5G is a necessary and transformative technology, you'll get no argument from me. It's going to allow our cellular networks to scale to previously unimaginable levels, and connect everything from traffic lights to tractors to truck assembly plants in the process. But if you're like me, you probably know 5G first and foremost as the next generation of wireless connectivity for your smartphone. That also overwhelmingly remains the core purpose of almost any 5G deployment on earth right now, aspirational IoT marketing aside. And here's the thing about those networks: they're fairly awful to actually use right now.
Having switched between a number of 5G-ready phones and the two meaningfully extant 5G networks in the US (sorry, Verizon — if I can't see it on a 50 mile scale map, it isn't real coverage), I can say confidently that the only thing 5G has succeeded in accomplishing is making my phone less reliable and more aggravating.
This year's big Android update has finally arrived, but there's not quite the excitement around its release that was common just a few years ago. Given the current worldwide pandemic and Google's shift to working from home, it's impressive that Android 11 arrived even close to on time, but the upgrade seemingly crossed the finish line with little fanfare.
OnePlus is gearing up for two new Nord-branded phones in the US market, according to leaks from Android Central in the last month, including what might be its first entry-level phone. If the details regarding the ~$200 "Clover" and sub-$400 "Billie" are both true (and they probably are), then OnePlus might have a problem on its hands. While the company was once known for its massively disruptive influence in the flagship space, now it's settled comfortably into the market it once upset. And its usual strategies won't work here.
I really can't stress enough how game-changing folding phones are. I know they're frequently (and fairly) criticized for things like display durability and price, but once you actually use one and understand the experience, something just clicks — or, at least, it did for me. They're still not for everyone, but if you absolutely need to maintain productivity on the go, then the Z Fold2 will be as disruptive to your idea of work as the early Blackberry phones were. In fact, to prove a point, I was able to do my entire job here at Android Police from the phone for most of a whole day.
The Surface Duo is one of the few recent examples of a new form factor in smartphones. Although it shares similarities (and some use cases) with foldable phones, such as the Galaxy Z Fold2, the choice to use two individual displays comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. That begs the question: is the Duo best used as a primary phone, or a secondary device to compliment an existing phone?
Whenever people discuss digital voice assistants, the conversation usually ends with the Google Assistant triumphing over Apple's Siri. I haven't owned an iOS device since I sold my childhood iPod Touch, but earlier this summer, I took the plunge and bought an iPhone 11 to see what I'd been missing — and to check out Siri's smarts for myself. It's much better than I expected, and in fact, there is at least one area where Siri makes the Google Assistant look like an off-key cover band: music.
Microsoft finally put the Surface Duo up for pre-order earlier this month, following a year of teases, leaks, and rumors. I received my Duo review unit earlier this week, and while I'm still getting a feel for what it's like to use, one aspect of the device has stuck out to me more than anything else: how thin it is.
This story was originally published and last updated .
2020 has been hard enough with all the political, economic, and public health crises we've had to deal with. It turns out, 2020 was also supposed to be The Year Of 5G, at least as far as our wireless carriers are concerned. We've talked about the 5G tax we're paying to get the latest mobile chipsets, but if you're on Verizon, you could be getting screwed in an even worse, and arguably much stupider way by the next generation of wireless networks. Verizon is still all-in with an expensive technology called millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G, and not all phones support it.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Of the available evidence, everything points to a Snapdragon 765G powering the anticipated Pixel 5, and that's caused a lot of spec-gazers to cast a doubtful eye on Google's upcoming phone. Prior to the Pixel 5, every Pixel phone used the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series chipset, the most powerful SoCs available on the open market. With the 765G, though, we don't necessarily think Google's made a bad move—we've been using phones with the new high-end-of-the-mid-range Qualcomm chip—like the OnePlus Nord—and we're impressed. And we think there's really no reason the Pixel 5 really needs to full-fat 865 as a result.
Microsoft's been teasing the Surface Duo for the last year, and it's finally here — well, available for pre-order, anyway. But the entire time we've been talking about it, it's been difficult to pin down what exactly the Surface Duo is. Intuitively, we want to call it a phone. It's kinda phone-sized when folded up, it runs an operating system some phones do, and you can do phone stuff on it. But is it really a phone? Have we reached the Apple "What's a computer?" moment when it comes to phones?