Worst Christmas gadgets ever

Making you wonder why Santa hated you so

Like finding a lump of coal in your stocking, it's the present that we all dread, the one you hope there is still a receipt for. Chronicling the worst Christmas gadget gifts handed out from Christmases gone by, how many of these were you unfortunate to find nestling underneath your Christmas tree?

We brought you the most wanted Christmas gadget gifts ever, all those presents we couldn't wait to rip the paper off. But every now and then some of the tech that turns up under the tree can have us firing up eBay before the turkey's even roasted.

Don't just take our word for it, feel the disappointment from a far by looking back at tech's great Christmas gift disasters.

1983: Gadget: Seiko Epson TV Watch

Price at launch: £335

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £814

Worst Christmas present because: One of the main problems with this watch, besides the fact it only showed a 1.1-inch TV display in monochrome blue, was the tuner pack clipped to your belt.

In fact, the only way you wouldn't look like the biggest weirdo on the planet wearing the box was if you stuck a 'Walkman' logo on it and pretended to be listening to music. So you should have probably just bought a Walkman instead and watched TV at home.

Buy One: Seiko

1984: Gadget: IBM PC jr

Price at launch: £850

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £1972

Worst Christmas present because: Despite promising to 'revolutionise' the home PC market by bundling a wireless keyboard into an easy to use system, the PC jr was doomed to failure. It ran slowly, had hardware incompatibility issues and cost the earth... plus what's the point of having a wireless keyboard when the monitor's only 14in... You can't sit far away from that.

1985: Gadget: Motorola Dynatac

Price at launch: c. £2000

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £4420

Worst Christmas present because: This was the first decent mobile phone, helped shaped mobiles today blah, blah, blah. But if your significant other forks out the same price as a family car to buy you something that could feasibly put your back out lifting just so you can phone ahead of time to say you'll be late home, then it's a gadget that needs to go through around 400 redesigns before it should sit in your stocking.

Buy One: Motorola

1986: Gadget: Atari 7800

Price at launch: £95

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £197

Worst Christmas present because: While it might have been the affordable version of the NES, this was one console that never really got off the ground. Initially designated to release in 1984, this ended up gathering warehouse shelf dust until Nintendo showed the world how to do home gaming. But a lack of advertising led to general lack of interest, which never bodes well for a two year old gadget of ANY kind.

Buy One: Atari

1987: Gadget: Fisher-Price PXL-2000

Price at launch: £65

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £130

Worst Christmas present because: Don't let the price tag and brand fool you, this was a kid's toy that adults knew all about too. It might have been a fun toy to play with initially, but recording footage that would make even the fuzziest YouTube video look hi-def has always got to have a limited shelf life.

One of those 'play with once then put away' items that has even found use with 'arty' film-makers, who probably used it while wearing berets and smoking 'ironic' cigarettes.

Buy One: Fisher-Price

1988: Gadget: Amstrad PPC 640

Price at launch: £399

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £772

Worst Christmas present because: Today, we might only know of Amstrad because of Alan 'The Apprentice-firer' Sugar's involvement in the company, but back in the 1980's the company Amstraddled the computing industry.

Designed as a portable PC to knock the socks of IBM, this behemoth had more undulations than the Peak District, and only managed to nab the 'portable' moniker by whacking a handle on the side. We have handles on our baths, but that doesn't mean we can drag them down the street.

Buy One: Amstrad

1989: Gadget: Apple Macintosh Portable

Price at launch: £4,350

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £8000

Worst Christmas present because: Well, the name wasn't really telling the truth. A far cry from the slick design of the iPhone, this device was heavy, expensive and ultimately offered very little innovation, though at least the track-ball mouse was a nice touch for a new way to navigate. But certainly not portable.

Buy One: Apple

1990: Gadget: NEC TurboExpress

Price at launch: £165

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £282

Worst Christmas present because: Imagine the joy at waking up on Christmas morning, racing downstairs to rip open your present to find you've got one of the most technologically advanced handhelds in the world, the NEC TurboExpress! A colour screen as big as the Gameboy's stupid monochrome version! An (optional, but your parents loved you) TV Tuner! Too bad the battery life would barely last the journey to school and the sound frequently conked out because of its cheap capacitors.

1991: Gadget: Sega Game Gear

Price at launch: £100

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £156

Worst Christmas present because: This is the console that promised so much but delivered so little. Remember how you used to EITHER love Sega or Nintendo (or, if you're five years old, Sony and Microsoft?) and by that reasoning, the Game Gear would be as good as the Gameboy.

Well, it wasn't. It ate six AA batteries for five hours' worth of play (try telling your Mum you need ANOTHER two packs of Duracell) and it had a pretty poor selection of games, as well as being a bit too chunky compared to Nintendo's dinky l'il offering.

