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The most useless tech we've ever bought

In the wake of the giant tech fail Juicero, we've been asking around the office to find out what embarrassing gadgets we've purchased in the past. In ascending order of how much they cost, here's the tech that our support and development teams would rather forget.

Rebecca Harrison - The 'official' sonic screwdriver pen £8.99 in 2010

I bought Matt Smith’s sonic screwdriver from Doctor Who, which also doubled a pen. It was essentially a light up Biro that made a noise. I had an image of myself at University, taking notes with my sonic screwdriver and being marveled at by my peers.

I realised I'd made a mistake when it arrived. It wasn’t the metal replica I’d envisaged, but a thick plastic. The ‘light’ was a teeny tiny blinking bulb, and the sonic screwdriver noise sounded like that static you used to get between TV channels.

It certainly couldn’t come to university with me, so I pretended I bought it as a spontaneous gift to my brother. He wasn’t impressed with it either. 

Jonty Davis - Cassette to MP3 Converter £10 in 2015

I've got loads of tapes that need converting to MP3s, so I saw this on eBay and thought it would be ideal. 

It was not ideal. When I tried playing a tape through it, it couldn't play the tape at a constant speed; it would speed the song up, and then slow it down. It was completely useless, and very annoying.

It is now in a junk drawer. I didn't throw it away in the hopes that I might be able to fix it.

Paul Callaghan -  Nasal Aspirator £10 in 2009

One of the most useless baby gadgets, a baby snot sucker. When the little darlings have runny noses, you put it by the side of their nose to suck the snot out. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The first time we came to use it I realised it was completely ineffective. The amount of snot that my children were producing was too much for it. God knows where it is now. I hope we threw it away.

Lyndsey Gardiner - Automatic Cat Feeder £20 in 2013

I bought it for when we were going on holiday, so that the cats could have breakfast. You just put the food in, program it and then the lid would open at the right time...theoretically.

I filled it one day, put it down and watched my cat headbutt it against a wall until it sprang open. He physically hacked the feeder to get to the food. It went straight in the bin. We then bought a heavy duty one that he couldn't break into.

Adam McCormick - Apple Mighty Mouse £60 in 2005

When I first bought my old Macbook, I bought the Apple Mighty Mouse with it. Just because it went along with it, really. The trackball was always getting stuck. It was a known problem with that mouse, it used to get gunk all over it.

After a while I put it in a drawer and used the track-pad instead. That was in 2009 and the mouse is still there today. Occasionally I get it out to give it another go, thinking that I'll keep it really clean. Then the same thing happens, and it goes back in the drawer.

Ewan Hawkes - Beats headphones £90 in 2015

I actually got these as a Christmas present. They'd just come out, so they would have been about £90. 

When I got them the wiring was already loose, you have to twist the wire to make them work. The top part that goes around your head is broken; the spongy part came off. I tried to superglue it back on but that didn't really work. One of the speakers at the side that goes over your ear has fallen out of place. A pin fell out and I couldn't get it back in.

I'm still using them. I'm saving up for some Sennheisers. 

Paul Kennedy - Asus Transformer Prime Tablet £180 in 2011

This was a laptop that could be separated into a tablet and a keyboard. I bought it because I thought it looked good.

There wasn't even anything wrong with it particularly. It lasted about a month and then I couldn't be bothered to get it out anymore. Especially as I use my PC all the time anyway.

I gave it away to one of my mates for free. 

Dave Park - Microsoft sidewinder force feedback joystick £200 in 1996

I bought a very expensive vibrating joystick for gaming. I got it because it came with a light saber special effect demo. And because it had Star Wars on the front, I was sold.

It did exactly what it said on the tin. It vibrated and made noises, but it didn't do a lot else. I got about ten minutes of entertainment out of it before I realised it was incredibly disappointing, and got annoyed by the fact that it wobbled around and needed its own power socket. 

I used it as a paperweight for a now it's probably in the loft.

Joe Durham - Sony E-reader £200 in 2008  

I bought one of the first ever e-readers for a holiday. It came in this faux leather cover, to make it look like a book. I thought it would be great.

It had a needlessly complex interface. A Kindle has about four buttons, this had about a hundred. There was no mains charger included either - you had to buy that separately. It had a really shiny screen, the battery life was awful. It got really really hot aswell - it used such little power, why did it get so hot? It was just terrible. 

The last time I used it was that holiday - which the e-reader almost ruined. I saw it again the other day, it's in my mam and dad's loft.

Kirk Conway - Xbox One £450 in 2013

I got the Xbox One when it came out, because you could only buy the new tomb raider game on the Xbox One. 

It was awful. The controller was really uncomfortable and awkward to use. The console itself was loud and slow. I spent eight hours finishing the tomb raider game, and then put it down and never picked it up again.

I ended up giving it away for free. I had no further use for it.

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