What's the worst gadget you've ever bought?

What's the worst gadget you've ever bought?

What's the worst device, accessory, or miscellaneous piece of technology you've ever had the misfortune to use? Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently said the Android-powered HTC Thunderbolt phone was one of the worst gadgets he'd ever bought. Given that Woz probably buys all the gadgets, that's quite a condemnation. How about you?

Was it a phone that did nothing but disappoint? A tablet that wasn't worth the cheap plastic it was made out of? Something you bought out of an airplane catalog store that you should have known better about? An early Android? A press-screen BlackBerry? A mouse made by Apple?

There's likely a lot of bad to choose between, but when it comes to the worst, there can be only one -- so which was it? Leave your answer below and we'll share our favorites, and our own picks, on the next episode of the iMore show

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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What's the worst gadget you've ever bought?

114 Comments

Why would you judge it against today's technology instead of the technology available at the time and the functionality that it provided?

I doubt most devices would meet that standard.

I am not judging it against today's technology, i am comparing it against today's technology. Back then, it did well what it was designed to do, I just found it pointless yet bought it anyway hahaha.

"I am not judging it against today's technology, i am comparing it against today's technology."

Jesus. I hope you don't write reviews.

I know. I have never seen such a discrepancy between wonky hardware (Pre/Pre+) and amazingly beautiful OS (webOS). It's a shame that Palm and HP killed it. I thought it had the potential as an OS to run circles around Android and iOS.

I freaking loved my Palm Pre. Especially after rooting it with help from precentral.net. Oh my gosh, it was so nice! Overclocked, fully customizable, and the OS was GORGEOUS! Sure, I left the device for iOS, but that was the first device I ever kept for over two years. Simply amazing. Had it come along at the right moment with support from developers, it would have been amazing! I actually miss WebOS a lot sometimes.

I remembered being so hyped about it but luckily all that excitement faded away when I held it in my hand for the first time. Luckily that was in the shop and I didn't buy it.

The N95 was Nokia's last great phone and I am proud to have been the owner of it, but since then...

You guys are gonna make me have a breakdown and start bawling in the corner.

You have me thinking that you may be right about the Pre (for me, of course you're right for yourselves) but I'm thinking now that my Palm Treo 650 was killing me, near the end... Now I'm starting to think that they BOTH were problematic, near the end. It was an awful experience, begging my devices to work, near the end. But it ways always near the end.

The Pre was great. We loved it... but it wasn't made for the long-haul. Quality needed to be better, for sure, but I'm not sure that it was any worse for me than my 650 was, at the end. My 755p was mostly ok. I was mostly ready for the Pre's multitasking and contacts integration, etc. so I made the jump.

I hope this isn't too rambling (I'm on the phone, too) but my point is that the problem seems to come down to the longevity of the device. Nothing I've had has fallen apart after the first month or three. It's the tail end of the 2-year cycle that tends to be problematic. From that perspective, I'm not sure if it was the Pre or the 650 that was worse, at the end.

I've gotta admit, I had a completely different experience with the 650. I bought it unlocked and directly from Palm for $600, used it on AT&T. I had it for 4 solid years without a problem. It might crash once a month, but I used the heck out of it.

The Pre.... oh my Pre... or I should say my Pre's, given I replaced it so many times. The BEST mobile OS user interface of all, on the WORST hardware contraption. It never was given a fair chance. The fact that it was even as successful as it was is a testament to the people to did the OS (Mathias Duarte, etc.)

Mytouch 3G. I think it was the second android powered device made available. I tried to defend it's absolute uselessness by telling myself it had a lot of potential. That line of justification quickly wore out and I simply hated the hell out of the thing.

I agree! That phone was the worst, I had to stick with it for almost a year before I could ditch it for the motorola droid. Those were the dark months...

Agreed... That POS phone was not fast enough for my quick fingers hehe =] I would have to make sure the screen unclicked each and Everytime I was going to press a new key. Very primitive :/

ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!! That was THE iphone killer LOL or at least it was being rumored to be LOL. THat is hilarious. I remember being at VZ before the minute they opened to get one. It really wasnt that bad especially for those who had never had an iphone and didnt know what we were missing.

aye BB storm, following in a close second the BB playbook. Man they snookered me good with those two. Hands down worst tech purchases made to date.

