10 Worst Mobile Phones Ever Designed

Posted on October 26, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

Even the best cell phones available today have a feature or two that’s lacking; but once in a while there’s a perfect storm of OS incompatibility, designer incompetence, and unawareness of market trends that renders a phone completely useless. When the dust settles, and consumers take a look back at the monstrosities produced by delusional companies, they can only wonder why anyone believed these phones would be successful.

Here are the ten worst cell phones ever designed and manufactured. After reading through the list of horrors, you will be newly satisfied with your current phone, whatever it might be lacking.

1. The Handphone

WORST FEATURE: Multiple Wires

the handphone

Creeping up your wrist, down your hand and across your arm like an 80s octopus, this mobile phone never made it off the shelves. While the designer may have drawn a really neat presentation of this idea, the actual product is horrendous. Just imagine how tangled these cords would get in your purse, and you’ll understand why this phone never became popular like today’s Android phones.

2. Cobra

WORST FEATURE: The Price; No Camera; No Bluetooth

Vertu Signature Cobra

While there might be a few people who can appreciate this kind of glitz, odds are that none of them can afford the $310,000 price tag. In spite of 439 rubies, a diamond and two emeralds, this phone still manages to be one of the ugliest, worst designed mobiles on the planet. However, this phone does come with one redeeming factor: it boasts a 24-hour worldwide concierge service (for as long as the company stays in business, at least).

3. Toshiba G450

WORST FEATURE: Oddball Shape Hard to Hold

toshiba g450

Combining the power draining capabilities of a USB broadband modem, phone, flash drive, and paper weight, this device still claims it is a mobile phone. The dual keypads may have confused many users back in 2008, though, because this phone can only be found today as a door stop. Fans of this phone did get to feel like the cast of Back to the Future, though.

4. Firefly

WORST FEATURE: Childish Design


In 2005, this phone claimed it was the perfect option for parents (if they were control freaks): it only allowed children to store three phone numbers or dial emergency operators. While a few pre-teens might have given in to parents’ demands and carried this child’s toy, most kids refused to use it. Thus, the Firefly failed within a year of its debut.

5. Bang & Olufsen [Samsung] Serene

WORST FEATURE: Bulky, Awkward Design, Costly


Boasting a .3 megapixel camera and Bluetooth capability, this gem from 2007 was designed to seem modern without actually offering modern features. Portability, apparently, was also low on the designer’s list of necessary features. While this cellular device might have looked appropriate on boardroom tables for conference calls, it’s hard to imagine anyone carrying it around town. It costed a whooping $1,275.

6. Nokia 7380

WORST FEATURE: Looks Like a Fishing Rod

Nokia 7380

Announced in October 2005, this is a cell phone that meant to be chic: sadly, it failed on every frontier. Sending a text message from this phone took up to two full minutes, and critics reported that it was only sufficient for answering incoming calls. This 70s style had no keypad, no storage card slot, and could only hold a measly 52 MB of data.

While the phone did have a built-in FM radio and music player, users would be limited to just one or two songs played on repeat. The biggest complaint users filed was that the mirror-like glossy screen could only be read indoors in dull light. Luckily for this designer, the Nokia 7380 was removed from stores pretty quickly, so he or she didn’t have to bear the scrutiny of consumers for long.

7. Nokia 3650


nokia 3650

The very first video camera integrated mobile phone by Nokia. But the other odd like a worthless and a good for nothing keypad, quite a bad quality of the screen and a pathetic battery life could not save its repute. The keypad that looked more of like a rotary dial added to its disadvantage. Also due to the fact that it inherited features from the Nokia 7650, the phone was ditched.

 8. Samsung Serenata

WORST FEATURE: Your Hand Blocked the Screen While You Accessed the Keypad


This phone did seem cool at first blush, but upon closer inspection a consumer quickly realized that to type on the iPod-like keypad would mean to block sight of the screen. As if that’s not awkward enough, the keypad protrudes into the user’s ear while he or she takes a call, causing discomfort and distorted sound.

Surprisingly, this phone included high-definition surround-sound speakers, which could best be heard when the phone was far from your face. On the plus side, the Serenata came with 4 GB of internal memory for songs, which was very good in 2007. On the downside, it cost $2,000 to be this uncomfortable while fielding calls.

9. Virgin Mobile Lobster

WORST FEATURE: Ergonomic-Looking Phone Was Uncomfortable to Hold

If you merely glanced at this phone, you might think that it would be comfortable to hold up to your face. However, the thick design made it uncomfortable to hold, regardless of placement. This design did have interesting features; such as the two-tone keypad, off button an ear could press mid-call, and a wavy lobster-claw shape.

While the two-tone palette speaks of 80s Flock of Seagull hairstyles and shoulder pads, this phone was actually manufactured in late 2006. By January of 2008, it was discontinued, mainly because the only positive feature (unlimited mobile TV) was no longer available through Virgin Mobile.

10. Siemens Xelibri



These phones were designed to incite crowds to go crazy trying to collect all four styles. They hit the store shelves in 2003 with shelf stocking levels at a higher-than-average level: however, in the 18 months that the Xelibri brand lasted, there was no consumer mania or demand to collect all four phones.

Unfortunately, the Siemens Xelibri designer lacked the insight that buyers would want features in addition to oddball shapes and styles. While these bizarre phones could have possibly become popular if they had included easy texting, cameras and video, they never stood a chance without cool features.


These ten phones remain in history as scarlet letters for the designers who failed at creating useable mobiles. While they serve no other purpose than a reminder of how far cell phones have come in the last decade, they also provide humor for a new generation of designers who comprehend what consumers want.

SOURCES – 1, 2, 3

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.


  1. All these mobile phone look fantastic but they are not comfortable to handle

  2. Amazing devices

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