Samsung Tablets Beat Apple’s iPad in JD Power Customer Satisfaction (Because It’s Cheap)

| Analysis

There was an interesting turn of events today in the world of tablets: Samsung topped Apple in tablet owner satisfaction with J.D. Power, the first time any company has done so since the iPad was launched in 2010. The asterisk, however, is that Samsung did so because its tablets are cheap.

"Samsung showed particularly strong improvement in the cost factor (25-point increase)," the firm said in a statement. "Apple ranks second scoring 833 and performs particularly well in performance and ease of operation."

Apple scored 5 out of 5 stars for Overall Satisfaction, Performance, Ease of Use, Physical Design, and Tablet Features, as shown in the chart below. For Cost, apple scored 2 out of 5. In comparison, Samsung scored a 5, 3, 3, 5, 4, and 4 in those same categories, losing to Apple on four of categories, tying in one, and winning on the sixth, Cost.

It suggests there's a disconnect for some people: you get what you pay for.

J.D. Power

Be that as it may, Samsung's total score beat Apple's, and it's a significant victory for Samsung, which trails far behind Apple in tablet share.

The chart below shows total scores for the top five vendors, and the scoring is pretty close for the top four. Again, as noted in the chart above, Apple beats everyone on every category except cost, despite the close total scores.

J.D. Power

J.D. Power awards are coveted because they make for great marketing tools. Apple has often bragged about its J.D. Power awards—in March, the company sent out an email touting its 9th straight award for customer satisfaction earned by iPhone.

You can bet Samsung will splash its newest award as much as it can.

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Shameer Mulji 1

The JD Power numbers don’t add up;

Bryan Chaffin

I considered that when working on this piece. Unless J.D. Powers made a mistake, the theoretical discrepancy is explained by the fact that different categories are weighted differently, and the fact that the high end and low end of each star leaves lots of room for the total score to not match the star “average.”

in that J.D. Power has a long history of getting this stuff right, I’m leaning towards that, rather than a mistake.


“the theoretical discrepancy is explained by the fact that different categories are weighted differently”

Right, but “cost” is the lowest weighting. (?)

Sorry. They’re just wrong. There no way to “spin” math.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If Steve Jobs were still alive, he’d totally fire someone’s ass for this. Tim Cook, on the other hand, probably gives someone a backrub and one of those black framed motivational posters.


Brad, the only thing I can assume is that you are simply illiterate. (or maybe you thought Steve Jobs was the past CEO of JD Power.) I dunno…

Steffen Jobbs

Android products will always win out because they’re cheaper.  That’s what consumers really want and that’s what Wall Street wants Consumers don’t need higher quality products but they definitely want cheaper products.  Apple will always survive with their quest for higher quality products for consumer goal, but Apple will never dominate anything as long as Android is around and Apple shareholders will pay dearly for it.



Apple will always survive with their quest for higher quality products for consumer goal, but Apple will never dominate anything as long as Android is around….

Apple dominates the high end in smartphones, tablets, and computers. Apple absolutely owns the music player space in every price bracket. Apple dominates profit margins, profits, cash on hand, and overall company value.

As Tim Cook has said repeatedly, Apple has no desire to go after the low end of the market for computers, smartphones, or tablets. They go after customers who are willing to pay a bit more for a high quality product and product experience. That’s the same philosophy the late Steve Jobs had before him, famously saying Apple couldn’t make a $500 computer that wasn’t junk, during the short-lived and ultimately doomed netbook phase of computing.

Oh, and Apple positively dominates innovation. Just look at smartphones before and after iPhone, then look at tablets before and after iPad. Nuff said.

Lee Dronick

Questions for those who use Android and Macs.