LG Eve slider "smart"phone. It couldn't hold a charge for more than two hours and even thought Internet settings were turned off, I racked up a lot of $$$ in data fees. The Rogers salespeople said that they'd had a lot of them returned. That's when we upgraded to our first iPhone. Haven't looked back since.

The Samsung Blackjack 2. It was the worst phone, slow, even to make a call the phone was slow. But back then it was like now. My friends: "its like a blackberry" . Same like people saying samsung phones are like iphones (but in reality they are way worst)

Blackberry Pearl & Blackberry Torch. At the time, they were nice but looking back on them. I had to constantly do a hard reset on them. It was a morning ritual, turn the blackberry off, take battery out, etc. I only turn my iphone off nowadays when i do an update or when the battery dies.

iPod Touch 4th gen. Everything was fast and snappy until iOS 5 came around. Now it lags so much that it can't perform a basic function like playing music flawlessly.

iPhone 3G on its latest iOS (I never used it on previous iOS versions, so don't shout at me - it was probably amazing when it came out), or xperia x1.. I dunno which one was worse.

Blackberry Tour 9630. Coming from a Samsung Instinct I thought for sure the BB was going to be awesome. And it was at sending emails and texts/BBM. Then came the battery pulls almost daily because it was frozen. The browser was absolutely painful to use. The apps... Oh wow the apps were/are terrible. Now rockin an iPhone 4S and life in my tech world is so much fun and less frustrating!

Palm Treo Pro. Windows Mobile (6.1?) was atrocious and every handset experienced stress fractures on the right-hand side near the End button. It was the only phone I ever hated.

Any iPhone that is three years or older than the iOS installed on it. I haven't owned something like this but friends have and I don't see why they update to the latest OS when their phone is almost unusable. I'd rather be able to take photos than have a notification center etc. Mainly user fault here, but sill.

OS- Gingerbread upgrade on the HTC EVO 4G. Froyo was fine. Gingerbread was a memory leak afflicted buggy POS mess that drove me into the loving arms of the iPhone 4S.

Hardware + OS? Blackberry Curve 8310. If all you wanted to do was e-mail and text, it was great, but any sort of web surfing or attempts to view video, wasn't going to happen. Worst piece of crap smart phone ever. The Trackball broke twice. Turn me off Blackberry.

The first Blackberry Storm. I remember desperately trying to justify how awesome it was to all my iphone friends. Didn't last long.

The extremely slow and buggy Samsung Moment. Using Best Buy's GeekSquad Black-Tie protection (which is garbage and I will NEVER use again!) I had to send it back for the better part of a year and they kept sending it back with "RESET SETTINGS" as the maintenance done. The phone was garbage and I will never buy Samsung anything ever again. I use to love their products and I am sure that that particular phone shouldn't allow for a condemnation of the entire product-line, but for me that's exactly what it means. People always sing the praised of the Galaxy phone line, but for me, no sir!

I´ve had devices from Creative, Cowon, Nokia, LG and Apple, and the worst harware I ever got was the iPhone 4. The home button started misbehaving after 6 months, the camera has that annoying blue/green tint in the middle, and the reception has always been very sketchy, lots of dropped calls. The only thing that saves this device is iOS, still the best phone OS around. My dream device is a Galaxy S3 running iOS 6.

You should have returned it. We have six iPhone 4 in our family (well 7 but one has been upgraded to a 4S) and we have never had anything like the problems you mention. We still have two that were pre-ordered at the announcement and delivered the day before the official "release" - both used all day every day for over two years now - and haven't had a single problem. I even dropped mine (it does have a case) from over 30 feet onto rocks - and miraculously it didn't break! I don't recommend doing THAT though...

Blackberry Storm 1, and it's not even close. I don't know what's a bigger travesty, that I bought it in the first place, or that I rode out an entire 2 year contract with it before jumping to the Droid X. Those were the days that I kept glued to the artist formerly known as theiphoneblog.com for updates on the iphone coming to Verizon.

Motorola MPx220. The non-touchscreen version of Windows Mobile Smartphone 2003 was downright insulting, but Motorola actually managed to make it worse with horrendous memory allocation issues, device resets multiple times a day, and such poor response time, you wonder how it ever got passed QA.

HTC Touch (the first one). It was the phone I had just before my first iPhone.

