The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1

The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1And the worst mobile phone of all time is… the iPhone! Nah, just kidding. Love or hate the iJobs, there have been scores of infinitely worse handsets over the years, the kind of phone you feel embarrassed to whip out in public, and has you counting the days till your next upgrade.

Or, as in the case of my Motorola Z8, had me reaching for my supposedly-inferior, two-year-old Sony Ericsson.

I had a few handsets in mind when I started composing this feature, but after scratching the surface it became apparent that one article couldn’t contain the various monstrosities of the mobile world. As such, I dub this part one of, erm, several. And be sure to let us know your most-hated phones of all time, Mobotniks.

Here, in no particular order (although upon reflection it might be vaguely alphabetical... almost), are five of the worst phones ever to grace our fair planet.

Bang & Olufsen Serene

The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1Art is subjective. Some people would look at the Bang & Olufsen Serene and consider it a thing of genuine technological beauty, while others would keel over laughing. The phone was unique, that’s for sure.

The Bang & Olufsen Serene adopted a circular keypad, somewhat akin to the iPod. It also placed the screen below said keypad, supposedly to stop it from getting smudged by your manky, unwashed face. In a move of utter madness, the camera was positioned on the side of the phone, making it impossible to line up a photo with the on-screen viewfinder.

As if it wasn’t impractical enough, accessing the SIM card and battery compartment required a special screwdriver. Fantastic.

And, on top of all that, the phone retailed at over $1,000 – that’s around £700 in Brit-money. You want one, don’t you?

Dual-LCD Cellphone by Hong Jeong

The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1Seok Hong Jeong is a probably-insane inventor from Korea. Revealed at the Seoul International Invention Fair in 2006, his Dual-LCD Cellphone was intended to enhance web browsing and multimedia with – you guessed it – two screens. One of the screens could be folded away allowing the phone to take on a regular candybar shape.

The idea is reminiscent of the Nintendo DS, which has one touchscreen and a second screen for display only. But while the Nintendo DS is one of the best-selling consoles of all time, Seok Hong Jeong’s monstrous beast of a phone never saw the light of day. Judging by the photographs, it’s not hard to imagine why.

F88 Wrist Watch Mobile Phone

The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1China’s CEC Corp specially developed this watch/phone for a famous Chinese ping-pong player. The F88 Wrist Watch Mobile Phone was worn around the wrist like a watch, but had a whack of mobile-style features.

It had a built-in microphone, speakerphone, voice dialling, four minutes of voice recording, built-in games, an alarm clock and a 3MP camera. Bizarrely, the keypad was located on the strap of the phone.

Like the Bang & Olufsen Serene, the retail price was in the almost-£1,000 region.

HP iPAQ H6315

The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1To be fair, the HP iPAQ H6315 did receive some favourable reviews, but we're sure you'll agree that it looks fairly hideous. The Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 phone was most notable for its detachable QWERTY keyboard.

The HP iPAQ H6315 still worked without the detachable QWERTY, though the on-screen keyboard realistically demanded use of a stylus and magnifying glass.


The worst mobile phones of all time - part 1Firefly – “The mobile phone for mobile kids”. These phones are as cheap as they look. Somewhere between a tacky handheld LCD game and a proper mobile phone for grown-ups, the Firefly lights up when it rings, ensuring maximum embarrassment for kids sitting in a room full of bratty young iPhone owners.

Particularly mean parents could further torture their sons with the pink Supergirl edition.

You can read more about the Firefly in best-selling* book How to Make Your Kids Resent You for the Rest of Their Lives.

*and entirely made-up

Continue reading: The worst mobile phones of all time part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Add a comment

Andy247  Feb. 2, 2011 at 14:17

I had an iPaq 6315 and it was a cracking handset, it also had the worlds best game pre-installed in Bubble Burst, amny an hour was lost to that at my desk!

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 2, 2011 at 14:44

The firefly actually isn't even that cheap. It's obviously targetting parents who buy their 12 year old a plastic tool kit... If you can't trust your kids with a basic real phone, the firefly will just teach them that parents can be such hypocrites. Also, the Fireflies SARS isn't that great, either...

ilikeeconomiks  Feb. 2, 2011 at 21:37

The NEC e616 was absolutely awful - ginormous, and really awkward to type messages into. Worst feature about it? When it started to run out of battery, it would go into a rage by flashing all its lights and the screen and the (pathetic) battery would start vibrating, all in an effort to make the phone run out of juice even faster...

