/ Technology

Battle of the mobiles – simple versus smart phones

Apple and Doro sell very different mobile phones, but our latest customer satisfaction survey suggests they’re two of your favourite tech brands. Do you prefer easy-to-use mobiles or the latest smartphone?

We published the results of our latest tech brands in this months Which? magazine. The results show that there’s not always a strict rule as to which brands top your list of favourites.

Happily technology brands are pretty reliable – most in our survey got top marks for standing the test of time. Where things get a bit more interesting are in which brands you like living with the most – there was much more variation in how satisfied you are with them.

So what leads to technology brands reaching the heady heights of customer satisfaction? Is it brands that offer all the latest bells and whistles? Or could it be that your favourite brands offer ease-of-use and simplicity?

Simple mobiles versus feature-packed smartphones

Well the head-to-head between Apple and Doro in our survey’s mobile phone category was one of the stand-outs. They came out as the top two favourite mobile brands in our survey of 9,324 Which? members, but they offer very different products.

Apple’s iPhone has pretty much set the standard for smartphones ever since its original handset back in 2007. I certainly think it’s the one piece of technology I simply couldn’t live without. To me, it’s more than just a phone, being my camera, mp3 player, map and more.

In contrast, Doro’s mobile phones go right back to basics. There are no fancy features here. Instead, Doro has focused on making its mobiles easy-to-use, and for those who want nothing more than a device to make calls and send the odd text, Doro’s phones are just perfect. It’s PhoneEasy 610 mobile – which we reviewed as part of a basic phone test – also costs less than a sixth of the cheapest version of the iPhone 4S.

Our survey results show there’s room for both types of product, but which do you prefer? An easy-to-use simple phone, or a smart phone with the latest up-to-the-minute tech?

What type of mobile phone do you prefer?

A basic phone that just calls and texts (40%, 207 Votes)

Something in-between - basic with some 'smart' features (35%, 186 Votes)

A feature-rich smartphone (25%, 131 Votes)

Total Voters: 524

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I want a combination of both.

At present I cannot find a phone that:
a) has a numeric keypad (not a flip out keyboard or pure touchscreen)
b) has google/ovi maps + turn by turn navigation
c) has a music player with expandable memory
d) has Wifi & GPS

The closest I get is a Nokia C3-00 but there is no Wifi or GPS.

I don’t want to carry around a big lump of battery/screen all day. Phones should be no bigger than a pack of ten cigarettes and I just can’t find a new one with all the features I need. Some old Sony Ericssons had all this but you had to use their idioticaly useless own headphones.

If anyone at Which? can point me in the right direction that would be ace 🙂

Hi Dean, this recommendation doesn’t come from Which?, but from me personally!

Have you ever considered something like a BlackBerry Curve 9320? It has a keyboard, has GPS, WiFi and 3G, you can download BlackBerry Maps for free to get turn-based navigation instructions (although it’s generally thought that it’s not as good as Google Maps), you can play music on it and it has an expandable memory. It hasn’t had a full review yet but you can have a look here:


Thanks Jennifer

Unfortunately Blackberrys are too bulky my fingers are too stubby for the keys! 🙂

Need a smartphone with a numeric keypad so I can do everything with one hand. For me the whole convenience about putting all these features in a phone means that you should still be able to operate it with one hand, like a phone, not a computer.

I’ve had a further look at blackberry and I’ve found it!

It’s a blackberry pearl with a normal keypad. However, the phones have been discontinued 🙁

A simple PAYG phone with a long battery life is all I need, though maybe a spare battery would be handy if I don’t get round to charging it at the weekend. I’m rarely far away from my laptop or iPad, so I don’t need a fancy phone.on a contract that might go up in price.

For all it’s foibles my smart phone is very handy, but if I really need to make sure that I can either take or make a call a basic PAYG phone always goes with me.

For walking and emergency use I want a simple robust phone with B&W screen which I can easily read in bright sunlight or rain without glasses and select from a few phone numbers and good battery life.

For travelling I find my wife’s Galaxy Note brilliant , phone + netbook combined.

Ohh, I’m jealous! I had my eye on the Samsung Galaxy Note myself, but changed my mind simply because of the size. I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy SII and got an iPad as well (a little indulgent perhaps!)

par ailleurs says:
19 June 2012

I resisted changing up to a smartphone for ages. I recently changed and am now utterly hooked. How handy are these things? Very!
The only downside is of course, battery life. 1-2 days and it’s done for but then it is quite a powerful mini computer with a phone facility when you consider it.
My personal answer is to keep my old steam powered phone on a PAYG basis. That way I’ve always got a phone charged up for emergency use. I also take it to Europe for easier, occasional calls without the danger of inadvertantly switching on expensive data roaming and once again, for the battery life.
Smartphones are just like a lot of things in modern life-you can do without if you like but you will become increasingly marginalised for business transactions. You can be a luddite, it’s your privilege, but don’t then moan when the world changes and you can’t keep up.
I think of my career as a musician. Firstly it was ” you must rent a flat with a phone” then “you must have your own phone”. Along came pagers (remember them?), then you had to have an ansaphone and fax. Next mobile became de rigeur and now most gigs are booked by email which you have to answer quickly…by smartphone or miss out. I wonder what’s next?

A phone with a “Contacts” App that does not put the information on-line. Something like Palm gave you on itsTungsten E2. A “contact” that can also be a living, reference and historic file. It doesn’t take a genius to dial the telephone number or text a message separately.

I was dubious about any mobile let alone a smartphone – even though I am a bit of a computer wiz. I started off with an Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade), an £89 introduction to smartphones. I was soon hooked!

Before going to India last December, I invested in a Samsung Galaxy S2 as we were spending 7 weeks travelling around the country including a 3,000 km drive down country in a tuk-tuk. The S2 was just brilliant. Kept in touch with everyone at home using email (roaming Data using an Indian AirTel SIM purchased at Delhi airport), SMS and email (using WiFi where available and roaming data). Google Maps coverage of India was fantastic – infinitely better than the Garmin Maps we purchased especially for our SatNav – updating the maps using mobile data was remarkably fast. And the phone doubled up as a reasonable cameras for quick snaps and video. The battery life isn’t the best so we took a mobile charger. I even used it with the Kindle app and read several books on it during the India tour. In my opinion, it is better than a Kindle! The BBC and The Times apps kept me up to date with UK events. And with the Indian sim with roaming enabled, we barely spent £40 on data and voice in 7 weeks: G3 coverage in India is excellent.

For those who like a decent keyboard, there are keyboard apps you can download for just a couple of pounds that are better than those provided with Android 3 or 4.

The best feature is the outstanding Super AMOLED+ screen. So if you want to email, sms, phone, navigate, take snaps or short videos, read the latest books and keep in touch with News events, a smartphone is for you.

Ian says:
23 June 2012

Eventually, I got an iPhone 4s after dissing all these things but what a revelation! It seamlessly syncs with my iMac. I forget things a lot these days as I get older but the iPhone does not.

So refreshing to get friendly & informed support at the Apple shop in town, nothing seems a problem for the staff. If there’s anything that I can’t work out, I just go into the shop and the staff don’t have a problem helping me without me feeling like an old t**t.

Yes they are pricey but you get what you pay for.

paul taylor says:
5 June 2014

my 7 year old daughter is extremely adept at using a smart phone for games and she uses mums all the time. mum tells me she wants her own phone for her birthday. I am conscious as shes inner city security theft and misuse generally and a bit uneasy that she should have her own hone at 7 but also aware that all kids are techno friendly. she loves Barbie , pink etc so a normal healthy but very bright girl. what phone should I consider for her?