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Phone Reviews

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Moto G5 Plus review: Still the king of budget phones

Motorola has gone through some big changes in the last few years; from its waning days of independence (with crummy phones), to the Google acquisition (with much better phones), and finally to being manhandled by Lenovo (with weird phones). One of Motorola's most important products through all of this has been the Moto G. The original Moto G boosted interest in budget devices by showing everyone they don't have to be terrible. Now, here we are with the fifth iteration—the Moto G5 Plus, a phone that can be yours for the low, low price of $230.

The Moto G5 Plus looks and feels more premium than past devices in the series, but it also comes with a few limitations that keep it slotted in firmly below the Moto Z family.

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Honor 6X (Nougat) review: A great value proposition

Huawei is keeping up its attempts to break into the saturated U.S. smartphone market with its sub-brand Honor. It started with the 5X and continued with the Honor 8. The premise is to bring mid- or high-tier specs and slap them in a premium chassis, then sell it at a very affordable price. However, as good as those devices have been, their weakness has been the software (again).

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HTC U Ultra review: As confusing as it is pretty

I've been using the HTC U Ultra for a little over a full week now. It's the latest "flagship" (I know, that word) from HTC, and the specifications generally would support such a classification. A Snapdragon 821 processor, 5.7" Quad HD LCD display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, f/1.8 rear camera, UltraPixel front camera, and USB Type C with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 round out the major talking points. The price tag, too, says "top of the line": you'll pay $749 for the privilege of owning a U Ultra here in the US, and that doesn't even mean four-carrier support - you're stuck on GSM networks only.

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Xiaomi Mi Note 2 review: Chasing perfection, but falling just shy of it


The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle created quite a gaping wound in the Android world. A lot of people loved that phone, some even ridiculously calling it "perfect." The recalls and eventual cancellation left much to be desired, an opportunity that Xiaomi leaped on. The Mi Note 2, the Chinese OEM's attempt to fill the void, is a big, beautiful, and powerful device.

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OnePlus 3T review addendum: Proof that OnePlus can be a major player in 2017

OnePlus started its existence as a brash upstart, and today it's... a brash upstart. It is, however, a brash upstart that has produced a very good 2016 flagship phone. The OnePlus 3 and 3T are basically the same phone, but the 3T has more power under the hood and dollars on its price tag. Both phones offered similarly good experiences at launch, and now they're even better with Nougat.

So, how do these phones (specifically the OnePlus 3T) hold up? Quite well, but OP's actions in 2017 will be telling. This will be a pivotal year for the company. It could become a staple of the smartphone industry or prove to be just another middling player that will eventually fade away.

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ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe review: Buy a OnePlus 3T instead

Budget flagships are all the rage these days. After all, why would anyone pay $769 for something like a Google Pixel XL when similar or only marginally worse performance can be had from a $439 OnePlus 3T? The category has come a seriously long way since the Nexus 4 first pioneered it, largely thanks to loads of new entrants in the past few years from both new and storied nameplates.

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Meizu Pro 6 Plus review: Another solid phone with some really strange software decisions

Hardware design is a tricky subject. Some companies take risks to define their own aesthetic, while others borrow, in varying degrees, the design languages of more popular brands. What I have in my hands is the latter; the Meizu Pro 6 Plus borrows heavily from Apple's style, especially when viewed from the front. Its software is also an attempt to mimic iOS, for better or for worse.

Overall, however, I find that this phone is the classic story with a twist. The Pro 6 Plus has some actually nice hardware, but the native Flyme OS is a mixed bag. I am not sure if this is a case of Stockholm syndrome or what, but I found that I could tolerate the software for the most part.

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Huawei Mate 9 review: Turning a corner

Huawei has become one of the largest phone makers on the planet, and it's done so without too much help from the US market. The company has dabbled mostly with mid-range phones here, including some from the Honor sub-brand. The Mate 9 is the first phone Huawei has brought to the US that isn't explicitly going after the budget crowd. It's running the latest version of Huawei's in-house Kirin SoC, has an all metal housing, and the Leica-branded cameras are present too.

The hardware side hasn't been Huawei's problem in western markets. It's the software. I've always had trouble using Huawei phones for very long because of the many, many annoyances present in the EMUI Android skin.

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Meizu M5 Note review: Do not buy this phone

It would be understandable if you have never heard of Meizu. While it is one of the top electronics companies in mainland China, the company isn't massively popular outside of the country. The M5 Note is the newest device to come out of Meizu, and like many of its recent phones, is being sold internationally.

From the spec sheet, the M5 Note looks like a solid device. A Mediatek Helio P10 CPU, 1080p LCD screen, at least 3GB of RAM, a massive 4,000mAh battery. The price is perhaps most impressive, costing just 899 CNY for the base model - roughly $131 USD. For comparison, the Moto G4 Play with a Snapdragon 410, 720p display, and 2GB of RAM costs more at its regular price.

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Elephone S7 review: [Mediocre] Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Design is extremely important in regard to pretty much everything. From fashion to cars, computer hardware to software, you can never escape good or bad design. Sometimes, the sheer popularity of a product will cause others to copy what they perceive to be worth imitating, despite the inevitable sneers from consumers and competitors alike. Such is the case with the Elephone S7, a pretty unashamed clone of the well-known Galaxy S7 Edge. But what if the copycat is actually halfway decent?

The Ele S7 holds up as a capable device. The hardware is pretty good and it runs an almost stock version of Android, which is a nice change of pace from what we usually see with Chinese phones.

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