**Editor's Note: Click here for our ranking of March's hottest selling smartphones.**
Apple's iPhone is not only the best-selling smartphone in the U.S., its customers are the most satisfied, beating out Samsung's Galaxy handsets, the HTC One, BlackBerry, Motorola's Droids and more. That's what J.D. Power found in its biannual smartphone satisfaction study, released Thursday.
Also of interest, the global marketing information services firm discovered that more than one in five (21 percent) smartphone owners used price as the top factor in determining which device to buy – that was up from just 13 percent from a similar survey conducted in the fall of 2011. "Features" (35 percent) was the top reason for handset selection, but that was down significantly from two-and-a-half years ago (57 percent).
The price of smartphones has increased over the years as they've become more complex. The average handset will set you back $202 (subsidized) compared to $174 in the fall of 2011. There are also fewer discounts available now than there were then.
Reasons for purchase have an impact on impact on customer satisfaction and future loyalty, J.D. Power noted. Those who choose a phone based on price were quite a bit less satisfied and repurchase rates were lower than for those who based their decision on product-specific reasons such as operating system.
What do smartphone users want on their next device? Seamless voice control topped customers' wish lists in the survey, followed closely by built-in sensors for customized environmental settings, and facial recognition and biometric security.
J.D. Power says AT&T customers are most satisfied with their devices. Sprint came in second, followed by T-Mobile in third and Verizon in last place. AT&T and Sprint placed above the satisfaction average, while T-Mobile and Verizon were below it.
The new research is based on a survey of more than 13,000 smartphone customers who have owned their device for at least a year. The study was conducted between September 2013 and February 2014.
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