Top 10 worst phones of all time

Even our favourite manufacturers have made a doozy or two. Clip a peg to your nose as we take you through a rogue's gallery of our worst phones on CNET Australia.

Joseph Hanlon
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
1 of 10 CBSi

Nokia N-Gage

The history of widespread mobile phone use may only be a decade old, but this hasn't stopped our favourite phone makers from releasing a doozy or two in this time. So clip a peg to your nose as we take you through a rogue's gallery of our worst phones of all time.

Our criteria was pretty simple; we cast our minds back, and remembered the phones that made us laugh or made us cry out in frustration, or the ones that had us scratching our heads and wondering, "who gets paid to think up these terrible concepts?".

These phones are all taken from our archive of reviews, but if you had a stinker of a mobile phone and it hasn't been listed here, tell us about it in the comments below.

With the recent explosion of mobile gaming, you could argue that Nokia was simply ahead of its time. We'd argue that Nokia just didn't think through the concept enough to realise that it all hinged on how many awesome games you could deliver.

It was also quite an awkwardly shaped phone, making it difficult to recommend the N-Gage as either a phone or a gaming console, leaving this weird drop-drop handset in tech limbo.

2 of 10 CBSi

Motorola Rokr E1

In an effort to keep up with the enthusiasm that the tech crowd had for the Apple iPod, Motorola leaped with both feet onto the bandwagon with the Rokr E1, a phone with an officially licensed Apple iTunes music player built in, but with the deal-breaking restriction of only being allowed to store 50 songs at a time. Released in 2005, the Rokr E1 hit stores at about the same time that Apple launched the iPod Nano, a smaller device capable of storing up to 4GB of music. Apple's execs must have laughed all the way to the bank after Motorola's team signed on the line for this licensing agreement.

3 of 10 CBSi

Nokia 7280

In a way, we hate including the 7280 in this list, if only because it was one of the truly unique phones in the short history of phones thus far. Nokia replaced the always-boring numeric keypad on the 7280 with a rotary dial, and in doing so made a phone that was shaped sort of like a lipstick tube. With its art deco-inspired aesthetic, the 7280 would have been a winner, had Nokia's fascinating concept paid off. It didn't.

At the end of the day, there was a reason why all other phones had keypads. The rotary dial was fine for dialling in numbers, but composing SMS messages was a nightmare, and navigating the menus was equally painful.

4 of 10 CBSi

Modu phone

Are you someone who likes your phone to be a phone, and your music player to play music? Modu phone rebelled against the converged device direction that all other phone makers were heading in, designing a phone that could be inserted into a skin to transform its capabilities. For example, the basic handset, inserted into the MP3 skin, would transform the look and feel of the user experience, plus add the ability to play music.

There was something fascinating in this dumbphone-to-smartphone concept, but there was a crucial element missing. Modu phone assumed that we wanted to pick and choose what features our phone was capable of achieving, when in fact we wanted phones that did everything.

5 of 10 CBSi

Nokia 8800

The 8800 stands out as being the most expensive phone in this list, and one of the phones with the simplest set of features. Appealing to its customers with more money than sense, the Nokia 8800 delivered a remarkably refined handset design, plus basic calling and messaging functionality, for a cool AU$1599. Although Nokia's choice of materials and its outstanding build quality accounted for most of this jaw-dropping price, we were always baffled with how such an expensive phone could be so difficult to use.

6 of 10 CBSi

Telstra TicTalk

It's been a long time since we saw a product name with a pun in it. The Telstra TicTalk hit stores at a time when it seemed like all parents wanted their kids to carry phones that could only dial four numbers, relying on gimped technology to replace good parenting and a healthy, open dialogue with their kids. This was only years before parents would replace babysitters with iPads.

7 of 10 CBSi

Sagem my411x

Precious memories. It seems like only yesterday we were listening to the crackling, barely audible in-call audio, and giving the my411x the lowest score we've ever given a phone on CNET Australia.

8 of 10 CBSi

LG Chocolate

The LG Chocolate is one of those phones that should have been awesome, but wasn't. On paper, the Chocolate read like a smartphone's second coming (for the time in 2009), a real iPhone killer for the ages. But after only moments with LG's terrible S-Class UI, and upon realising that the Chocolate was a feature phone priced as a smartphone, we knew this phone would be quickly forgotten.

9 of 10 CBSi

Motorola Razr2 V9 Ferrari Special Edition

Spurious product tie-ins; is there ever a greater warning sign? Motorola and Ferrari both attempted to cash in big with the Razr2 in late 2008, reserving us a lukewarm dish of last year's phone, only this time with "exclusive" wallpapers and a ringtone that sounded like a roaring F1 race car engine — two "features" that you could easily download for free off the internet if you really wanted them.

10 of 10 CBSi

mobiles2go i-Kids

Like the Telstra TicTalk, the mobiles2go i-Kids tried valiantly to cash in on parental fears, with a phone that could only dial four parent-programmed phone numbers. We also love the use of the "i-" moniker, which was all the rage in 2006.

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