Asus has been on a roll with its Android devices lately. The Zenfone 6 made headlines earlier this year for bringing flagship specifications to a sub-$500 price point, giving OnePlus a run for its money. Last year's ROG Phone, sold under the company's 'Republic of Gamers' brand, was also a pretty great device. Nearly a year later, Asus has followed it up with a sequel. Read More
Between my podcast and my various writing gigs, I play with a lot of new phones — about one per week, actually. Most of these are the usual sort of high-end stuff (both premium and affordable), some are specialized, niche products, and a few are mid-range devices. Obviously, my dance card is pretty full, so I rarely get the chance to dip my toes in the pool of oddball Chinese phones. I recently partnered with an online store for my blog and they offered to send me a sub-$300 handset of my choice. I settled on the uleFone Armor 6E, an affordable, ruggedized phone with decent specs — at least on paper. Read More
Motorola once held a practically unchallenged position at the top of the budget smartphone food chain, but increasingly capable competition from the likes of Nokia and a host of Chinese brands has changed the landscape in recent years. The now Lenovo-owned company has also lost its value proposition edge, with the Moto G7 not able to justify its $300 price tag and the recently announced Moto E6 arriving with a perplexing $50 price hike. At the same time, the brand’s high-end lineup is also in disarray — the Moto Z4 continues the focus on irrelevant Mods rather than genuinely compelling hardware. Read More
The Galaxy Note10+ is the biggest Galaxy Note Samsung's released yet (which tends to be the case every year), but I'll get straight to the point: it's quite possibly the one with the fewest differences from its smaller Galaxy S siblings, as well. Even size doesn't seem to be much of a differentiator anymore, as the six-month-old Galaxy S10+ is a scant few millimeters shorter and narrower than the mighty Note10+. This is where I've ended up after using the phone for a couple of weeks, and I just can't shake that comparison. Read More
Sony used to be one of the most successful mobile companies in the world, but it never really got into a groove as modern smartphones took over the market. Sony has been on a slow downward slide for the last decade thanks to a string of mediocre, overpriced devices and failing relations with carriers. There have been some bright spots along the way, though, and Sony has been focusing on the hardware more in recent years. Last year's Xperia XZ3 was an encouraging improvement, and the new Xperia 1 is better still. However, it's just not good enough. Read More
I’ll just come right out and say it: gaming phones are a gimmick. You can get 99% of the same gaming experience using a flagship without sacrificing other core functionality like camera performance. And don’t get me wrong—shoulder buttons, blinking lights, and other gaming-specific features are certainly nice to have, but hardcore gaming on phones isn’t a big enough market (at least yet). In reality, too few mobile games are designed to take full advantage of extra controls or 90Hz displays.
Before you reach for your pitchforks, though, there’s one area where gaming phones have been leading the pack lately, and that’s value—at least on paper. Read More
The LG Stylo series has been a staple offering at prepaid carrier stores for years. The stylus-equipped Stylo 4 received fairly positive reviews when it was released last year, and now LG has followed it up with a sequel.
The Stylo 5 impressed me with its good design and amazing battery life, but it has the same faults as many of LG's other recent phones — including a clunky software experience and no guarantee of future Android updates. Still, there's a lot to like for around $200. Read More
With the introduction of Plus models and decimals, HMD Global’s range of Nokia phones has taken on a somewhat bloated and hard to decipher form, far from the essential selection of handsets across various price points it started out as. With each new release, it gets harder for consumers to decide which budget phone in the burgeoning lineup is worth the money, which was no more apparent than when the Finnish company announced the Nokia 1 Plus, 3.2, and 4.2 at MWC back in February. The 4.2 appeared to be the most appealing of the bunch, and it went on sale in the US for $189 last month. Read More
Motorola promised at least three years of Mod compatibility when it announced the first Moto Z phones in 2016, and we're about to go beyond that with the new Moto Z4. Good on Motorola for sticking with it and giving consumers some confidence their Mod purchases would not be in vain. Although, Mods still don't seem like a worthwhile purchase, and even Moto is phoning it in with the Z-series. This is the first Moto Z that doesn't even attempt to be a flagship device—Motorola has essentially merged the Z Play and flagship Z-series. It would be easier if the Moto Z4 were an objectively bad phone, but it isn't. 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