The 10 biggest gadget letdowns of 2010

What failed to excite us once extracted from its packaging?

The 10 biggest gadget letdowns of 2010

Not everything lives up to the impressive-sounding, bullet-point list of features that appeared on the internet six months before launch.

Sometimes owning high-spec gadgets is best left to the imagination, as the result of your latest internet shopping spree can end with the courier dropping off something that isn't quite as life-changing and empowering as the multi-million pound, pan-European marketing assault initially suggested.

Spec sheets are one thing, but as tech gets more and more complex and attempts to please more and more people by combining ever-longer lists of features into one box, we're seeing companies fail to get the dizzying modern blend of software and hardware anything like right.

So what products have disappointed us this year? Which ones do we wish we'd waited for a few more reviews to filter through before maxing out the credit card? And which product was so terrible it was pulled from sale in the face of mass consumer disgust?

1. T-Mobile Pulse Mini

Pulse mini

Barely passable when we reviewed it in May, it's now been absolutely shamed by the new wave of entry level Android phones. Comparing the Pulse Mini with the similarly priced Orange San Franciso, you'd think six years had passed, not six months.

An awful screen had you regretting the purchase within seconds, and the general laggy operation made it a pain to use if you had no choice in the matter due to contractual reasons between you and your network.

2. Disgo Tablet 6000


The post-iPad tablet explosion has seen some real duffers emerge, with their resistive screens, poor OS implementations and general corner cutting when it comes to features. The Disgo 6000 suffers from all of the above, with a touchscreen so unresponsive it hinders everything. It's slow, there's no Android Market, and it's... terrible. God knows how bad the Disgo 5000 must've been.

3. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

Xperia x10

There's nothing incredibly wrong with the original, big X10. It's a lovely piece of plastic with a good screen and camera, it's just the user experience that's lacking.

In the ultra-competitive smartphone world Apple and HTC are delivering smash after glorious smash, so for Sony Ericsson to release a flagship phone with an old OS, no multitouch and a glitchy interface, it was product suicide. Even the 2.1 update arrived late - and significantly after many other Android phone users got 2.2. One big mess, this poor thing.

4. LG Viewty Snap

Viewty snap

LG was caught out by the lightning fast evolution of smartphones, here. Launching a phone without 3G or Wi-Fi and charging £80 for it may have worked a year or two ago, but with blistering smartphones like the Orange San Francisco and LG Optimus One out there for only a few quid more nowadays, it's hard to see why the Viewty Snap exists at all. Still, it's got a radio. Radio is a bit like Spotify. You could put that on the box, LG - "Has a thing that is a bit like a popular other thing".

5. Sony Qriocity


Just what we need. Another way to shovel a regular, small amount of money to a major corporation in return for some of its media products. The main problem with Qriocity at the moment is that we just don't really need it. iTunes is entrenched already, many other movie streaming services exist, and charging £4.99 for a rental of a standalone HD film is rather excessive. Clever if you have a Qriocity enabled Bravia, but excessive.

6. ViewSonic ViewPad 10

ViewPad 10

Another product that reads like a fantasy creation on paper. A tablet with a 10" screen, the power to dual boot both Android and Windows 7 - what's not to get excited about here?

Well, there's the Android element for a start, which is the outdated 1.6 version of the OS, due to compatibility issues with the Intel chipset. And Windows 7 isn't great on touchscreens, so... what was the point again?

7. Boxee Box

Boxee box

Decent hardware in a pretty box that'd look great sitting beside your BT Home Hub, - but the problem with the Boxee Box is down to Boxee's lack of know-how when it comes to creating and managing the software side of things.

It's nice having apps for YouTube and iPlayer, but it'd be nicer still if they worked properly. The web browser's a nightmare and although it does work as a streamer you'd be better off shuffling things about on USB sticks than trying to learn and tolerate Boxee's many odd OS choices.

8. Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro

Vivaz pro

A QWERTY keyboard and the Sony Ericsson brand - what's not to like about the Vivaz Pro? Well, there's the Symbian S60 OS for a start, which used to dominate but is now very much showing its age in 2010.

Plus for some odd reason the Vivaz Pro fails to run it well, resulting in a slow experience hampered further still by a resistive touchscreen. Which makes the Vivaz Pro a clunky phone with an outdated OS that's hard to use. Awesome work, Sony Ericsson.

9. JooJoo


Another poorly planned tablet for the plastics recycling bin. The JooJoo's complex interface is a pain to use and the hardware big and awkward, while its Flash capabilities are so poor it's better to just not bother.

Oh, and battery life's pretty bad and it's generally glitchy to use as a web browser. When a thing fails at its primary function, you have to wonder how and why it exists at all.

10. Toshiba Folio

Toshiba folio

Surely this would be good? An Android tablet powered by Nvidia's cutting-edge Tegra 2 processor. The Folio wouldn't just kill the iPad - it'd dismember its body and disrespect it on the internet.

The reality was a disaster. The 10.1" screen featured an awful viewing angle, the OS was glitchy and it was received so poorly by the first wave of buyers that it was pulled from sale by Dixons Group due to the high number of returns. A proper tech catastrophe.

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