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Higher-End Smartphones Make You Happier, Says JD Power Study (cnet.com) 126

A new J.D. Power study published Thursday found that users who pay more for their smartphones report higher satisfaction than those who pay less for their smartphones. The study also found that among ATT and Sprint customers, Samsung phones ranked highest in overall satisfaction, while T-Mobile and Verizon customers preferred Apple iPhones. Jessica Dolcourt via CNET writes about the other conclusions made by the J.D. Power study: - Customers of ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon (full-service carriers) report more satisfaction than customers on Boost Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile (co-contract carriers).
- Full-service customers pay an average of $361 for their phones compared with prepaid customers' $137 average.
-Customers who pay more for their phones report higher satisfaction.
- This is likely because high-cost phones perform better. (Editor's note: no duh)

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Higher-End Smartphones Make You Happier, Says JD Power Study

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:32PM (#53119671)

    Consumers are trained well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:38PM (#53119685)

    ..more News at 11, dont go anywhere elsee now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2016 @11:03PM (#53120189)

      People who drive a Ferrari or Porsche generally live healthier overall and have a substantially better quality of life. They also have larger homes in general.

      We should abandon Obamacare and give everyone a Ferrari.

      Also, give one to everyone in Japan - that should increase the size of their houses.

      • Whether or not people with Porsche have healthier lives, there have previously been studies that show that how much you spend on your car does not correlate to your satisfaction levels with your car. So this news about smartphones would suggest you're better off buying a top of the line smartphone and a junker than you are a Porsche and a "LeEco" phone.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The headline and the summary say two different things though. Logically the most satisfying phones should be the high end but reasonably priced ones like the OnePlus 3. Better specs than other flagships, great software and 1/3rd the price.

      But in fact people would rather have a worse phone and pay more for it.

      Perhaps you could extend you analogy to cover this.

  • Or... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:40PM (#53119697) Homepage Journal

    ...maybe it's because people who buy $600 phones tend to have more money (and less worries) than people who buy $50 devices.

    I'll be honest, the most expensive modern smartphone I bought was a Galaxy Nexus. It definitely didn't make me happier; the quirks and horrible UI actually made me switch to a flip phone in an effort to regain my sanity.

    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @11:18PM (#53120241)
      Maybe it is because people who pay $700 for their phone and then see someone else who got a phone for under $100 are damn well determined to justify their choice. Even if it has an Intel chip in it rather than a Qualcomm chip.
      • by PMuse ( 320639 )

        You've got it. People want not to have been wrong.

        They want not to have gotten a lemon when they paid premium $$$.
        They want not to be stuck in a job/career they now despise.
        They want not to have screwed up their children's lives.
        They want not to have voted for a bozo.

        The longer you listen to people talking about choices they now cannot unmake, the more it all sounds the same.

      • Yeah, that's the trend I see in Consumer Reports auto owner surveys. Owners of expensive luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar tend to be happier with their vehicles, even though they report these vehicles as having more problems than other cars.
      • Maybe it is because people who pay $700 for their phone and then see someone else who got a phone for under $100 are damn well determined to justify their choice. Even if it has an Intel chip in it rather than a Qualcomm chip.

        My thoughts exactly.

    • by lorinc ( 2470890 )

      I can related to this story. I've always bought cheap shitty smartphones ($100) not because of money problem, but purely out of ideology (I'm not giving that much money for a useless toy, which I barely use). It was so slow to do even the basic things a good old nokia did 20 years ago that I finally gave up and but a mid-price phone (around $300). I'm definitely happier. Not having to wait 20 seconds to launch the texting app and then wait another 10 seconds before the keyboard shows up has definitely chang

      • Funny thing is after I lived with the flip phone for a year or so, about a year ago I bought the cheapest smartphone I could ($30, at Walmart!) and was stunned at how much better it was than the GN. OK, the screen was worse, as was the amount of storage -- though the fact it took SD cards mitigated that in part, but it really was faster, smoother, and the UI had less bugs. It resold me on Android.

        I honestly don't think price has much to do with device "niceness" in the Android world. Sure, in the early d

    • by Laxator2 ( 973549 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @03:34AM (#53120735)

      There is an old example of how scientific proof can be obtained for the conclusion that you actually want.

      A scientist puts a flea on the table and shouts at it:

      "Jump!"

      And the flea jumps.
      Then the scientist carefully cuts off the flea's legs, puts it back on the table and shouts:

      "Jump!"

      And the flea does not jump.
      After this, the scientist happily writes down on his notebook:

      "After it lost its legs, the flea cannot hear anymore."

    • ...maybe it's because people who buy $600 phones tend to have more money (and less worries) than people who buy $50 devices.

