Worst products of the year

Products from 2012 that must have sounded like a good idea -- but weren't.

It's actually somewhat difficult to track down CNET's lowest-rated reviews of 2012. Our whole site is designed to surface the best, most-worthy products to the top and help you make a smart shopping decision. The losers all tend to sink into obscurity. But with some careful sorting I was able to cobble together all of the reviews of the past year rated under three stars.

But we're a pretty ruthless bunch here at CNET, so narrowing the list down to just five selections wasn't easy. For this list, I went with my personal picks. That meant leaving out the abysmal ZTE Score M , since I already roasted that thing in my "Top 5 phones to avoid." I also left out products like the HP Pavilion HPE Phoenix h9z and Kodak ESP 3.2 All-in-One Printer , because they were more chronically disappointing than truly awful.

In general, I picked the products that were laughably bad. Each of these products deserves a Ken Burns-style documentary that starts with an optimistic inventor's well-intentioned idea, and ends with a truck unloading the unsold product into a landfill.

So here are my picks for the worst products rated here at CNET. If I missed something worthy of this list, feel free to nominate your own worst products in the comments section.


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Zipbuds Juiced (Blue)

The Bottom Line: Despite its tangle-free qualities and sub-$20 price tag, the only reason to buy these is if you can't resist the novelty of the zipper cord design. / Read full review

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Drobo Mini

The Bottom Line: The esoteric Drobo Mini seems to strive to be unique mostly for the sake of uniqueness, and offers very little, if at all, in terms of usability considering its crazily high cost. / Read full review

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Duo Games Duo Pinball

The Bottom Line: Pinball Duo is a cute idea with little purpose for anyone, even hard-core pinball fans, especially at its high price. It's a one-trick plastic pony for one app. / Read full review

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Panasonic TC L47DT50 - 47" LED-backlit LCD TV

The Bottom Line: Panasonic's DT50 series of LED TVs is among the worst we've seen this year, and can't hold a candle to the company's plasmas. / Read full review

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Discovery Bay Games Duo Gamer Controller

The Bottom Line: The good news: the iPad has a game controller. The bad news: it only works with a few games. Meet the awkward Duo Gamer. / Read full review

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Google Nexus Q

The Bottom Line: The Nexus Q's striking, orblike hardware can't outweigh the extreme limitations of this Android-only, Google-only media streamer. / Read full review

About the author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.



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