StuStuStu  Feb. 3, 2011 at 13:32

I also had a 6340 (which was basically a 6315 with some extra memory or something).

It was OK, but my Orange M2000 which I had at the same time was far superior simply because it had the keyboard at the back (and a camera)

The worst one I have owned is surely the dog that was the N-Gage. As a gaming platform it was very average (I replaced it with a PSP) and as a phone it was absolutely bloody awful!

cardamon  Feb. 3, 2011 at 15:27

That B&O mobile is pretty funny looking! I guess having the camera on the side would make it really easy to take photos surreptitiously. The Dual LCD phone is pretty hilarious too. Things have come a long way, thankfully!

Samme  Feb. 4, 2011 at 15:39

Was watching one of the Top Gear re-runs on Dave the other day, and I'm pretty sure Jeremy Clarkson pulled a B&O Serene from his back pocket. Probably the only time I've ever seen one.

Bradder  Feb. 7, 2011 at 17:03

Yeah he did, and at the other end of the scale I remember him having a Motorola V3 at some point which in my opinion was one of the best looking a and best built phone ever made.

leighb2  Mar. 1, 2011 at 20:28

I've had some fairly basic and shocking phones since my first Nokia back in 1998 (EVERYONE had a Nokia back then..)

The worst phone I've ever owned by far was the Acer Betouch.. I don't even know why I thought it might be ok.. it lasted a couple of days, I got ridiculed slightly and I never spoke of it again.

Julias  Mar. 1, 2011 at 23:11

To the writer of this article Lewis Curdie have you actually owned the Bang & Olufsen Serene or any of the above phones? cos i don't think you have a clue what your talking about? :-/

Monstersnowman  Mar. 2, 2011 at 00:05

How about the Motorola V100 ?? I could hardly give them away .. they were expensive to start with, plummetted in price but still wouldn't shift .. awful !!!

mindboom  Mar. 2, 2011 at 19:04

I had the iPAQ 6315, specifically 6340 (they're all in the 6300 family) - and can tell you that it was one of the best phones I ever owned. Truly great, before I switched to a HTC Universal - an even bigger phone, but it's the luxury inside that counts.

spy1  Mar. 2, 2011 at 20:38

Another article that panders to the notion that without the latest phone that can do loads of things you'll never use it for, you're nothing. Still using my 6 year old phone - its a Nokia but I haven't a clue what model it is because it doesn't really matter, does it.

willgimmence  Mar. 4, 2011 at 11:46

Sony Ericsson P1i was a load of ****. That was only about 3 years ago too.

willgimmence  Mar. 4, 2011 at 11:49

Yeah - Ngage was s*it too. The fact I was about 14 when I had that did somewhat ease the pain. I wasn't too fussed when someone nicked it off me. Good luck to them selling that piece of s*it.

HugebiscuittincalledElvis  Mar. 4, 2011 at 13:37

So long as your mobile phone allows you to make and receive calls and texts, who cares what it looks like? pointless article.

wiggum  Mar. 6, 2011 at 06:00

Have sold far far worse, here goes!

Nokia 8210

Was a fantastic phone when released. Initial retail price we sold it for was £249 on a contract. Build quality an reliability great.

Until Nokia decided to make it more affordable and changed supplier of parts (to make it cheaper I guess).
From then on in I saw countless issues with switching off and the screens going. Shame really.

Maxon MN-1

I swear on my life we used to sell this to customers by saying it was shiny!
Dog of a phone and endless amounts of customers coming back as antenna kept falling out.

Sagem MC920

Built for a price. That price being 5p. Probably exchanged/refunded 30+% of handsets for a variety of issues. Usually switching off.

Nokia 7110
Nice idea but poor poor software.

Nec G9

As big as a brick and about as useful.

and to finish
Telital GM210

Quite simply the worst phone ever.

Issues ranged from earpiece going after a couple of calls to just being what we call an out of box failure i.e. dead as soon as you open it.

Mostly though it was due to the fact that even when the battery was in phone, if you touched the back where it was it would switch itself off.

There are probably more but frankly I have tried to erase them from my mind!

spinshockspecifies  Mar. 7, 2011 at 01:18

the list is missing the samsung jet!

hay2day  Aug. 6, 2012 at 21:48

Was watching one of the Top Gear re-runs on Dave the other day, and I'm pretty sure Jeremy Clarkson pulled a B&O Serene from his back pocket. Probably the only time I've ever seen one.

Actually, Jeremy Clarkson has a Motorola RAZR V3. He got that for many many years now, and was always shown on Top Gear. BTW I loved that phone!


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