If we're to listen to complaints about Wear OS, the one thing everybody agrees on is that OEMs should try new things. That's why it's interesting to see that LG's announcement of the Watch W7 instantly became the most criticized smartwatch of 2018 — possibly ever. It had an old chipset, a small-ish battery, and hands that obscured the screen. The watch was mocked so relentlessly, we had our doubts that it would ever come out.
But does it really deserve so much hate? There are certainly some compromises and problems, but when you start to consider that the W7 also comes with solutions for some of the common complaints about smartwatches, it might have some potential. I've been using the Watch W7 for a little while and I think there's actually a lot to like about this thing. Read More
I have been a user of Android Wear/Wear OS practically since it was released. I bought a Samsung Gear Live a few months after it became available, followed by a Moto 360 and an original LG G Watch. When those models became unusable for one reason or another, I purchased a refurbished Huawei Watch that I use to this day.
I've wanted to upgrade for a while now, but once rumors of a Pixel Watch subsided, I decided to get the first affordable watch with the fancy new Wear 3100 processor. That turned out to be the Fossil Sport, which dropped to $180 this past Black Friday. Read More
It's been a strange year for smartphone design. The notch has infiltrated pretty much every major OEM at every price point, yet everyone seems to hate it (or at least those most vocal on the internet). Manufacturers keep plowing on, however, with even Samsung jumping on the camera cutout bandwagon ahead of the Galaxy S10 launch. If you're patiently waiting for the display cutout fad to end, it's good to know some Chinese smartphone makers have already come up with alternative solutions for bezel-free phones. Read More
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is a jack of all trades. It makes a variety of connected gadgets, including TVs, toothbrushes, scooters, and even kettles. Yet, we know it mostly as a smartphone maker, and it’s now the fourth-largest in the world. It’s reached those lofty heights thanks to a simple promise: quality hardware at rock-bottom prices, and its flagship Mi 8 lineup is a prime example of that. Read More
Smartphones have achieved the ridiculous level of market penetration they have thanks in no small part to their universal utility: While in the not-too-distant past you might have carried around a separate MP3 player, game console, PDA, flashlight, and any number of other accessories in addition to your cell phone, having all this functionality baked into one device is what helps make the general-purpose smartphone so appealing. But lately we've been seeing the emergence of more specialized phones, and easily the most visible segment there has been hardware targeted at gamers. Today we're looking at just how successful one of those efforts has been, as we review the ASUS ROG Phone. Read More
For reasons unknown to me, most Chromebooks larger than 13 inches usually have extremely low-end hardware. The 14-inch Asus Chromebook C423 has a dreadful Intel Celeron N3350 processor, and the Acer Chromebook 15 has a slightly better Pentium N4200 CPU. If you've been waiting for a big Chromebook with decent hardware, Dell might have the laptop for you.
The 'Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1' is pricier than most other large Chrome OS laptops, with an MSRP of $599, but it also has the hardware to justify that price — a latest-gen Intel Core i3 processor, a 14-inch 1080p IPS screen, 4GB of memory, and a backlit keyboard. Read More
OnePlus is something of a Cinderella story in the smartphone world. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, releasing a phone with numbers that matched the best the likes of Samsung and HTC had to offer - and did it at half the price. The OnePlus One went viral in a way few products do, and the rest is history (well, as much as four years can be “history”). OnePlus just keeps improving on that formula, most recently with the excellent OnePlus 6T, which I’ve had a chance to use for the last few weeks. And it really is a great phone - we even gave it our ‘Phone of the Year’ award. Read More
Essential's PH-1 was criticized at launch for some valid reasons, like a mediocre camera, high price tag, and lack of a headphone jack. But great software and a falling price have earned it a small but impassioned cult following. Now the high-end niche phone from 2017 has a high-end niche audio accessory to go with it: the Audio Adapter HD. But a single-device, $150 external DAC/amp might be a bit too niche. Read More
The Pixel Slate is, in a word, flawed. It’s not a very good laptop; the official keyboard case is nigh-unusable on anything but a completely flat surface, far too bulky for most airline trays, and the folding fabric kickstand can make balancing it a precarious affair. Nor is it an especially good tablet, with Chrome OS’s full-touch experience making it feel more like an unfinished software science experiment than a real first generation product.
Buggy Bluetooth, strange screen tearing, and frustrating tablet web browsing take what has already been a disappointing experience and make it downright frustrating. How can a product so closely related to Google’s wonderful Pixelbook - and in many real ways, superior to it - be so much worse? Read More
It's weird to think that there's a high-end power accessory market, but there is. Mophie pretty much dominates it with just a few special characteristics: a slightly more premium build quality, better materials, and high-end specs. Of course, Mophie's products also typically come with a sky-high price tag, and that's the case here with the Powerstation USB-C 3 XL. You get 45W of power on both USB-C input and output (with pass-through and different ports for each, too), a voluminous 26,000mAh capacity, and an exorbitant $200 MSRP to go with it. Unfortunately, it refused to work with any Chromebook I tested it with. Read More