How do you synch things such as the Address Book, photos, music and video, Notes, and Calendar? Is it as easy as using iTunes and iCloud?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Address Book and Calendar: I primarily use Google Calendar, so it’s from the browser. Music stays mostly on the phones and tablets, although I can download it to my Mac if I want from Amazon or Google Play. Photos sync with Google+ and I can import them with Image Capture. Contacts, I find myself having two sets… Email contacts are on my Mac. Phone and text contacts on the phone. I like K-9 Mail on Android for checking POP3 accounts while I’m away. If I need to reply to someone, I can do that and BCC myself for later archiving. Evernote for notes and lightweight documents I can access or edit from anywhere.

It may sound confusing if you’re used to the walled garden of iApps, iDevices, and iCloud, but it works pretty seamlessly. I’ve recently moved my 91 year old grandmother from an iMac (without using iCloud) to a ChromeBook using gmail and Google+ pictures, and she’s doing fine with it.


Well, thanks, J. D. Power. You just recommended that I buy an inferior (by your own standards) product. How can I trust you for anything else in the future?

Most people won’t dig that deep, but if anyone of average intelligence looks at that chart, he or she is going to notice that Samsung scored a five in “overall satisfaction” without scoring a five anywhere else and wonder, “How is that possible?” Then, he or she will say my first paragraph.

Ultimately , people should buy the tablet they want at the price they can afford. But having such obvious bias or incompetence (I really don’t know which) is always bad for the consumer.

Lee Dronick

Thanks Brad.


You get what you pay for. Okay Samsung has a cheaper tablet but what do you get for that. Malware, phone applications that are visually expanded to fit the screen of a tablet.  In other words they don’t have native apps that run on there tablets. The latest iPad Air has a 64 bit processor that is twice as fast as anything out there. It has the best battery life by far.
So JD if you can only quantify the best on CHEAP, then there is something wrong with your qualifications of what is best.


The problem here for Samsung is that people do not buy tablets from Samsung because they are made by Samsung, they buy them because they are cheap.  This means that if someone else puts out a cheap-but-does-the-job tablet with enoughf marketing muscle behind it, Samsung’s tablet sales go away with it.  I feel like we’ve seen this before (hint: who were the big PC sellers of 10-15 years ago?).



This means that if someone else puts out a cheap-but-does-the-job tablet with enoughf marketing muscle behind it, Samsung’s tablet sales go away with it.

Agreed completely. I just wonder who would have the economies of scale to effectively compete with Samsung on price in the tablet space. Other Android vendors are having a hard enough time making profits in the handset space.


Hello Bryan:

I woke up late this morning from a long flight, jet-lagged and slightly disoriented and, having now read this article, wondering if I hadn’t landed in some alternate universe where sanity, and rule of reason, don’t apply.

I have two brief responses, I daren’t call them thoughts because they are, as my wife would say, no-brainers, to this report.

First, is that whomever at JD Power did the scoring, they didn’t use maths neither the mean nor the median would yield a score of five for Samsung. At best, the highest score they could derive would be a 4 by using the mode. Since they are not using maths to derive the scores, this indicates subjectivity and motive behind the scoring, ie JD Power is communicating a message. The individual reader can decide for him or herself what that message is. To me, the most important message lies in the discrepancy between the maths and the rating, and is the message that JD Power likely did not intend, which is their evident bias.

Second, given Samsung’s history of, and having recently been convicted and fined for, paying for false ratings, not to mention faking their product performance results and having a UK judge rule in their favour who was, or at least shortly after his ruling, on their payroll, and given therefore their demonstrated evidence to engage in and pay for biased and partial, when not blatantly false performance outcomes, it raises questions about JD Powers relationship with Samsung, and inevitably casts their integrity in a lurid light.

I am willing to interpret Power’s point as nothing more than an attempt to campaign, by this derivative scoring, for a lower price point for entry level tablets by weighting their scoring towards cost indicators over specs and performance, let alone build quality; however given the very recent and active instances of Samsung having been caught and penalised for falsifying their outcomes, and paying for false endorsement and advertisement amongst users, JD Power’s mathematically challenged endorsement could not be more clumsy and ill timed.

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