How-To Geek

The Worst of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2011

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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This year, How-To Geek’s own Justin was on-site at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where every gadget manufacturer shows off their latest creations, and he was able to sit down and get hands-on with most of them. Here’s the ones that just didn’t make the cut.

Make sure you also read our Best of CES 2011 post, where we cover the greatest gadgets that we found.

Keep reading to take a look at the best of the worst products, that might have initially appeared good but showed their true colors after we spent some time with them.

Motorola Cliq 2

From the company bringing you the Atrix and Xoom, comes a device that we can’t help but think it will fail after the first two revisions were nothing but jokes among the serious Android user. The Cliq 2 is designed specifically for the business user who wants to take advantage of the Motoblur skin. The problem is, no privacy conscious company in the world would want to allow Motorola to mirror their closed Exchange account information in the name of social media. Not to mention a terrible reptile-like keyboard and a bad history of updates.

Acer ICONIA Laptop

How can a dual touch-screen laptop be one of the worst products at CES? The custom user interface tweaks were a nice touch (get it?) when they worked. After five seconds of typing on this laptop and we realized just how difficult touch typing is without any tactile feedback. On top of that, the notebook isn’t designed to rotate into portrait mode for oversize digital newspaper reading.


Make an easy way to get your computer screen on your TV. That’s the idea of this device, but when things like Google TV, WiDi, and Airplay exist, this product was just one annoyance after another when actually trying to accomplish anything except turn it off. Oh, and the buttons on the remote are from a time when tactile feedback was strictly science fiction and Dr. Scholls made television remotes.

Orbotix Sphero

Have you ever bounced a ball against a wall so long that the stucco started to peel? How about roll a ball on the ground for hours on end until you left tracks in the carpet. If you have done either of those two things you have had as much fun as you will ever have with the Orbotix Sphero and you saved yourself $99 in the process. Good for you, in honor of your thriftiness go buy yourself a gumball.

Fulton Inductive Power

Never in the history of man has something so diabolical been unleashed that the most evil of super villains wouldn’t dare be seen as part of this plan. A wirelessly charging Tesla Roadster seems innocent enough, but pull back the red curtain and see the true evil plans of the super villain known as Fulton. No really, can you imagine going grocery shopping with every box, bottle, and crate flashing advertising at you until you pick up the product in a desperate attempt to make it stop?

WOWee Portable Speaker

A portable speaker that can turn any hard surface into a speaker sounds like a great idea until you either A) hear it in person, or B) realize that this thing retails for $80 which means you could have bought a much better portable speaker that wasn’t reliant on any hard surfaces for sound. Save yourself the money and get a decent set of speakers and not a crappy sounding gimmick.

Glasses free 3D

Any product that promotes doing anything under very specific conditions in very controlled environments just doesn’t hold water. Every glasses free 3D television we saw required no overhead lights, a dark room, you had to stand in 1 of 3 spots (2 of which rarely worked correctly). Even after these requirements, the edges of the TV looked like a flimsy holographic bookmark you got when you were in the book worm club in 4th grade. Glasses free 3D obviously isn’t ready for prime time.


A Windows 7 slate can’t be that bad to be known as one of the worst products at CES right? What makes this product so much worse than any of the other Windows 7 slates? The fact that this company’s flier has misleading information about it’s competition, had a custom application launcher that crashed multiple times in our hands on, and the sales representative won our personal award for worst breath and BO at CES makes this product a trifecta of fail.

Justin Garrison is a Linux and HTPC enthusiast who loves to try new projects. He isn't scared of bricking a cell phone in the name of freedom.

  • Published 01/10/11

Comments (16)

  1. Mark Wiley

    I think you meant “peel”. Peal means to ring, like a bell…

  2. Wevenhuis

    How bad is the Wowee speaker? In reviews it sounds promising.

  3. Hatryst

    3D is bad, for sure…

  4. Justin Garrison

    @Wevenhuis In a non-ideal environment (CES) on an ideal surface (Wood box with glass top) I could barely hear any bass. The speaker would probably be great at $20, but $80 was just asking way too much. It was more a toy than a serious portable speaker.

  5. Frank

    The fact you made personal remarks about the vendors sort of discredits your reviews for me. What does a persons hygiene have to do with the product?

  6. Joyce

    I agree with Frank. Also, you need to use a grammar checker i.e., “the stucco stared to peel?” “you had to sand in 1 of 3 spots”.

  7. pitman

    3D is bad no matter what.

  8. mez

    The reviews are funny. I could only laugh.

  9. Todd

    Try proofreading your articles. Hard to take a reviewer serious with so many mistakes in the article.

  10. akaKJB

    Thank Gos someone else is finally calling out “professional” journalists on things like using the spell check. During my extended stint in Hell, er, IGN, I kept getting told not to worry about the “little things” that included correct spelling, sentence structure and anything remotely resembling verification and /or fact checking of ‘hot news tips’.
    Having been to CES numerous times I find it easy to imagine the sincere (desperate) demos the reps gave for these poorly realized executions of interesting ideas. I’d love to see a stat someday that gives us real numbers of emotional breakdowns and the spike in crisis prevention hotline calls during CES (while we’re at it, I’d like to see the same info for the calendar dates that coincide with the major porn expo).

  11. akaKJB

    And yes, I did catch the early ‘Gos’ in my post. I’m blaming my over-zealous Android spell check for those…..

  12. Jrobie

    Why would some typos discredit an article on bad technology? Obviously you could still read it and glean the meaning.

  13. Zack

    I think anything 3D and glasses free besides the 3DS will fail until the technology can advance enough. The only reason the 3DS works is because you should be only in one position to play it.

  14. Mr Pod

    Each of the products slated are incredible technological projects. Unfortunately the massive engineering accomplishment of getting product to market is lost on users with little technical depth. They are flawed pearls, but still pearls.

  15. theinfideldog

    One thing I totally dislike is going into a name dept store but the attractive sales lady is a smoker and her breath will knock you down. Seriously, after smoking and 4-hours of coffee, people’s breath turns to dragon breath. Get some gum, or use a mouthwash at break time folks ! It is a turn off at best. And yes, if a person does not use a deodorant, or their 24-hour deodorant has failed, it can make you turn the other way also.

  16. nettech963

    What about the windows 7 embedded robotic air purifier. I thought that was pretty stupid.

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