Okay, we’re talking about fails, 15 of the biggest smartphone fails, starting off as concerning and ending up just tragic. So a couple of months ago, samsung held their galaxy note event. They launched the note 20 ultra, probably the best phone they’ve ever made, but at the same time also the normal note 20, which it’s, probably a bit far to call it a scam, but it’s.
Not far off that it’s, a thousand dollar phone and nothing about it, justifies that figure it’s got a 60 hertz 1080p display it’s, made of weaker glass on the front and plastic on the back, and, Unlike just about every other samsung phone, this one has no expandable storage.
It’s. Arguably a lower spec than the company’s own 699 galaxy s20 fe. For one reason, that phone exists just for the purpose of making the note 20 ultra look good samsung, wouldn’t have dared to launch this standard note 20 on its own.
They know full well that it would have got slaughtered by the media, but by barely mentioning it at the launch event and just keeping it as a phone to sit. Next to the note 20 ultra on the website. It makes the price of the ultra look very reasonable by comparison.
So 3 out of 10 fail pretty sneaky, not impressed and, on a similar note, our good friends at oneplus, a company who’ve spent years, just building up a reputation for being selective for putting all their efforts into just one or two phones.
At a time, building hype and making sure they deliver, and this kind of love and attention that they can give because they’re, focusing on just a few models, means that oneplus has built one of the most committed fan bases of any phone company.
So what did they go and do contradict the entire philosophy? They dropped. Two phones just completely out of the blue, the nord n100 and the nord n10, no real hype or launch events. The phones are confusing like where did the numbers? 10 and 100 come from your main phones are still on the number eight right now, and why is the n100? The lower end version and the n10 is the higher end version who named these, but also, i think the most important thing is that they’re, just lazy phones.
These are reskinned versions of oppo devices and i think the lower end n100 somewhat gets away with this because it’s still good value, but this n10 shouldn’t exist like for the sake of saving just 50 versus the normal oneplus.
Nord, you lose a lot of stuff, you lose the oled display for an lcd. You lose the premium glass back from glossy plastic. You get a worse chipset and less ram. It’s, not a disaster, but they’re. Just two confusing copied and forgettable phones that signal a downwards transition for the company, so solid three out of ten fail in my books.
Okay, we’re, really sharing the love this year. Let’s. Talk about microsoft, a company who’s, never really got it quite right when it comes to phones – and i carried on this year with the surface duo, it’s, a foldable phone which, on first glance, might actually look like it justifies Its 1400 price tag – it’s incredibly sturdy and slim, and it can flex itself into countless orientations.
It’s. Just this is the perfect example of a phone that’s. Trying to run before it can walk. Microsoft is trying to reinvent the game here, but the fundamentals that the phone stands on are crumbling. Literally it’s, got a plastic frame and it’s, so thin that these phones are cracking.
You do get a flagship chipset, which is good, but oh wait. No, it’s. The snapdragon 855 announced in 2018 paired with just six gigabytes of ram yeah specs aren’t everything, but for a 1400 phone that’s built to do at least two different tasks.
At the same time, you’re gonna feel it and it’s, all topped off with one of the worst speakers on a modern day phone and possibly the worst camera like you know how most modern day 1400 phones have triple Camera setups or quad camera setups with massive 108 megapixel sensors.
Well, with the surface, you have one camera, the selfie camera. Would you use both to take selfies and as your main camera for everything so next to modern day, flagships that’s a bit like trying to run around and film using your webcam? But what i didn’t like about this.
Is that microsoft was well aware of the shortcomings, but they kind of tried to manipulate the narrative like when they sent this surface duo to reviewers. Do you know what they said to them? They said in your initial unboxing videos.
You’re, not allowed to turn the phone on, which means that basically, the one thing that you can show is design the main good thing about it, so yeah sky, high price way too many compromises and a sneaky way of trying to hide them.
This is a 4 out of 10 fail right here. What would you label as the wackiest smartphone you’ve seen this year? For me, it would probably be the other one for me. It would probably be the lg wing, a smartphone that looks like a normal phone until you flip it out, and what is that a widescreen horizontal display, followed by an almost square panel below it.
