Like it or not, the smartphone in your pocket says a lot about who you are. Is it fair to judge people based upon the smartphone or mobile device they purchase; probably not. However, this is just a fact of life. People buy smartphones for their capabilities, but they also buy them based upon their popularity among peers and reviews of pundits in the technology field.
While there are plenty of great phones available, notably the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, and HTC One X+, these aren’t always affordable to everyone who wants a smartphone. This leads many people to choose the smartphone their carrier offers for free on a two-year contract, but this can lead to the purchase of some real duds. In the interest of avoiding a dud, we’ve assembled a list of smartphones that should be avoided at all costs.
It is worth noting that the devices we’ll cover have made the list for a number of reasons. Some are simply overpriced based upon their capabilities, while others are terribly designed or lacking in specifications compared to the average smartphone.
Nokia Lumia 820
Nokia has gone all in on the new Windows Phone 8 OS, designing a number of devices that will operate on the new system. The Lumia 820 is designed to be a budget choice for those looking for a smartphone with a top OS, but don’t want to shell out £36pm for that phone with a new contract.
Reviews of the 820 after its release have not been friendly. The display choice, a flat AMOLED with 800×480 resolution doesn’t take full advantage of WP8’s high resolution capabilities. The camera is also questionable as the lens easily collects dust and grime, adding glare to pictures that other devices don’t struggle with. In the end, the Lumia 820 was a second thought at Nokia and comes off as simply lacking the quality of other smartphones.
Better Choice: If you’ve had a previous good experience with Nokia or think WP8 is an excellent OS, consider the Nokia Lumia 920 instead. It is more powerful with better specs, and operates WP8 more efficiently.
Motorola Droid Razr HD
By in large Motorola is one of the best smartphone makers available to American consumers. The problem with the Razr HD is the lack of upgrade over previous models. A full lineup of Droid devices is available to all customers, but the Razr HD offers only a modest upgrade over last year’s Droid models. Even worse, you’ll probably pay a fee up front with a new contract for a phone that has a tacky interface with Google’s Android OS and an overall poor design compared to competitors.
Better Choice: If you’re addicted to Motorola’s past Droid models, consider instead the RAZR MAXX. It will cost you more, but it is money well invested in a device with good power, specs, and performance.
Sony Xperia TL
Courtesy of Apple and Samsung’s dominance in the market, Sony has had a rough time developing a device that is a hit with consumers. The Xperia TL is Sony’s latest attempt to carve out a niche among the second tier of device makers such as HTC, Nokia, and Motorola. Right out of the box though, the Xperia TL is likely to be a dud.
Despite the fact that it hits the market when Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is available, the device ships with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich installed instead. The Xperia is simply behind the times compared to its biggest competitors, the HTC One X+ and Samsung Galaxy S III. The design is bland compared to HTC’s sleek One X Plus, and the capabilities pale in comparison to those of the Galaxy S III.
Better Choice: There might not be one from Sony. The Xperia TL was supposed to be an upgrade on the company’s Xperia Ion. Unfortunately, like the Ion it is outdated by the time it hits the market and can’t match the specs and capabilities of its competitors.
A double dip with our final choice, the Bold and Curve are the top offerings from BlackBerry and RIM at the moment. There is a glaring problem with both devices though; they are simply behind the times. They maintain smaller, non-touch screens with full QWERTY keyboards installed. Even a diehard BlackBerry fan couldn’t talk themselves into buying one of these right now. A complete lack of competitive specifications and capabilities aside, both devices will be obsolete when RIM launches BlackBerry 10 on 30 January 2013 as neither will be upgradeable to the new OS.
Better Choice: Much like Sony, BlackBerry simply doesn’t have a better device to offer consumers at the moment, sad tale for a company that dominated the early days of the smartphone market.