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Phone Reviews

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Moto Z Play review: The best 'modular' phone you can get, for whatever that's worth

Motorola is going all-in on modular accessories this year, and Verizon is right there with it. The Moto Z Play was announced recently, and it's a Verizon exclusive for a few weeks before it ships unlocked in October. This device works with all the same Moto Mods as the other Moto Z variants, but it's much less spendy at around $400 on Verizon. That's a big advantage when you're pushing Mods that cost as much as $300. Are the trade-offs worth it? Is this finally the phone that makes modular smartphones viable? Let's find out.

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Blu Pure XR review: Mostly decent hardware choked by bad software

I have in my hands the Pure XR, Blu's latest flagship. Teased back at the beginning of August, many noted that the phone bore some striking similarities to a few other phones from the front. Despite this, Blu was quick to express its excitement for this new device. Looking at the company's portfolio, notably the last member of the Pure line, the Pure XL, the reason for the fuss is pretty obvious. I have been using it for about a week now and I have a lot of thoughts on it. Foremost is that at the price of $299, this phone packs some good specs into a very nice frame.

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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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Huawei Honor 8 Review: A bargain of a phone - if you can live with it

Huawei’s budget sub-brand Honor is the subject of increasing chatter in phone geek circles of late. In January, the Honor 5X introduced the “company” (insofar as they operate as a separate business unit) to a Western audience with a very affordable, metal-bodied phone.

The device, though, seemed to land on deaf ears, at least among enthusiasts. I can’t speak to how the Honor 5X did in US sales channels, but initial launch buzz quickly wore off once reviews went to press, and the phone itself really was pretty mediocre in retrospect. Its dazzle, its allure really came from looking the part of a $300-400 phone while costing much less.

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Samsung Galaxy Note7 Review: A great (very expensive) phone

A few years ago, Samsung was not known for making phones that looked nice. Oh, Samsung made popular phones, but no one swooned over them. That started to change after the sour reception Samsung got with the Galaxy S5. It began taking risks with materials and designs, and it made some bad phones in the process. However, here we are with the Galaxy Note7, a device that represents the culmination of Samsung's design refinements over the years. Samsung is clearly proud of what it has on offer with this phone, but you'll pay handsomely to get your hands on it. Can a phone be good enough to justify an $850 price tag in 2016?

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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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ZTE Axon 7 review: Mostly good hardware, but bad software

ZTE has long been known as a purveyor of inexpensive devices—you might even call them cheap. Many phones manufactured by ZTE in past years didn't even have the company's name on them. Last year, it started going after the premium device market with the Axon Pro. ZTE is back in 2016 with another Axon—the Axon 7. This $400 phone seems to target potential OnePlus 3 buyers with similar specs and a few notable improvements, at least on paper. Does the Axon 7 mark ZTE's arrival in the budget flagship space or does OnePlus still own it?

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Wileyfox Spark review: Could do better

Phones have progressed enormously in the last few years. If I look at my beloved Nexus 4, bought new in 2012, it had a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, 2GB RAM, and 16GB storage. It cost me £279, or $349 in the US. For a phone of that quality, $349 was a stupendous price, much cheaper than comparable phones from Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. It kept me going for two years before the battery finally gave out.

Fast forward to this year. A tiny British company, Wileyfox, has released a phone, the Spark, with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, for £89.99 ($120).

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Alcatel Idol 4S review: Too much money for too little phone

Last year, Alcatel made its first real foray into the US unlocked smartphone market with the Idol 3. That phone cost $249, but at the time, offered quite a bit for the money. A large 5.5" 1080p display (with a fairly good LCD panel), dual front-facing speakers, no real bloatware to speak of, LTE, solid cameras (13MP/8MP), and a microSD card slot. High on features, low on price may as well have been the tagline for the Idol 3, and while it was at times excruciatingly slow owing to its Snapdragon 615 chipset, I found it an overall good value proposition.

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Moto Z and Moto Z Force review: A modular miss

Motorola is trying something new—it's like a whole new company with new owners, new phones, and a new approach to making money on said phones. The Moto Z and Z Force (currently only available as Verizon exclusives) are "modular" phones with a series of snap-on rear panel accessories. They're also very thin and lacking a headphone jack. There are certainly reasons to be skeptical of these devices, but they're also very interesting in an industry that has had trouble innovating beyond the standard black slab.

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