When Samsung announced the Galaxy S9, “that’s it?” wasn’t exactly an uncommon reaction. The Galaxy S9 is, frankly, kind of boring. But when you’re the most successful manufacturer of premium Android phones in the world by a wide margin, you can afford to be a little boring every once in a while.
Samsung knows this. As such, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don’t represent a sea change. Rather, they’re an affirmation of success. Everything that made the Galaxy S8 and S8+ great phones is still to be found here. Wireless charging, Samsung Pay, headphone jacks, brilliant displays, extremely refined industrial design, and IP68 waterproofing make these phones extremely feature-rich. Read More
The mid-range flagship market has been a heated place in the last few years, with OnePlus coming out on top and filling the void that was left by the Nexus phones (6 excluded). While it may be no shocker to anyone why this is, it also shouldn't be a surprise to see some of the big players in the world take notice of OnePlus' success in this space. Cue Hua-, er, Honor with the View10, a device aimed squarely at the 5T.
Until now, the View10 (also called the V10) was sold outside of the U.S. and therefore not really relevant in a competitive sense to us here in the States. Read More
Honor is back here at the end of 2017 with another budget phone that, for all intents and purposes, is a better bang for your buck than its predecessor, the 6X. The specs have seen a slight boost, but the biggest change is the addition of Huawei's FullView display. Yes, that's right: a budget phone with an 18:9 screen, something thus far uncommon. Read More
Asus has been busy in 2017, but amongst the madness that is the Zenfone 4 family, the company took some time to partner with Verizon to launch another device exclusive to Big Red. This is the Zenfone V, a phone that bears some resemblance to one of Samsung's older phones, but it packs 2016 flagship specs into a small, manageable frame all for just $240 ($10/month). Read More
"It's interesting." That's what I heard most often when I would show someone ZTE's bizarre dual-screen phone.
And, inevitably, "Who's it for?"
I never came up with a good answer. The Axon M is unlike any other smartphone on the market. Some people have made a point of likening it to the long-deceased Kyocera Echo, and while it is similar to that phone, the concept has evolved a fair bit. The Axon M is more mature, more considered, and more thoughtful - ZTE clearly spent time thinking about how a dual-screen phone would work, and how to minimize some of (though definitely not all) the pain points it would present. Read More
For years, LG's smartphones have always seemed to trail Samsung's in some crucial ways. Being direct rivals hailing from the same country, this must rub LG the wrong way. Samsung's OLED displays have always bested LG's IPS LCDs. Its cameras have generally been well ahead in terms of quality and features. Samsung was waterproofing its phones before LG was. Samsung Pay beat LG Pay. Samsung's Gear smartwatches have received far more critical acclaim than LG's Android Wear ones.
And when LG has been able to get features to market before Samsung - curved displays and wireless charging, for example - Samsung has become known for them, while LG gets little credit. Read More
The HTC U11 Life is one of two new smartphones announced by HTC today. I've been using it for over a week already, though, getting to know HTC's latest attempt to penetrate the ever-elusive premium midrange segment. At $349, the Life is positioned to do battle against the likes of the Moto X4 and, I guess, the 64GB Moto G5S Plus. That's really kind of it.
You see, here in America there are very few premium midrange phones on the market because, quite frankly, they don't sell. The reason they don't sell is simple: monthly installment plans make more expensive, better smartphones affordable for most people. Read More
Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company's devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you've read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company's phones yourself, you probably know what I'm talking about.
All of Xiaomi's phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI's issues here, if you're interested in details. Read More
The Galaxy S8 Active is the fifth Samsung S phone to bear the Active name, and it's easily the most refined take on the concept yet. Currently, the S8 Active is only available on AT&T, and that's the model we've received for review, but eventually, Samsung has less than subtly implied it will make its way to other carriers here in the US, as well to the unlocked market.
What's new compared to the outgoing S7 Active? Frankly, everything.
There are no more hardware navigation keys. The Active key is gone, too. It also doesn't look like it was styled by someone at the local army surplus, either. Read More
Google has partnered with another manufacturer to produce a phone with Tango on board, for better or for worse. Stepping up to the plate this time is Asus with the ZenFone AR. The first phone ever to support both Tango and Daydream VR comes in a much, much smaller package than last year's Phab2 Pro from Lenovo, and accomplishes both things in an arguably better manner.
The ZenFone AR comes with a pretty good camera, a nice Super AMOLED screen, Nougat, and the least offensive version of ZenUI to date. Unfortunately, it's the battery life that really drags this phone down. Read More