Study: iPhone 4 is the most reliable smartphone, but don’t drop it

Despite its antenna problems and glassy back crack issues, the iPhone 4 has been deemed to have fewer malfunctions than any other smartphone, according to SquareTrade Research. The company analyzed the failure rates of more than 50,000 smartphones and determined that Apple had the least number of malfunctions. Motorola and HTC also performed admirably.


A mere 2.1 percent of iPhone 4s are projected to malfunction in their first year, says the research company. Motorola almost tied Apple, clocking in at 2.3 percent, followed by HTC at 3.7 percent. BlackBerry phones were more prone to malfunction, with 6.3 percent projected to have a problem.

However, it’s not all rosy for the iPhone 4. It has a higher accident rate than any other phone, logging in at 13.8 percent. The vast majority of these accidents are drop damage. The iPhone 4 case is mostly glass, leading to an easy break should one drop the phone. This is a rise from the 9.4 percent accident rate of the iPhone 3GS. Drop damage is responsible for 77 percent of all smartphone accidents and 90 percent of accidents involving the iPhone 4.

Of course, one wonders how SquareTrade can possibly project the number of malfunctions for devices that are not yet a year old, but it has a formula. Having only studied the iPhone 4 only four months and HTC/Motorola for about eight months, the research company is confident in its 12 month predictions, which take into account the failure rates of past phone models from each major manufacturer.

The Droid, Droid X, and Cliq were used to evaluate Motorola. The Nexus One, Evo, Droid Incredible, Aria, and Hero were used to evaluate HTC; and the Curve, Bold, Storm, Torch, and Pearl were used to evaluate BlackBerry.

Smartphones vs other electronics

When compared to other electronics, the average failure rate of smartphones is quite low at 3.9 percent. Only digital cameras performed better (3.4 percent). Laptops (4.5), netbooks (5.8), and regular feature phones (6.9) all have higher malfunction rates.

SquareTrade points out that though smartphones fare well compared to other electronics, they have a higher hidden replacement cost. “Unlike other electronics, smart phones are an investment that extend beyond the upfront cost of the device. For starters, nearly all smart phone users are locked into a 2 year contract with their carrier. Moreover, a higher failure rate imposes an extra cost to consumers because the subsidized price of a new phone with contract is much lower than the replacement cost. A broken $200 camera will cost $200 to replace if it breaks, but a broken Android phone purchased for $200 may cost $600 to replace without a new contract.”


Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Samsung's advanced folding phone needed 'total reconfiguration' to make it real

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.