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hands-on

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LeEco Le Pro3 hands-on: Fantastic value with some big drawbacks

As a foothold into the American smartphone market, or perhaps a first step in what LeEco sees as a long, protracted climb to the top, the Le Pro3 is an impressive device. Both it and its less powerful variant the Le S3 (yes, we've passed the Pepe Le Pew jokes around the Android Police office plenty already) are exceptional values at their mid-range price points, and the fit and finish of both phones are approaching some of the bigger players. The device meets or beats its most direct competition, the OnePlus 3, at almost every corner. On paper, the Le Pro3 is great.

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Google Pixel and Pixel XL hands-on: Google takes on the iPhone... by becoming the iPhone

Google's new smartphones were, well, exactly what we expected. They're expensive, they have high-end components, and they feature industrial design by Google. There's a big one and a small one, and the only real differences between the two are those of proportion (battery size and pixel density).

Pricing for the 5" Pixel starts at $649 with 32GB of storage, and the 128GB Pixel XL runs all the way up to $869. They can be substantially more expensive depending on where you live, too. As such, there is no doubt that Google is uninterested in being a champion of the "phone of the people" pricing model in 2016.

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LG V20: First impressions and thoughts

I've now been using the LG V20 for about two days (two half days, one full day), and I'm ready to give you some thoughts and impressions on the newest high-end device from LG.

I didn't review the V10 - Android Police editor emeritus Cameron Summerson had that job - so I'm using the V20 with a fresh set of eyes. What I do know about the V10 is that fans of that phone loved it. Not since the LG G2 and G3 had I seen quite such a positive reaction to an LG smartphone, and I think that had to do with the V10's "no nonsense" approach to the large smartphone market.

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Quick review: Motorola's Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod camera

Motorola launched the Moto Z on Verizon a few weeks back with three optional Mods—a battery, speaker, and pico-projector. Before that was all announced, there were rumors of a camera Mod with optical zoom. It wasn't available at launch, but now the Hasselblad True Zoom Mod is official, and it costs $300. I've been snapping photos with the Hasselblad Mod for a few days, and here are a whole bunch of them. Spoiler: they're kind of disappointing.

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Galaxy Note7: Six days with Samsung's latest

It's Galaxy Note7 review day here in the US! ...Our review isn't ready. I received my evaluation device less than a week ago, and we've been swamped here with various leak posts and bringing on some new faces (say "hi!" to the newest members of our team when you spot their bylines), and there just hasn't been time for me to fully formulate thoughts and compile them into a 5000-word-plus post for you. But would you take an abridged review/extended hands-on until I can make good on that promise? If so, read on.

Early review notes

  • Industrial design and attention to physical detail continue to climb to ever-greater heights at Samsung.
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Hands-on with the Galaxy Note7: Eyeball scanning is standard

There is perhaps no better-selling “enthusiast” or “power-user” smartphone than Samsung's Galaxy Note series. When it debuted in 2011, it was dismissed as ridiculous by many (myself included). It was too big, we said - too big to hold, “and for what? Who needs this?” many of us barked at the time (how wrong we were). But the Note series became a runaway success, and each year, millions of Samsung fans await the latest iteration.

Last year’s Note, though, may have been the biggest letdown in the Note series yet. It had no microSD slot, no removable battery, and it didn’t even launch in Europe - perhaps a signal of the Note series entering a wind-down phase.

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Moto Z and Z Force hands-on and first impressions

Motorola under the stewardship of Lenovo is doing something very different this year. The Moto X brand may not be gone, but it's certainly not the company's focus right now. Instead, we have the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. They're thin and they have Moto Mods—snap-on modules like projectors and speakers that make the phones much less thin. The Z is coming to Verizon first as a Droid phone (that's what I have to review), but the device I'm looking at now is very similar to what Motorola will release unlocked later this year.

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Wileyfox Spark hands-on: For $120, this phone is astounding

In London today, Wileyfox, a tiny (CEO Nick Muir says it has 27 employees) British phone manufacturer, announced the Spark: a £89.99 ($120) phone that has razor-thin margins. Specs include a 1.3GHz MediaTek processor, 1GB RAM, and one 8-megapixel camera on each side.

When I first picked this phone up, all I thought was "for £89.99, damn that is nice." It makes you wonder how Wileyfox does it; its previous phone, the Swift, was similarly received with exclamations of "how?!" when it launched for £129.99.

Onto the phone: it's very light, weighing only 136g. The screen, an IPS 5-inch display, seems to be bright and responsive, and the buttons are clicky.

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Hands-on and first impressions of the OnePlus 3

OnePlus likes to talk a big game, but sometimes the company fails to live up to expectations. The OnePlus One offered solid specs at a low price, but it was hurt by scarce invites and the collapse of the Cyanogen partnership. The OnePlus 2 struggled with hardware and software issues throughout its life as well. In fact, that phone just got Marshmallow a week ago. That brings us to the OnePlus 3. Again, OP is making big promises, but at least it's not threatening to kill other phones this time. This is a big departure for OnePlus in terms of design, and for once you don't need an invite to buy it. I've been using the OnePlus 3 for a day, and I have some initial thoughts to offer.

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Hands-On With The Moto Z And Moto Z Force (...And Mods)

I had a chance to go hands-on with the Moto Z and Z Force today (full name: Lenovo Moto Z DROID Edition and Lenovo Moto Z Force DROID Edition... which, OK), and here are my initial thoughts. Videos also follow.

First, I think both phones actually feel of a high quality - the design Moto is going with here is actually a lot nicer in person than I think various leaked photos have given these devices credit for. In particular, I love the black / dark gray versions of both devices - they have kind of a Darth Vader thing going on, if you ask me.

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