Motorola took a few years off from making flagship phones, but 2020 was supposed to be its big chance to get back into the high-end. Well, it's a lot harder to sell a $1,000 phone in the midst of a global pandemic, but maybe a somewhat cheaper phone has a shot? The new Motorola Edge is the pared-down version of the Edge+ that launched a few months ago. Unlike that phone, this one is unlocked and has a Snapdragon 765 for 5G connectivity rather than the 865.
It's counter-intuitive, but "budget" phones are harder to compare than flagships: Not only do you have all the models that launched at a specific price to look at, but there's the used market to consider, as well as older devices. You really need to know what your requirements are. But if you're on a strict budget and you need something new — not just new to you — then Motorola's latest E deserves your attention.
We're the Android Police, and Google's mobile operating system is our raison d'être, our bread and butter, the most essential and integral part of our site's very existence. Still, it doesn't exist in isolation. Apple's iPhones continue to dominate the US market, and the new iPhone SE might have some of us wondering if the grass is any greener with iOS these days. That's subjective, and I can't really answer that for you. But I can say that the 2020 version of the iPhone SE pushes its $400 price tag further than any mid-range Android phone, and in the last month, I've grown to appreciate its value even more — though coming from Android, it is a dysfunctional relationship.
Motorola was at the forefront of cell phones for decades, but it never quite found its footing in the smartphone era. Early hits like the original Droid and Droid X bring nostalgia, but are also a brutal reminder: Motorola hasn't really made a standout smartphone in almost a decade, unless you count budget phones like the Moto X and G series. Cut to 2020—it's been several years since Motorola even made a flagship phone, and after the disaster that were Moto Mods, it's taking a real risk with the 5G-equipped, Verizon-exclusive Edge+.
TCL has released plenty of smartphones under the BlackBerry and Alcatel banners, but last year's Plex was the company's first self-branded phone. Next week, two new devices join the young family: the super-cheap TCL 10L and the mid-range TCL 10 Pro. At $449, the 10 Pro gets a lot right — but unpolished UI and shoddy image processing hamper what could have been an interesting player in the budget space.
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With the Galaxy S20 series starting a thousand dollars, many cash-strapped Samsung fans are probably considering more affordable upgrade options this year. And apparently, Samsung anticipated this (and if it didn't, it sure knows now), as it's making more of its low-end and mid-range lineup available in the US than ever before. Not only did it give last year's S10 series a price cut while continuing to keep it on sale alongside the S20, but it also debuted the Galaxy S10 Lite in America, adding yet more choices to its growing smartphone portfolio.
But Samsung has dug even deeper into bag o' phones, with the mid-range and mid-range-plus Galaxy A51 and A71.
This story was originally published and last updated .
If you've never heard of a Red Magic smartphone, we're not surprised: the gaming-focused sub-brand of Nubia (itself a sub-brand of ZTE) doesn't have a lot of name recognition in America, or really anywhere. But this isn't the first time we've reviewed a Red Magic phone, and I've got something of a soft spot in my heart for last year's Red Magic 3S. As an everyday smartphone, it really wasn't fantastic, but its largely stock Android software and strong gaming performance at a seriously low price made it an attractive option as a dedicated gaming phone, for people who want such a thing (and I'm not sure how many such people there are).
OnePlus exploded on the scene in 2014 with marketing swagger not befitting its status as a startup that had never launched a phone, but the company has matured and proved itself over the years. You don't need an invite to buy its phones anymore, and it doesn't have to cut so many corners to remain competitive. OnePlus has even forged carrier partnerships in the US and been among the first to launch 5G phones. That brings us to the OnePlus 8, the followup to the OnePlus 7T, which is now official after numerous leaks.
Realme might be the newest and least well known of the BBK Electronics family that includes Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus, but it’s certainly no less ambitious. After starting out as an Oppo sub-brand it was given license to operate more independently in 2017, and since then Realme has sold so many devices that it’s now the fastest-growing smartphone maker in the world. Its foray into the European market only really began in earnest this year, but aggressive pricing looks to be to paying dividends as it goes after more established Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi and Honor/Huawei.
Google has been selling smartphones for more than a decade at this point, but it's only on the fourth generation of Pixel phones. The Pixel era is when Google got serious about building a cohesive product that married hardware and software rather than just a vehicle for the latest stock version of Android. With the Pixel 4, it's clear that Google has learned a lot from the last three generations of Pixels, but I worry it hasn't learned all the right lessons.