The Pixel 3a was Android Police's Smartphone of the Year, and for good reason. It marked Google's return to the budget phone arena, which it left after the Nexus 5X and 6P were retired in 2016. More importantly, the 3a is just a really good phone, with decent performance and one of the best cameras in the smartphone world.
In light of the Pixel 3a's recent update to Android 10, and the impending release of its sequel, we thought it was a good time to check in again on the 3a. In what will likely be a surprise to no one, Android 10 makes it better than ever. Read More
OnePlus came out of nowhere barely five years ago, offering a compellingly cheap flagship phone with... questionable marketing. OnePlus has grown up a lot over the years, and it's no longer reliant on unlocked phone purchases. Not only has OnePlus partnered with carriers over the past year, it has produced some of the first 5G phones in the US market. The new OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren has a mouthful of a name, but it's probably the first 5G phone that's even worth your consideration. Read More
Some smart home gadgets seem like solutions in search of a problem, shoehorning IoT connectivity into something that was working just fine without it — unless you're that one guy who really needs to talk to Alexa while playing the keyboard. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got the smart lock, an early leader into the world of the connected home that managed to reinvent a "dumb" product with some genuinely useful new functionality.
There's no shortage of smart lock options out there, running the gamut from fully integrated replacements to add-ons that quickly attach to existing locks. Read More
Graphene has been dangled in front of us for over a decade as a new, magical material capable of solving all our technical problems, while steadfastly staying out of consumer products. It's a materials science fact with the mythos of science fiction, but it's finally percolating down into stuff you can actually buy, like this portable charger/battery. Made by a Chinese company called Elecjet, the Apollo Max promises 37Wh (10,000mAh) of capacity, 100W charging, 60W discharging, and a 19 minute recharge time. Unfortunately, that last claim is just science fiction. Read More
Google's Wear OS platform is in a bit of a weird place. The operating system itself is still being periodically updated with new features and improvements, like the Tiles function that was released in May, but the third-party app library is still minimal, and Qualcomm has been slow to improve the underlying hardware. Still, Wear OS isn't going anywhere, and the closest thing to a flagship watch is the new fifth-generation Fossil Q lineup. Read More
If you haven't already bought a smart display and you aren't skipping out over privacy concerns, you really should pick one up. They're a lot more than just a "digital photo frame," providing all the same utility as a smart speaker, plus piles of extra interaction from a touchscreen. But you might want to be careful about which smart display you buy. Lenovo's newest Smart Display 7 might have an attractive design, but it's got piles of little problems that might make the identically-priced (and often discounted) Nest Hub a better choice. Sadly, it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Lenovo's previous models, either. Read More
Cloud gaming isn't a new idea. Companies like OnLive (RIP) have been trying to make it work for the better part of a decade. Google's effectively limitless resources and software wizardry make it an ideal fit to work the kinks out of such a complicated problem, and with Stadia, it seems it may have done just that. In my time with the platform, streaming performance has been wildly impressive — but lackluster day-one game selection and plenty of half-baked features make for a rocky start for the fledgling gaming platform. Read More
Qi wireless charging's popularity has seen an ebb and flow since the tech's introduction. After growing slowly but steadily for several years, it stalled for a while, but is seeing a resurgence now with many popular smartphone makers supporting the standard. Flagships from Google, Samsung, Huawei, and several other Android brands are Qi compatible nowadays, and accessory makers have jumped on the trend.
Beside wireless charging pads and stands, many have combined the convenience of plopping a device on a surface and seeing its battery fill up with the simplicity of magnetic mounts, to create a product that's nearly seamless to use. Read More
Google introduced the idea of a premium Chromebook (and a matching premium price tag) with the original Chromebook Pixel. Other companies have followed suit with devices like the Yoga C630 from Lenovo and some HP X360. In this competitive landscape, Acer has a compelling solution of its own: the Acer Chromebook 715. Acer's new high-end Chromebook sports an all-metal construction with MIL-STD 810G compliance, optional quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with up to 16GB of RAM, a full-size keyboard with a number pad, and an optional fingerprint reader. Currently, there is no other large Chromebook on the market that has those last two features. Read More
When you hear the word ”smartwatch,” the last name that probably comes to mind is PUMA. Despite all other major athletic brands having thrown their weight behind wearable tech — like the Under Armour Samsung Galaxy Watch, Nike Apple Watch, and Adidas Fitbit Ionic — PUMA has remained out of the wearables race… that is until the PUMA Smartwatch made its debut at IFA 2019 as the newest Fossil partner. I’ve been wearing the PUMA-branded Wear OS device for the last two weeks, and there are some things you should know before strapping one around your wrist. Read More