Now it’s, probably a little early to say that this is a failure, but i can already tell you now: this is not the form factor of the future like if this lg wing becomes the next big thing. I will wear a set of wings in a video.
I’m sure you’d like seeing that. But the point i’m getting to here is that while the lg wing does seem revolutionary and it does have a very cool opening mechanism, this is actually lg repeating themselves.
The way i see it, this wing is actually the spiritual successor to the 2011 lg double play, just chop that keyboard off and it’s, the exact same concept, and that was very much a bad phone. It was clunky kind of cramped.
The specs were compromised just to have this dual screen design and also the dual screen itself was labeled by every media at the time as a gimmick, and the reason i think this is interesting, is that a lot of the issues we saw on the old double Play are are kind of mirrored in the new wing, so the double play gets a very respectable 4 out of 10 fail rating, the new wing we’ll, see okay, you might have heard of marshall.
They’re, an audio company pretty well known for their headphones and speakers and guitar amps, but in 2015 they had the idea to build a phone and to be fair, they did nail the audio side of things. It had a built-in dac for lossless music.
It had a software equalizer that would instantly work across all music services on the phone and get this not one, but two headphone jacks it’s just that they made this phone, so music focused that it basically became just like a really good mp3 Player the chipset sucked it had two gigs of ram.
You wouldn’t game on this. It had a very poor, 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front one that it’s, probably better. If we don’t talk about this was the first phone that marshall ever made, but the reception was so poor that it was also the last phone they ever made so very respectable.
Four out of ten fail again for this one speaking of reception, though, how about a phone with none? In 2012, the world was introduced to the samsung galaxy camera, with the tantalizing promise of full android functionality, plus a full point-and-shoot camera feature set, and it did have impressive.
Specs samsung gave this a sensor literally twice the size of its latest galaxy s3 phone and no less than 21 times optical zoom. That’s, still more than double what the absolute best android phones can do today, plus running a camera on android.
That makes so much sense. You could take a photo exit, the camera app and send it to someone on gmail straight away, but the issue this thing had was that it wasn’t, particularly good at either of these things as a point-and-shoot camera.
It was just average and as an android device. Well, it couldn’t make phone calls. So, even though it could do almost everything, your phone could do. The fact that it couldn’t call means that you still got to keep a separate android phone with you, anyways, which kind of defeats the purpose so 4 out of 10 fail it’s, one of those things that sounded really good.
In people’s heads, but when it launched it had poor reception in both senses of the word. I say that, but i would love to see something like this today, like the combination of modern day computational photography with a proper camera sized image sensor that could be crazy.
You’ve, got to hand it to samsung for experimenting, though, because just a year after that, alongside their galaxy note, 3 in 2013, samsung also dropped a curved variant of it. The galaxy round. This is crazy.
It’s, the first phone ever with a flexible amoled display, but oh wait. No, it’s, just a galaxy note 3., but with a smaller battery, no s pen and a price tag one and a half times higher. It was severely underwhelming.
I think the concept has merit like your hands are curved. Your face is curved: why not build a curved phone, but they just didn’t, do anything with it like they made. This feature called the roll effect where you could roll the smartphone towards you to check your notifications, but i think for a lot of people, all that’s.
Gon na do is just remind them how they can’t use their phone on a flat surface. So four out of ten fail again this inwards curved concept, just didn’t catch on and funnily enough, just two years after this samsung started inverting it almost every one of their flagships, post 2015, curves outwards and speaking of galaxies.
If you’re enjoying this video, a sub to the channel, would be out of this world. Okay number eight! This is where we start to get more well tragic. So i should start this by saying that asus now seems to be a very level-headed company.
They’ve, really understood the fundamentals of what makes a good phone and, as a result, they’ve dominated the 2020 leaderboards, but it’s been quite the journey to get there enter the pad phone, a smartphone that you Can buy with this companion display and when you want a bigger experience, you slot the phone in and bam you ‘
Ve got a tablet, the benefit being that, instead of having to have two separate devices with two separate sets of internals, this uses the processing power inside the phone for both. So they can make a tablet that’s effectively, just a shell for it.
