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
At today's glitzy Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled a raft of new products, some of which are mostly aspirational for the time being. One device the company will hope to sell a boatload of in the coming months is the Galaxy S10e, a new cheaper variant in the popular series. It's a departure from the norm for Samsung, and a response to growing consumer unrest at the rising price of high-end flagship phones. It also serves to counter Apple's more affordable iPhone XR, obvious from the identical $749 starting price and variety of bright colors being made available. Read More
Nokia's nothing short of a legend when it comes to mobile phones, having been responsible for some of the most iconic handsets of all time. Over the years we've seen the brand change hands numerous times, reinventing itself and crossing platform lines in the process, but it's always been a survivor, managing to find its next niche. Most recently that's meant creating some no-nonsense, streamlined Android handsets under the direction of HMD Global. Now HMD is finally making inroads onto the US carrier marketplace, bringing Nokia handsets to both Cricket and Verizon. Today we're taking a look at what that Cricket option has to offer as we review the Nokia 3.1 Plus. Read More
Since Samsung unveiled the Infinity-O display, anticipation has been building for notchless phones with what's become known as the hole-punch camera cutout. The View20, from Huawei sub-brand Honor, was unveiled in Paris today for the European market after debuting in Hong Kong at the end of 2018. From a purely aesthetic point of view, it's certainly refreshing. The 4.5mm camera hole might not be quite as inconspicuous as Honor's marketing materials would have us believe, but it's got to be better than a notch, right?
The other major selling point of the View20 is that it's the first phone to ship with a 48MP camera sensor — the Sony IMX586 CMOS — with tiny 0.8 μm pixels. Read More