Just a few bucks can save your brand new phone from disaster if you pick up a case. Every dent, ding, drop, and spill is an invitation for disaster, and just a few bucks can protect your multi-hundred-dollar investment. Since you'll probably get one, you may as well get a really nice one — after all, it's the part you'll touch the most. So here are our top five picks for the best Pixel 4a cases in a handful of categories.
Xiaomi's Mi Band series has won fans by offering a lot of fitness features for not a lot of money. That formula isn't changing with the latest entry, the Mi Band 5. It looks almost identical to its predecessors but makes some notable improvements: There's finally magnetic charging so you don't have to pry the device out of the band anymore, the screen is a little bigger, and the tracking is a bit more accurate.
The Mi Band 5 might not compete with high-end trackers and smartwatches from Garmin or Fitbit, but it doesn’t have to.
Almost exactly two years ago, Xiaomi pulled a page from OnePlus’ playbook and stunned everyone with the Poco F1 (or Pocophone F1), a phone with proper flagship specs that cost just $300. While the F1 cut some corners to achieve this feat (plastic build, no NFC), it still delivered amazing performance and battery life. Then in 2019, it was followed up by… crickets?
While Redmi’s excellent K20 Pro was technically the Poco F1’s successor, Xiaomi didn’t release a Poco-branded device last year. That changed back in February 2020, when the company announced it was spinning Poco off as a sub-brand.
Samsung's one of the biggest smartphone players around, and while we drool over cutting-edge devices like the Note20 or Fold2, these luxury handsets are hardly its primary business. When it comes to sheer numbers, the company's more conservative phones drive the lion's share of sales, and for good reason — these models strike a balance between flagship-level features and budget-friendly pricing. Even here, phones run the gamut from the super-cheap A21 to what we're looking at today, the beefiest of Samsung's mid-rangers, the Galaxy A71 5G. With a big 6.7-inch screen, 5G connectivity, and a 64MP-headlining quad-camera array, is this the A-series phone to finally get you asking, "who needs a flagship?"
I started out as a folding phone critic. In fact, I bought the Z Flip we reviewed this spring with the full intention of pointing out how dumb the idea was, except I was dead wrong. I fell in love with my little flip phone, and the last week spent with the Galaxy Z Fold2 has further cemented my change of heart. Folding phones are undeniably the future, and for the right folks, the Z Fold2 is a must-buy game-changer — though probably not for you.
Gaming phones are a newer niche for Android devices, and Nubia is one of the companies running headlong into this fledgling field. This past May, we took a look at the Red Magic 5, and we did not come away impressed thanks to numerous bugs and compromises. Now that the Red Magic 5S is here, and we can say for certain that features like internal cooling and a high refresh rate come at a cost: the Red Magic 5S is good for gaming but not much else.
The Red Magic 5 isn't a complete wash—its gaming-centric features and performance help to even out the device's lack of polish.
Over the past few years, smartphones have stopped evolving at a rapid pace and settled into iterative, yawn-inducing update cycles. Just like how a desktop PC from eight years ago can still handle basic productivity tasks in 2020, a flagship smartphone from two or three years ago isn't radically different from what you can buy today, and there’s only so much room for innovation in the flat glass slab form factor. This has sent some manufacturers to go back to the drawing board in search of something more radical and exciting. Samsung has released severalfoldablephones, LG is developing a dual-screen device, and now Microsoft has the Surface Duo.
The Galaxy Note is an unusual smartphone for one reason, and one reason only in 2020: its stylus, the beloved S Pen. And while everything else about it feels incredibly familiar, it's impossible to deny that no other phone can scratch the very particular itch Samsung does with the Note. If you were a bit of cynic, you'd probably sum up the Note20 Ultra as "an S20 Ultra with a pen," and I'll level with you: you wouldn't really be wrong.
Sony has been making noise-canceling headphones for years, and it's gotten pretty good at it. We had very few complaints about Sony's WH-1000XM3 headphones, so there wasn't much to fix in the latest iteration. Still, Sony listened to customer feedback and made several notable improvements in the new WH-1000XM4. They still sound phenomenal, but Sony added wear detection, some new Bluetooth tricks, and made the noise cancelation even more effective. At the same time, the XM4s look almost identical to the last-gen headphones. They don't look ugly or cheap, but the design isn't as striking as I'd expect from the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.
If it wasn't for the Pixel 3a, the Asus Zenfone 6 probably could've been a surprise hit in 2019. It packed an almost stock-like Android experience, the best processor on the market (back then), and a unique flip camera. We worried that Asus' creation could turn out to be a flash in the pan, but after spending two weeks with the Zenfone 7 Pro, I can confirm that it is an improvement over that already great phone. It comes with a higher price, though.