Buyer's remorse: Phones, tablets and more tech purchases we regret

Regrets, we've had a few. Exploding phones. Just plain useless phones. Unstable devices and not-very-smart devices. Hardware that was obsolete before we got it setup. Stuff we wish we'd never heard of.
By ZDNet Editors, Contributors on
1 of 18 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

BlackBerry Storm

The worst smartphone I have ever purchased was the BlackBerry Storm. At the time (2006), BlackBerry phones with keyboards were rocking the business world, but BlackBerry wanted to offer something to compete with the iPhone, the new Android platform, and the Palm Pre. The touchscreen was atrocious, making the BlackBerry Storm basically useless.

-- Matthew Miller

2 of 18 CNET

Apple iPad 2

I bought this thinking I would increase my productivity at work and home. I ended up using it only for watching movies, and quickly found out that I hated the tablet form factor for browsing and getting work done.

-- Conner Forrest

3 of 18 CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Looking at more recent purchases, the Note 7 was clearly a product I regret buying -- twice -- due to its propensity to explode. I worried about having the phone in my house and around my family so I would regularly leave it out in my garage in a safe area away from other things that could catch fire.

-- Matthew Miller

4 of 18 Wiki Commons (CC 2)

Superfloppy drives

Between the 1.44MB floppy drive and today's flash drive era, several 'super floppy' technologies were launched, and all became islands of incompatibility. These included Bernoulli, Floptical, Zip, SuperDisk, and more. Bad luck if you bought one of these and still have valuable archive data entombed on it.

-- Charles McLellan

5 of 18 Wiki Commons (CC 2)

HTC Canary

The Orange SPV smartphone, the first smartphone to run Windows Mobile, was total junk: It crashed all the time, was plagued with weird issues. Awful screen, crappy keyboard, and terrible battery life. It was sold to me with six months free data, and yet, after the first month, I was mistakenly billed for over $1,500 of data!

-- Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

6 of 18 CNET

Apple iPhone 4

My greatest tech regret was getting only 8GB of memory on my first iPhone, the iPhone 4, and not the "whopping" max of 32GB that was available. I ran out of memory within a few months, and had to spring for an upgrade out of my own pocket.

-- Teena Maddox

7 of 18 Wiki Commons (CC 2)

Drobo S

My biggest (read: most expensive) tech purchase regret is the Drobo S, for which I paid a small fortune ($800 or so) in 2011.

The idea of a single box filled with hard drives seemed excellent at the time, especially as Windows Home Server was shuffling off its mortal coil. But the actual implementation of the hardware was less than ideal.

For starters, it took forever to boot, and after it did, it was unacceptably noisy. And it arrived right at the dawn of the cloud era, when online storage turned out to be a much better deal than a bunch of drives stuffed into a big black box in the corner of the office.

-- Ed Bott

8 of 18 MoviePass


I was an early subscriber to MoviePass, or at least early after the $9.99 unlimited plan debuted a year ago. Ironically, all the troubles it's facing now weren't present then. But I still regret subscribing, because I simply couldn't make enough use of it.

During the months of September, October and November, I couldn't find a single movie I really wanted to see in a theater. Plus, I never go on my own, so paying full price for my wife's ticket kind of killed the thrill. After four months, I cancelled the subscription -- just in the nick of time, because by now I'd *really* be regretting it.

-- Rick Broida

9 of 18 ZDNet

Apple CarPlay

Now that I have it, I actually like it.

But the install was so painful and expensive, and the product is so limited that I would have preferred to just use my phone and saved all that money. I totally regret this buy.

-- David Gewirtz

10 of 18 CNET

Early Chromebook laptops

I liked them from an ease-of-management point of view, but I bought them for my family members, each of whom refused to use them or even try them out. They didn't like that they were limited to just Chrome, and they found the pure Chromebook interface confusing. I bought four of these devices and none of them ever got used more than a few times -- and then only under duress.

-- David Gewirtz

11 of 18 Amazon

Beholder DS1 handheld stabilizer

12 of 18 iKettle

iKettle Wi-Fi electric kettle

All I wanted was a cup of tea ready for me in the morning.

At first the iKettle was great, but after a few months, the lid began to take flight and refused to stay shut, and the Wi-Fi kept dropping, even when I placed my router close to the kitchen. The power would randomly cut out, and I eventually found it so unreliable and infuriating I threw it in the bin in a fit of rage. Some things just need to be reliable, not smart.

-- Charlie Osborne

13 of 18 CNET
14 of 18 CNET

Adapter cords for music

Over the years, I've bought many adapter cords. (Examples: CD to cassette for my car, switching our external satellite radio to a new car, Apple's annoying new headphone jack.)

I either never use the adapters or only use them for a short time and then stick them in my overflowing "miscellaneous electronics" drawer. If you need an adapter, the technology you're trying to "adapt" is already becoming obsolete.

-- Kelly Simon McSweeney

15 of 18 CNET

Amazon Kindle

I had visions of reducing clutter, saving the environment (fewer book shipments from Amazon, anyway) and even saving money by "borrowing" e-books from my local library without fear of late fees. But my Kindle has been sitting on my bookshelf pretty much since I bought it.

I just can't make the mental leap from real books.

-- Alyson Windsor

16 of 18 CNET

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)'s battery was awful in that it lasted only a half a day and then took practically a full day to charge back up to 100 percent. The apps were more limited than the experience you could get on an Apple iPad, too. You were stuck with the Silk browser, for instance, and there were no native apps for many popular services.

It was so frustrating that I dumped it after a week of use.

-- Élyse Betters-Picaro

17 of 18 CNET

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was expensive and bulky compared to the MacBook Air that I carried for years prior, and the Touch Bar provides zero utility. I may change the volume once in awhile using the fun sliding gesture, but other than that, I can get more work done using the trackpad or keyboard shortcuts than that black bar along the top.

-- Jason Cipriani

18 of 18 CNET

Apple MacBook Air (2015)

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