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29 June 2021

Top simple mobile phone brands for 2021

Want a simple mobile phone that's built to last? We reveal the best simple mobile brands, according to our survey of owners.
Louise Muyanja
Best brands

You should be able to rely on your mobile phone lasting for years, particularly if you've bought a simple model without loads of the latest technological bells and whistles.

But even the simplest phone can start to let you down after you've had it for a while. A battery that starts to drain increasingly quickly, frequent screen freezes and unexpected shutdowns can all become daily annoyances for owners of simple mobile phones that weren't built to stand the test of time.

As you can see, there's a big difference between the top-performing brand for average Which? test score (69%) and the brand in last place (52%). This is why we've surveyed simple mobile phone owners about their handsets to find out which brands are the most durable, and that last the longest without developing serious faults. 

719 Which? members have rated their handsets in our latest mobile phone brand reliability survey - and we've crunched the numbers to bring you our definitive verdict on the most and least reliable simple mobile phone brands in the table below. We also asked each owner to rate their overall satisfaction with their phone to bring you customer scores for each brand.

Only logged in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings in the table below. If you're not already a Which? member, join Which? to get instant access to this, and all our best simple mobile recommendations.

Average test score
Customer score
Reliability score
Reliability rating

Though this brand picks up a decent reliability score, it scored less well for customer satisfaction. Our simple mobile phone tests show that its phones don't perform particularly well either.

To find out which mobile phone brand we're talking about, log in now or join Which? today.


This is the least reliable simple mobile phone for which we have data, but its handsets are still pretty reliable. Its customer score is surprisingly one of the highest in our survey and our tests show that this brand is the one to look our for, thanks to it earning several Best Buys.

To find out which mobile phone brand we're talking about, log in now or join Which? today.


This brand earns five stars for simple mobile phone reliability and has the most loyal simple phone owners, according to our survey. But its customer score is quite disappointing and so are the scores for its simple phones, which on average only get 58%. 

To find out which mobile phone brand we're talking about, log in now or join Which? today.


This brand comes top for both reliability and overall customer satisfaction. Although it doesn't make many simple mobile phones anymore, for models that are still on the market, these results make this brand a good bet for your simple mobile phone choice.

To find out which mobile phone brand we're talking about, log in now or join Which? today.

Sample sizes: The above data is based on our survey of 719 simple mobile phone owners in April-July 2019.

Choosing the best brand of simple mobile phone

The table above reveals the brands you can rely on most, for the best simple mobile phone.

The best brand of the bunch earns a whopping 95% reliability score, meaning you're unlikely to experience any undue faults with a simple mobile phone from this brand - at least for a while. And with a collection of Best Buys to choose from, you'll be hard-pushed to go too far wrong with this brand.

The least reliable brand is still decent, but we're underwhelmed by its simple handsets we've tested in our lab. Its customers seem to agree, too - it has the lowest customer score of any of the above brands.

How we calculate the best and worst brands

We survey hundreds of simple mobile phone owners each year, to find out about their experience with their handset.

We ask owners to tell us about any faults they've had with their simple mobile phone, the severity of these faults, and when they occurred. We use this data to generate our reliability star ratings, to help you pick a simple mobile phone that's more likely to stand the test of time.

For our customer score, we ask people whether they're satisfied with their simple mobile phone - and whether they'd recommend a simple mobile phone from that brand.

Our reliability and customer scores, alongside our independent lab test results of the most popular simple mobile phones available, means you can make the best buying decision for you using our full simple mobile phone reviews.