The Smartphones That Failed: The Worst Smartphones of 2020

06.01.2021 6203 1

Anti-rating: which smartphones in 2020 became outsiders of last year

All announcements planned for 2020 have died down, all products have been released. All of them can be divided into successful and unsuccessful. Something was frankly a failure and, apart from negative emotions, caused nothing. We offer to recall a few unsuccessful developments or strange antics on the part of smartphone manufacturers that have cast a shadow on the brand.

Nokia 8.3

There will be many who will find it strange that we start the selection with Nokia 8.3. The device turned out to be passable and few people in our area paid attention to it. And there was every reason for a cool reception. The main emphasis in the new product was made on the omnivorousness of 5G, i.e. the smartphone is capable of catching 5G networks around the world, regardless of frequencies and bands. For most of us and most of the world, the omnivorousness of Nokia 8.3 is not that important, so few people are seriously interested in the device.

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But it all started with the fact that the announcement of Nokia 8.3 took place in March 2020, and the company already then announced that it would appear on store shelves only in the summer. Why was it necessary to rush to present a novelty if its release was postponed for at least three months? Only HMD Global knows the answer to this question, but the company did not voice the reasons for the delay. But it looks like the latest Bond film has intervened.

The thing is that the release of the next James Bond film No Time to Die has been postponed. And HMD Global became the "official telephone partner" of the film, and the promotional campaign for Nokia 8.3 was built around the film. So the Finnish-Chinese brand had to postpone the release of the smartphone for a long time - it went on sale in September, six months after the release.

Even a small army of Nokia brand fans did not wait for the release of the smartphone and crossed it off the shopping list. Time was lost and, on the whole, a good device was "merged" by the manufacturer, sales turned out to be miserable.

Microsoft Surface Duo


Microsoft is not averse to finding a place for itself in the world of Android smartphones. Another attempt is the release of the Surface Duo, positioned as a foldable smartphone that was supposed to reinvent the experience of interacting with applications.

This is a trial balloon to create a notebook from the future. But it turned out to have several serious shortcomings. First, it's expensive. Secondly, it is a toy for geeks. Thirdly, the model was released in a hurry and was full of serious shortcomings, primarily at the software level.

Interestingly, Microsoft itself boasted that it took five years and about a billion dollars to create the Surface Duo. Both look like something unimaginable, not justified with an eye to what happened in the end. A smartphone can only be treated as a test device for testing interfaces for devices with flexible displays. But not for a commercial product.

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It is suitable only for non-poor geeks and no one else. The firmware here is crooked. In theory, any application here could be stretched over two screens. But the trick is that there are practically no utilities that support two displays. The software that was created by Microsoft for the Surface Duo offers far-fetched and essentially useless scenarios for using the second screen. As a result, there is no advantage in having a second display, there was no logic in its presence.

There's no reason to justify the release and cost of the Surface Duo. For a price tag of $ 1,400, users were offered a device with raw software, a minimum number of supported applications, no NFC, fast and wireless charging.

Escobar Fold 2


Probably, many have heard the name of Pablo Escobar, a drug dealer from Colombia. He had several brothers and one of them, Roberto, who was involved in the affairs of the drug cartel. What you can’t refuse to “brother” is the desire to shock, “play tricks” and the desire to earn money by fraudulent means. In 2019, the Pablo Escobar Fold 1 was introduced, with a flexible display and a low price tag of $349. In fact, the company planned to sell Royole Flexpai under its own brand.

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It is unlikely that the first drug smartphone was in demand, but this did not stop the dealers from making a second attempt to cheat naive users. In 2020, the Escobar Fold 2 was introduced, and now the scammers acted on a grand scale - they tried to pass off the Samsung Galaxy Fold as their product, whose case was covered with a golden film. They also set a low price of $400. Given that Samsung's first foldable smartphone cost $1980.

It was a pure scam in an attempt to raise money quickly and easily. Fortunately, the swindle was soon revealed and many quickly figured out that no one was going to resell their smartphone for free. The adventurers took the money, but the deceived users would not receive a mobile phone.

