There are plenty of ways to keep your hands warm on cold winter days, but if you’re taking the chill off by holding a hot Galaxy S4 something is not right. Recharging your iPhone twice a day is no fun, either. Overheating and poor battery life are high on the list of the most common smartphone-related complaints consumers have, according to FixYa, a popular Q&A site that regularly surveys users.
FixYa collected roughly 12,000 user reports through its product Q&A site and its mobile app. Featured in the survey were four popular smartphones: Samsung’s Galaxy S4, Apple’s iPhone 5s, the Moto X and the HTC One. Along with the heat and battery drain issues, both of which are common to many high-powered smartphones, users had specific issues with each of the phones. You can see the full report here, but I’ll summarize some of the highlights.
(It’s important to note that when FixYa says battery issues comprise 25 percent of the problems iPhone 5s users reported, that does not mean that 25 percent of all iPhones have that problem. Got it?)
Samsung Galaxy S4: Overheating (25 percent of the complaints) and battery life (20 percent) are the top user complaints about Samsung’s hot (in the other sense) smartphone. Overheating, reports FixYa, is often noticed when users are running a gaming app or browsing the Web for a significant amount of time. Although the Galaxy has a big, beautiful screen, there were complaints (20 percent) that because the screen is somewhat darker than other phones’ displays, reading text, looking at bright pictures and viewing the action in some gaming apps was difficult.
Users of the Moto X did not have a significant issue with battery life, but storage space is another story. Thirty percent of the complaints involved storage space, and don’t forget that you can’t solve the problem by adding your own memory card, although storing stuff in the cloud is an option. Screen quality (20 percent) is an issue as well. Users complained about pixilated text and color saturation, or unnaturally bright colors. The quality of the Moto X camera was dinged as well (20 percent) with users saying it simply doesn’t measure up to the standards set by its competitors.
Battery life and privacy concerns about the new fingerprint password were the issues (25 percent each) raised most by users of Apple’s iPhone 5s. FixYa users noted that battery drain was especially noticeable when running apps and using directions via location services. Anecdotally, I’ve heard that many users have problems using the fingerprint password feature that debuted on the new iPhone, but not many FixYa users mentioned that issue. However, many were concerned about its privacy implications. Apple may have had the bad luck to launch that feature while the public is hearing revelation after revelation of government hacking and eavesdropping.
The HTC One had the dubious distinction of being hit with the most complaints (30 percent) about battery life in the survey. Some users said it took up to five hours to fully recharge the phone, though FixYa says that’s probably more an outlier than the norm. Users were also unhappy with the quality of the audio and the camera, both at 20 percent. When making calls, the person on the other hand typically had good reception, but callers, FixYa reported, were hearing a subtle, but annoying hiss.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.