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Reviews

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Arlo Go review: An expensive niche camera

Netgear's Arlo Pro cameras are popular options for home security because they have wireless connectivity, long battery life, and support for local storage. The recently released Arlo Go takes the wireless aspect to the next level by adding an LTE modem for connectivity almost anyplace. That means you don't need to put the camera near your Arlo Hub or your regular WiFi network. It comes at a price, though.

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Nest Cam IQ review: Impressive but expensive

Google-owned Nest gained notoriety for its smart thermostat, but Google's acquisition of Dropcam instantly catapulted Nest to the forefront of this product category. Nest has traditionally made very good cameras, and they come with a premium price tag to match. That's still the case with the new Nest Cam IQ, which packs a 4K image sensor, new software smarts, and a $300 price tag. You could get two cameras from another maker for that price, and I think most people probably will. However, the Nest Cam IQ is leading the pack when it comes to facial recognition and image quality. This might be the camera you've been waiting for in terms of features, but it also might be far too expensive as a long-term commitment.

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Moto Z2 Play review: Not a bad phone, but still a step backward

Motorola began pushing its Moto Mod accessories last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. Those phones were underwhelming, but the Moto Z Play won some fans thanks to the incredible battery life, solid performance, and the lower price. It also worked with all the same Mods, if you were so inclined. Not even a year later, Motorola has kicked off the Z2 era with the Moto Z2 Play. It's available now on Verizon and (soon) unlocked from Moto, priced at $400.

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[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

How little can you spend on a phone in 2017 and still have a good experience? Companies like Lenovo-owned Motorola and BLU are pushing the envelope when it comes to the budget segment in the US. But, even a dated flagship can outcompete almost everything in the current entry-level market, and right now you can pick up one of 2016's most overlooked examples, the Nextbit Robin, for around $130 from Amazon. We think that deserves a second look.

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Moto E4 review: For the price, it's hard to argue

Prior to the Lenovo takeover, Motorola had a reputation for making flagship phones at very competitive prices. Since the acquisition was finalized, Moto's high-end phones have been a bit less attractive, but the cheaper phones are still good options. However, it's been a while since Motorola took the super-affordable Moto E seriously. After a very limited third-gen release in parts of Asia and Europe, Motorola is again making the 4th gen Moto E a mainstream product. It's available as an unlocked phone, and on carriers as a cheap prepaid device. But "cheap" here doesn't mean it's a bad phone. It's definitely not offering an experience on-par with something like a Pixel, OnePlus 5, or even a Moto G5.

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OnePlus 5 review: Proof that OnePlus is here to stay

OnePlus burst onto the scene in 2014 with the OnePlus One, a phone running Cyanogen OS with an incredibly attractive price tag. From the very start, OnePlus talked a big game and was sometimes annoyingly overconfident. The success of that first phone ensured we'd see at least a few more phones from OnePlus. There have been some ups and downs since the OnePlus One launched, but the trajectory has been upward overall.

The OnePlus 5 has the most refined design this company has ever put out, but at the same time it would be impossible to ignore the resemblance to the iPhone.

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ZTE Quartz review: Missing a few features, but an impressive value

It's getting increasingly hard to justify a smartwatch purchase when so many of them are launching with such high price tags. Paying $400 or $500 for a watch that works the same as one that costs half as much is a tough sell, not that a cheaper watch is an easy sell either. That's what makes the ZTE Quartz intriguing. This is an Android Wear device that costs less than $200 and has a dedicated cellular connection on T-Mobile.

The Quartz is a bit large and clunky, and it's missing some of the features you get with more expensive watches. However, the design is solid considering the price, and it runs Android Wear just as well as more expensive watches.

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Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom review: A promising phone that falls victim to bad software and cut corners

Asus was not on the radar of most US phone buyers until the ZenFone 2 popped up a few years ago with solid specs for a reasonable price, but the ZenFone 3 family hasn't been as prominent. It took Asus ages to roll these devices out in North America, and the pricing was not as generous. However, there are more variants of the ZenFone 3 still trickling out, from the flagship-level "Deluxe Special Edition" to the low-cost "Laser." The ZenFone 3 Zoom is somewhere in the middle with its $329 price tag and mid-range Snapdragon 625 chip.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom has some very impressive aspects, like the massive 5,000mAh battery and a camera with 2.3x optical zoom.

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Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review: It seems like $1,500 should get you more

Smartwatches haven't exactly taken off. In fact, a number of electronics companies have pulled back on plans for Android Wear including Motorola, Sony, and Asus. That's left fewer smartphone makers in the fray, but there are also fashion designers and traditional watch designers dabbling in Wear. We will see a lot more of these smartwatches in 2017, and one of them is the extremely spendy Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45.

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Huawei Mate 9 review addendum: Alexa is a flop, but it's still a great phone

Huawei used to avoid releasing high-end phones in the US, but no more. The Mate 9 was launched in the US several months ago, and it was announced as the very first phone to have Amazon's Alexa built in. However, that wasn't ready at launch, and Huawei didn't even know exactly when it would be available. Alexa finally rolled out to the Mate 9 several weeks ago, but Google sort of cut Amazon off at the knees by launching Assistant on the Mate 9 and many other phones while we were waiting for this update.

As I noted in the original Mate 9 review, this is a good phone—Huawei has really turned things around in the software, the battery life is killer, and the build quality is top notch.

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