Pocket IE, numb touchscreen, non-standard ports, Sprint bloatware- what wasn't to love?!

Casio Zoomer, a handheld that predates the Palm Pilot. It was a handheld created by committee and you could tell. Awful.

well I'm reading the article and the responses and everyone who is responding seems to be talking about a former cell phone, although the article does ask what is the worst gadget you have ever bought, so I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents and remember a cell phone that I bought last year. this cell phone is the reason as to why I finally purchased an iphone and will never look back and this cell phone was the reason as to why I parted ways with T mobile after being a very happy customer for 10 years - it was a very horrible android phone called the LG G2X. it was advertised as a phone that was better than the iphone 4 at the time. I was a loyal but tired blackberry customer and happy with T mobile. I wanted very badly to get an iphone 4 but i knew that AT&T does not work at my home so when I saw the G2X I was ecstatic. I bought a brand new one from T mobile and it was the worst POS that I have ever dealt with in memory. the battery lasted 3 hours, if that and the phone constantly shut itself off to where people calling in would not even be taken to my voice mail. I had to do a battery pull each and every time. Instead of replacing the phone with a new one, T mobile replaced it with a refurbished one and argued with me about it just the same. The refurbished one was even worse than the original new one. It wouldn't even stay on for more than 15 minutes. T mobile had a very nasty attitude to me during the whole ordeal. needless to say i went right over to verizon, bought a new iphone 4 and will never look back. T mobile knew that there were very severe issues with this phone but nevertheless let this phone be sold and from what I have read on the internet, had alienated a lot of people because fo this phone. Iphone ALL THE WAY!!!

my history 6700, treo 700 & 750, bb pearl, 8830, storm1 then 9630, then the OG droid, then palm pre, droid incredible, droid X, Droid Pro, iphone 4, and now iphone 4S. (dont think I missed any) I wont lie, I loved my palm days, that was a great OS in its time. But the one phone I bought and immediately felt sick to my stomach was the the Droid Pro, and couldnt return it fast enough. Dont think its fair to say it was worse than the Treos or Pearl, because it was ahead of those as far as technology, but looking back at each experience with these phones, that was the worst at the moment. The others I was able to use for a while and appreciate their abilities.

I only had like 3games for it... Mario tennis, jack brothers and tetris 3D.... That POS gave me headaches and I'm pretty sure it induced my seizure back in 1995-1996

Yes!!! I begged for the Sony MD Ayer for Christmas. Thought it was so cool, then realized I had to spend about 3.4 billion years to load music onto it. I loved the green color though.

Logitech Harmony remote.

Actually the remote *itself* was pretty OK. Logitech's software to program the remote might possibly be the worst software ever produced on planet earth and if I were not forced to have an advanced remote due to my own mistake with TV configuration** I would have taken the Harmony and driven to Logitech headquarters and forced someone to eat the remote. I would have let them had a beer to wash it down though, because I am at least a nice guy like that...

**I put two TVs made by the same company side-by-side which means they both respond to the same remote commands. Since the TVs in question don't have the capability to change their remote codes - I had to get a Harmony and use RF + discreet IR blasters to solve the problem.

I was about to post the same! This logitech harmony POS is definitely the worst gadget I've ever bought! I literally threw it into the rubbish bin after the battery leak killed it after months of collecting dust...

I LOVE my Harmony One; wouldn't want to use anything else. I've programmed the heck out of it. The software seems pretty simple and straight-forward to me. To each his own, I guess.

I did have the battery swelling issue, but Logitech did deliver me a new one right away free of charge. Now I only put it on the charger when the indicator drops to the red.

The absolute worst experience I've had with a tech product (and I've been buying computers and mobile devices since the late 1970's), is without a doubt the "drobo" storage device. It looks cool and the hardware is good, but everything else about it from the software to the "support" is an absolute nightmare.

This thing just doesn't work. It's unreliable, slow, and extremely buggy. The software is basically just a poor port of some crappy Linux junk that crashes and burns on OS-X with great regularity.

It has no security and tech support is almost non-existent. They were never able to get mine to work with my system at all, and after a month or so just gave up and stopped answering my emails.

It would have to be a tie between the BB Storm 1, or the Dell Venue Pro. Between the crappy camera, the inability to use as an actual phone( I could stand on top of a tower and still not be able to connect to make a call), poor sound quality, and awful customer service, I'm going to go with the Venue.... Just typing this is making me mad about wasting money on that crap!! And WP7 was so nice. Although now that i'm thinking about the question... the Xperia X10a was also pretty awful.

