults with Doro phones, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures. See which are most likely to occur.
  • We reveal Doro's customer score for its smartphones – determined by how satisfied people are with their smartphones, and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Google smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 3
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Find out how long Google smartphones last on average, and how Google fares against rival smartphone brands such as Samsung and Huawei.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Google smartphones as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Google fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with their smartphones, and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Honor smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 5
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Our annual reliability survey shows how well Honor smartphones hold up over the years.
  • After quizzing Which? members on problems affecting their smartphones, we've identified the most common faults.
  • As part of our annual survey, we've calculated a customer score for Honor smartphones - see how that score compares with other big-name brands.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Huawei smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 11
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • If you're thinking of buying a Huawei smartphone, check the results of our reliability survey to see if Huawei is a brand you can trust.
  • Feedback from thousands of Which? members has allowed us to uncover the most common faults affecting Huawei smartphones.
  • How does Huawei's customer score compare to rival brands including Apple and Samsung? 
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
LG smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 1
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
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Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Unlock the results of our reliability survey to see how LG smartphones perform versus other Android rivals.
  • Which? members have told us about the faults they've experienced on their LG smartphones.
  • Can LG top our table for customer score?
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Motorola smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 11
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • If you're a buyer on a budget, you may be tempted by a new Motorola smartphone. Before you part with your money, see how the mobile brand scores for reliability.
  • Unlock our full results table to find out the most common faults affecting Motorola smartphones.
  • Are Motorola smartphone owners satisfied with their purchase? Our reliability survey results have the answer.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Nokia smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 3
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Find out how long Nokia smartphones last without developing catastrophic faults, and how Nokia fares against rival smartphone brands such as Samsung and Huawei.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Nokia smartphones as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Nokia fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with their smartphones, and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
OnePlus smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 3
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
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Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • OnePlus aims to offer premium specs at a more affordable premium price, but do OnePlus smartphones age well?
  • Find out how OnePlus smartphones score for reliability compared to big-name rivals such as Apple and Samsung.
  • By unlocking our full results table, you can find out which faults are reported regularly by OnePlus owners.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Samsung smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 22
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • We can tell you how long Samsung phons tend to last and, combined with our extensive lab tests, we can recommend the best Samsung smartphones you should buy.
  • Samsung owners have reported on a range of faults with their smartphones, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures. See which are most likely to occur.
  • Every smartphone brand in our reliability survey has an overall customer score. See how Samsung's customer score compares to Apple's.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Sony smartphones overview
Number tested in the past three years 6
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2020) that are still available. Estimated lifespan is based on the average time before a product is replaced due to a problem beyond the owner's control. Customer score is based on Which? member survey conducted July 2020 of 12,960 smartphone owners, determined by whether members are satisfied and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. Loyalty score is based on whether the owner stuck with the same brand when they last upgraded. Tabel updated 14 October 2020.
  • Find out how long Sony smartphones last before breaking, and how Sony fares against rival smartphone brands such as Apple and Huawei.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Sony smartphones as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Sony fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with their smartphones, and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite computing brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the technology products they own - from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home. This year more than 15,000 Which? members told us about nearly 100,000 devices. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.

Our brand surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best smartphones you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy awards and won’t recommend any of their products unless a marked improvement in the longevity of its products is shown.

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