      This also explains why Samsung is top because those owners will never have to worry about being able to stay warm at night.

    • ...maybe it's because people who buy $600 phones tend to have more money (and less worries) than people who buy $50 devices.

      I'll be honest, the most expensive modern smartphone I bought was a Galaxy Nexus. It definitely didn't make me happier; the quirks and horrible UI actually made me switch to a flip phone in an effort to regain my sanity.

      Actually, I just bought an iPhone 7 - in fact, upgraded mine. Didn't feel like $600, since it's amortized over 24 months. Two reasons that I did it - one was to get Apple Pay support (yeah, I could have gotten an iPhone 6, but I bought my 5s just weeks before the iPhone 6 was released, and my contract had just started). The other was storage capacity - had just 16GB on the 5s, now have 128GB w/ this one. So I won't have to worry about Cloud backups for a while, especially since both my iCloud and OneDr

  • Happy about what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ark1 ( 873448 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:40PM (#53119701)
    Life? Phone? ROI? Value?
    • How comfortably light their wallets feel.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stockholm Syndrome. They are stuck with it, paid too much to ditch it. They come to love it.

    • Life? Phone? ROI? Value?

      Allow me to suggest an alternative to question marks. (Note that I am disagreeing with you)

      Happy about about value. What is value? benefit minus the cost.

      Can you get the same benefit at a lower cost? -that's the value difference between offerings (in this case phones).

      As phones become more of a status symbol the value is less practical and more subjective than ever. The benefit is becoming more subjective as well.

      This is why others may envy a person driving a lambo despite the fact the car has very

      • wow I must be the only person that likes nice shit (especially when other people know I have it :^]) and doesn't see my decision to buy it as submitting myself to some orwellian scheme to distill me into a chimp.
  • Ever since upgrading it to iOS 7, I've been swearing more at my phone than any other device I own (PC, Android or Mac).
  • So in my case I just switched to Android and I'm absolutely sure I'm as happy - if not happier - with what I picked up (OnePlus 3) as I would be with an S7, Pixel XL or iPhone 7. OP3 isn't a $100 phone, but it's not an $800 phone either.

  • Having more money makes you happier!? NO SHIT!?

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Having more money makes you happier!? NO SHIT!?

      Possibly they may have less money because they bought a more expensive phone ;D

      I would definitely be happier with a more powerful gaming PC though. I haven't considered that but I guess I should :D

      I would also be it with a great beautiful house and a garden.

      Any volunteers? Don't I deserve to be happy damnit?! YOU INSENSITIVE CLODS!

    • Having more money makes you happier!? NO SHIT!?

      Only until your needs are met, including some entertainment. After that, more money does not mean more happiness. With that said, fancier phones have more RAM, and faster NAND. I have found these to be far and away the most critical measurements to look at to determine how a device will behave. CPU speed is way way down in importance below whether the screen looks good or how good the audio is.

      • Re:having more money (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @12:24AM (#53120373) Journal

        Many studies have indicated that people are happier when they feel well-off compared to others as opposed to being well-off in an absolute sense.

        https://sciencehouse.wordpress... [wordpress.com]
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... [telegraph.co.uk]
        http://livingeconomics.org/art... [livingeconomics.org]
        https://www.quora.com/Is-it-mo... [quora.com]
        http://content.time.com/time/h... [time.com]

        It's a bit distressing to learn that we get a kick from schadenfreude, but there it is.

        • This is why there will always be class warfare.
        • by PMuse ( 320639 )

          Mod parent up.

          One thing that buying a premium phone will get you is features that the base phone doesn't have. Just knowing that you have something* that your neighbor doesn't will make you happier. Heck, your neighbor's jealousy of your shiny new toy will make you happier, all by itself.

          *Even if the something is, rationally, not very different. e.g., 24.2GB of usable storage compared to 22.8GB.

          • Just knowing that you have something* that your neighbor doesn't will make you happier. Heck, your neighbor's jealousy of your shiny new toy will make you happier, all by itself.

            I know some people feel this way, but I've never really had this experience. I don't care what my neighbor has, or whether it's better or worse than what I have.

            Maybe I'm atypical, but I've never gauged my happiness or self-worth by my place in life relative to other people or their possessions. I don't really care if someone else has a nicer car or phone or house or whatever, and I also don't care if my car/phone/house/whatever is nicer than theirs. Why would I? That's what I don't get.

        • Indeed, once upon a time people were excited and super happy to get a large 12inch Television.

  • What they didn't say is how it compares to people who do not use a smartphone (e.g. feature phone users) or people who do not use a cell phone at all.

    Technology may not make people happy but bad technology certainly makes people unhappy.

