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We asked, you told us: It's a two-horse race for the biggest fail of 2020

2020 was not a kind year, especially to our biggest fails of the year contenders.

Published onDecember 31, 2020

Microsoft Surface Duo reading Kindle
David Imel / Android Authority

We don’t need to tell you 2020 was an unprecedented year. The coronavirus pandemic touched almost every aspect of life, down to the industry we all love to follow. With everything that has happened over the last 12 months, we asked you to tell us what you thought were the biggest missteps the industry made. Here are the results.

What were the biggest smartphone fails of 2020?


A total of 1,267 votes were cast as of the writing of this article, and two clear losers emerged. First, there was the Note 20, which captured 28.2% of the vote. The fact the Note 20 won the vote I think speaks to just how many people love the Note series. Any misstep by Samsung, no matter how minor, feels like a big deal. The fact the less expensive Galaxy S20 FE was a better phone in most respects likely made the sting worse for most people.

With 28.2% of the vote, Microsoft and the Surface Duo came in close second place. No surprise here: the Surface Duo was a buggy mess when it came out, and with limited third-party support since then, it still feels underwhelming today. It’s also one of the more expensive phones you can buy at the moment, which would be fine if it didn’t come with outdated hardware.

That said, the interesting thing, as you’ll see in the comments section, is that Surface Duo owners don’t think Microsoft’s foray into foldables was a fail; in fact, they love their phone. For what it’s worth, it looks like Microsoft plans to stick with the Duo. The company recently announced it plans to start selling the device in the UK, Canada, and other markets early next year.

Coming in third place we have OnePlus and all the things it did in 2020. Looking at sales metrics, it’s safe to say the company had one of its better years in recent memory, but if you were a fan of OnePlus going into 2020, you probably feel the brand jumped the shark this year. Between phones like the Nord N10 and N100, and a much weaker software policy than in years past, it felt like in 2020 OnePlus lost a lot of what had made it special.

Rounding out the top four was the Escobar Fold 2. If we hadn’t already seen Pablo Escobar’s brother try to pull off a similar scam in 2019, we would have probably seen this one collect more votes. The last three choices all garnered less than 6% of the vote separately.

Your comments

  • Gerald Martinez: I love my surface duo I know it has its issues but end of the day it’s a unique device and I always have people looking at me weird lol.
  • Richard Duirshin: Man! I am such a LOSER! I bought a Surface Duo to replace a Galaxy Tablet so I would have something pocketable that supported a stylus to take notes during meetings – AND I LOVE IT!!!!!!
  • Wongwatt: The actual biggest fail was Samsung display, they shipped multiple dodgy screens to multiple hardware partners and Samsung Mobile itself. The worst being the Moto Edge range still receiving awful quality units in December.
  • In Fla: The Pixel 5.
  • Marshall: The delay of Nokia’s 8.3 may have cost HMD my business… although by the time it came out the quality of my HMD experience had deteriorated badly due to updates inexplicably being months-delayed where I am.

That’s it for this poll. As always, thank you for taking the time to vote and share your thoughts. If you want to continue the conversation, hit the comments below.

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