What are the worst mobile devices you have ever owned?

Published: June 25, 2012

More often than not, we ponder the perfect device. We imagine the absolute perfect combination of specifications, hardware and software that would make a device cater to our every last need. For some of us, that device is a crazy, wild mix between a BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Android device. As devices grow and advance, however, the zany combination devices fade and actual devices encroach on the word "perfect". That said, it's still up for debate whether a 10  device – that is, a device that is perfect in absolutely every way – can actually happen.

Last week, I touched on the subject of 10 and explained that I have owned several near-10 devices over the years, but no device has ever been entirely perfect. There is always something I will want to change about a device, whether it be the display technology, the software or the choice in hardware and build materials.

What I have had quite a few of, however, are terrible devices, horrible, abominable phones or tablets that haunt my dreams. The Verge forum user rothgar asked other readers if they had ever owned any Goose Egg Gadgets, devices they would rate a 0 out of 10.

I consider myself relatively lucky. I can't say that the majority of the devices I have owned over the years have been terrible. Most of them have been at least mediocre – neither amazing or horrible. But there have certainly been some shiners out of the lot.

The first one that immediately comes to mind is the T-Mobile G2x. I bought it on a whim. I had just sold a busted up myTouch 4G and found a seemingly great deal on Craigslist for a G2x. I'm pretty sure the guy didn't know what he had and, to this day, I'm almost positive the phone was stolen. But there was no real way of knowing. Anyway, I drove an hour to meet this guy, waited 45 minutes for him to show (while he continued to text me and say he was on his way), paid him no more than $250 and walked away with a new-ish phone. (I remember, it still had all the original cellophane wrapping on it.)

To be fair, the G2x looked quite nice, save for the enormous chin at the bottom of the face. And spec-wise, it wasn't all that bad either. But beyond how it compared to the competition on paper and aesthetics, it was far from the pick of the crop. After a few days with it, I was ready for another phone – any other phone. The entire device creaked when you typed on it or pressed the power button; it was easily one of the laggiest devices I have ever owned, despite being one of the very first dual-core phones; and its camera was one of the worst cameras I have ever had the displeasure of using. To top it off, battery life was atrocious, not even lasting a full eight hours of light use.

But the G2x isn't alone. I've had more than just one dud in my time. Another one that is easily a contender for the worst of the worst is the HTC DROID Eris.

I remember the wait for the HTC Hero for Sprint. I was working at Best Buy Mobile at the time and knew I would be one of the first people to get my hands on the second Android device in the U.S. On launch day, I'm pretty sure I was doing the pee-pee dance while waiting in line. I was that excited. After a few weeks with the Hero, though, the excitement wore off and I moved on to bigger and better things. But I had gotten a taste of Android and didn't want to give up on it so quickly. So I go the Hero's next of kin, the HTC DROID Eris on Verizon.

On paper, the HTC Hero and the DROID Eris were nearly identical. They both had a 3.2-inch display with 480 by 320 pixel resolution, 288MB RAM, 5-megapixel camera and 528 MHz ARM 11 processors. The HTC Hero wasn't all that bad, though. It wouldn't hold a candle to today's devices, of course. But it was bearable to use. The DROID Eris, however, was awful. I don't know if it was the hardware or one of the many software glitches that plagued users, but it was a monstrosity. I remember my mother wanting to try something other than a BlackBerry for a change. She begged for me to give her the Eris … and I did. She absolutely hated it and eventually went back to the BlackBerry Tour 9630 before upgrading to the Motorola DROID X a few months later, which she adored.

The other dud I bought was the HP TouchPad during the fire sale. I used a coupon and purchased the larger 32GB model – which had already dropped from $499 to $399 and again to $149 – for $119. It came in the mail about a week later and I couldn't have been more excited to open my dirt-cheap tablet. I had owned and used multiple webOS devices prior to the TouchPad and had high hopes for the webOS tablet, despite its poor acceptance.

Much to my surprise, it was almost unusable out of the box. It was slow, laggy and the software was nothing like what earlier versions of webOS were. It appeared as if HP had mucked up a beautiful operating system. (At least they left the interface alone, right?) The hardware was relatively solid, but was composed of a cheap plastic. It just had a low-quality feel to it. For $119, it was a steal. But no way would I have paid anywhere over $200 for a TouchPad, and the thought of its price tag originally being $499 is laughable. Luckily, there were some aftermarket hacks that could be done, which made the tablet much more desirable, such as installing Preware and removing all of HP's hidden bloatware or flashing Android to the tablet. Either way, it was a flop out of the box, so I sold mine just a few weeks later and never looked back.

Tell me, readers. Have you ever had a device you would rank a 0 out of 10? Have you had multiple "goose eggs"? If so, which devices? Share your goose eggs in the comments below!

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