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phone reviews

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Moto Z3 Play review: An unacceptable price for a decent phone

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.

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LG G7 ThinQ review: LG needs to do some thinQing about how to stand out

A year ago, it felt like LG was at the forefront of the next big movement for phone design. After handset sales had been dominated by models with 16:9 screens for so long, the G6 introduced us to the brave new world of 18:9 displays. And in the time since, we've seen manufacturer after manufacturer update their own lineups with similar phones featuring ultra-wide screens.

So while the G6 had a pretty compelling hook, not only have a lot of other players embraced that new screen shape in the time since its launch, but they've also been iterating around towards the next big evolution in screen design — the notch.

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OnePlus 6 review: The best notch Android has to offer so far

OnePlus got everyone's attention with the OnePlus One because it was cheap and powerful. Each successive OnePlus phone is a little more spendy, but it also adopts whatever hot new features are popping up in more expensive phones. OnePlus has gotten on board with fingerprint sensors, dual cameras, 18:9 screens, and now the OnePlus 6 fully embraces the latest smartphone zeitgeist. This phone sports a glass chassis and a display notch. Inside, it still has the top-of-the-line hardware and a clean build of Android.

If you don't like notches, this phone won't convince you to like them. However, it's the best notch implementation Android has seen thus far.

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Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review: The best gets (mostly) better

We were all a little concerned to see the Nexus program come to an end, but Google assuaged our fears with the 2016 Pixel phones. They weren't the prettiest devices on the market, but the Pixels showed what was possible when Google got serious about making a phone. These devices had terrific cameras and consistently fast performance—even to this day the Pixel and Pixel XL are robust experiences. They were not perfect, though.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are a chance for Google to address some shortcomings from last year while keeping the things that worked. Google has done that for the most part.

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Essential Phone review: Essentially okay

Anyone who reads Android Police probably has a good idea who Andy Rubin is—he founded Android before it was acquired by Google, and was in charge of the platform for a number of years. After leaving Google, he dabbled in a few ventures, as very wealthy people are wont to do. Eventually, Rubin started Essential, a company that has now launched its first Android smartphone. The hype train got started earlier this year when Rubin posted an image of the phone showing off its impossibly small bezels, but they hid the unusual cutout in the teaser.

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[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

How little can you spend on a phone in 2017 and still have a good experience? Companies like Lenovo-owned Motorola and BLU are pushing the envelope when it comes to the budget segment in the US. But, even a dated flagship can outcompete almost everything in the current entry-level market, and right now you can pick up one of 2016's most overlooked examples, the Nextbit Robin, for around $130 from Amazon. We think that deserves a second look.

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OnePlus 5 review: Proof that OnePlus is here to stay

OnePlus burst onto the scene in 2014 with the OnePlus One, a phone running Cyanogen OS with an incredibly attractive price tag. From the very start, OnePlus talked a big game and was sometimes annoyingly overconfident. The success of that first phone ensured we'd see at least a few more phones from OnePlus. There have been some ups and downs since the OnePlus One launched, but the trajectory has been upward overall.

The OnePlus 5 has the most refined design this company has ever put out, but at the same time it would be impossible to ignore the resemblance to the iPhone.

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Moto G5 Plus review: Still the king of budget phones

Motorola has gone through some big changes in the last few years; from its waning days of independence (with crummy phones), to the Google acquisition (with much better phones), and finally to being manhandled by Lenovo (with weird phones). One of Motorola's most important products through all of this has been the Moto G. The original Moto G boosted interest in budget devices by showing everyone they don't have to be terrible. Now, here we are with the fifth iteration—the Moto G5 Plus, a phone that can be yours for the low, low price of $230.

The Moto G5 Plus looks and feels more premium than past devices in the series, but it also comes with a few limitations that keep it slotted in firmly below the Moto Z family.

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Huawei Mate 9 review: Turning a corner

Huawei has become one of the largest phone makers on the planet, and it's done so without too much help from the US market. The company has dabbled mostly with mid-range phones here, including some from the Honor sub-brand. The Mate 9 is the first phone Huawei has brought to the US that isn't explicitly going after the budget crowd. It's running the latest version of Huawei's in-house Kirin SoC, has an all metal housing, and the Leica-branded cameras are present too.

The hardware side hasn't been Huawei's problem in western markets. It's the software. I've always had trouble using Huawei phones for very long because of the many, many annoyances present in the EMUI Android skin.

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Nextbit Robin Review: A Surprisingly Solid Crowdfunded Smartphone, But Not Without Its Flaws

We're used to crowdfunded smartphones being delayed into obsolescence by poor planning and over-promising. Coming from that sort of pedigree, the Nextbit Robin is already a success because it actually exists. This phone hit Kickstarter last year and raked in over $1.3 million. The promised delivery was January, and now it's out there just a little late. So, good on Nextbit for releasing a phone, but is it worth buying? Let's find out.

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