    • It's even more useless than that. The overall difference is about 4% absolute (8.3 vs 7.86 on a 10-point scale) between the two groups in the actual study, or you could say that one group is 5.5% more satisfied than the other based on the numbers. I have no idea how a .4 difference in satisfaction translates to anything in the real world. Is it the difference between winning an Olympic medal or being set on fire, or is it the difference between only getting chocolate ice cream instead of strawberry ice crea
    • Technology may not make people happy but bad technology certainly makes people unhappy.

      An excellent point.

      Frustration with my fancy new TV's 73 kabillion settings (none of which seem to do jack shit) has almost driven me back to the plain ol' "stupid" TV I used happily for years. If I hadn't gotten rid of it, I'd probably tear the new one off the wall and stick the old one back up there.

  • by LesFerg ( 452838 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:05PM (#53119787) Homepage

    This is likely because high-cost phones perform better.

    Maybe the people who forked out all that cash are just trying really hard to convince themselves they got something better than the cheaper options?

    It's a coping mechanism to hold of the fits of depression when they accept that it's still just a phone with some annoying silly apps on it.

    • by maugle ( 1369813 )
      I disagree. Cheap phones are slow, and trying to scroll through barely-responsive webpages at 10fps gradually frays one's mind. I'd pay a good sum to avoid going back to that again.

      ...Unfortunately, the phone makers know it, and keep releasing updates that suck away more resources right around the time a newer, faster, more expensive phone is released. Not naming names, but iHate it when companies do that and I wish they'd Think Different.
    • Maybe the people who forked out all that cash are just trying really hard to convince themselves they got something better than the cheaper options

      (Glances over at iPhone 7 people ...)

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:09PM (#53119809)

    I don't know the name of this bias but when someone invests a lot in something, he will tend to convince himself that he made the right choice.
    That's how audiophiles will clearly notice the effect of their $1000+ cables and will consider it money well spent whereas the one who used zip chord will probably be less satisfied, even though he paid 100x less for the same objective result.

    • Reminds me of the people who pay a fortune for digital cables that pass the 1s and 0s no better than the cheap cables (not referring to how quality affects it over a great distance). And then I'm reminded of the people who would convert their 128kps MP3s to 160kps and imagine they hear an improvement.
      • MP3s are very lossy, and there really is a difference between 128kbps and 160kbps (not "kps", that's kilometers per second) files, particularly in the upper ranges.

        However, if you're talking about actually recoding an existing 128k MP3 to 160k, instead of going back to the lossless version (CD/WAV or FLAC) and re-encoding from that, then yeah, that's really, really stupid. You can't get more information out of less information.

        • Yeah, I did mean kbps. Increasing the bitrate would actually make the file sound worse, as it is being re-encoded.
    • "cognitive dissonance"

    • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @01:17AM (#53120467)
      Choice-supportive bias [wikipedia.org]
    • Confirmation bias [wikipedia.org] may be more accurate.

    • That's how audiophiles will clearly notice the effect of their $1000+ cables and will consider it money well spent whereas the one who used zip chord will probably be less satisfied, even though he paid 100x less for the same objective result.

      I disagree.

      Yes, the moron who spent $1000 on speaker cables will indeed "hear" a difference and think it was money well spent, thanks to something akin to the placebo effect.

      However, the guy who uses cheap lamp wire or other perfectly adequate wire, because he understa

  • I would love to see a study on this but I always wonder if there is some kind of internal bias that happens when we spend a lot on something. Are people happier with expensive smart phones because the phone is actually better or are they happier because spending more made them more invested in the decision and since no one wants to admit they dumped a lot of money onto a piece of crap they trick themselves into thinking they are happier with it. But people who don't spend a lot don't have as much of their e
  • I'm certainly not happier having spent more money on my Galaxy Note 7.
  • by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @10:50PM (#53120149)

    I'm very pleased with my phone's hardware. It came out 2 years ago and I've had it for about 18 months.

    What I'm dissatisfied with is the fact that it's still running Lollipop.

    Overall though it really hasn't affected my overall happiness in life.

  • If you read the details of the linked study, you can see that the criteria for "happiness" is different for contract plans vs. non-contract plans. Specifically, cost isn't factored into the "happiness" score for the contract plans, but it is factored in for non-contract plans. This would tend to artificially raise the happiness score for contract plans, since factoring in the high cost would likely lower the scores.

    Also, battery life gets a much lower weight towards the score for non-contract plans than f

    • What this proves is that you can make number say whatever you want them to say.

