height="46" border="0" alt="Living With Technology: Eye on design" /></a><br />Not all tech can be as sleek and elegant as our picks for <a href="/4326-13601_7-6582632.html">best gadget design</a>. In fact, some tech is downright obnoxious in design, whether it's a frustrating user interface or just a hideous container. Luckily, these products aren't completely useless--we know it's your secret desire to point and laugh, if only on rare occasion. To that end, we've rounded up a selection of gadgets with terrible designs. Back to the drawing board!
This Coby MP3 player may very well be the lowest-rated product on the site--it's certainly the lowest-rated MP3 player. The reason is that the device is almost impossible to use, thanks to stiff, inaccurate buttons and a horrid user interface. It's a shame, too, because it's actually quite cute on the surface.
We could live with the ugly looks of the PSP Sound System, but the fact that the power switch and UMD drive are inaccessible when the player is docked is pretty much a deal breaker. It's obvious the designers needed their thinking caps screwed on a bit tighter.
Yawn. The Jaq bores us. Not only that, but it's boxy and bulky. And the battery pack juts out on the lower half, making it awkward to hold and tough to conceal in a pocket. Plus, i-Mate neglected to include a built-in camera--how lame is that?
Peony really missed the boat with this one. These purported "MP3 player" headphones have no internal memory, and the included memory card offers only 64MB--not even acceptable for 2006, when the device came out. Plus, the headphones are uncomfortable and the Bluetooth pairing is half-baked.
One word: brick. Of course, it's solid as a brick, too--not necessarily a bad thing. What is bad are the cumbersome buttons and small screen. Plus, despite the fact that the DigiArmor started out with a $350 price tag, it didn't even include headphones--and maxed out at 20GB.
The Kodak EasyShare One isn't particularly exciting to look at, but it's not ugly either. Still, the buttons are small and hard to press and the touch screen interface is poorly implemented, making the camera a bear to use.
Short and squat isn't exactly "in" when it comes to tech design, but you gotta give Pantech some credit for daring to be different. Unfortunately, the PN-218 fails in fundamentals. It's awkward to hold and many of the buttons are too small and set flush with the body, making them difficult to use.
Note to Sennheiser: when design interferes with sound quality, it's time to go back to the drawing board. The speakers in the OMX 52 Street headphones may be capable of producing good sound, but when you have to walk around pressing them to your ears all day, it rather defeats the purpose of portability.
Ah, the Bean. Such an adorable little device. That is, until you use it and it starts to fall apart on you. In a rare detour from a history of quality design, Sony launched the Bean, a plastic device aimed at young women. What, like you can release something cute but crappily made and we'll still buy it? We think not. Other no-nos include hard-to-use controls and a minuscule display.
Looks aren't everything, even when it comes to design. The Mach Speed Trio TV5 may look sleek, but it utterly fails at its intended purpose as a video player/MP3 player/digital camera. The buttons are cheap, unintuitive, and often stick; the interface is convoluted and nearly impossible to get the hang of; and there's a 5-megapixel camera...but no flash.
Yeah, yeah, yeah--we know. We know. It's sacrilege to include an Apple product in a "worst design" feature. But why release a fitness-minded armband that doesn't employ some means of securing the player inside it? No denying that's a bad design move.