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Whatever you do, don’t buy these 3 smartphones this holiday season

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:54PM EST
Holiday Buying Guide 2014

People want electronics for the holidays now more than ever, with tablets and smartphones being some of the most popular gifts to get. While seemingly everyone wants an iPhone or iPad, there are other devices that are just as good.

With the National Retail Federation showing that the average person will spend more than $800 this year for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa gifts, it’s important to make sure every dollar counts. As such, there are quite a few devices that aren’t worth your time and you should avoid buying for anyone, including your mortal enemies.

Here are three phones to avoid buying this holiday season, at any cost, even if they’re free.

DON’T MISS: Amazon’s crazy pre-Black Friday sale is live right now – new deals every 10 minutes

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung seemingly announced a new phone every other day in 2014, so the Galaxy Alpha doesn’t exactly come out and scream, “Buy me!” for any reason. It’s a beautifully designed phone, but that’s because Samsung pretty much ripped off Apple and the iPhone. The 4.7-inch Alpha is also expensive, considering it isn’t Samsung’s flagship phone like the Galaxy S5.

The battery life on the phone isn’t particularly great and lacks several key features available on the S5, including an expandable microSD slot for more memory, so you’re stuck with 16GB. It also only has a Super AMOLED 720p display, which is nowhere near the Quad HD displays on many flagship phones.

At $200 on contract and just over $600 off contract, if you’re an Android fan and you like Samsung’s designs, there are quite a few better phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Asus PadFone X mini

The Asus PadFone X mini tries to be a tablet and a smartphone in one, but it fails at both.

It’s the first smartphone in the U.S. to use an Intel Atom processor and for $199.99, you don’t get a lot. The 4.5-inch screen has just a 5-megapixel rear camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and doesn’t include anything that would stand out. It’s small, black and generally unappealing, and nothing distinguishes it from any generic Android phone.

When combined with the tablet, it weighs nearly 1 lb. including the dock, but just 5.26 ounces as a phone. It’s fairly slow opening apps and surfing the Internet, and though the battery lasts a day, it’s fairly unpleasant to look at.

Also of note, the user interface has typical bloatware from Asus, which doesn’t really add any kind of value.

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon has tried so hard to get into the hardware business, and it has made some headway in the tablet market with the Kindle Fire series. This is not the case at all with its phone, however.

The Fire Phone was billed as a revolutionary phone, incorporating features like Firefly, 3-D images and all the goodies Amazon usually gives with its hardware, including a year free of Amazon Prime. However, since it’s been a flop following its release, Amazon has had to cut the price of the phone on contract from $199 to just 99 cents, and we’re not even sure that’s made much of a difference.

In Amazon’s third quarter, the company said it took a $170 million writedown for unsold Fire phones, meaning the company is losing even more money than it had originally thought, because of how poorly it’s sold.

Now that you know what to avoid… These are the best smartphones you can buy this holiday season

Chris Ciaccia
Chris Ciaccia Contributing Writer

Chris Ciaccia contributes an expert business perspective to BGR. A former tech reporter at Fox News, Chris was also science and tech editor at the Daily Mail and previously was the tech editor at

Ciaccia has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Seton Hall University.