So it’s cheaper. Well, that sounds kind of reasonable, but we’ve, actually seen a lot of phones over the years with the same core concept. This idea of trying to kill two birds with one stone: they all fail.
Why well see the very nature of creating a product that’s? Trying to be two products? Is that you’re, almost limiting yourself specifically to an audience who’s looking for both of those products like as a phone? The pad phone was good, it was solid, but its main standout feature was the fact that it could transform into a tablet.
So if i didn’t need a tablet. There’d, be no point buying that phone, and even if i did need a tablet, this is not the best way of doing it. I’m better off buying a dedicated tablet, as opposed to one that’s, constrained by the fact that it ‘
S got to be running on smartphone hardware, so this was a fail, but to be fair, if this was just a one-off product that they tried and then it didn’t land, it wouldn’t have been so far up this list. What makes it worse, what pushes this to what i’m, calling a five out of ten fail is that it took aces three years and many many iterations of this concept, with the same core issues again and again before.
Finally, realizing that it just wasn’t going to stick now. You might remember a video i made a while ago on the valk one aka, the first smartphone ever to be free to use, so no sim card no cost to call people.
Unlimited data available everywhere how well when you bought one of these volk phones, the idea was that it would come bundled with a volk router bit like a wi-fi router, but with the ability to package up data and fire it up to two miles away.
This data could only be picked up by volk phones, which have a specialized receiver, but where this gets really interesting is that as well as a receiver, each one also came with a transmitter which can send that signal further for other people to get online.
So what this company was proposing was effectively a crowdsourced version of the internet, like with each extra user coming in instead of the signal getting more congested. It’s, actually improving, but nothing happened.
They’ve, been taking orders since early 2019 and they still haven’t delivered a single phone. Their website says coming 2020, which is starting to look a little unlikely, and it does make you doubt whether they’ve, actually built this phone or not, because there’s, not a single video of it.
The entire website is done with, renders seems a bit sus to me, so i’m, giving this one a six out of ten fail in a best case scenario, you’re getting two year old hardware in the worst case. This is a scam okay.
In 2012, another company thought that they had a revolution on their hands: mozilla the creators of the firefox browser. They had a vision for an operating system completely powered by the web. So, instead of localized apps that you could download and then run offline, everything could be powered by the internet.
They called it firefox os, like even the camera app on these phones was just a web page. It was just a web page that could access the feed from your camera the benefit of doing this. Well, it’s. The fact that pretty much every developer already knows how to make internet apps and once you’ve, made an internet app once you don’t need to reprogram it separately for different platforms or make different versions for devices of different levels Of power, you just build it once, and you’re done it’s just that.
Yes, this was a developer’s dream, but it’s, just that from a consumer perspective, the benefits weren’t as clear like it would have been a pretty niche group of people who are like. Ah, do you know the one thing that i want on my phone is a smaller selection of apps that require an internet connection to work properly, so firefox os had a reasonable start because it’s, something that the hardcore audience had been dreaming about.
But then it very quickly lost momentum and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse until the only life left in firefox os was the fact that it powered panasonic televisions, and i think at this point they were just like.
No, you know what get in the bin six out of ten fail, so much promise and so much money, but it went nowhere. It wasn’t all for nothing, though, because from the remnants of firefox os rose kaios, and that has been successful.
It’s, an even simpler software, but it’s. So simple that it’s managed to squeeze into a currently uncontested niche. It’s, not fighting android or ios. It’s used to provide some smart functionality to 30 phones.
You know sometimes collaborations just work when two companies that are that are so aligned come together. Every now and again, a miracle is born. This ain’t that we’re talking about the garmin phone, the combined efforts of both asus and garmin, and it is one of the worst phones ever made.
Actually, you can have a buzzer already. It was basically them trying to make both a smartphone and a sat nav together and credit. Where do garmin are one of the leaders in navigation and the phone did come, bundled with a car charger and a mount to install it.
