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Reviews

63

The Xperia 1 is Sony's best phone yet, but it struggles to justify the exorbitant price

Sony used to be one of the most successful mobile companies in the world, but it never really got into a groove as modern smartphones took over the market. Sony has been on a slow downward slide for the last decade thanks to a string of mediocre, overpriced devices and failing relations with carriers. There have been some bright spots along the way, though, and Sony has been focusing on the hardware more in recent years. Last year's Xperia XZ3 was an encouraging improvement, and the new Xperia 1 is better still. However, it's just not good enough.

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164

The Moto Z4 is tragically boring and behind the times

Motorola promised at least three years of Mod compatibility when it announced the first Moto Z phones in 2016, and we're about to go beyond that with the new Moto Z4. Good on Motorola for sticking with it and giving consumers some confidence their Mod purchases would not be in vain. Although, Mods still don't seem like a worthwhile purchase, and even Moto is phoning it in with the Z-series. This is the first Moto Z that doesn't even attempt to be a flagship device—Motorola has essentially merged the Z Play and flagship Z-series. It would be easier if the Moto Z4 were an objectively bad phone, but it isn't.

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8

Moshi Symbus Q review: Too simple for its own good

I'm a sucker for simplicity. It's one of the things I love so much about USB-C: it's one port that does everything. So I was excited to get my hands on Moshi's Symbus Q, a USB-C docking station that also promised to replace the Qi charging pad I keep on my desk. But with limited port selection and no active or even passive ventilation to keep it cool, I think the Symbus Q is a little too simple to recommend.

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16

Arlo Ultra review: A good security camera with a bad price

You've got numerous choices in connected some security cameras these days, but almost all of them require wires. Running a camera solely on batteries introduces a lot of uncertainty. Will it last long enough? Will it wake up reliably? Arlo, a former Netgear subsidiary, has released several battery-powered cameras that bested the competition, but the new Arlo Ultra is a tougher sell.

This 4K camera has a high upfront cost and higher monthly fees than other devices, but the performance is admittedly impressive. The video is incredible, and the addition of a spotlight is genuinely helpful. After some software updates, the Arlo Ultra is a good product with similar reliability to Arlo's past cameras.

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34

Review: The Honor 20 Pro is a stripped down Huawei P30 Pro — in all the right ways

Over the last six months or so, Honor has undertaken a rebranding exercise in part to give the impression of a more modern smartphone maker that appeals to a youthful audience and in part to distance itself from parent company Huawei. In view of recent political developments, it’s obviously hugely beneficial for Huawei to have a sub-brand that carries a different name and cachet, although they come as a package as far as Google is concerned and that looks like it could spell trouble for both.

Let's assume, for a moment, that it will all get sorted out (otherwise this review will have been a massive waste of time).

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46

Wyze Sense review: An incredible home security value

We've covered various connected home security systems from the likes of Nest and Ring, but these systems can cost hundreds of dollars. That's just for a starter kit, too. You might get north of a grand before all your doors and windows are linked up. Enter Wyze, which has made a name selling ultra-cheap security cameras. The new Wyze Sense system costs a mere $20, and pairs with your existing Wyze cameras.

It would be unreasonable to expect the same performance from Wyze Sense that you'd get from something like Nest Secure, and indeed, it's not that powerful. However, you do get a surprising amount of functionality for chump change.

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11

Choetech's five-coil wireless charging pad can fill up two devices at once

Wireless chargers are defined by their simplicity; just set your phone down and bam, it's charging. With five charging coils to provide more usable surface area than most others, Choetech's Dual Wireless charging pad is particularly easy to use, even by Qi standards — and it's one of my favorite charging accessories in a long time.

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20

The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 is pricey, flawed, and a joy to use

Premium Chromebooks are a niche product category; most Chromebooks in any price range can do pretty much all the same things. The difference comes in how well a particular device handles those tasks — and while HP's Chromebook x360 14 G1 is unlikely to convert anyone already against high-end Chrome OS devices on principle, it's an extremely competent laptop that's worth a look for anybody interested in a quality Chrome machine.

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31

The Soundcore Liberty Neo finally bring decent audio to cheap true wireless earbuds

Only two months have passed since we reviewed the Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds and now we’re taking a look at — or listen to — the Liberty Neo. Neither set is to be confused with the Liberty earbud range from another Anker sub-brand called Zolo. Why Soundcore needs two distinct but similarly priced models is the first question I pondered. The Liberty Neo (MSRP $60/£58) and Liberty Air (MSRP $80/£80) both feature graphene-coated drivers, Bluetooth 5, and IPX5 sweat resistance, but there are also a few key differences to justify the separate SKUs and price variance.

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105

The LG G8 is a good phone that can't escape some of the bad ideas behind it

Right now, the dominant trend in flagship smartphone design is one of refinement. Instead of aiming to sell shoppers on the appeal of tricks like modular hardware, or overloading a handset with gimmicky sensors, successful phones are instead trying to achieve the platonic ideal of basically existing as little more than one big screen. That's driven recent efforts like the proliferation of in-display fingerprint sensors, pop-out selfie cams, and the evolution of the notch to hole-punch designs. But you wouldn't know much of that, to look at the LG G8 ThinQ.

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