Buy One: Sega

1992: Gadget: Philips CD-i

Price at launch: £465

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £684

Worst Christmas present because: Is it a games console? Is it a karaoke machine? Is it a DVD-style movie player? Nobody really knew the point of this device from Philips, bar another chance to show off the power of the CD. It nabbed a few Mario and Zelda titles and had a slew of accessories, like a touchpad controller, but it could only have sunk quicker if you'd tied it to a deep sea diver and told him there was treasure in the pond at your local park.

Buy One: Phillips

1993: Gadget: Atari Jaguar

Price at launch: £170

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £241

Worst Christmas present because: There were many that shed a tear for this console when launched. It was the equivalent of seeing your aged dog trying to fetch a stick and do a somersault... Atari used to be agile and powerful, but it was just hobbling away from death with this console.

The Jaguar was a powerful beast, (hence the name probably) but had a real lack of games, making Christmas only palatable if you had friends that cared when you phoned them up and told them you had a console that was four times as powerful as theirs. If you did, then shame on you.

Buy One: Atari

1994: Gadget: Disney's The Lion King CD-ROM

Price at launch: £30

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £42

Worst Christmas present because: The game that promised to let fans to further their love of the Lion King was hardly a success... an incompatibility problem with the graphics engine meant a legion of children were left disappointed when attempts to play the game gave them their first taste of system failure and possibly made Mufasa's death even harder to bear.

Buy One: Disney

1995: Gadget: Timex Datalink

Price at launch: £70

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £96

Worst Christmas present because: Designed to be a PDA on your wrist with a huge bevy of futuristic tech features, this was the gadget for the uber-geeks.

Included features like a lens at the top, which meant instead of wires to sync with a PC, just 'show' the watch the computer screen and let it learn away... but there's a reason mobile phone watches still haven't taken off (hint: we don't need them).

Buy One: Timex

1996: Gadget: Apple Pippin

Price at launch: £375

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £495

Worst Christmas present because: The Pippin was designed to do what the super-consoles of today manage with ease: play games over the internet while connected to your TV.

But Apple, why did you go and put a processor and modem in it so slow and weak it would have been easier to have just run round your friend's house and told them what move to make? Stop showing us the iPhone, Apple, it won't make us forget that easi... ooh, it's so shiny.

Buy One: Apple

1997: Gadget: Nikon Coolpix 100

Price at launch: £500

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £645

Worst Christmas present because: Despite heralding a new age in photography, paying half a grand to buy someone a device that will simply make a fuzzy haze on your PC is not the best idea for Christmas.

Storing only 19 photos and munching four AA batteries every seven seconds despite having no viewfinder, anyone that bought this would have been kicking themselves every passing month as a newer and more capable model was released.

Buy One: Nikon

1998: Gadget: Iomega Zip Drive

Price at launch: £130

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £163

Worst Christmas present because: To be honest, no matter how good it is, anyone that gets a storage device for their computer is going to feel more than a little aggrieved on Christmas day.

But being given one that often failed for no good reason, making the data on your disc completely useless and inaccessible, and you would have been chewing on turkey sandwiches wondering what on earth you did to make Santa hate you so much that year.

Buy One: Iomega

1999: Gadget: Personal Jukebox PJB-100

Price at launch: £600

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £726

Worst Christmas present because: If you got one of these 4GB capacity MP3 players for Christmas, only the most gadget-loving early adopters could avoid the incandescent rage at seeing the iPod released the next year.

While it was one of the first MP3 players with a hard drive (ooh, space age and futuristic for 1999) it was literally just able to play music and that was it... even playlists has to be made on the PC. Singing your favourite tunes to yourself almost made more sense at times.

Buy One: PJB

2000: Gadget: 3Com Audrey

Price at launch: £335

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £400

Worst Christmas present because: While you couldn't help but like the look of this design, it turned out to be just a little too advanced.

A passive-matrix touchscreen wasn't quite up to the technologically advanced tasks that were required to make you go 'ooh', and while being an 'internet device' was the height of cool back at the turn of the century (it could play video AND send email... seriously) hitting the shelves before broadband became ubiquitous meant this device went to the gadget heavens pretty quickly.

Buy One: 3Com

2001: Gadget: Nintendo GameCube

Price at launch: £135

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £157

Worst Christmas present because: Despite carrying a few decent titles and sporting a controller that was both complex and fun to use, the GameCube was never going to resurrect Nintendo's fortunes, meaning that proudly showing off your console (with an inexplicable handle... who carries an expensive unit like a handbag?) to your friends' wasn't going to be the colourful Nintendo fun-filled experience you thought it might be on Boxing Day.

