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hands-on

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[Hands-on] OnePlus brings the limited edition Lava Red 5T to the U.S. and Europe just in time for Valentine's Day

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.

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[Hands-on] Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a solid choose your own adventure that gets the job done

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery may not be the first officially licensed Harry Potter game on Android, but it's probably going to be the most popular, at least until we see what Niantic has up its sleeve for its upcoming augmented reality title Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Only just recently has Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery arrived on the Play Store as a soft-launch title, which means it's getting close to an official release. But since there is still no hard date set for when that will happen I have decided to sideload the APK in order to see what it has to offer and share my thoughts.

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Honor View10 first impressions: An affordable flagship with AI-smarts that could be ready to take on OnePlus

Huawei’s cheaper sub-brand Honor held an event in London early December to announce the launch of not one but two new smartphones. Jordan has already reviewed the first of those, the Honor 7X, which impressed him as a contender to the Moto G5S Plus in the budget category. But Honor actually spent more time at the show talking about the View 10, its latest flagship device.

The View10 sports Huawei’s Kirin 970 chip, with a built-in neural processing unit that the company says can be used to learn your habits and improve your overall experience. Features of the moment such as face unlocking, an 18:9 screen, and dual cameras potentially make the View10 a compelling option in the affordable flagship category, where it slightly undercuts the OnePlus 5T at £449 in the UK (around $600).

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OnePlus 5T hands-on: The expected upgrade

OnePlus is no longer satisfied to launch just one flagship phone each year. Just like last cycle, we're faced with a new OP smartphone that's not entirely new. OnePlus has just unveiled the OnePlus 5T, and it's very much the phone you expected to see. That's not just because of the leaks—we all sort of know what to expect from OnePlus now. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Even with the small price hike, this still seems like a strong competitor.

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HTC U11+ hands-on: HTC steps into the modern smartphone era

Six months have passed since HTC launched its 2017 flagship, the U11, and although that phone was a significant improvement over the Taiwanese company's recent high-end efforts, some may not have thought it captured the imagination when compared to competing devices from rivals like Samsung and LG. There's plenty of work to be done if HTC wants to get anywhere near back to the lofty position it once held in the Android smartphone landscape, and an upgrade to the U11 six months later is probably not the worst place to start.

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Razer Phone hands-on: 120Hz displays on phones need to happen immediately

When Razer purchased Nextbit last year, fans were understandably concerned that the company might be gobbled up by the gaming-focused brand for its intellectual property and engineering talent, without explicit intent to produce another smartphone. Well, those concerns can (obviously) be laid to rest: Razer built a phone. And by Razer, I mean the former Nextbit team working inside Razer. It's called the Razer Phone. Creative, I know.

One look at the Razer Phone will have you saying "Nextbit Robin 2.0." The styling is clearly derivative of Nextbit's, down to the sharply squared-off edges and large bezels. But gone is the Robin's two-tone paint scheme, instead replaced with a black rubberized finish designed to resist fingerprints and add grip.

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Hands-on with Oreo on the Nokia 8: A mildly flavored Stock Android 8.0 version

I've had the Nokia 8 for a little over a week and have run Android 7.1.1 on it out of the box. Yesterday though, Nokia announced a beta labs program to test out Oreo on the Nokia 8 and I instantly jumped at the opportunity. After downloading and installing the update, the Nokia 8 booted into Android 8.0 and I started looking for the small changes that Nokia has implemented this time around.

Nokia uses stock Android and adds very few changes on top of it to customize the experience, and Oreo is no exception. The device feels like a Nexus/Pixel whether you're on the homescreen, diving deep into the settings, or checking out your notifications.

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SmartThings Link hands-on: Turning your SHIELD TV into a smart home hub

Connected home items are becoming more and more common, from light bulbs to doorbells and so on. Since the beginning of it all, I've really wanted to join in the smart home thing, mostly because I am lazy and want to control my house with my voice. Cost to entry has been rather prohibitive and I've always rented places, so I figured most of my options would be limited.

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ZTE Axon M hands-on: ZTE actually made a kind of good foldable phone

Foldable phones aren't new. In fact, Kyocera sold one nearly seven years ago on Sprint. It was terrible, but my point is that the concept is not novel, and companies have even gone so far as to make such foldable smartphones commercially available. They've been rare, of course, and probably for a number of very good reasons: they're hard to design, hard to engineer without compromise, expensive to produce, and of questionable utility in general.

ZTE thinks it finally has a foldable phone you'd actually want to buy, though - the new Axon M. Will you actually want to buy it?

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Hands-on with the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro: Plugged into the smartphone zeitgeist

In just a few years Huawei has gone from a brand unfamiliar to consumers outside of China to the world's second largest smartphone maker. Even if you've never owned a Huawei phone, there are people around you who do. The company's Mate 9 flagship launched in the US in early 2017, and speculation about the Mate 10 has been picking up recently. The phone has finally been revealed today in Munich—or rather, the phones have been revealed. The Mate 10 will come in two flavors: the standard Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro.

I had a chance to get my hands on the Mate 10 (on the left) and Mate 10 Pro (on the right), and one thing is immediately clear when you pick up these devices: Huawei knows how to build a smartphone.

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