      How is this even a question? JD Power has companies pay them to produce "studies". "This study paid for by large cell network providers and expensive phone manufacturers" "Gee, did they find that you should join a large network and pay large amounts of money for your phone?" "Why yes they did! What a shocker. Up next - republicans say they're the best, and democrats say they're totally the best! After that, luxury automobiles make people happier - this study funded by lexus and bmw. After that larger house

  • -Customers who pay more for their phones report higher satisfaction.
    - This is likely because high-cost phones perform better. (Editor's note: no duh)

    OR it could be that they spent more so they feel they must like it more. This is actually pretty common, especially in the higher end markets. Common and exploitable.

    Bet these very same owners say the phones sound "warmer".

  • ... of overspending on a trinket, 6GB Joe and Jane will say anything to save face.

  • ...they keep you warmer, as it has been confirmed by Samsung.
  • Those who can afford high end smartphones are simply richer and do not have to worry about how to make the mortgage payment or feed the kids.
    • Those who can afford high end smartphones are simply richer and do not have to worry about how to make the mortgage payment or feed the kids.

      That'd be my guess, or else they have such low self-esteem that a shiny gadget makes their pathetic life seem cooler.

    • That's not necessarily true. I've noticed, and I've seen at least one other comment in this discussion here saying, that a lot of people with the latest iPhones are frequently people who complain about money problems and are not even remotely rich. The monthly payment plan makes it possible for them to afford these phones, even though they really have no business spending that money on a high-end phone when they don't have any savings and probably wouldn't be able to pay their rent if they had a hiccup wi

  • I bought a Note 7 the other day, and my happiness went through the roof!!!
  • If a higher-end smartphone makes you happier, perhaps it's time to reexamine your life.

    A loving spouse, good health, good friends, or hobbies or a job I enjoy can make me appreciate my life more fully and as a result be "happier".

    But a fancier smartphone? Nope. My life and my general happiness doesn't operate at that low a level.

    But if I had the new Gillette Mega-Radical 5-Blade Super-Torque Pro razor, now that would make me happier. Oh yeah baby.

    *terrorized by the urge to buy, I drive to Walmart with a ren

    • I flat refuse to get tied down with phone contracts, and also refuse to pay large sums of $$$ for the phone, therefore, I've always stayed with one MVNO or another, currently Ting, where my usual phone bill for two phones is between $25-$35/mo.. I'd previously used bottom-feeder phones bought off eBay, but decided I'd like a bit nicer phone, so I spent a whole $65 and bought a Nexus 4, rooted it so I could get adblock to work properly.. Couldn't be happier with it.. I snicker at those who are willing to bl

      • I spent quite a bit more than that for my phone, but it too was a used phone from Ebay, a Galaxy S5 (about $150). I'm quite happy with it, and a couple of years ago when it was new it was the fanciest phone out there, and still is very, very nice (plus it has great CyanogenMod support, lots of cheap repair parts available in case something breaks, cheap OEM batteries available, etc.). It's still getting regular OS updates too. I'm quite happy with it and don't see why I'd want to pay any more than that f

      • I snicker at those who are willing to blow northwards of $500 on a flippin telephone, then pay northwards of $75/mo to be able to use it...

        Same here. I use a $99 Android phone. Spending $500 to $800 or so on a phone seems slightly nutty to me.

  • In other news...
    People who buy premium digital Monster cables at Best Buy report higher satisfaction than those who buy generic cables from Microcenter.
  • When you spend $600+ for a phone, rather than getting one that, for one quarter of the price, will do almost everything that the big one does, you are doing that because you want to show the world that you do not have a small cock. Those overpriced phones are status symbols, period. It does not matter how well they work, provided that they do the basics. What matters is that you can produce them in public, and that everybody around you will see what a successful person you are.
  • In our narcissistic self absorbed world, it's like a junkie getting a fix. It works for a few days/weeks/months. Then, as with a junkie, you want more and more and more. It's an endless cycle. We have one guy at work that has traded/bought a 5 new phones this year, always chasing the mythical "next best thing. I usually keep a midrange phone about 2 years.
  • RTFA: People with higher end smart phones are not happier.. they are happier with their phones. People with Ferraris are not happier than people who own Toyota, they just like their car more. Why do you need a study to prove that?!

    If people were not happy with higher end products that they paid more money for, they wouldn't pay more money for it. Which means there would be no demand for higher end products, which implies that society would not reward innovation, which means that the economy will collapse...

  • Positional good reinforces poor existing self-image, news at 11.
  • Happier people buy higher-end smartphones. It's obvious that this is complete BS because the aforementioned or article-mentioned points can be debunked AND proven. Is this is statistical push by Samsung to subconsciously quell those in fear and get their name back out there as a "Happy" product? I thought that "Happy Happy xyz" crap only worked in Japan.

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