I've used Android as my main mobile platform for almost six years now. My first smartphone was a Motorola CLIQ XT that I bought back in May, 2010. It ran Cupcake and though, in retrospect, the phone was a bargain basement toy, it paved my way into the Android world. As a fun experiment, I decided to ditch Google's OS entirely for two weeks and use Apple's products exclusively to see how crazy it would make me. I have owned iOS devices in the past, but I've never forced myself to convert. These days I generally flip between my Nexus 6P and my iPhone 6S Plus depending on my mood that day.
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.
When you talk about Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, it's hard not to talk about 'the average consumer.' Because the Galaxy S series is the second-most popular line of smartphones on earth, its audience is unashamedly mainstream, and the vast majority of sales of these devices will be to consumers who aren't what you'd call tech-savvy. The issue for Samsung, increasingly, is learning how to split the difference between a smartphone that provides a good experience for everybody and maintaining that all important credibility with its fans and enthusiasts.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+, for example, have Quad HD displays - the best ones I've ever seen.
Google Play Music is on the way out and has already become inaccessible for many. A lot of people have probably long taken advantage of the migration tool and have started using YouTube Music. But there are still some key differences between the two services, and if you haven't made the switch, there are a few things to watch out for. In this article, we're going to dive into the key differences between the two services, large and small, and why they matter.
A few months ago I wrote "Stock Android Isn't Perfect," an article where I turned my usual harsh UX critique on stock Android, instead of justpicking onTouchWiz and Sense all the time in my reviews. The article went over pretty well, and even got a few responses from Googlers! I didn't cover everything that was wrong with Android, though, and there have been a bunch of updates since the original article, so it's about time I wrote a sequel.
So we're officially making this a series now, and it'll serve two purposes: One, there's a new version of Android out, and more things to complain about; and two, to give credit where it's due, because, since I wrote that article, a lot of things have been fixed.
The flagship smartphone space is getting pretty stale in 2019. LG and HTC are floundering, overall sales are declining, Google's Pixels are an expensive bundle of compromises, Huawei has left the high-end US market, and Samsung is... Samsung. There's space for disruption, and while we wait for other Chinese OEMs to join the stateside fray, OnePlus is making a big push to compete with the latest $1000 flagships. The only catch when it comes to its new OnePlus 7 Pro is that it costs $670.
The Pixel 3a debuted at Google I/O 2019, and it was closer to budget smartphone nirvana than any phone in the US that came before it. That was, until Apple responded with the iPhone SE. The Pixel 4a is Google's counterpunch, and while many would argue it's an apples to oranges (or Pixels) comparison, I think the Pixel 4a actually comes out on top of the iPhone SE in a lot of important ways.
Good specs in a (relatively) cheap package has been OnePlus' schtick since the original OnePlus One, and with few flops it's stuck to that formula, bringing us to the OnePlus 6T. Deep down inside, it's basically just a tweaked OnePlus 6, dropping the headphone jack for an in-display fingerprint reader, bigger battery, smaller notch, and a handful of software improvements.
In a landscape where Google's latest phones start at $800, I think the $549 6T is a legitimate Pixel 3 alternative, delivering fantastic performance and much-improved photos with fewer subjective problems. You'll still envy the Pixel 3's camera and Call Screen, though.
An updated version of this guide is available here.
It's that time of year again. Knowing our audience, chances are that you're looking for some sort of gadget to purchase for yourself or someone else. Whether the smartphone being replaced is too old, too bootloopy, or just doesn't have all the features you want, we've got you covered with our choices for the best smartphones you can buy.
The sheer number of smartphones on the market today makes narrowing the choices down difficult. So many factors - battery life, cameras, displays, software, water resistance, and more - come into play, but our goal is to find the best all-rounders out there.