Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.
Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini. Read More
On a fall day over eight years ago, I walked into an AT&T store in Davis, my college town, to see the iPhone 3GS. I held it, stared at it, looked at the price card, then back at the phone, and then down at the price card again. Reality began to set in.
I was locked into a contract with my Sony-Ericsson feature phone for another six months. I asked about early upgrade pricing - $200 on top of the $199 AT&T already charged for the phone - but I was a student, and my meager checking account balance could barely withstand the regular on-contract price and accompanying increase in the monthly service fee. Read More
The motives of many smartphone makers are somewhat opaque to outside observers, but OnePlus is as transparent as they come. OnePlus iterates its hardware relentlessly to stay on the cutting edge, and it responds to the community in a way most OEMs don't. If the smartphone market is trending someplace, you can bet OnePlus is going to follow, and it'll manage to do it all a little cheaper than the other guys.
That brings us to the latest phone from OnePlus, the predictably named OnePlus 5T. This phone is dropping just a few months after the OnePlus 5, so it's not surprising much of that phone's hardware has been recycled. Read More
Roku was one of the first companies in the streaming set-top box market. Over the years, it has released quite a few devices, ranging from Chromecast-shaped sticks to 4K-capable boxes. You may recall that Roku revamped its lineup last month, and now sells five different products for different use cases.
The original Streaming Stick was released in 2012, and while it received generally favorable reviews, the requirement of MHL-enabled TVs (to draw power) and the poor performance were major drawbacks. An updated model with a microUSB power connector was released in 2014 to positive reviews. Roku replaced it again in 2016 with a smaller and more compact version. Read More
Confused nostalgia. It's hard to find another way to describe my feeling right now as I sit down to write this Nokia 8 review. For those who don't know my history, my career covering mobile devices started with a personal blog in 2006 and a Nokia 3250 XpressMusic. For several years, I was Dotsisx (.sisx), a nickname that evokes how much I was involved with the Symbian OS. I reviewed phones, I covered events, I spent hours daily looking for the best apps and games. Even when the first iPhone launched and Android started making waves, I was a Symbian user through and through. Read More
"It's interesting." That's what I heard most often when I would show someone ZTE's bizarre dual-screen phone.
And, inevitably, "Who's it for?"
I never came up with a good answer. The Axon M is unlike any other smartphone on the market. Some people have made a point of likening it to the long-deceased Kyocera Echo, and while it is similar to that phone, the concept has evolved a fair bit. The Axon M is more mature, more considered, and more thoughtful - ZTE clearly spent time thinking about how a dual-screen phone would work, and how to minimize some of (though definitely not all) the pain points it would present. Read More
OnePlus is no longer satisfied to launch just one flagship phone each year. Just like last cycle, we're faced with a new OP smartphone that's not entirely new. OnePlus has just unveiled the OnePlus 5T, and it's very much the phone you expected to see. That's not just because of the leaks—we all sort of know what to expect from OnePlus now. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Even with the small price hike, this still seems like a strong competitor. Read More
The Pixel Buds mark Google's first foray into personal wireless audio. I won't make you wait: it's not gone well. Read More
Huawei isn't a widely known name in the US market, but that hasn't stopped the Chinese company from becoming the second largest smartphone maker on the planet. As its fortunes have risen, so has the quality of the hardware. Last year's Mate 9 was a reliable phone, and Huawei's revamped Nougat version of Android eliminated many of the pain points from its past devices.
Now, we've got the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro on the horizon. The Mate 10 Pro, which is the phone we'll be talking about today, is the more expensive of the two. Despite being called "Pro," it lacks some of the features power users have come to expect like a microSD card, headphone jack, and 1440p display. Read More
For years, LG's smartphones have always seemed to trail Samsung's in some crucial ways. Being direct rivals hailing from the same country, this must rub LG the wrong way. Samsung's OLED displays have always bested LG's IPS LCDs. Its cameras have generally been well ahead in terms of quality and features. Samsung was waterproofing its phones before LG was. Samsung Pay beat LG Pay. Samsung's Gear smartwatches have received far more critical acclaim than LG's Android Wear ones.
And when LG has been able to get features to market before Samsung - curved displays and wireless charging, for example - Samsung has become known for them, while LG gets little credit. Read More