Sometimes you want to skip ‘switching it off and on again.’ Sometimes you want to go straight to ‘giving it an almighty bang with your fist.’
An electronic device is a provocative thing. More than 80% of us admit to cursing at our tech products when they don’t do what we believe they should. A futile act since most gadgets can’t hear us and absolutely none of them care.
But is it really useless to vent about a tech product? One in eight British people has gotten so enraged that they’ve broken a frustrating device. And that’s British people! (Presumably, the other seven-in-eight Brits made their devices a cup of tea and apologized for being so demanding.)
Venting about a gadget may save you from destroying that gadget. Yelling on social media might even win sympathy from a real, live human – and warn them from investing in the same pricey tech product. (Scientific caveat: it’s healthiest to vent in moderation as a prelude to thinking or talking through the problem.)
So which are the products that we complain about the most on the socials? Electronics Hub developed a complaint detection tool to analyze thousands of tweets mentioning popular tech products and gave each gadget a score based on the percentage of tweets that feature a complaint.
Microsoft Xbox Series X is the Most Complained About Gaming Console
Gamers gonna hate – but not on their consoles. Our study turned up very few complaints about consoles on Twitter, with only 0.5% of all Sony Playstation 4 tweets showing signs of frustration. The Xbox draws the most ire, in particular the Series X. However, negative tweets are mostly anxious users unable to find an Xbox to buy – or put off by the X’s resemblance to a fridge. (Or unable to find a spin-off Series X fridge to buy.)
Google Pixel 6 is the Most Complained About Mobile Phone
In the battle of Apple vs. Google, users of both phones are annoyed. While the Google Pixel 6 wins ‘most annoying,’ eight of the top 10 most ire-inducing cells are iPhones. Google users are stressed waiting for Pixel 6 updates – and, when they arrive, the havoc these updates inevitably wreak. Sample tweet: “At this point, I’m beginning to think Google is sending out the December update for the Pixel 6 series via carrier Pidgeon.”
HP is the Most Complained About Laptop Brand
Choosing a laptop is trickier than choosing a tablet. There are more brands in the mix, offering a range of complex variables. But one metric is easy to understand: the complaint score. And the disparity between these scores is significant. One user complains of being wrongly charged for a replacement machine. Others complain about battery power or failure to boot. For others, it’s simple: “hp sucks don’t buy a hp laptop.” HP, we would never say a word against your sauces, but your laptops need work.
Realme Buds is the Most Complained About Headphones
Most headphone users wouldn’t want to live in a world without headphones. But headphones can drive you mad. The wire tangles. The Bluetooth snaggles. A tech giant puts the 3.5mm jack on the counter-intuitive side of the laptop or removes it altogether. More than one-third of tweets about Realme Buds and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are complaints. Realme Buds complaints tend to focus on customer service (sometimes of a third-party vendor), but there are also problems with buzzing and all-out failure. Apparently the worst thing about Airpods is that you can be thrown right off your footwork when the music is interrupted with a robot voice telling you your relationship is over.
Fitbit Charge 4 is the Most Complained About Wearable
This fitness tracker watch promises to detect and analyze all your healthy activities, which is another source of frustration – when the machine suggests you’ve exercised less than you thought.
Apple iPad 6 is the Most Complained About Tablet
They’re three of the easiest demographics to please: toddlers, grandparents, and illustrators. Yet the tool they share in common, the iPad, has a complaint score of up to 33%. The iPad occupies eight of the top ten most complained about spots in the tablet category. Complaints range from the un-intuitive way that iPodOS stores (hides) your files to being woken up early in the morning by a toddler demanding use of the $400 pacifier.
GoPro Hero8 Black is the Most Complained About Camera
Cameras get the lowest complaint rates of any device category in our study. But the GoPro Hero8 Black takes the crown, accompanied in second-place by the Hero9. Action photographers get frustrated when the lens, strap, or battery door of this ‘rugged’ camera fails to withstand their boisterous trials.
The Philips Hue Bridge is the Most Complained About Smart Home Device
Your smart home may not be as smart as it’s meant to be. Smart home devices account for eight of the 20 most complained about tech products. Headphones, cell phones, and laptops, mostly. The number one is the Philips Hue Bridge. Philips describes this innocent-looking white box as “the brains of the Philips Hue smart lighting system” – but complaints center around connectivity issues and compatibility with other smart home devices and networks.
America’s Most Hated Tech Products
Next up, here are the ten most complained-about tech products in the US, regardless of category. The Philips Hue Bridge leads a run-down that is populated with smart home ‘solutions,’ although Apple devices also take three key positions.
The Chromecast takes second place. Complaints are typical of the smart home category: getting your home objects to speak to each other (and maintain a usable connection) is supposed to simplify things. When it fails, rage ensues. Other complaints are even more specific: “I’m 100% convinced #Google put more thought into their cable packaging clips than their #Chromecast remote. They modeled it after a half used bar of wet soap. #fail”
The UK’s Most Troublesome Gadgets
A smart home device takes the crown for most-complained-about gadget in the UK, but the real story is the phones. Six phones sit in the top ten, with Apple getting bonus points for also getting the Apple TV 4K featured with a complaint rating of 38.5%.
One survey has shown that out of the 50 things that Brits complain about the most, four of them are different aspects of cell phone ownership (signal, battery, forgetting, and other people staring at them). But when you get more specific, it is definitely Apple phones that anger the UK the most, with four iPhone models making the top ten – accompanied by one lonely Huawei P30 Pro.
Twitter Rage Against the Machines
A tech product is the only entity that can infuriate you more than your closest family. At least with your kids or parents, you can try a variety of emotional or rational arguments to win them around. When a tech product refuses to do what you want, it sticks to its own cold logic – a logic that may be utterly inaccessible to the human observer.
Frustration with tech products contributes to a general sense of emotional exhaustion. Better to step away and let off steam before your obstinate phone/headphones/toaster forces you offline.
Or peruse our full data in the table below to relax with a little schadenfreude at all the other people who got so exasperated they just had to complain about it on Twitter.
METHODOLOGY & LIMITATIONS
We curated a list of the most popular and best-selling tech products from sites such as Forbes and TechRadar, and separated them into the following categories: Cameras, Gaming consoles, Headphones, Laptops, Mobile phones, Tablets, Smart home devices, and Wearable devices.
We then used the Twitter API to collect tweets for each product using a variety of keywords and search operators to ensure the tweets were referring to the product in question. The total number of tweets in the research is 344,105. The data was gathered in November 2021.
The last step was to run the tweets through our Complaint Detector tool, which determines the percentage likelihood of a tweet including a complaint about a product. We nominated a tweet as a complaint if the probability predicted by the model was more than 0.6 (60%). The Complaint Detector tool is built upon the pre-trained NLP neural network DistilBERT used as a feature extractor. The model was then trained on a dataset of 5,212 tweets with DistilBERT layers set untrainable. The dataset was labeled as complaint/not complaint.
We excluded the Google Pixel phone from the final lists since, despite all our efforts to eliminate similar names, tweets were mostly related to the Google Pixel series of devices rather than to the first generation of Google Pixel mobile phones.
Although, in general, the model prediction reflected the picture well, the accuracy wasn’t 100%, so in the case of small samples result could be contaminated. After the manual check, we removed several models which results were malformed, namely: Garmin Forerunner 35 (wearables), Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (smart home devices), Bose QuietComfort 35 II (headphones), Jabra Elite 75t (headphones).