Best and Worst Cell Phones: GoodGuide's Exclusive Ratings

best and worst cell phonesEDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated. Click here for the more recent story.

Nokia ranks best among 16 brands of cell phones rated by GoodGuide, while BlackBerry was rated the worst. The ratings were released exclusively to WalletPop's Consumer Ally and will be online in their entirety this week.

Consumer Ally has teamed up with GoodGuide, whose experts have rated more than 65,000 consumer goods -- including food, toys, personal care and household products -- using factors that include concern for the environment, personal health and social responsibility, as consumers begin increasingly to consider those in addition to price.GoodGuide's ratings also include a brief explanation for each category, though the user can drill down into each score for more detail. The health score measures a product's potential health impact on consumers.

The environment score is based on the impact of the product in question and the company's overall policies and practices. The society score evaluates social impact, which can include treatment of workers, workplace diversity, community involvement and corporate ethics.

The cell phone ratings mark GoodGuide's first foray into consumer electronics, and its experts tested hundreds of cell phones from 16 different manufacturers.

The complete cell phone ratings, which will include all best and worst products, are due to be published by Thursday. But in a WalletPop exclusive, below are the top five best and worst brands (averaging their GoodGuide scores):

5 Best Cell Phone Brands
  1. Nokia (7.6)
  2. Palm (6.6)
  3. Motorola (6.4)
  4. Sony Ericsson (6.2)
  5. Pantech (5.9)
5 Worst Cell Phone Brands
  1. Sharp (4.6)
  2. Casio (4.5)
  3. Garmin-Asus (4.3)
  4. LG (4.1)
  5. BlackBerry (3.3)
When the complete ratings are published, they'll also include information on the methodology used to rate cell phones, which we've summarized below.

Social Scores

Social scores were assigned to cell phone manufacturers by enhancing GoodGuide's standard indicators of corporate social performance. These scores also included an additional indicator identifying issues specific to the electronics industry: supply chain responsibility, specifically whether minerals used in a phone are sourced from conflict areas.

Environmental Scores

Scoring cell phones and phone manufacturers on environmental performance presented problems because few companies disclose information about their production practices or phone attributes. Reviewing manufacturer websites, GoodGuide determined that more than 90% of the phones on the market make no environmental claims whatsoever.

Health Scores

Health scores were not assigned to cell phones by GoodGuide due to a lack of scientific consensus whether cell phone use poses a significant health risk. All products rated by GoodGuide comply with the current FCC standard governing electromagnetic field radiation. For users that want to take precautions and limit their radiation exposure, GoodGuide ratings provide filters that make it easy to identify phones with the lowest emissions.

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