Over the last six months or so, Honor has undertaken a rebranding exercise in part to give the impression of a more modern smartphone maker that appeals to a youthful audience and in part to distance itself from parent company Huawei. In view of recent political developments, it’s obviously hugely beneficial for Huawei to have a sub-brand that carries a different name and cachet, although they come as a package as far as Google is concerned and that looks like it could spell trouble for both.
Let's assume, for a moment, that it will all get sorted out (otherwise this review will have been a massive waste of time). Read More
The flagship smartphone space is getting pretty stale in 2019. LG and HTC are floundering, overall sales are declining, Google's Pixels are an expensive bundle of compromises, Huawei has left the high-end US market, and Samsung is... Samsung. There's space for disruption, and while we wait for other Chinese OEMs to join the stateside fray, OnePlus is making a big push to compete with the latest $1000 flagships. The only catch when it comes to its new OnePlus 7 Pro is that it costs $670. Read More
The Pixel 3a, Google’s new entry-level smartphone starts at an attractive $399, and comes in only two configurations: regular and extra large. The 3a XL is the phone I’ve been using for over a week now, and it costs a bit more, at $479. But that seems eminently reasonable for the larger 6” screen and 3700mAh battery the extra $80 net you. Otherwise, there really aren’t any noteworthy differences: both phones have 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM (yes, yes, I know), Snapdragon 670 processors, and identical cameras. And no doubt, many people’s first question with a cheaper version of any phone will be “what am I giving up?” To be sure, that’s important - and you can find the answers over here. Read More
Right now, the dominant trend in flagship smartphone design is one of refinement. Instead of aiming to sell shoppers on the appeal of tricks like modular hardware, or overloading a handset with gimmicky sensors, successful phones are instead trying to achieve the platonic ideal of basically existing as little more than one big screen. That's driven recent efforts like the proliferation of in-display fingerprint sensors, pop-out selfie cams, and the evolution of the notch to hole-punch designs. But you wouldn't know much of that, to look at the LG G8 ThinQ. Read More
Motorola started the trend of cheap phones that aren't junk with the original Moto G back in 2013. That was the first time you could buy a phone for a couple hundred bucks that would get you through a day without making you want to hurl it through the nearest window. The success of that phone led other OEMs to target lower prices, and the battle rages to this day. However, Motorola has moved the Moto G a bit more up-market. Each successive generation has been a little more expensive, but some premium smartphone features are still missing. Read More
After a period of what seemed like smartphone stagnation, we're finally seeing some weird devices again. With edge-to-edge screens, hole-punch cameras, and displays that fold in half being high-end oddities, Sony saw fit to shake up the budget formula, too, and plopped ultra-tall 21:9 displays in its Xperia 10 and 10 Plus. And while I applaud its efforts, being long doesn't save the Xperia 10 line from being terminally boring. Read More
The HMD-backed resurgence of Nokia in the smartphone market has been a real treat to watch. After years of watching Microsoft bungle its Nokia acquisition, the Nokia name is again emblazoned on excellent smartphone products. However, most Nokia phones have been toward the budget end of the spectrum. They've been good for the money, but the Nokia 9 PureView is a true flagship with high-end specs, a wild five-camera setup, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. All that, and it's a few hundred dollars less than competing phones. Read More
I reviewed the Galaxy S10+, and I had a lot of positive things to say about it. Epic battery life, an outstanding display, and performance that blew away almost anything coming out of 2018 set a new bar for smartphones this year, and I still think all that's true. But it's a phone with drawbacks: a fairly terrible fingerprint scanner, a very high price, and a bunch of secondary cameras that really aren't all that great, making them feel like afterthoughts. The standard Galaxy S10 doesn't really do much to redeem those faults - it's a bit cheaper, sure, but you take such a substantial hit on battery life that it's hard to say it comes with no tradeoffs. Read More
The Galaxy S10+ has the largest display, biggest battery, and the most base storage and RAM Samsung has ever fitted to a mainline Galaxy S handset. Its screen is the best and brightest of any phone on the planet, its processor the most advanced in any Android device, it has five cameras, and, oh: it’s really expensive.
Samsung wants a thousand of your hard-earned dollars for the privilege of owning its biggest, baddest Galaxy S phone to date. Knowing full well you’ll be able to get it for less than that in three months, this may seem a dubious proposition. But honestly? Read More
Nubia is finally selling a phone in North America. Sadly, it's not that wacky dual-screen device but the more modest Red Magic Mars gaming phone. We've talked repeatedly about how most gaming phones aren't any more suited to gaming than the competition, but the Red Magic Mars at least tries to justify the name with dedicated shoulder buttons and a custom gaming mode. Read More