The more I think about this question, the harder the answer becomes. All of us who love technology have been let down, atleast somewhat, by muliple devices, but it is hard to compare an item against technology at the time versus comparing it to the capabilities of today.

For me, I think the Motorola Q would have to be the worst. Yet at the time, it was my first introduction to a smartphone (using term loosely) and I thought it was a cool step up from my motorola razor, but really lacked much functionality that I later found that the Blackberries already had. Bottom line is that I am very happy to have made the switch to iOS after being a very loyal blackberry fanatic for a few years!!

LG EnV Touch (vx11000). What an awful pile of junk that I lived with for nearly two years. The warranty replacements were just as bad as the original. The vx10000 Voyager was better even though it was older.

Im waiting for someone to say a zip disk lol... mine would have to be a toss up between the HTC mogul and an HD DVD player..

Agreed. I was stupid enough to give them more chances, and was let down every time. Why no vibrate and ring for so long? And no custom ringtones? Last year my gf was blagged into getting the Galaxy by the Vodafone shop. I should've gone down there and punched him square in the face.

Hands down the worst device I ever bought was a Toshiba HD-DVD player that came with 6 free movies. Boy do I feel snookered on that deal, figures that Blu-Ray wouldn't be the standard until after my return period was up.

I actually bought one of those just after blu-ray won the war. As a compliment to my PS3, it was cheap cheap cheap; and lots of cheap and then-exclusive movies were available for it; and technologically it was actually a better device and format than any of the stand-alone blu-ray players of the time.

I bought an iPhone case (not strictly a gadget itself) from a Chinese retailer for $0.99. Hard plastic with small holes. It literally disintegrated in 24 hours and crumbled to pieces. First the corners, then the sides. The black "soft touch" coating started to rub off after 2 hours.

Blackberry Bold 9930 from Sprint. One of the main reasons why I switched to Verizon and bought a iPhone 4S. That phone and the company are the same.......total garbage!

I could say a couple of the old Nextel phones I had, but I think it was more the Sprint/Nextel debacle and network than the phones themselves.

But the one device that was junk from the get-go was the HTC Touch Pro 2 with Windows Mobile 6.1 on VZW. Terrible call quality on both ends, freeze ups and restarts, some with battery pulls, slow and clunky, on and on. I've had the iPhone 4 since 2 months after arrival on VZW and can't imagine any other smart phone on my hip, at least at this point. Love iOS. It just works. And so does the phone.

By far it is the Apple Time Capsule. It never worked consistently and ultimately crashed and burned on me. It is an expensive paper weight now. My Apple TV is a close second though as it hasn't been a smooth road with it either.

Yep. For the Time Capsule, they couldn't replicate so they blamed it on my network; granted I had a NAS working perfectly fine.

They replaced the Apple TV, gotta love Apple Care, but my issue is functionality. It is a Netflix box only for me and I loathe having to change inputs. It is cumbersome.

Agreed. I did get at the 199 price though, still waiting to see what BB10 will be all about, after that I will probably just get rid of it. It already runs sluggish after the 2.1 update.

A Mac Powerbook Active Matrix display for $5,000...turned me to Windows, fortunately Jobs returned to Apple and they stopped making crap products long ago!

Palm Life Drive. it was bulky, slow and had so outgrown the palm os that almost nothing worked well. It got .so little use it still looks new. I have it in a drawer if anyone wants it! Bleh

Apple tv 3rd gen - only kept it one day and sent it back. It's functionality and interface were horrible. Went back to windows media center instead. Hopefully the new Xbox will make it so I don't even need the HTPC anymore.

The worst gadget i ever purchased was the iPhone clone aka the M9 from China or whatever it was called. It had the iPhone look but none and I mean NONE of the functionality except maybe the ability to make a phone call. But that was back in my pre iOS days I know better now

Anyone buy one of those Philips HDD Jukebox MP3 players? They had sooooo many problems. That, along with any Samsung phone I've bought are my worst gadget purchases

Its a toss up between the Blackberry Curve 8330 and Motorola v551. Both of these were top of the line when I bought them and the day after I suffered from buyers remorse...