The navigation part of this wasn’t the problem. The problem was that navigation is just a small subset of what your smartphone can do. Anyways smartphones are like gps systems, but ones that can also do a thousand other things too, and so trying to make a smartphone that’s based on being a sat.
Nav is a massive downgrade. I don’t. Think i’ve ever seen a worse android home screen experience with just massive garish icons and no traditional launcher to make your own. The phone’s, design suffered with absolutely enormous bezels and no headphone jack plus google maps available on every phone was improving way faster, and so it was only a matter of time before the one thing this had going for it, navigation ended up being A disadvantage so easy six out of ten fail this one’s like hall of fame territory right here, but you can always do worse.
Do you remember a company called doogie? Three years ago they had a bit of a one-hit wonder with a phone called the doogee mix. It was basically a rip-off of the xiaomi mix, but they somehow managed to offer a semi-bezel-less design for closer to 170, which was pretty impressive, but it’s just that from this point they went from questionable too bad to an absolute sham.
They did everything they possibly could to capitalize on the success of just this one phone. They released a doogee mix 2, which was clearly meant to be a different phone and then, after seeing how well the mix, did they just relabeled it? Because you can tell it doesn’t, even look like a mix phone, but then even funnier than that in 2018, doogie held a press event to show us what was coming in the future and, oh dear, they showed off a doogee mix 3 with A pop-up camera a doogee mix 4, which is almost completely display on the front and used a slider mechanism to hide the camera.
They showed a flexible phone and get this a transparent phone did a single one of these products actually materialize? No, no. They didn’t unless, by transparent they meant invisible. The only one thing that we did get was a prototype of the doogee mix.
Four, but when i say prototype, i don’t mean a phone that was almost ready to go. I mean a phone with a paper cutout. Instead of a display. In hindsight i don’t, think doogee had any intention of releasing these products.
I think they just thought. We finally have some media coverage. Let’s just make the most outrageous claims possible to keep it as long as we can. So. I’m, giving doogee a seven out of ten fail. They clearly had something with that first mix, but within a year doogee very quickly became dodgy and i would stay clear: hey here’s, a name, you haven’t heard in a while sony ericsson.
This was a collaboration between two companies. Sony who was largely an entertainment company at this point and ericsson who was one of the bigger phone manufacturers, it was sony’s, way of all of a sudden being able to manufacture phones on a large scale, and it was erickson’S way of gaining access to sony’s, walkman, music, brand and cybershot camera brand, as well as just their design, because i mean erickson’s.
Own phones were stylistically challenged. We’ll, put it that way and it did work. You probably remember the sony, ericsson, walkman phones, they sold numbers, but very quickly. You know this in 2007, the iphone just flipped the market upside down, and this duo of a company just wasn’t agile enough to respond.
I think sony realized at this point that erickson was kind of weighing them down with their focus on feature. Phones, as opposed to smartphones, like their big attack on the iphone as a duo, ended up being the sony.
Ericsson say, show a phone that yes had an awesome, 12 megapixel camera, but literally nothing else going for it. We’re talking, one of those resistive touch screens that you kind of need to use a stylus with and an aging operating system, with no apps called symbian within just a few years.
Sony ericsson was making 250 million dollars in loss in a year. So sony did eventually buy out ericsson ‘ S 50 share to just become sony mobile, but the damage was kind of done by this point they were way behind.
So i’m, giving sony ericsson a prestigious 7 out of 10 fail. It wasn’t the end for sony phones, but it definitely set them off on the wrong trajectory. Okay, now for something that smartphone makers have been doing since the beginning of well smartphones, it’s, deceptive.
It’s disingenuous, but that also makes it really funny when uh, when people find out about it faking photos which i would never do. How many times have you gone onto a phone website? Looked at the camera section and thought wow you took that on a phone, no, no, they didn’t.
I think pretty much. Every manufacturer has done this at some point. Basically, just layered a photo taken on a dslr camera onto their phone screen and they won’t, usually specifically say: oh, this was taken on our phone, but they know that’s.
