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Phone Reviews

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Google Pixel review update: Two weeks with the Google phone

It's been a little over two weeks since I received my Google Pixel (XL) review unit, so I thought I would provide an addendum to our review based on more time with the phone. I won't be covering every category I did in the review. But I will try to give you the broad strokes on areas where my thoughts haven't changed much, and some of the specifics where they have.

Look, feel, and form

I still think this phone looks a bit dull. Other members of the team disagree, though! And I think that really is the subjective nature of design coming into play here.

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Google Pixel review: A very good phone by Google

Google's new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are a watershed moment for the company. They're Google's attempt to define itself as a hardware manufacturer worthy of comparison not just to Apple's iPhone, but the very products its Android operating system has allowed to flourish over the past eight years. Or, as the refrain goes: Google is finally going to compete with other smartphone manufacturers.

This narrative can get in the way of discussing the Pixel for what it is (a smartphone), so I'll try to avoid confusing what this phone means to Google as a company and what it means to you as a consumer.

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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

WARNING

We are updating our review of the Galaxy Note7 to issue a do not buy warning for this device. Because of a growing number of fires in the "fixed" version of the Galaxy Note7, we can no longer in any way recommend purchasing one. Not only is the Note7 potentially dangerous, it is in danger of seeing reduced support, resale value, and major flight restrictions as a result of the fallout from this incident. Do not buy the Galaxy Note7. For more information, see our full post here.

A few years ago, Samsung was not known for making phones that looked nice.

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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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