Spending $1000 on a smartphone is something we'd all probably have balked at just five years ago. How times have changed.
The Galaxy Note9 is Samsung's first mainstream handset to crest the magical four-digit mark, and I sincerely doubt it will be the last. Thousand dollar phones are the new normal, and for all that is excellent about the newest Note, that we've reached this point still seems fairly inevitable. Last year's Note8 was $930, this year's is $70 more than that - and it's easy to see why: The Note9 starts at 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, and packs in a larger 4000mAh battery. Read More
Motorola is still pumping out successful mid-range and budget phones, but a smash-hit flagship device has eluded it for years. The Moto Z phones with their modular accessories have potential, but consumers aren't running out to buy many $200 projectors or $130 photo printers. If you ignore the Moto Mods, past Moto Z flagships have at least been top-of-the-line phones with uncluttered software and modern specs. That's what makes the new Moto Z3 so perplexing. It's specced like a phone from 2017. Plus, it's exclusive to Verizon. Read More
There was a time not that many years ago when Sony was trusted implicitly by consumers all over the world. You knew if you bought a Sony product, you were getting the best, and people were willing to pay more for that peace of mind. However, Sony has struggled to find its place in today's hyper-competitive world, particularly when it comes to smartphones. Sony makes phones that are good in some ways, but the issues often outweigh the strengths. Through it all, the price is still consistently higher than competing devices. Read More
The Nokia 3.1 is one of HMD Global's newest budget phones, positioned between the Android Go-equipped Nokia 2.1 and the mid-range Nokia 5.1. The phone was announced in May of this year, and went on sale in the United States earlier this month.
All the hallmarks of recent Nokia devices are present, including great build quality, a stock Android experience, and good specifications for the price. HMD Global had to make some cuts to reach the sub-$160 price point, like dropping the fingerprint sensor, but I think the Nokia 3.1 is still a solid device. Read More
At MWC, Asus showed off its 2018 Zenfone lineup. Most of the attention fell on the 5Z and 5, with their display notches and fresh designs. Perhaps left to the wayside was the lower-end device of this family, the Zenfone 5Q (or Lite, depending on where you are). It doesn't resemble its brethren whatsoever, right down to even lacking a notch. Read More
Motorola has changed a lot since the days when it was a Google company. Ah, what a time that was! With the glory days of the Moto X long behind us, it's all about Moto Mods now. The company has just launched its first 2018 Z device—the Moto Z3 Play, and it's pushing the modular angle even harder. When you purchase the Z3 Play, you get a Motorola battery Mod in the box, plus support for all the Mods released thus far. Unfortunately, that's not as strong a selling point as Motorola would have you believe. Read More
Over the past year or two, HMD Global has ushered a revival of the Nokia brand with stock Android software under the hood. But perhaps none of the smartphones it has released has been more reminiscent of the Nokia of yore than this Nokia 1 — a device that looks like it took a time machine from Espoo in 2011 to 2018, with a quick detour in Mountain View for a fresh coat of Android 8.1 paint.
The Nokia 1 was announced at MWC 2018 with Android Oreo (Go edition), a small low-resolution display, a slow processor, and 1GB of RAM. Read More
Affordable phones will always be a compromise, but Google hopes it can make entry-level devices a bit better with something new: Android Go. It's the same Android platform you know and presumably love, but optimized for sub-1GB RAM environments. That way low-end hardware can have its own low-end version of Android, rather than suffering an OEM debate between shoehorning in the latest version to perform terribly, or an older version which won't be secure or feature-filled.
Enter the Alcatel 1X. It's the second Android Go device to hit the US behind the ZTE Tempo Go—and the only one you can actually buy right now—at a mere $100. Read More
The budget phone space is certainly filling up with some spectacular options. From the extremely capable Honor 7X to the newly-released Moto G6, buyers strapped for cash have several great phones to choose from. But as much as those devices have impressed us in the last few months, HMD Global's Nokia 6.1 has surpassed all of my expectations for a sub-$300 phone. Read More
The BlackBerry KEY2 is a phone unstuck in time, marrying modern silicon and software with a look that recalls handsets from a good decade before its release. Models like the Priv and last year's KEYone have been fighting the good fight for physical hardware keyboards long after the rest of the world has moved on.
Now the KEY2 is picking up the torch (no pun intended) with its mid-range Snapdragon 660 SoC, relatively petite 4.5-inch HD display, and a new dual-12MP rear camera system. Pricing is up $100 to $650 this year, and it's available in July unlocked at Amazon and Best Buy. Read More