We review a lot of phones here at CNET. A lot. A few are standouts, most are decent and affordable, and a small number 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.
Editors' note: This post was originally published on March 2012 and is updated frequently.
At first we were excited about the Ektra ($362 at Walmart), which Kodak billed as the photographer's phone. But its 21-megapixel shooter wasn't all that great, it has a poor battery life and the design is clunky and feels cheap. Worst of all? It's way too expensive for its own good.
Don't get us wrong -- the Phab 2 Pro ($457 at Walmart) is a completely novel device. With a 16-megapixel rear camera that has Tango depth sensor and motion tracking from Google, its 3D camera system can render an interactive augmented reality between virtual objects and the real world. But as a phone in itself, it's pretty meh. It's big and heavy, runs an old version of Android, has a short battery life and doesn't have NFC.
We'll admit that the Le S3 is fast and competitively-priced. But there are just too many things that we don't like about it. It has a clunky interface, the content it provides under its live streaming service is underwhelming and it lacks a headphone jack. And despite LeEco's predicting for being tech's next great disruptor, the company is going through some troubles.
With the DTEK50 ($283 at Amazon), BlackBerry put its own spin on Google's Android OS. And while the software experience was relatively fine, everything else was sort of disappointing. The camera was weak in low-light settings and the phone's performance was slow. Plus, the claim that the device is "The World's Most Secure Android Smartphone" is overblown. In reality, its security features come included in most Android phones. Bummer.
The Desire 520 has a few things going for it. It's affordable, has loud speakers and has expandable storage. But those things can't outweigh the fact that its screen is rather dull, its battery life is short and the plastic casing feels cheap..