Motorola Razr

In the mid-2000s, the name Motorola Razr was associated exclusively with a stylish and fashionable clamshell that many wanted to get their hands on. For its time, the device has become a style icon and one of the legendary models. At the end of 2019, Motorola, led by Lenovo, decides to revive the clamshell, but already giving it a flexible display. Against the background of the same Galaxy Fold, the novelty looked more advantageous and attractive, both in terms of performance and price.

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But a rather mediocre performance, design flaws and the low quality of a flexible matrix did not allow Motorola Razr to gain popularity. The smartphone was frankly hated and journalists had a hand in making the device a loud anti-advertisement. There were few who wanted to buy it. Subsequently, the company made an attempt to sell it for a third cheaper, but this did not become an incentive to buy it.

Motorola itself could not come to terms with the fact that its product was rejected and later released the Moto Razr 5G, but by that time the Galaxy Z Flip had come out, which was cheaper and surpassed the Motorola product in terms of workmanship. There was no compelling reason to buy the Moto Razr 5G, and low sales showed that fans of the legendary Motorola are long gone, especially among those who are ready to purchase expensive devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

The Galaxy Note series has always been associated with premium and status. But a lot has changed in 2020. The Galaxy Note 20 did not surpass the S-series models in terms of set of qualities. The only beauty of the smartphone is the S Pen stylus. Despite the flagship status, the device offered a display with a frequency of 60 Hz and a camera with a 3x hybrid zoom. And this is provided that the same cheaper fan-made Galaxy Note 20 FE has a 120-Hz screen, a slightly larger battery and a camera with support for 3x optical zoom.

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In the case of the Galaxy Note 20, the manufacturer offered to pay $ 300 more than for the Galaxy S20 FE only for 8 GB of RAM versus 6 GB, S Pen support and the ability to shoot videos in 8K resolution. Are these benefits worth paying more for? I think that many will answer in the negative and remember that in a $1000 smartphone, the company also managed to offer a plastic back panel, without compensating for the cheaper materials of some kind of killer feature.

Motorola Edge Plus


If you look at Motorola's lineup of recent years, it was striking that there were no flagships. Basically, the company "spud" the middle and budget segments. The latest top product was Motorola Moto Z2 Force powered by Snapdragon 835, which was released in 2017. As a result, for almost three years Motorola had no flagships that would embody the “very-most” in the field of smartphone construction.

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After a fairly long pause, the company rolled out the Moto Edge + in 2020. The smartphone turned out to be interesting in terms of the combination of qualities, but if not for one thing. Already during the announcement of the flagship, the company announced that it guarantees the arrival of only one major Android update for Moto Edge+. The minimum period of smartphone support caused a flurry of criticism from experts and users.

Realized and under the onslaught of discontent, Motorola later promised that the flagship will receive two updates to the current version of the green robot. But it was not possible to appease the users, potential consumers turned away from the device with a price tag of about $1000. This is an example of how, with its ill-conceived and reckless actions, the company personally buried an interesting smartphone as a whole.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100


Last year, OnePlus finally got rid of the image of a one-model company and changed its business strategy. She began to expand the line of smartphones and rushed to master the middle segment. After the release of OnePlus Nord, which allowed the company to start the game in the middle class, it released already quite budget solutions OnePlus Nord N10 5G and Nord N100.

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Alas, the models have become frankly passing and dull. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G was asking for a little less than the OnePlus Nord, but it was stripped of its OLED display, secondary selfie camera, and offered a simple chip. And OnePlus Nord N100 has become almost a clone of Oppo A53 with a mediocre main camera. The novelties were quickly lost against the background of competitors, and even the prestige of the brand did not allow them to perform adequately.

It will be interesting to hear your opinion, which smartphones of last year were a disappointment? Which models, in your opinion, have become outsiders of 2020?

Author: Ирина Кошелева Publication date: 06.01.2021
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The Smartphones That Failed: The Worst Smartphones of 2020