When it comes to buying a smartphone, there are lots of factors to bear in mind. Many will be swayed largely by technical specifications, such as its processing power and internal memory capacity.
Alternatively, some will be more motivated by the ease of use and be actively looking for devices that aren’t too complex.
But one factor that does seem important to just about everybody is the size of the screen. After all, whether you’re a gadget aficionado or a technophobe, you need to be able to see what’s displayed on the handset to get the most out of it.
We were therefore very interested in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which looked at what smartphones they were most pleased with.
Upon looking at the results, it swiftly became obvious that it was those handsets with fairly small screens that were the most popular.
For instance, Apple’s iPhone SE – which boasts a four-inch screen – earned a customer satisfaction rating of 87 out of 100, the highest overall.
This put it well ahead of the likes of Samsung’s various smartphones and Apple’s iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus.
So what do the findings tell smartphone manufacturers? Well, it looks like many might have been on the wrong track in the last few months.
David VanAmburg, managing director of ACSI, commented: “Over the past few years, the general trend for smartphones has been toward larger screens.
“But apparently, consumers were craving a new iteration of a smaller, less expensive phone as the iPhone SE – Apple’s first update to a four-inch phone since 2013 – comes in first in ACSI this year.”
We’ll be interested to see if these findings are reflected in smaller screen sizes in future smartphones, or if the wind will start blowing the other way and big screens will be all the rage.
Overall, customer satisfaction with smartphone technology was found to be 79 out of 100.
While ACSI points out that this compares fairly well with the four telecom industries, it is actually behind much of the consumer electronics sector.
However, it stresses that this might be partly down to the fact we expect so much from our mobile phones these days.
Apple remains the top scorer in the industry, achieving a customer satisfaction rating of 81.
Samsung achieved joint second place with Microsoft Mobile (Nokia), which ACSI believes is a sign that the Windows operating system has “stood the test of time”.
Indeed, Microsoft Mobile’s customer satisfaction rating was just 72 two years ago, where it now stands at an impressive 80.
HTC’s rating grew by one per cent to 76, while Motorola’s dipped by one per cent to achieve the same result.
LG, meanwhile, stayed at 74, overtaken by the combined score of smaller manufacturers, who collectively went up by three per cent to 75.
Of course, people’s tastes and habits change, so smartphone manufacturers might not rush to react to the possible interpretations of these customer satisfaction figures.
But it does remind us of the importance of consumer power and how our preferences will ultimately be crucial in influencing the next generation of smartphones.