The Most Trusted Single Cell Phone Brands

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The best simple mobile phones help you stay in touch with friends and family, at a much cheaper price than most smartphones. But they are not very useful when they break.

Every year we ask hundreds of them? members to tell us if they are satisfied, or have encountered any problems, with their simple cell phones in our unique reliability survey. Here we show you the most and least deplorable brands, to help you buy a simple cell phone that will stand the test of time.

Simple mobile phones are fairly reliable – only one of the brands we have results for received less than five stars for this measurement.

However, there are some interesting differences between the brands. For example, only 3% of phones from the most trusted brand developed a defect in the first year, compared to 10% for the less impressive brand.

Use our reliability data alongside our expert simple cell phone reviews to make the best choice.

Below, we explore the most and least impressive simple mobile phone brands, and what separates them. In addition, we reveal the most common simple phone outages that were reported to us in our investigation.

Only connected Which one? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings in the table below. Join which one? to get instant access.

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

Which brand of simple mobile phone stays flawless the longest?

The graph below shows how the brand that stays flawless the longest compares to the worst brand, as well as the average. Who? members can see how brands stack up against each other for flaws, and which are best and worst, in the table below.

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

How simple mobile phone brands stack up

As you can see from the table above, simple mobile phones are quite reliable, according to our survey.

But the best brand is nothing short of amazing, with just 10% of owners reporting flaws with their phone after seven years. Conversely, the same percentage of simple owners of phones of the less reliable brand told us that they had encountered problems during their first year of use.

We ask our referees to describe their faults as minor, major or catastrophic based on the following guidelines:

  • Minor A defect that does not significantly affect the performance of the product or a defect that only occasionally occurs with minimal impact. This problem can be irritating or annoying, but it is not often a problem and you can easily work around it. For example, the deterioration of sound quality.
  • Major A defect which has a noticeable effect on the performance of the product. This defect affects the way you use the product and can be problematic. For example, the simple telephone can frequently turn itself off.
  • Catastrophic A defect which renders the product unusable, the defect having to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be reused. For example, buttons may stop working completely.

We believe it’s essential to consider reliability along with our product testing, and asking owners to share their experiences with us is the best way to judge a product’s actual performance. For this reason, we will remove products from Best Buy pricing if they score less than three stars for reliability.

Common Simple Mobile Phone Problems

  • Almost a fifth of simple phone problems (18%) in our survey were related to a rapid drop in handset charge.
  • 7% of faults linked to the camera on the simple faulty phone (ex: camera refusing to take the picture).
  • Another 7% of phone related glitches get sluggish or slow.

Battery-related issues rank first among the most common simple phone failures. It’s likely that your phone’s battery will degrade after prolonged use, but it’s annoying if it happens within a year of purchase.

Failure with the camera on a phone can be detrimental to the way you use it. Although the resolution of simple cell phone cameras is usually low (less than 5 Mp), if you are used to taking photos regularly, a faulty camera will significantly reduce the functionality of the phone.

Other reported issues included phones turning off on their own (7%) and developing other faults with their battery or charger (6%).


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