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Phone Reviews

98

Galaxy S8 Active review: A really rugged, really expensive phone

The Galaxy S8 Active is the fifth Samsung S phone to bear the Active name, and it's easily the most refined take on the concept yet. Currently, the S8 Active is only available on AT&T, and that's the model we've received for review, but eventually, Samsung has less than subtly implied it will make its way to other carriers here in the US, as well to the unlocked market.

What's new compared to the outgoing S7 Active? Frankly, everything.

There are no more hardware navigation keys. The Active key is gone, too. It also doesn't look like it was styled by someone at the local army surplus, either.

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27

ASUS ZenFone AR review: A decent phone, but Tango still fails to impress

Google has partnered with another manufacturer to produce a phone with Tango on board, for better or for worse. Stepping up to the plate this time is Asus with the ZenFone AR. The first phone ever to support both Tango and Daydream VR comes in a much, much smaller package than last year's Phab2 Pro from Lenovo, and accomplishes both things in an arguably better manner.

The ZenFone AR comes with a pretty good camera, a nice Super AMOLED screen, Nougat, and the least offensive version of ZenUI to date. Unfortunately, it's the battery life that really drags this phone down.

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64

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review: Massive phone, massive battery

It wasn't too long ago that I took a look at the Xiaomi Mi 6, a diminutive, power-packed device that felt limited and restrained by its software. But now we are taking a firm step into tablet territory (or "phablet") with this monstrosity: the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Following up on last year's Mi Max, the second version is huge, but it comes with an equally large battery that makes the phone almost impossible to kill, especially when compared to some of the top-tier 2017 flagships.

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105

Moto E4 Plus review: Dangerously close to the perfect budget phone

If you've read our Moto E4 review, you already know what to expect from Moto's budget lineup: reasonable specifications, bloat-free Android, and four-carrier compatibility in the US. All in all, it's a formula that we've found consistently puts Moto at the top of our recommendation pile in the entry-level to low-mid-range segment (including with phones like the excellent G5 Plus). Moto does inexpensive smartphones really well - aside from their lacking NFC in the US - and the E4 Plus is yet another example that sticks to a winning combination. Except, I'd argue it's even better than Moto's usual effort.

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80

Moto Z2 Force review: Focusing on the wrong things

Motorola kicked off the era of Moto Mods last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. The latter was only available on Verizon in the US, but this year the Z2 Force is coming to all US carriers. It's also the only flagship phone the company is releasing this summer—there's no regular Z phone at all. That makes the Z2 Force a critical phone for Motorola as it seeks to convince consumers and mobile carriers that Mods are a good idea.

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154

The Moto Z2 Force's 'unbreakable' screen may be a deal breaker

Motorola is set to launch the Moto Z2 Force in a few weeks on all major US carriers. Those carriers are doing their part to make the launch a success with various promos, but you ought to look upon these deals with skepticism. Our full Moto Z2 Force review will be ready in a few days, but I thought it would be prudent to expand on something I touched on in the hands-on: the ShatterShield display. I'm afraid this screen will be a deal breaker for many people. While it doesn't crack, there are plenty of other issues with it.

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40

Hands-on: Moto Z2 Force and 360 Camera Moto Mod

Motorola is now into its second generation of Mod-enabled phones with the release of the Moto Z2 Play a few weeks ago and now the Moto Z2 Force. As far as we know, there won't be a regular Z2 variant this year, so Moto seems to have split the difference between the last-gen Z and Z Force. The Z2 Force is a bit slimmer than its predecessor with a smaller battery, but it still has the shatter-proof POLED display.

We'll have a full review later, but let's see if this phone makes a good first impression. There's also that new 360 Camera Mod launching on the same day.

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70

Moto Z2 Play review: Not a bad phone, but still a step backward

Motorola began pushing its Moto Mod accessories last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. Those phones were underwhelming, but the Moto Z Play won some fans thanks to the incredible battery life, solid performance, and the lower price. It also worked with all the same Mods, if you were so inclined. Not even a year later, Motorola has kicked off the Z2 era with the Moto Z2 Play. It's available now on Verizon and (soon) unlocked from Moto, priced at $400.

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24

LG X Venture review: A very good mid-range phone that can take a beating

The budget phone space is incredibly competitive right now. The Moto G5 Plus is still king in this product category, but there are plenty of rivals like Nokia and Acatel selling great devices at inexpensive prices. LG has been making budget phones for a while now, but the X Venture is a bit different. The phone's priorities are durability and battery life, not specifications or performance.

After using the X Venture, I came away impressed. For $329, you get a decently-fast phone that can take a beating, all while lasting around two days on a single charge. It even has a few features you don't often see in phones around this price (at least in the US), like NFC support and a customizable 'QuickButton' that can open any app.

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88

[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

How little can you spend on a phone in 2017 and still have a good experience? Companies like Lenovo-owned Motorola and BLU are pushing the envelope when it comes to the budget segment in the US. But, even a dated flagship can outcompete almost everything in the current entry-level market, and right now you can pick up one of 2016's most overlooked examples, the Nextbit Robin, for around $130 from Amazon. We think that deserves a second look.

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