Handset durability has become a priority for consumers as more people keep their existing phones for Sim-only deals.
Longer 18 and 24 month contracts have also been a contributing factor to the increased scrutiny over the resilience of a phone.
The focus has been further exacerbated by the combination of more dainty hardware and complex software on handsets.
Retailers have said there is an increasing polarisation between consumers that are either hungry for feature-rich smartphones, or jaded with new technology and preferring to look for value in their tariffs and keep their existing phones.
The biggest selling handsets 12 to 18 months ago were the Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia 6500, Samsung G600, Samsung U600, Sony Ericsson W580i, Sony Ericsson K810i, LG Viewty and the LG Prada.
Retailers have said there are some significant issues over the durability of those handsets, with batteries, slider mechanisms and screens the first to fail.
One repairer said: ‘A battery only charges around 350 times before it starts to die, so it’s difficult to get it going beyond one year.’
Repairers have consistently identified software as the Achilles heel of Nokia phones, while the actual build quality is believed to be robust. The opposite appears to be the case with the likes of Samsung and LG.
Another repairer said: ‘The moving mechanics on slider phones can take a battering, especially with some people constantly flicking them up and down and being quite rough. The flex is gradually worn down.’
Handset durability questions come as Sim-only sales now account for over 30% of several operators’ total contracts.
Repairers claimed there has been a surge in phones being returned for fixing, with the cost usually shouldered by manufacturers. Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson all offer two year warranties on their handsets.
Nokia has a network of accredited service points (repairers) in the country for simple repairs, and Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG offer similar options.
Service centres can then send phones to the official, large repair centres for more complex fixes.
These were the best-selling phones 12 to 18 months ago:
Nokia N95 8GB and 6500
Samsung G600 and U600
Sony Ericsson W580i and K810i
LG Viewty and Prada
Which have you found to be most durable??
Were there common faults on these particular handsets??
Is durability making a difference to people’s next purchasing decision?