Phones say a lot about our personalities. If you disagree, we invite you to walk around with a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x for a day. The awkward stares and shouts, like “Go back to the eighties, Rick Astley!” will probably have you wishing for your pocket-size, “fire red” handset. In some circles, our handsets also act as a symbol of wealth. Companies like Vertu or GoldVish sell $100,000 diamond-studded phones, but you may even get away with impressing someone by owning an 8GB iPhone or BlackBerry Curve. The manufacturers of these phones make an effort to make their handsets beautiful, even glamorous. A high-end handset at a dinner party makes it pretty clear that the phone’s owner probably isn’t missing rent payments, and may even have enough extra dough to pick up your filet mignon. Like humans though, not every phone can be a prom queen or the high-school quarterback. Every once in a while a manufacturer will veer off the track and release a paper-bag–worthy mobile phone. And that’s okay with me. Ugliness makes the world go round; it’s a fact of life, whether flesh and blood or circuits and switches. We rounded up some of the fugliest Ugly Betty releases of the last year, so that, if by some chance you were born on the less photogenic side of the human race, at least your phone won’t be as … fugly. Is your precious on the list?
Price: $69.99 I’m in no position to pass Nigel Barker judgment here, but this bad boy is about as sexy as your spouse with the flu. Aimed at a rugged work environment, its military standard construction means the i570 will hold up to dust, shock, and vibration. Too bad the phone itself is an explosion of ugly. The external antenna is so old school that it has us digging around for our Reebok Pumps and Bugle Boy Jeans.
Price: $999 The Nokia e90 Communicator communicates one thing: you like sporting the “saggy pants” look. This full-QWERTY clamshell weighs in at 6.4 ounces; that’s like carrying two BlackBerry Pearls. Want a better feel for the e90’s size and weight? Drop your office stapler in your pocket. The unlocked e90 isn’t sold in stores because carriers don’t stock belts on the cell phone accessory rack. What do we think of its color? We’ll leave the fecal-brown jokes to your imagination.
Price: $19.99 This phone is so fugly the original manufacturer doesn’t even want its name on it. Left on Verizon Wireless’ doorstop, the CDM 8905 is one of those orphan phones at which we can’t help but laugh. The stats list on the clamshell CDM 8905 is so starved that Verizon Wireless actually had to list “national access” as a feature. Its tiny 128 x 128 internal display and monochrome external display make the iPhone’s display look like an IMAX theatre. Forget a home stereo, this phone packs polyphonic ringtones.
Price: $49.99 We know the glowPhone is targeted at parents trying to give kids their first cell phones. Trust us, they’ll get teased less if you give them a couple of Dixie cups and some string; at least then they’ll have a high-speed data connection. The glowPhone comes in pink, so you can match it with a pair of Jellies or your Hannah Montana lipstick, but it doesn’t have a full number pad, so good luck dialing up Zac Efron, or whoever’s gracing the covers of Tiger Beat these days.
Price: $129 Flip flop. The Samsung Alias looks like a normal flip phone, but it also opens up horizontally to reveal a full QWERTY keypad. In our eyes, the Alias is a flippin’ fugly Frankenstein phone that should have been left to die in the lab. We’re game for full keyboards, but the keys are little nubs and the whole gadget looks like more of a toy than a phone. We’re not alone in our thoughts either; Verizon Wireless is offering 3 free LG VX5400s to anyone that buys it.