A Microsoft TC1000 programmable remote (developed with JBL, I think) .

Cost £300 about 10-15 years ago and had a terrible touchscreen and a range of about 5 feet. it was just awful, I only put up with it because it had cost so much to buy that I felt stupid throwing it out.

mine was a Blackberry curve 8520, damn i can't describe how i hate that phone, sometimes i wanted to throw it to the wall as hard as possible and ran over it by car....still using it, though.

The Slacker Radio, don't know wtf I was thinking about. Only gadget I have ever returned. Guess I did inhale after all and had a temporary "wth moment".

The original Motorola Razr. The keypad rusted from moisture and sweat. The Motorola V60. The antenna snapped off after a week. I haven't purchased a Motorola phone since. The only gadgets that I still have and still work are iPhones.

The worst gadget I ever bought was this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1773120.stm - The Pogo phone. It was an underpowered, bulky device which only supported a 9k6 modem (not even modern GPRS) and had a battery life of about one day. The capacitative touchscreen was slow and unresponsive, and the browser failed almost every HTML test of the day. It was written in Flash (as were all the apps including the phone). They were basically much like Apple's WebApps, but with the additional overhead of Flash, which explains the abysmal battery life. All web content was passed through a Pogo-owned compressing proxy, which was a good idea, but completely broke almost all Javascript - Web 2.0 this ain't!

It wasn't a bad idea - far from it, it was a great idea. But it was before its time, and neither the phone network nor the mobile hardware were up to the job, and the result was hugely bulky, and performed terribly. It was also tremendously buggy, and required a hard reset every few days. I so wanted to love it - and nearly did, except that coverage of data signals back in the early 2000s was extremely patchy, with the result that outside major cities, it was simply a bulky low powered portable game console.

The company went bust in about 8 months, and the proxy went down. They released a firmware which bypassed the proxy and restored a bit of functionality to the device, but then it became even slower - up to a few minutes to load an average page - and then the batteries started dying, as it turns out they didn't properly prevent overcharging. At that point I gave up and bought a Sony-Ericsson P910i - also a terrible phone, but it was still a step up. A few years later, Apple announced something that had all the advantages of the Pogo, plus many more... I think you might have heard of it. It was called the iPhone. Pogo were ahead of Apple in many ways, but I'm sorry to say I don't miss that device one bit. I still have it somewhere... perhaps I'll eBay it in a few years. It was a taste of things to come, but sadly not a very good one.

For me, it my journey into an android phone. I got the HTC Inspire 4G. the short of it was that I can running back to the iPhone. Here are some problems with Android (and in particular this phone)

1) Major! My phone became obsolite within 3 weeks of buying it. Since there is a new android phone coming out every other day, after about 3 weeks, my phone was barely mentioned. And Android central (unlike iMore) focus on the latest hardware (rarely on new apps), the site and podcasts were useless to me (other than a forum for HTC Inspire which was useful)

2) little memory to load new apps. It seems that you can offload some apps to the microSD card. But some of the BIG apps u cannot. This meant that I had to pick and choose what I could keep on my phone. Even though I had GIGS of storage on the SD card.

3) Inconsistent UI. Delete is a perfect example. Some apps, you just press on an icon and eventually a popup box will come up asking if u want to delete the item. Other apps, you have to delete items by swiping. Other apps you delete by other methods. Gets confusing which app does what UI.

4) Battery was replaceable (a plus), but the battery didn't last nearly as long as the iPhone)

5) I was pissed that the iPhone apps I bought and were on the Android, I would have had to repurchase. There should be a single concurrent user license like on windows. So if I switch to a different platform (iPhone --> Android), I wouldn't have to repurchase the app. 99 cent apps I am not so concerned about, but something like Navagon, THAT should have a concurrent user license.

6) Rooting (jailbreaking), is alot more complicated than on iPhone.

BlackBerry PlayBook - what a disappointment. All this hype pre release and it didnt come close. I bought mine on day 1. YES, I was one of the suckers who paid full price. I was fine with that, then sites like HULU started blocking their services. AT&T blocked the bridge feature (But we worked around that). RIM announces big name apps and it takes them a year to deliver (Angry Birds for example). OS 2.0 delayed multiple times. Prices were slashed by a lot. By the time OS 2 was released I had sold my 9900 and the PlayBook was no use to me. It now collects dust.