For the first few years, Chromebooks were only worth buying if they were cheap as dirt. As Chrome OS has improved, so has the hardware. While Chrome OS is still more limited than Windows or macOS, there's an argument to be made for a nicer piece of hardware running Google's software. Not too nice, though. Chromebooks like the Pixelbook or Galaxy Chromebook are too expensive to be genuinely competitive. The Spin 713, on the other hand, is priced just right.
While flagships are getting ever more expensive, midrange and entry-level phones are giving us ever better hardware at the same affordable prices. The Xiaomi Redmi 9 is no exception and offers great value at €150 (or ₹10,000 as the Redmi 9 Prime in India). If Xiaomi had invested more in a better processor and less in the heavily-marketed but poorly executed quad-camera setup, I could recommend this phone with no reservations. As it stands, this phone is still a good option for some people.
As smartphones have converged on the "flat glass slab" form factor, companies like Samsung and OnePlus have risen to the top. Sony, on the other hand, has not. The $1,200 Sony Xperia 1 II is the company's latest attempt to sell you a phone, but it feels more like a vanity project for Sony than a viable product. It's got dazzling specifications, but that's not enough to make a phone competitive these days.
LG could use a win. While it once innovated with modular hardware and pushing the whole industry past 16:9 screens, it's been hard to find any unambiguous successes over the last few generations of G- and V-series flagships. That's not to say that they weren't decently good phones, but none really stood out — maybe the V40 was one of the best, but even then we couldn't recommend paying big money for it. Is it time to take things back to the drawing board?
Wireless headphones have been around for years, but they've taken on increased importance now that phone manufacturers are leaving out the 3.5mm jack. Companies like Sony and Bose have been cranking out great options, but most of those products cost $200 or $300. That money can get you a lot of premium features like active noise cancellation and high fidelity sound — but do you need to spend that much? The Tribit QuietPlus 72 headphones cost just $70 and offer some premium features like ANC and multi-device pairing. However, the construction is lower quality, there are no customization options, and the ANC is merely okay — they don't excel in any one area.
This story was originally published and last updated .
OnePlus got started with affordable so-called “flagship killers” like the OnePlus One and OnePlus 3. But over the years, its phones have become more expensive (as have most phones, to be fair). Its focus on getting more features and advanced hardware has increased too, though, culminating in the recent OnePlus 8 Pro — every bit a true "flagship," and with a price tag to match. Fans of the brand have thus yearned for a return to the alluring value proposition of old, and the company has finally obliged in the form of the OnePlus Nord.
Samsung has so many budget phones that it can be hard to keep track of them all. One of the company's more recent releases is the Galaxy A11, a low-end device with an MSRP of $179.99. However, the sub-$200 price bracket is a highly competitive one, and the Galaxy A11 is fighting the new Moto E, Nokia 2.3, and even other Samsung-made phones for your hard-earned cash.
The Galaxy A11 sits near the bottom of Samsung's phone lineup in the United States, alongside last year's Galaxy A10e and the Galaxy A01. It's a capable smartphone, but depending on what features you care about, there are better options out there.
Motorola took a few years off from making flagship phones, but 2020 was supposed to be its big chance to get back into the high-end. Well, it's a lot harder to sell a $1,000 phone in the midst of a global pandemic, but maybe a somewhat cheaper phone has a shot? The new Motorola Edge is the pared-down version of the Edge+ that launched a few months ago. Unlike that phone, this one is unlocked and has a Snapdragon 765 for 5G connectivity rather than the 865.
Bluetooth headphones are a dime a dozen, but good headphones — especially good true wireless headphones — are anything but cheap. OnePlus used to be known for its "flagship-killer" mantra, and now the company is bringing the same approach to Bluetooth headphones with its new OnePlus Buds. For just $80, you can get a good-sounding and very comfortable pair of truly wireless earbuds (or, more honestly speaking, AirPods clones), and they're easy to recommend.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Amazon's Fire tablets are popular for one, simple reason: they're really, really cheap. But what happens when you make a slightly-less-cheap Fire tablet? That's the question Amazon sought to answer with the Fire HD 8 Plus, a very-slightly-better version of the new Amazon Fire HD 8 last month, which was already a decent upgrade from previous Fire tablets in both hardware and software.
With the HD 8 Plus, Amazon attempts to bring some quality of life improvements like more RAM and wireless charging—a rarity in any tablet—to the table. Combined with the wireless charging stand that essentially turns the HD 8 Plus into a detachable Echo Show, Amazon has what to date is probably the best version of a combination tablet smart display (even if it's not amazing as either).