The original OnePlus Nord launched with much fanfare, promising a return to the flagship killing days the company had long since left behind. That first phone delivered excellent value for money, but subsequent devices in the Nord series have mostly left us scratching our heads (with the possible exception of the N200). Nord 2 5G is a true successor that comes at us from a slightly different angle. It’s the first OnePlus phone with a MediaTek processor and — at least on paper — it doesn’t seem to imbue the same excitement as its predecessor.
You don't need to break the bank for a pair of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. Hell, you probably won't even need a whole Benjamin. Aukey's Beyond ANC Hybrid earbuds, otherwise known as the EP-N5, only cost $59 most days and can be found for way less sometimes. But can your ears live with them? Check out our appended update below.
If you’re numb to the OnePlus-style hype train that precedes every major product launch — as we are — you may not have been following the incessant attention-seeking from Nothing ahead of its hardware debut. Rather than buy into all that, we’ve been waiting to see what they actually come up with, and well, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.
For years, a certain type of smartphone enthusiast has cried, "Why are camera bumps a thing? Just make the phones thicker and use the extra space for a bigger battery!" With the Pixel 5a, Google invites every single one of you to put your money where your mouth is. The Pixel 5a is a great phone at a great value, but the utterly insane battery life is the big highlight.
There have been a slew of budget and mid-range phones released with 5G support in the last year, and the $400 Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is one such device. It sits in between Samsung's A32 5G, and the almost-flagship A52 5G. This means there are some compromises, such as the screen's 60Hz refresh rate, but the phone does excel in areas like performance and battery life. You can expect quality software support as well as a pleasant and responsive UI, though the amount of bloatware included with this phone borders on ridiculous. The A42 is also in a weird place between two other mid-tier devices, both of which are arguably a better deal.
Smartphones are boring these days. Many are just the same variation of a glass sandwich with a front completely filled by a touchscreen and a back full of cameras. But in the past, phones came in many different shapes and sizes, and brand-new form factors used to be the norm. Specialty phone manufacturer Unihertz taps into this nostalgia to bring back something that we thought was dead: a Blackberry-like slab equipped with a physical keyboard.
Last year, RedMagic refreshed the RedMagic 5G as the RedMagic 5S, but there weren't many differences between the two, raising the question of why the 5S was necessary to begin with. This year, the RedMagic 6 is seeing a significant change with the looming launch of the RedMagic 6R. The 6R has slimmed down significantly while retaining the majority of its high-end gaming features. For $500, you get a Snapdragon 888, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, a quad camera, a 4200mAh battery that supports 30W charging, all in a package that's easily pocketable. The software still stinks, but there's no arguing that this hardware is a stupendous value.
Xiaomi offers a compelling flagship lineup with the Mi 11 and the Mi 11 Ultra, though its bread and butter remains the budget market. But the company can still capitalize on the excellent Mi 11 brand name to make its latest budget offerings more appealing, and that's exactly what it's doing with the Mi 11 Lite 4G, the most affordable member of the family at roughly $300.
Not everyone needs or can afford a $1,000 flagship phone, but how much money can you save before a cheap phone crosses over from "affordable" to "terrible?" That's a line in the sand that moves every year from manufacturer to manufacturer and person to person. For me, the 2021 A02s rides the very edge. This is almost precisely the minimum viable smartphone, but it's $110 brand new, and Samsung promises an unbelievable four years of updates. For the price, I don't think you can go wrong, but spend more for a better phone if you can.
Active noise cancellation is all the rage in the headphone space, putting a premium on the ability to tune out the world and focus on whatever it is you're listening to. But what if you'd rather do the opposite? What if what's happening around you is actually pretty important, like the sound of your kids trying to beat their record for consecutive days without household destruction, or the rolling-coal diesel that's about to turn you and your bike into a greasy smear in its blind spot?