Buy One: Nintendo

2002: Gadget: Archos Jukebox Recorder

Price at launch: £235

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £268

Worst Christmas present because: Before rising to the front of the portable video race, Archos had a good crack at portable jukeboxes. This model promised a more rugged experience than the iPod, but apart from being covered in weird wetsuit material was a tad too chunky. A fair few reports came in from users of the proprietary batteries failing on a fairly regular basis, so the device became a posh and rugged external hard drive only.

Buy One: Archos

2003: Gadget: Siemens Xelibri X8 mobile phone

Price at launch: £250

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £280

Worst Christmas present because: You remember the 'concept' mobile phones of the 1990's? No buttons, only a D-Pad to control all the mobile phone's functions (including actually dialling)... it sounded space age, ended up as a nightmare in practice when the Xelibri X8 came out, and the phone looked more like a blinged-out Tamagotchi than a fashionable piece of gadget kit. A handset probably thrown away faster than the wrapping paper it came in.

Buy One: Siemens

2004: Gadget: Eyetop Wearable DVD player

Price at launch: £400

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £436

Worst Christmas present because: If an invention still hasn't been perfected today, a version from four years ago certainly won't be much good. These video goggles may have looked cool, but there's nothing good about wandering into traffic while simultaneously feeling a bit queasy from the experience of using portable video viewers on your face.

Basically you wore a DVD player and battery pack over your arm, and images were pumped into a tiny screen in your left eye. If you didn't get a headache from peering at the tiny image, then the sheer 'dual focus' frustration of using your eyes for different things would get you in the end.

Buy One: V Realities

2005: Gadget: Nokia 770 internet tablet

Price at launch: £200

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £212

Worst Christmas present because: OK, so it had WiFi and a touchscreen, but with a battery life of no longer than three hours and a rather sluggish speed, it failed to impress. Overall, a good idea but not really thought through by Nokia, even though the company still persists with the range.

Buy One: Nokia

2006: Gadget: Sony Walkman Bean

Price at launch: £79

Inflation adjusted price for present day: £81

Worst Christmas present because: What on earth possesses designers when they come up with ludicrous concepts? This Walkman had around 1GB of memory and a decent battery life, but in the face of the iPod Shuffle it would have only appealed to the tree hugging among us, but even they might not like the Bean as they could accidentally cook it for tea.

Buy One: Sony

2007: Gadget: Microsoft Zune

Price at launch: £100

Worst Christmas present because: Not only did the US keep this all to themselves, the device, one that had a fair few people looking at it as one of the only possible iPod killers, had a brown exterior that was 'retro cool' for about seven seconds. When nobody was looking.

A few gadget lovers have bitten the bullet and imported one of these, but surely they're going to be consigned to the 'what could have been' bin of tech-history in the not too distant future.

Buy One: Microsoft

2008: Anything released on HD DVD

Price at launch: Various

Worst Christmas present because: Despite Toshiba's rabid support of this would-be challenger to Blu-Ray, this Betamax of the digital era died a slow, painful death as Sony's competeing format grew to dominate the market for Hi-Def movies. Bafflingly you can still buy HD-DVD discs today - as ironic, retro paperweights, perhaps.

Buy One: Amazon

2009: Twitterpeek

Price at launch: $99

Worst Christmas present because: One hundred dollars and a monthly subscription charge for a dodgy, BlackBerry lookalike which only does Twitter - badly. Tweets weren't displayed in full on the screen, and the UI - despite having just one job to do - still managed to feel clunky and slow. Cue a slew of frowny-face updates and new year's resolutions to just get an iPhone.

Buy One: eBay

2010: CTA Assault Rifle

Price at launch: $60

Worst Christmas present because: At first glance, this doesn't look any worse than any other lightgun gaming peripheral - then you realise that the CTA Assault Rifle controller isn't a lightgun, just a moulded piece of gun-shaped plastic with PlayStation buttons tacked on. No-one better demonstrates the triple-filtered crapness of this idea than CTA's Soldier Ben, the poor sap tasked with using the controller to play through Battlefied Bad Company 2 on camera for the controller's YouTube advert. Grade-A gadget twaddle.

Buy One: CTA

2011: BlackBerry PlayBook

Price at launch: £499 (16GB model)

Worst Christmas present because: It was meant to rival Apple’s iPad but what it did instead was lack all the major players needed in the tablet war zone. No great apps, no 3G option, no email or calendar apps and to the disappointment of many RIM supporters, no BBM. It was like stumbling across a very executive-looking briefcase and expecting it to be filled with bundles of money and instead finding dust bunnies.

Buy One: BlackBerry

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