Don't buy these phones (roundup)

Not every smartphone is a winner. Check out the handsets that will only crush your mobile dreams.

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We review a lot of phones here at CNET. A lot. A few are standouts, most are decent and affordable, and a very few just aren't worth the trouble, low price be damned. Gathered below is the rogues gallery of recent disappointments that just weren't able to live up to their promise. Arm yourself with the knowledge of the phones you can safely skip, then cheer yourself up with this list of rock stars.


There's nothing very grand about the Grand X. Josh Miller/CNET

ZTE Grand X , December 2014

Though it's competitively priced off-contract, the Grand X is hardly worth the trouble. Its dual-core processor is glacial, its low-res touchscreen isn't responsive to the touch, and it ships with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box -- making it dated the moment you start using it. If you don't mind a bigger display, its Grand X Max+ phablet counterpart is a much better device. Read the full Grand X review.


It's in the stars: take a pass on the Orion Pro X500. Josh Miller/CNET

Posh Orion Pro X500 , December 2014

Aimed toward emerging smartphone markets and users on a budget, the Orion Pro X500 is inexpensive and has dual SIM card slots. Unfortunately, its poor 5-megapixel camera, hefty build, and fuzzy 5-inch display outweigh its pros. Read the full Orion Pro X500 review.


Stay clear away from one of Huawei's worst phones. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Huawei Ascend Y550 , November 2014

The "Y" appended to Huawei's Ascend series stands for "youth," but it might as well stand for "yuck." The Android device's performance simply stalled and buckled, from the low-resolution screen to the 5-megapixel camera and beyond. Read the full Ascend Y550 review.


The LG G3 S is a low-end phone with a midrange price. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

LG G3 S , October 2014

Also called the LG G3 Beat or G3 Mini, the LG G3 S just isn't the bargain buy we were looking for. Cheaper than the LG G3 original and only a little smaller (5-inches!), its price is too high to support the low- to midgrade specs. The phone isn't bad per se, but bargain-hunters should look to other options, like the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact or one of the Motorola Moto G variations. Read the full G3 S review.


Verycool's Quantum is out of time. James Martin/CNET

Verykool Quantum , October 2014

The budget California-based phonemaker is better known overseas for its inexpensive Android handsets than it is in its own borders. Though its low price and specs like 4G LTE support and 5-inch display may sound alluring, a poor 5-megapixel camera and low-screen resolution only begin to outline the phone's failings. Read the full Quantum review.

Editors' note: This feature was originally published in March, 2012 and since then has been frequently updated with newly released products.

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Phones
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About the author

Lynn La is a CNET editor who reviews and reports on all things mobile. She also writes about visual arts/design and the ways it intersects with tech. Before CNET, Lynn has also written for The Global Post, The Sacramento Bee, and Macworld.

 

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