Samsung's 2020 Galaxy S family includes three devices again, but they've all moved a bit up-market from 2019. There's no "e" variant this year, and the base model S20 starts at $1,000. Samsung understandably favors the top-of-the-line model, the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Ultra. This phone has all the bells and whistles including a Snapdragon 865, 5G (sub-6 and mmWave), and a revamped camera setup featuring a periscope zoom module. With all that hardware, the S20 Ultra has ballooned to 6.9-inches, and it weighs almost half a pound. By attempting to make no compromises, I worry Samsung has compromised the S20 Ultra itself. Read More
Last year's Samsung Galaxy Buds were, at the time, my favorite earbuds for daily use. They were comfortable, they sounded pretty nice, and the form factor was just irresistible, with a tiny case that charged by USB-C or Qi. For $130, you couldn't ask for much more. Samsung's back at it this year with the Galaxy Buds+, and while they're not a giant leap forward from their older counterpart, for $20 more, they're better in every way that matters. I think I've got a new favorite. Read More
True wireless earbuds used to be a luxury, and one that came with a hefty price tag. That's no longer the case with uncountable no-name companies selling mediocre true wireless earbuds on Amazon. The best audio experiences cost more, but that doesn't mean every expensive set of true wireless earbuds are worth it. Sony's $230 WF-1000XM3 earbuds are definitely worth the price, but I can't say the same for the new LG Tone Free earbuds. At $200, I would expect excellent sound quality, design, and features. These earbuds check precisely zero of those boxes. Read More
When the TicPods Free came out in 2018, they were one of my favorite true wireless sets, especially given the relatively low price of $130. Cheaper models were few and far between at that point, and you’d have to pay significantly more to get anything that sounded truly excellent. The market has been flooded with half-decent affordable options in the time since then, however, and the original TicPods didn’t stand up to the test of time all that well.
I've been looking forward to an update, and now the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro are upon us, the latter of which I’ve been reviewing over the past week or so. Read More
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.
The X2 Pro is the company’s first proper flagship, and it quickly grabbed our attention when it was introduced to the European market in October due to the insane spec to price ratio. Read More
Google bills Stadia as "one place for all the ways we play" — meaning on TV, desktop, and mobile. But considering Stadia's games aren't controllable by touch, playing on a phone can get awkward. Enter the Claw: a made-for-Google phone cradle custom fit to the Stadia controller. It's not great, but outside of Stadia's inherent drawbacks, it does facilitate phone play, and for $15, you might as well pick one up. Read More
OnePlus came out of nowhere barely five years ago, offering a compellingly cheap flagship phone with... questionable marketing. OnePlus has grown up a lot over the years, and it's no longer reliant on unlocked phone purchases. Not only has OnePlus partnered with carriers over the past year, it has produced some of the first 5G phones in the US market. The new OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren has a mouthful of a name, but it's probably the first 5G phone that's even worth your consideration. Read More
If you haven't already bought a smart display and you aren't skipping out over privacy concerns, you really should pick one up. They're a lot more than just a "digital photo frame," providing all the same utility as a smart speaker, plus piles of extra interaction from a touchscreen. But you might want to be careful about which smart display you buy. Lenovo's newest Smart Display 7 might have an attractive design, but it's got piles of little problems that might make the identically-priced (and often discounted) Nest Hub a better choice. Sadly, it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Lenovo's previous models, either. Read More
Cloud gaming isn't a new idea. Companies like OnLive (RIP) have been trying to make it work for the better part of a decade. Google's effectively limitless resources and software wizardry make it an ideal fit to work the kinks out of such a complicated problem, and with Stadia, it seems it may have done just that. In my time with the platform, streaming performance has been wildly impressive — but lackluster day-one game selection and plenty of half-baked features make for a rocky start for the fledgling gaming platform. Read More