What people are going to think it’s, a bit like if i sold you a car online, but then, instead of sending you the actual car, i just sent you well this. Oh, you thought the photo on the website was the thing i’m.
Sending you don’t, be silly thanks for 30 thousand dollars, but there’s even been a lot more explicit cases like earlier this year. Huawei was promoting a bunch of photos taken on huawei phones, but someone watching it noticed that wait.
A second that shot looks a bit familiar. Oh wait! Yeah! It was taken by a professional photographer on a 3 000 dslr. Huawei is probably the biggest culprit of this. A couple of years ago, they even had a full advert for their nova 3 phone, where you can clearly see this guy reaching out with the phone to take a selfie.
The entire commercial is about how good the camera of the phone is. Not a single photo taken in that commercial was taken on this phone and it’s very obvious, like if you’re gonna cheat at least. Do it subtly, or probably my favorite example, is samsung back in 2018 they launched a phone called the galaxy a8 star and they were so proud of this phone’s.
Ability to capture photos that they didn’t show it modesty at its finest. What they actually did was paid this lady 250 for a commercial license to use her photo taken on a dslr, but there’s more. They then chopped her out of that photo and put her on a different background, also not taken on the phone and then to top the entire thing off to showcase how good their portrait mode was.
They pulled open a photo editor selected. This new background that they’d just thrown in behind and blurred it and they didn’t think to just once put a little disclaimer saying, hey by the way guys this photo wasn’t taken on this phone, as, If it was just obvious, i’m, giving this one a seven out of ten fail kind of made, even better by the fact that the girl who was in the photo actually realized what happened and publicly outed something for it.
Okay, it’s time for number one and just as a heads up. If your favorite fail isn’t on this list, that’s, probably because there’s. Four other episodes in this smartphone fails series. So do check them out.
They’re very fun. I’ll. Leave them linked from here. So in first place is a company called mediatek. This is huge, so you’ve, probably heard of qualcomm. They’re. The number one supplier of chips for our phones, but they’re, not the only supplier of chips in second place is mediatek and they’ve been caught cheating, so it all started when a reviewer noticed that some mid-range phone powered by A mediatek chipset was performing surprisingly well on benchmarks.
They realized that its gaming performance and its app performance was like here, but as soon as you open a benchmark, it was all the way up here. So was this mediatek just trying to make their chips seem more powerful than they were well yeah.
This reviewer, then, dug a little further into the firmware of the phone, and he found a piece of code in it that had been distributed by mediatek, which made these phones running mediatek chips able to detect the benchmark was running and dial up their performance to the Absolute extreme now mediatek defended this.
They said well, hey! This is standard practice. Everyone has high performance modes, but the difference is this: wasn’t a normal high performance mode that would enable in any demanding application. This was an extreme performance mode that even disabled warnings against high temperatures.
This chip was being pushed so hard that it couldn’t, possibly be sustained for any period of time, so it wasn’t representative of the performance you could get in apps, plus, unlike normal high performance modes, which would just detect when The load is high and turn on the code for this extreme performance mode that the reviewer discovered they called it sports mode.
It specifically had the names of the benchmarking apps, so it was built with the purpose of cheating. So then i thought this was quite clever. The reviewer then tested the phone on an altered version of one of the benchmarks.
He changed the code of the benchmark slightly such that the phone wouldn’t realize it was a benchmark and sure enough straight away. The performance was 30 lower. This is bad. This is as bad as cheating on emissions tests with cars.
You’ve got to remember that mediatek is so popular that there’s, a good chance. The phone that you’re using has a mediatek chip in it. So i’m. Giving this one an 8 out of 10 fail. This isn’t to say it happens across all mediatek chips and it’s, not to say you should never buy a phone with a mediatek chip, but it’s.
Definitely yet another reason to take benchmarks with a heavy pinch of salt. Okay, if you enjoyed this video, do consider subscribing it’s been absolutely ages in the works. My name is aaron. This is mr who’s.
The boss and i’ll catch you in the next one. You