In the last year or so, Samsung has started splitting up its flagship experience with new "Ultra" devices. At first, it seemed like these new, higher-end phones simply had more and better stuff to elevate them further, but with the new Note20 series, I think it's clear Samsung is intentionally making its base phones worse. However, the world of smartphones is lacking in absolutes, and I still think Samsung did a whole lot right with the Note20. Somehow the company managed to fit a huge and flat 6.7" screen in a phone without making it unwieldy or awkward to use. Battery life is also ridiculously good, and I even honestly like the matte plastic back now that I've used it.
Android 11 was released earlier this month, following the usual handful of public beta releases. Even though the release might seem iterative and unimportant on the surface, there are dozens of high-level changes across the operating system. Just like every update before it, Android 11 makes your smartphone easier to use and more powerful, even if only slightly so.
We covered many of Android 11's changes as they happened, but now that the release is out and the dust has started to settle, it's time to check out Android 11 as a whole. The exact experience will vary across devices, but Android 11 is definitely an upgrade you should look forward to, assuming your phone or tablet will ever get it.
Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.
Samsung's top-end phones are getting more and more expensive at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the fact that very few people bought an S20 during the series's launch window. Seeing the gap to fill between bargain-bin budget phones and outright luxury devices, this week, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. It costs $700 (currently $600 on sale), and it packs a ton of features we're used to seeing in flagships with very few compromises. This might just be the best phone of the year.
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.
This story was originally published and last updated .
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.
In the span of a couple of years, true wireless earbuds have transitioned from being a luxury purchase to a commoditized, affordable product. Even within the category, features like USB-C or Bluetooth 5.0 that were once only found on expensive models have made their way to cheap sub-$50 buds. Now, active noise cancellation is going down the price echelon and the Tribit FlyBuds NC are a perfect example. $60 for a pair of TWS buds with a good sound seems too good to be true, but in reality, the FlyBuds manage to deliver on their promise without much compromise.
It's rare that a battery has enough going on that it warrants a full review, but the Aukey PowerStudio 300 is no ordinary battery. For one, it's gigantic with a 297Wh capacity and more ports than you can shake a USB cable at. It's also lovely, which is not something I've ever said about a battery before. The power and functionality of the PowerStudio make it a great battery for long trips away from the power grid or as a home backup power source. Although, not everyone needs something like that, and the $329 asking price is steep if the PowerStudio won't fulfill a specific need.
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?"