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phone review

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Honor View20 review: Flagship performance and photography for a more palatable price

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.

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Xiaomi Mi 8 and Mi 8 Pro review: Putting OnePlus on notice

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is a jack of all trades. It makes a variety of connected gadgets, including TVs, toothbrushes, scooters, and even kettles. Yet, we know it mostly as a smartphone maker, and it’s now the fourth-largest in the world. It’s reached those lofty heights thanks to a simple promise: quality hardware at rock-bottom prices, and its flagship Mi 8 lineup is a prime example of that.

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Essential Phone re-review: Good software isn't good enough for most of us

When it was first released, Essential's entry into the phone market was a bit of a flop. Reviews for the PH-1 weren't profoundly negative, but the phone's almost $700 price was humorously high considering its features and problems at the time. A bit over a year later, many of its early issues have been fixed or improved, the phone is one of just a handful to be updated to Android 9 Pie, and it's dropped down as cheap as $250 for Amazon Prime Day — though it's closer to $330 now.

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ASUS Zenfone Live L1 review: The best phone you can get for $110, but you shouldn't buy one (yet)

We've been critical when it comes to Android Go-powered phones in the US, but Asus' new Zenfone Live L1 is set to change our mind. It's the first genuinely good experience I've had with the platform, and combined with a Snapdragon 425, 3,000mAh battery, and price-defying 5.5" 720p IPS display, I think it could be the best phone you can buy for $110. At least, it will be once Asus fixes a serious issue it has with randomly locking up, which the company promises with a future update.

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Weekend poll: How do you like our new review format?

Starting with the recent HTC 12+ and continuing since then, we have decided to switch up our review format for phones a bit, breaking down the facts to be more direct and less prosaic. After all, brevity is the soul of wit (and tedious reviews the limbs and outward flourishes). Our original style for assessing hardware hearkens all the way back to 2011 and phones like the HTC ThunderBolt and Inspire 4G, but we know some of you may have grown attached to it. So, we'd like to know, how are you enjoying the changes in our review format so far?

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Alcatel 1X review: Android Go is a huge compromise in every sense, including price

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.

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BlackBerry KEY2 review: One of the most unique phones around comes up short of awesome

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.

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HTC U12+ review: No buttons, no sale

The U12+ is the latest high-end smartphone from HTC, and while the ‘+’ moniker may have you wondering where the “regular” version is - this is it: HTC is, for the time being, only launching a large premium phone in 2018. It packs the latest Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm, a large 6.0” Quad HD LCD display, and four cameras. It also costs a whopping $800, and you can only buy it direct from HTC or Amazon in the US.

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ASUS Zenfone Max Plus M1 review: A big battery alone does not a good phone make

Back at CES, Asus showed off a follow-up to the not-so-old Zenfone 4 Max, which was a phone that ultimately disappointed me. Attempting to capitalize on the love for big batteries, the Taiwanese company decided to spin off the Zenfone Max line into its own device family. These phones will offer large batteries and many of the latest smartphone trends for budget prices.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro (U.S.) second opinion: A great phone that probably won't make it

Huawei has had a tough time of things in 2018, getting the rug pulled out from under it just before it launched the U.S. version of its flagship Mate 10 Pro on AT&T. The blows just kept coming with Verizon pulling out of a deal, followed by "security warnings" from some of the American government security agencies. While all of the political mess is somewhat fun to look back at and is good for a nice chuckle or two, my focus here is on the phone itself, Huawei's centerpiece.

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