AT CES earlier this month, Blu announced two new phones: the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Today, we're taking a closer look at the lower-end of the two, the Vivo XL, which is the first one to hit the market. This one isn't a dramatic difference from some of the other more recent stuff we've seen from Blu — like the Life One X, for example — but it does continue the company tradition of offering a lot of phone for the money.
Under the hood, it's actually a lot like the aforementioned Life One X, though it does have a slightly larger, lower-resolution display. Read More
The Huawei Honor 5X is a paradox for Android enthusiasts right out of the box. It costs just $199. But it runs Android 5.1. It has a surprisingly decent camera. But it doesn't support band 12 LTE on T-Mobile. The 1080p IPS display is very bright and may well be class-leading at this price point. But the Honor 5X doesn't have NFC. Its fingerprint reader pretty much lets it stand alone in the market for sub-$200 devices. But so does Huawei's software layer, and not in a good way. It has a microSD card slot. But it's only available with 16GB of storage, and no Marshmallow means no adoptable SD cards. Read More
Sony rushes from one flagship phone to the next, making only iterative changes most of the time. With the Z5 generation, there are three different variants of the phone—a standard Z5, the Z5 Compact, and our focus today, the Z5 Premium. What makes it premium? Well, it's the first phone with a 4K display. Does that really do you any good, though? Let's find out. Read More
Back in January of 2014, Blu released what I then called my "favorite Blu phone to date"—the Life One X. At the time, it was a solid budget phone, but affordable smartphones have come so far since then. The last year or so has been great for the budget phone scene, and we've watched devices get more and more powerful while prices kept dropping.
Today, Blu announced the new version of the Life One X, and guess what? It's probably the best budget device I've ever used. One might even say it's probably "my favorite Blu phone to date," save for maybe the new Pure XL. Read More
Writing an unbiased review is a lot easier said than done. Every reviewer, myself included, has their own preferences, opinions, and experiences that will in some way affect his or her attitudes and conclusions. So rather than pretend that I am an unbiased reviewer, I will begin by telling you a little about the phones I have owned for the last few years. My hope is that this information will lend you greater insight into my thoughts and feelings regarding the Sony Z5.
I like Sony phones. I've owned every generation of the Sony Z series that T-Mobile has sold in the US, including the Z, Z1, and Z3. Read More
ASUS has been getting more invested into the smartphone market, both in the US—where we recently talked about the ZenFone 2 Laser and ZenFone 2—and in their closer-to-home markets in the Eastern Hemisphere. This review will focus on two models that will not make it to the US, but should be of interest to those in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere. The main focus will be on the ZenFone Selfie, which is much like the familiar ZenFone 2 and ZenFone 2 Laser but with a high-quality front-facing camera sensor. I will also discuss the ZE550KL model of the ZenFone 2 Laser, which is available in some non-US markets. Read More
I remember not that long ago thinking that a 4.7-inch phone screen was pretty large. How could they get bigger than that and still be usable? Surely this is the end of the road... and here we are a few years later and the Xperia Z5 Compact is considered diminutive at 4.6-inches. When I say this phone is small (and it is) I mean it's small compared to every other Android flagship.
Consumers have voted with their dollars and told OEMs they want big phones, leaving the Xperia Compact series as your last bastion of tiny flagship phones. When a device basically owns a niche, it doesn't have to be amazing, it just needs to be. Read More
I need to be real with you guys here: I've never liked any device that forced me to use whatever garbage skin the manufacturer was putting on them at the time. In other words, I've always been an "Android Purist," if you will — it was stock Android and nothing else for me, and it's really been like that since I became an Android user. Now, I've had no trouble being objective when it comes to reviewing devices with skins; just because I don't like it doesn't make it "bad."
While I wouldn't go as far as to say that the V10 is a game-changing phone in general, it has definitely been a game-changer for me. Read More
When I was in high school, BlackBerry was still an up-and-comer in the US cell phone market. The sleepy suburb I grew up in really had no widespread knowledge of them until after I had left for college. And when you start college in 2006, a year before the first iPhone (released at the end of my freshman year), it’s probably not surprising to learn that shiny-new-MacBook toting shiny-new-adults at a big state school turned up their noses at something as staid and “establishment” as a BlackBerry. Everyone who was into “cell-phone-as-status-symbol” knew it was the iPhone that was changing everything. Read More
ASUS in the recent past has been pushing harder into Western markets and into smartphones in general with the ZenFone product line and its associated ZenUI software layer. Those who remember the Transformer tablets of yesteryear may be surprised at the non-geeky, colorful, feature-filled approach of these devices. Now well into the second generation of ZenFones, ASUS has announced the ZenFone 2 Laser for wide release, including the USA.
It is a slight refinement on the ZenFone 2, which we reviewed back in June. David felt that its base model was one of the best values around for just $199. Read More