Repairability becomes a core part of Consumer’s mobile phone testing
We’ve added repairability to our scores, so New Zealand consumers can produce less waste and save money by choosing phones that will be useable for longer.
Since 2021 we’ve rolled out “lifetime scoring” to most of our key product tests. That means, along with our lab test results, we consider how reliable they are and how long owners will hold onto them.
From now on, our top-level scoring for mobile phones will also consider repairability. That helps New Zealand consumers produce less waste (and likely save money) by choosing phones that will be useable for longer.
The repairability data comes from France, where it’s mandatory for manufacturers to calculate a score, displayed at the point of sale, showing how repairable the model is. As mobile phones are a global product, we have a repairability score for 92% of the phones we’ve tested.
Making a phone repairable isn’t a compromise
Our data for 65 phones from 11 brands shows that a repairable phone doesn’t need to be expensive. It also shows that choosing better repairability doesn’t mean you need to accept poor performance.
We need a repair score for Aotearoa
We’ve been able to use the French repairability score for phones because they are global products. The French also report the repairability of washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, laptops and TVs – but we can’t use the data because many of the brands and models sold here aren’t available in Europe, so they don’t have a repair score.
The repairability score is based on the availability and price of spare parts, how easy it is to disassemble the phone, and what repair documentation and support is available.
That means there are other compelling reasons to localise the scores: we need spare parts, such as displays and batteries, available here at a reasonable cost (not just in Europe), and we need repair documentation and support in English (not French).
The French index is a good indication of the commitment from a manufacturer to make its phones more repairable, but to be really useful, we need an Aotearoa repairability index.
What makes a good (Consumer recommended) phone?
How well a phone works is still the main consideration – our lab testing of phone performance contributes 50% to the overall score. We gather reliability data from a survey of phone owners (5,518 of them), who report any faults with a phone they’ve bought in the previous five years (25% of the overall score). The repairability, based on the French score, adds the final 25%.
The phones we’ve tested score from 55% to 76% overall, and we recommend 17 models from five different brands.
Sick of wasting money on products you can’t repair?
Let’s put the pressure back on manufacturers to do better. Show them you want products you can repair and help us demand a mandatory repairability label.