I have been using Android phones for 10 years, I hate this one the most

I’ve been using and reviewing Android smartphones for at least a decade and in that time I’ve spent time with a huge variety of devices that usually fall into three different categories: good, fair, and bad. But what about those who really fueled my emotions in a negative way? The phones that elicited a visceral, guttural response? I’m not talking about the ones I love, but the ones I have downright hated.

Here are the six models that have annoyed me the most over the past 10 years of using and reviewing smartphones, and the reasons why they made this list.

Google Pixel 4

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

I might as well start with the phone that a lot of people really like, but I really don’t like. Released in 2019, the Pixel 4 got a lot of things right, especially the excellent camera and 90Hz display. These aspects, along with the power of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, helped people see past the pitiful runtime of the 2,800 mAh battery, which would regularly last less than a day.

However, this is not the reason I dislike it. I hate the Pixel 4 for its looks. It’s easily one of the dullest, least attractive phones I’ve seen, with almost no creativity whatsoever in the design. Flat on the back, flat on the front and with huge bezels around the screen. Google even managed to make the glass back feel cheap and obnoxious. The names given to the colors — Clearly White, Just Black, and Oh So Orange — by a team of marketers who thought they were funny still make me cringe.

The fact that the Pixel 4 is so damn boring to look at ruined the phone for me. You hide your light under a bushel, and then you dig a six-foot hole under the bushel, bury the light, and then take the bushel away as well. The Pixel 4 performed great, so why not put in some effort to make it look good too? Thankfully, Google realized this when it launched the Pixel 6 series, and continued the trend with the Pixel 7. We wear these phones all day, every day. Making them look decent is just as important as good battery life, and the Pixel 4 failed at both.

Blackberry KeyOne

Blackberry KeyOne with keyboard.
Andy Boxall/Digital trends

What a complicated history BlackBerry had with Android. The interesting BlackBerry Priv was the brand’s first Android phone, attempting to combine what made BlackBerry phones special – the physical keyboard – with a large screen. In 2015, when the Priv came out, that large screen was indispensable on every smartphone. But in 2017, the BlackBerry KeyOne didn’t even start trying. With a small screen and a physical keyboard, it was a hateful throwback to when times were different. BlackBerry tried to appeal to grumpy fans who hated modern phones that had moved, and it really showed on the KeyOne.

The fact that it was overpriced at release wasn’t the problem. It was the keyboard, and given the brand we are talking about, this was a crime. Ergonomics was clearly a forbidden word when designing this terrible phone; it was poorly balanced, heavy and poorly laid out. Combine this with the keyboard’s sticky little keys and the tall separator bars between them, and the whole thing was clunky and unrewarding to type on. The learning curve was ridiculous for anyone coming from a touchscreen.

What could have sparked a renewed interest in a phone with a physical keyboard turned out to do the opposite. It was a relic made in a time when the excellent Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus existed, and only those who regularly moaned “things were better in my day” would have thought otherwise. BlackBerry knew it too, as evidenced by the vastly improved BlackBerry Key2 with its redesigned and more modern physical keyboard. The KeyOne was a crushing disappointment at the time, championed only by crass BlackBerry stalwarts.

Planet Computers Astro slide

Andy Boxall/Digital trends

Speaking of hideous, nostalgic keyboard phones, it’s time to talk about the 2022 Planet Computers Astro Slide. Simply put, it was a phone so bad I couldn’t bring myself to check the time and effort to fully assess it. Resembling PDA-esque devices of yesteryear, it tries to lure people who like to remember the good old days and then disappoints with a substandard keyboard, hideous design, poor build quality and buggy old software.

I hated the other phones mentioned so far because they could have been so much more, but I hated the Astro Slide because it was truly awful. Planet Computers is a small manufacturer, so it will always have some leeway. And if it was a prototype or a work in progress I would have been more forgiving, but apparently it was the phone people who paid for it would receive. I still feel very sorry for them all.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Huawei Mate 30 Pro.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

The 2019 Huawei Mate 30 Pro should have been a great smartphone. It came after the fantastic Mate 20 Pro and the amazing Huawei P30 Pro, and it looked great. But it was the first device really impacted by Huawei’s addition to the “entity list” by the US government. As a result, it did not come with Google Mobile Services. This immediately hurt the user experience, but perhaps even worse is that, with Huawei’s phones and software reaching such a high level, it was a shock to find that the Mate 30 Pro felt unfinished, indicating that the latest development had unexpectedly stopped.

I didn’t particularly dislike the phone. I hated that it had been so cruelly hindered, that what it could have been would not be realized, and that it ushered in a difficult time for the brand outside of China. I remember trying to get used to the new world I was forced to live in, but I couldn’t. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro was packed with potential, but it felt half-baked and clunky, and the company went all out on its own to do damage control, meaning I don’t remember it fondly. I hated that we were being robbed of what could have been one of the best phones of the year.

Nokia G11

Nokia G11 back panel, resting on Lego.
Andy Boxall/Digital trends

Cheap doesn’t have to be horrible, but the 2022 Nokia G11 is almost as bad. It’s another phone on this list that I couldn’t bring myself to fully review. This wasn’t just because of the terrible screen, creaky processor, or outdated, bug-ridden software, but because it didn’t quite live up to its one big selling point: three days of battery life.

I tried, I really did, but I managed two days from battery with just general use. That’s not bad I guess, but when the phone is heavily promoted as having a three-day battery, it’s not good at all. Take that promise away and the Nokia G11 was just a disappointing budget phone. I used the crap G11 and all its bugs for a week, but the battery repeatedly didn’t last more than a few days, which made me hate it.

Palm Tree (2018)

A Palm (2018) phone in a person's hand.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

I’ve saved the “best” for last. I haven’t rated it, but our one-star review of the Palm (2018) was absolutely accurate, and while I’ve only used it for a few short periods, that was enough. I called it the “dumpest product of the year”, which was probably a bit too nice. Originally launched as a companion phone to your headphones, it made no sense at all as a product. And then we haven’t even mentioned the small screen, the abysmal battery life and the weak camera.

I hated that the once great Palm name had been slapped on a ridiculous device in an attempt to reel in those who remembered the brand. I hated that it was marketed as a phone prevent you from using your phone so much. I hated that the name was essentially the Palm Palm, and I hated that the company had the audacity to charge $350 for it. Making it work on its own at a later date didn’t make it laughable either. The Palm Palm remains a brainless product that I still can’t believe has progressed beyond a lazy scribble on a whiteboard.

That’s enough, I can’t go on. I settle down with the Galaxy S23 Ultra to clear my mind and get my blood pressure back under control.

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