The Galaxy S6 was, by all accounts, a truly transformational moment for Samsung's industrial design. After years of building plastic phones constantly lambasted for their "cheapness," Samsung made radical changes in an attempt to completely redefine its smartphone brand. Those changes were generally well received, but it always felt like they stopped short: the software was still slow, bloated, and the battery life surprisingly poor. With the Note5 and S6 edge+ we saw significant refinement of that reinvention "moment," but not until the S7 and S7 edge did Samsung really build the concept I think they set out to with those first metal and glass sandwiches. Read More
If the G5 was the low watermark for LG's mobile division, you might think there was only really up to go for LG in 2017. The G6 can feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy that way: the narrative around the G5 was almost universally negative, and the idea that 2017 would yield a "comeback" product from LG seemed to become a given. After all, it was obvious what LG did wrong last year, so how could they not address these issues?
At the same time, we often find ourselves saying tech companies make a habit of poor product decisions year after year, so it's never quite a sure thing that a new gadget really will check the very-obvious-to-us boxes we've communally decided are so important. Read More
Motorola has gone through some big changes in the last few years; from its waning days of independence (with crummy phones), to the Google acquisition (with much better phones), and finally to being manhandled by Lenovo (with weird phones). One of Motorola's most important products through all of this has been the Moto G. The original Moto G boosted interest in budget devices by showing everyone they don't have to be terrible. Now, here we are with the fifth iteration—the Moto G5 Plus, a phone that can be yours for the low, low price of $230.
The Moto G5 Plus looks and feels more premium than past devices in the series, but it also comes with a few limitations that keep it slotted in firmly below the Moto Z family. Read More
When the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge launched in March of last year, they received fantastic reviews. Everyone, including the notoriously-critical David, raved about their fantastic AMOLED displays, water resistance, more grown-up software, excellent cameras, and so much more. Virtually any and all niggles that the Galaxy S6 warranted were fixed in the latest iteration. The S7 edge, in particular, received extraordinarily high praise for its gorgeous curved screen and excellent battery life.
However, Samsung devices aren't exactly well known for holding up well over time. With the highly-anticipated Galaxy S8 launch rapidly approaching, it's time to take a look at how the Galaxy S7 edge is doing, one year after its debut. Read More
Huawei is keeping up its attempts to break into the saturated U.S. smartphone market with its sub-brand Honor. It started with the 5X and continued with the Honor 8. The premise is to bring mid- or high-tier specs and slap them in a premium chassis, then sell it at a very affordable price. However, as good as those devices have been, their weakness has been the software (again). Read More
I've been using the HTC U Ultra for a little over a full week now. It's the latest "flagship" (I know, that word) from HTC, and the specifications generally would support such a classification. A Snapdragon 821 processor, 5.7" Quad HD LCD display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, f/1.8 rear camera, UltraPixel front camera, and USB Type C with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 round out the major talking points. The price tag, too, says "top of the line": you'll pay $749 for the privilege of owning a U Ultra here in the US, and that doesn't even mean four-carrier support - you're stuck on GSM networks only. Read More
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle created quite a gaping wound in the Android world. A lot of people loved that phone, some even ridiculously calling it "perfect." The recalls and eventual cancellation left much to be desired, an opportunity that Xiaomi leaped on. The Mi Note 2, the Chinese OEM's attempt to fill the void, is a big, beautiful, and powerful device.
OnePlus started its existence as a brash upstart, and today it's... a brash upstart. It is, however, a brash upstart that has produced a very good 2016 flagship phone. The OnePlus 3 and 3T are basically the same phone, but the 3T has more power under the hood and dollars on its price tag. Both phones offered similarly good experiences at launch, and now they're even better with Nougat.
So, how do these phones (specifically the OnePlus 3T) hold up? Quite well, but OP's actions in 2017 will be telling. This will be a pivotal year for the company. It could become a staple of the smartphone industry or prove to be just another middling player that will eventually fade away. Read More
Budget flagships are all the rage these days. After all, why would anyone pay $769 for something like a Google Pixel XL when similar or only marginally worse performance can be had from a $439 OnePlus 3T? The category has come a seriously long way since the Nexus 4 first pioneered it, largely thanks to loads of new entrants in the past few years from both new and storied nameplates. Read More
Hardware design is a tricky subject. Some companies take risks to define their own aesthetic, while others borrow, in varying degrees, the design languages of more popular brands. What I have in my hands is the latter; the Meizu Pro 6 Plus borrows heavily from Apple's style, especially when viewed from the front. Its software is also an attempt to mimic iOS, for better or for worse.
Overall, however, I find that this phone is the classic story with a twist. The Pro 6 Plus has some actually nice hardware, but the native Flyme OS is a mixed bag. I am not sure if this is a case of Stockholm syndrome or what, but I found that I could tolerate the software for the most part. Read More