Inspecting a smartphone: a quality control checklist

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Quality control inspections for smartphones is a rapidly growing sector as increasing per capita disposable income spurs rising demand for smartphones. While an estimated 1.3 billion units of mobile phones were shipped around the world in 2020, forecasts say that this figure will continue to grow by 10.5% annually for the next seven years.

While China remains the primary exporter for mobile handsets, with manufacturing bases concentrated around Shenzhen, smartphone production is increasing in Vietnam, India, and other South and Southeast Asian countries.

The top 10 exporters of smartphones are, by manufacturing market-share are:

  • China 42.8%
  • Vietnam 14.3%
  • Mexico 9.76%
  • South Korea 9.46%
  • Hong Kong 4.52%
  • United States 2.72%
  • Taiwan: 1.87%
  • Japan: 1.45%
  • Singapore: 1.45%
  • Thailand: 1.35%

With such a varied number of producers, manufacturers and importers must establish a stringent quality control inspection process for smartphones in order to maintain quality across markets.

Conducting a smartphone quality control inspection

Mobile phone quality inspection is a rigorous process, which covers several steps. We’ve included our basic checklist containing the steps our teams cover when they are conducting smartphone quality control inspections. The checklist includes the questions they are looking to answer.

1 – Quantity

  • How many items are in the box, and how many items should be in the box?

2 – Package & Packaging

  • A visual check to ensure packing is marked properly – checking that shipping marks and barcode are present and ready for retail. Are the mobile phones properly packed?

Phone QC

3 – Product Style & Construction

  • Does the product conform to the approved sample and technical file specifications?

Product Style

Product Style

4 – Logo, Labelling & Markings

  • Does the logo look like the one the client provided in terms of quality, colors, dimensions, positioning, and alignment?
  • Label and marking test
  • Visual check that barcode is placed on the product

5 – Measurement Data

  • Does the mobile phone measure up, in size, to measurement data specifications?

Measurement Data

Measurement Data

6 – Functional & Performance Tests

a. Software check – Does the version of the software used by the mobile phone comply with product specifications?

Performance Tests

b. Basic Smartphone functional tests will check:

  • Touchscreen function (if applicable)
  • LCD size and display quality (no dead or pixelated displays)
  • Battery power
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Power on/off option
  • Hands-free function.
  • Memory
  • Vibration mode of the smartphone
  • External T-memory
  • Cameras (take two photos and save them, then take one photo but do not save it)

Basic Smartphone functional

Basic Smartphone functional

c. Fatigue test

  • During the mobile phone inspection, operate all functional and adjustable parts of the mobile phone (if applicable) 20 times to ensure all respond as intended.

Fatigue test

d. Other functional tests for the smartphone devices, as required will check:

  • Audio/video functions
  • Call function
  • Micro-USB connectivity
  • Display settings (brightness high/low)
  • Volume +/-
  • And test Wi-Fi function/internet accessibility
  • Bluetooth function
  • Radio function
  • NFC function check
  • Dual SIM card check
  • App installing function check

Other functional tests
Other functional tests
Other functional tests
Other functional tests
Other functional tests
Other functional tests

e. Silkscreen test

  • Abrasion test: using an eraser, rub 30 times to check quality. For printed content, use 3M tape, pulling it off at a 45-degree angle, to ensure print remains

Silkscreen test

f. Charging test

  • Does the mobile phone unit fully charge using the adaptor, without shutting it off at any time during the charging process?

g. HI-POT test for charger

  • Are the Parameters: 1500V ac, 5mA, with a two-second charge for AC/DC adaptor?

h. Battery charger check ensures:

  • All necessary customized labels are present and conform with the client’s specifications
  • The plug conforms to the specific country it is being shipped to (i.e., E.U., U.S., etc.)
  • Functions as intended
  • The certificate is provided

i. Reliability test

  • Keep the unit in function for a minimum of four continuous hours – does the item malfunction or overheat?

j. Abuse test

  • Is the assembly of the phone durable enough for daily use by the end-consumer?

k. Frequency check

  • Cell phones can cover many ranges of frequency, so do the ranges covered by the mobile device conform to the client’s specifications?
  • Conduct a SIM and memory card fitness check

Frequency check

l. Fitting check

  • Are the SIM and memory card in full working order?

Fitting check

m. Odor check

  • Is there any unpleasant or chemically oriented odor being emitted from the product, accessories, or packaging?

n. Virus check

  • Ensure the latest anti-virus software runs a clean check on the mobile phone.

Virus check

o. Battery performance test

  • Test the battery capacity with the factory’s equipment or ask the factory to provide the test in compliance

p. Visual internal workmanship check

  • Disassemble the unit, visually check wiring, connectors, soldering, spacing, and integrity of components
  • Check against foreign materials that can cause potential malfunctions
  • Check critical components per the information provided by the client

7 – Product Workmanship

Product visual test:

  • Is the product physically ready for shipping? It is clean, is the appearance according to visual specifications?

8 – Shipping carton stacking test & shipping carton drop test *(if applicable)

  • If required by the customer, the smartphone quality control inspection ensures the export cartons are in good order for shipping:
  • One column of export cartons is piled up to a height of 2.5m, or as intended to be palletized, for four hours. After the test, the bottom carton must show no compression that would affect the carton’s shape and no damage to the product inside
  • Shipping cartons drop test: As part of the quality control inspection, the height and drop sequence is conducted according to ISTA 1A procedure

About Us

Pro QC International is a globally trusted quality assurance company with almost 40 years of experience in the electronics industry. Among the services we offer, we provide supplier management, factory audit, and third-party quality control inspection solutions for mobile phones.

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