It’s no secret that HTC, as a smartphone company, is hard up. And while the relative success of its Vive VR unit has warded off active ‘death watch’ speculation to date, there’s little doubt that HTC’s days as a smartphone maker are winding down. The company’s release schedule has become haphazard: it announced a “U Ultra” smartphone in early 2017 seemingly out of nowhere - that ended up being a complete flop. Six months later it revealed the U11 to largely positive reviews, but little in the way of consumer response. The “light” version of that phone, the U11 Life, wasn’t even worth a second glance, and now it seems HTC won’t even release a proper mainstream premium phone in 2018 at all. Read More
The Nokia brand has been through an incredible transformation in recent years, under the guidance of HMD Global. Its products have received almost universal praise, so much so that we’re now at a point when I would honestly recommend a Nokia phone ahead of pretty much anything else in the budget-to-midrange space. Recent Nokia devices feel like they should be more expensive than they are, have a pleasing minimal design aesthetic, and — perhaps most importantly — they all run either Android Go or Android One, meaning they get fast updates and are devoid of bloatware.
With another $100 million of investment recently announced, it's hard not to look at the success HMD Global is having and wonder why more OEMs don’t go down the same route — the "pure, secure, and up-to-date" motto must really resonate with consumers trying to get the best possible deal for their money. Read More
OnePlus got everyone's attention with the OnePlus One because it was cheap and powerful. Each successive OnePlus phone is a little more spendy, but it also adopts whatever hot new features are popping up in more expensive phones. OnePlus has gotten on board with fingerprint sensors, dual cameras, 18:9 screens, and now the OnePlus 6 fully embraces the latest smartphone zeitgeist. This phone sports a glass chassis and a display notch. Inside, it still has the top-of-the-line hardware and a clean build of Android.
If you don't like notches, this phone won't convince you to like them. However, it's the best notch implementation Android has seen thus far. Read More
After numerous teases, leaks, and deleted Twitter polls, the OnePlus 6 is official. OnePlus has made a number of significant changes that its fans might not love, but the OnePlus 6 is very 2018. This device sports a screen notch, which is all the rage among smartphone OEMs. There's also an all-glass chassis, which OnePlus has resisted for years. This is still a OnePlus phone, so it comes with killer specs and a pretty reasonable price tag. Read More
Huawei has been on an upward trajectory for years, but 2018 has been somewhat less successful than Huawei would have liked. After being effectively shut out of the US smartphone market, it launched the Mate 10 Pro as an unlocked device. Now, it's time for Huawei's second flagship launch of the year, and this one probably isn't coming to the US even in an unlocked capacity. The new Huawei P20 Pro has a lot in common with the Mate 10 Pro, but there are several notable upgrades—or downgrades, depending on your perspective. Read More
Some six months after launching its late-2017 flagship, the very capable Mate 10 Pro, Huawei took to the stage in Paris at the end of March to show off the new P20 series. The spotlight was, of course, on the P20 Pro with its unusual third camera, but the little sibling was not to be left out. Though it lacks the tertiary sensor that's present in its larger brother, the "regular" P20 sports most of the same features. Read More
Back at CES, Asus showed off a follow-up to the not-so-old Zenfone 4 Max, which was a phone that ultimately disappointed me. Attempting to capitalize on the love for big batteries, the Taiwanese company decided to spin off the Zenfone Max line into its own device family. These phones will offer large batteries and many of the latest smartphone trends for budget prices. Read More
Huawei has had a tough time of things in 2018, getting the rug pulled out from under it just before it launched the U.S. version of its flagship Mate 10 Pro on AT&T. The blows just kept coming with Verizon pulling out of a deal, followed by "security warnings" from some of the American government security agencies. While all of the political mess is somewhat fun to look back at and is good for a nice chuckle or two, my focus here is on the phone itself, Huawei's centerpiece. Read More
When Samsung announced the Galaxy S9, “that’s it?” wasn’t exactly an uncommon reaction. The Galaxy S9 is, frankly, kind of boring. But when you’re the most successful manufacturer of premium Android phones in the world by a wide margin, you can afford to be a little boring every once in a while.
Samsung knows this. As such, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don’t represent a sea change. Rather, they’re an affirmation of success. Everything that made the Galaxy S8 and S8+ great phones is still to be found here. Wireless charging, Samsung Pay, headphone jacks, brilliant displays, extremely refined industrial design, and IP68 waterproofing make these phones extremely feature-rich. Read More
The OnePlus 5T has been a big deal for the Chinese company since the launch in November. Initially available in a plain old black, the 5T received a special Star Wars edition in December that was exclusive to India. That shortly arrived for the U.S. and Europe about a month later, minus the Star Wars goodness (that red Alert Slider, though). Now, OnePlus is ready to launch another previously-seen color for its Western audience. This is the Lava Red 5T... and it's a looker. Read More