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. 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 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
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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