Worst Phone Ever: 8 Devices That Caused the Biggest Buyers’ Remorse

June 17, 2024 • Devin Partida


Mobile phones have come a long way. While some have achieved iconic status, several others have been straight-up disappointing. Maybe you bought a cheap device that started overheating the next day or worse, an expensive flagship model that stopped working a few weeks later. From terrible interfaces to awful build quality, below are the top eight devices labeled the ‘worst phone ever’ by scores of unhappy users. 

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (2016)

The Galaxy Note 7 takes the mantle as the worst phone ever due to its tendency to spontaneously combust. It’s one thing for a mobile device to have an uninspiring design or poor features, but the Note 7 was essentially a bomb waiting to go off in your pocket or hands. The threat of physical harm became so great that airlines started banning it on flights. 

Samsung is a world leader in quality Android smartphones, known for reliability and innovation. That’s why it was a huge shock to millions of users that the Galaxy Note 7 had such a fatal flaw. Eventually, the manufacturer had no choice but to issue a global recall in 2016, losing a whopping $17 billion in tangible assets and eroded consumer confidence. 

2. Amazon Fire Phone (2014)

The Amazon Fire Phone lasted just one year in the smartphone market and it’s not hard to see why. On the surface, it looked like an advanced piece of tech boasting five front-facing cameras to create a 3D-like effect on the screen. But that’s pretty much the only thing noteworthy about the phone. The internal performance simply didn’t measure up to expectations. 

For one, it used a forked version of Android called Fire OS, so users had no access to the Google Play Store. That alone was enough to discourage sales. The entry price of $199 was also problematic, as the features and available apps didn’t justify the cost. Within months, the price dropped to just 99 cents with a signed two-year contract with AT&T. Overall, Amazon sold only 26,000 Fire Phone units, losing around $170 million of unsold inventory.

3. HTC First (2013)

Popularly called the Facebook phone, the HTC first was a commercial flop thanks to its unremarkable hardware and lackluster user interface. It seems the manufacturers banked too much on Facebook’s popularity at the time and included the ill-fated Facebook Home feature to give users a more immersive experience. 

However, the HTC First quickly came under ridicule for this very addition. Consumers pointed out that having your cover feed as the main background of the phone was tacky and compromised privacy. Also, you can access Facebook on the app or the web, so integrating it into the phone wasn’t as innovative as it was made out to be. It ultimately faded into obscurity due to a lack of interest from consumers. 

4. BlackBerry Storm (2008) 

The BlackBerry Storm was Research In Motion’s response to the market’s growing preference for touchscreen smartphones. It turned out to be one of the worst phones ever, following a bevy of software bugs and hardware problems. Users complained about the sluggish and often unresponsive touchscreen, which required them to press down to register a touch physically. 

It also didn’t help that Apple and Samsung had already released better-performing phones with seamless user interfaces at the time, so the difference in quality became even more pronounced. The company released a series of firmware updates to address the issues, but it was too late. Unsurprisingly, BlackBerry phone sales went downhill from then, eventually going out of business in 2016. 

5. Kyocera Echo (2011) 

At the time of release, the Kyocera Echo was set to revolutionize the smartphone industry with its folded dual-screen design, which converted it into a 7-inch tablet when opened. However, this feature turned out to be its undoing, as the phone was clunky and the technology behind movable parts was far from perfect. 

One of the most hated things about the Kyocera Echo was the thick line running across the screen when you used it in tablet mode. Additionally, running two screens simultaneously drained battery life rather quickly — a big turn-off for users. Though it ran on Android OS, the software simply wasn’t advanced enough to deliver smooth performance across the dual screens. Overall, the user experience was awkward, with plenty of room for improvement.

6. iPhone 6 (2014) 

Despite selling over 220 million units worldwide, the iPhone 6 series came under heavy criticism for its fragile chassis build. Imagine leaving your phone in your pocket and going about your day, then when you pull it out, it has bent out of shape and now looks curved like a banana. This design flaw became known as “Bendgate” among consumers and the media. 

Within weeks of the discovery, several YouTubers started demonstrating just how easy it was for the phone’s body to bend with just a little pressure. Naturally, users were infuriated at such a compelling defect, especially when they paid between $199 and $299 for the device. Even worse is the fact that internal documents revealed Apple was well aware of the issue and still went ahead to release the phone to the public. 

7. Microsoft Kin One and Two (2010)

The Microsoft Kin One is undoubtedly one of the worst phones ever made. The design and functionality were so lacking that it lasted a mere two months on the market before sales stopped for good. The phone’s portable body looked awkward and the 2.6-inch screen was a huge letdown. 

Microsoft Kin Two featured a more sleek chassis and a slightly larger screen but recorded a similar abysmal market response. Its OS performance wasn’t much to write about either, as it didn’t even have an App Store. 

8. Nokia 7280 (2004)

Nokia might have delivered the legendary 3310 and other innovative mobile devices, but they certainly missed the mark with the 7280 model. Nicknamed the ‘Lipstick Phone,’ the Nokia 7280’s body design was as unique as they come. It looked like a lipstick tube or slim chocolate bar with no dial pad — instead, you relied on a rotary wheel to navigate the phone’s functions. 

This feature was fine for dialing numbers but terrible for composing SMS messages and accessing other menu items. To be fair, the nifty design concept was truly unprecedented and could have propelled Nokia to even greater heights, but the limited functionality and poor interface were simply unforgivable. 

Is Your Worst Phone Ever on This List?

As the smartphone industry advances, there will always be hits and misses from manufacturers. This collection of the worst phones ever made is a stark reminder of the need for continuous innovation and improvements. More importantly, they make you more appreciative of the fantastic smartphones that you have had over the years.