For every device like the Galaxy S5, you can bet Samsung has at least three or four other Android handsets that more often than not leave us scratching our head. In celebration of this week’s launch of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, which looks to be one of the best Galaxy handsets of all time, we’re counting down the top 7 devices to leave us saying “WTF?”
7. Samsung Galaxy Mega
Nothing represents the confused nature of the phablet better than the Samsung Galaxy Mega. It wants badly to have the appeal of the Galaxy Note series but offers no real enhancements for its size. What is left ends up feeling a lot like a small tablet masquerading as a big smartphone, and the result of an arrangement like that is usually never pretty. We don’t really see a place for the 6.3-inch Mega among Samsung’s smartphone lineup, but we can think 6.3 reasons for it to lead off our list.
If you fall into a very particular consumer niche, there is a good chance Samsung has a phone for you. For tweens looking for a first time smartphone that can double as an MP3 player because a regular smartphone is obviously not good enough for such a purpose, there is the Galaxy Music. Not an overly offensive smartphone given its aspirations to be no more than an entry-level device, the inclusion of dual stereo speakers and dedicated hardware buttons for music playback are a bit ill-conceived. You could include any other number of similarly targeted low-end Galaxy devices on this list, but we’re taking the Music to represent them all.
Samsung’s latest Gear smartwatches are actually quite solid pieces of wearable tech. Unfortunately, it took the launch of the original Galaxy Gear to get there. Its chunky design and gaudy finish options were matched by a user interface that attempted to do too much given the form factor. Samsung’s decision to launch the smartwatch with support only for the Galaxy Note 3 before rolling out compatibility for other devices months later never gave it a chance to catch on. Samsung has since ditched the Galaxy brand for their Gear lineup and switched from Android to Tizen. If only they had made the decision sooner and left this one in the prototype lab.
As if the Galaxy Camera — a device that almost made our list — wasn’t enough, Samsung took the next logical step. Instead of simply putting Android on a camera and leaving it at that, they decided to mount a full-fledged point-and-shoot camera to an otherwise functional Android smartphone. While its Galaxy S4 roots mean a respectable hardware compliment, its 16MP CMOS camera sensor with 10x optical zoom leads to a clumsy design lacking in easy pocketability. For whatever reason Samsung looks to rehash the idea with the Galaxy S5.
When you want to show a friend something on your smartphone you could simply hand it over to them. If you’re Samsung, you instead make a phone with a built-in pico projector and beam that YouTube video right onto the nearest flat service. Hence, the Galaxy Beam was born. Sammy actually attempted to launch the phone in 2010 before eventually giving it a fairly limited release in 2012, but it’s safe to say the admittedly intriguing concept was doomed from the start.
We get it, Samsung, you can make curved OLED displays. But did you have to make the Galaxy Round? Sure, the spec sheet is respectable — a 5.7-inch HD display, 2.3GHz quad-core processing, 3GB RAM, and a 13MP camera — but that’s about where the Round stops making sense. From its faux-leather finish to gimmicky features that take advantage of the phone’s ability to rock when placed on a flat service, we’re not mad that the Galaxy Round never saw a wider release.
You’ll notice that the only device on this list to not feature Galaxy in the name also happens to come in at the top. We blame the naming scheme on Verizon, as Samsung has shown no qualms about slapping the Galaxy brand on any handset that runs Android. The blame for launching this zany smartphone with a secondary notification ticker display? That falls squarely on Samsung. This variant of the original Galaxy S launched in fall of 2010 and quickly fell into obscurity. We hope it stays there.
Are you one of the 12 people that bought the Samsung Continuum and do you have a bone to pick with us over its positioning on the list? Did we miss a device that rightfully deserves a spot among our rankings? Let us know what you consider the most WTF device Samsung has ever made in the comments below.