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Five ‘amazing’ smartphone features that epically failed

Our pick of the worst smartphone features to ever grace a mobile, from built-in projectors to 3D screens…

Okay, so at Recombu Towers we’re all up for a bit of innovation. We love it when a phone pops out of the development womb rocking some original new features, as it gives us something more exciting to talk about than how good the phone feels in the hand, and how many bloody ports it has.

But occasionally we see a unique smartphone feature that’s either completely bewildering, hopelessly rubbish, or a potentially good idea that’s been lost in translation. Here’s our pick of the top five smartphone feature fails.

1. 3D screens

Prime suspect: LG Optimus 3D

When we first played with the LG Optimus 3D, we were actually quite impressed with the quality of the 3D effects. Working in a similar fashion to Nintendo’s 3DS, the Optimus 3D presented you with 3D desktops, games and movies, all without the need for glasses – provided you held the phone perfectly still and viewed it perfectly head-on.

Worst smartphone features top five

The novelty wore thin after just a few hours, mostly because our eyes refused to focus on things any more, and while we had the luxury of simply shoving the Optimus 3D back in its box and swapping to a different phone, the poor sods who bought the bloody thing were stuck with it for another 364 days (back in the glorious days of 12-month contracts).

It’s telling that we haven’t seen another 3D phone since, although there are rumours that Amazon’s new Kindle phone might attempt to revive 3D visuals…

2. Gaming phones

Prime suspect: Sony Xperia Play

We’re massive gaming geeks as well as phone junkies, so the idea of both worlds colliding brought us out in serious geek chills when Sony announced its Xperia Play smartphone. Oh, if only we’d known what a terrible piece of fail it would become.

Sony Xperia Play worst smartphone features

The Xperia Play’s design was terrible, with fiddly shoulder buttons and other rage-inducing features that made playing Android/PSOne games about as much fun as ramming a pencil into your urethra. And who’d have thought that frame rates crashing into single figures would be detrimental to gameplay?

As a side-note, here’s a sweary video of us playing rock-hard mobile games very badly indeed…

3. Built-in projector

Prime suspect: Samsung Galaxy Beam

The Galaxy Beam projector phone was part of Samsung’s “hey, let’s try attaching X to a phone and see what happens’ design logic (coming soon, the Galaxy Toaster – produces perfect muffins in minutes). And while the projector itself wasn’t a bad idea, and actually worked pretty damn well, the Galaxy Beam was a chunky, heavy piece of crap that simply wasn’t much fun to lug around everywhere (see also: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom).

Worst smartphone features top five

4. Integrated Facebook

Prime suspect: HTC Salsa

It turns out that integrating Facebook into your phone is about as marvellous as integrating herpes. Bad Salsa.

5. Tasers

Prime suspect: Some crazy Asian phones

While we’re all for personal protection, we don’t think a built-in taser is a smart feature for a mobile phone, mostly because we’d be terrified of accidentally electrifying our nuts. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

Worst smartphone features of all time

What smartphone features would you like to see confined to the bin of oblivion? Let us know in the comments below.



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