Do Not Buy These Cell Phones

We review a lot of phones here at CNET. A lot. A few are standouts, most are decent and affordable, and a very few just aren't worth the trouble, low price be damned. Gathered below is the rogues gallery of recent disappointments that just weren't able to live up to their promise. Arm yourself with the knowledge of the phones you can safely skip, then cheer yourself up with this list of rock stars.


Editors' note: This post updates frequently. It was originally published March 2012.


The Xperia XA is a pretty face, but not much else.

Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony Xperia XA

Despite an eye-catching, barely there bezel and a petite frame, the Xperia XA isn't so great. It has a low screen resolution, a disappointing battery life (it lasted only 8 hours and 45 minutes during our tests), annoying bloatware and just 16GB of storage. Read the full review.

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For all its claims, the DTEK50 isn't worth buying.

Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

BlackBerry DTEK 50

With the DTEK50, BlackBerry put its own spin on Google's Android OS. And while the software experience was relatively fine, everything else was sort of meh. The camera was weak in low-light settings and the phone's performance was slow. Worst of all, the claim that the device is "The World's Most Secure Android Smartphone" is overblown. In reality, its security features come included in most Android phones. Bummer. Read the full review.


Spend just a tad more and you'll get a way better phone than the Desire 520.

Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET


HTC Desire 520


The Desire 520 has a few things going for it. It's affordable, has loud speakers and has expandable storage. But those things can't outweigh the fact that its screen is rather dull, its battery life is short and the plastic casing feels cheap. Read the full review.

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The Speed is actually not so speedy.

Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

ZTE Speed

Though its petite design makes it comfortable to handle, the Speed is equipped with a slow processor that makes it anything but. In addition to its unimpressive camera, its 960x540-pixel resolution display doesn't respond very quickly to taps and swipes. Read the full review.


Though compact, the Leon's performance is frustratingly slow.

Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

LG Leon

With its 4.5-inch display, the Leon is pocket-friendly and it's pretty cheap. But its 5-megapixel camera, which lacks touch-focus, captures dull photos and its quad-core processor takes forever to carry out tasks. Read the full review.