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Reviews

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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 hands-on: A notch-hater's dream

It's been a strange year for smartphone design. The notch has infiltrated pretty much every major OEM at every price point, yet everyone seems to hate it (or at least those most vocal on the internet). Manufacturers keep plowing on, however, with even Samsung jumping on the camera cutout bandwagon ahead of the Galaxy S10 launch. If you're patiently waiting for the display cutout fad to end, it's good to know some Chinese smartphone makers have already come up with alternative solutions for bezel-free phones.

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Xiaomi Mi 8 and Mi 8 Pro review: Putting OnePlus on notice

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is a jack of all trades. It makes a variety of connected gadgets, including TVs, toothbrushes, scooters, and even kettles. Yet, we know it mostly as a smartphone maker, and it’s now the fourth-largest in the world. It’s reached those lofty heights thanks to a simple promise: quality hardware at rock-bottom prices, and its flagship Mi 8 lineup is a prime example of that.

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ASUS ROG Phone review: A few stumbles can't stop this gaming-phone heavyweight

Smartphones have achieved the ridiculous level of market penetration they have thanks in no small part to their universal utility: While in the not-too-distant past you might have carried around a separate MP3 player, game console, PDA, flashlight, and any number of other accessories in addition to your cell phone, having all this functionality baked into one device is what helps make the general-purpose smartphone so appealing. But lately we've been seeing the emergence of more specialized phones, and easily the most visible segment there has been hardware targeted at gamers. Today we're looking at just how successful one of those efforts has been, as we review the ASUS ROG Phone.

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Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 (7486) review: Finally, a big Chromebook with good hardware

For reasons unknown to me, most Chromebooks larger than 13 inches usually have extremely low-end hardware. The 14-inch Asus Chromebook C423 has a dreadful Intel Celeron N3350 processor, and the Acer Chromebook 15 has a slightly better Pentium N4200 CPU. If you've been waiting for a big Chromebook with decent hardware, Dell might have the laptop for you.

The 'Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1' is pricier than most other large Chrome OS laptops, with an MSRP of $599, but it also has the hardware to justify that price — a latest-gen Intel Core i3 processor, a 14-inch 1080p IPS screen, 4GB of memory, and a backlit keyboard.

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The Oppo R17 Pro and OnePlus 6T are twins separated at birth - but why?

OnePlus is something of a Cinderella story in the smartphone world. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, releasing a phone with numbers that matched the best the likes of Samsung and HTC had to offer - and did it at half the price. The OnePlus One went viral in a way few products do, and the rest is history (well, as much as four years can be “history”). OnePlus just keeps improving on that formula, most recently with the excellent OnePlus 6T, which I’ve had a chance to use for the last few weeks. And it really is a great phone - we even gave it our ‘Phone of the Year’ award.

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Essential Audio Adapter HD review: High-end sound for the PH-1 won't do jack to help Essential

Essential's PH-1 was criticized at launch for some valid reasons, like a mediocre camera, high price tag, and lack of a headphone jack. But great software and a falling price have earned it a small but impassioned cult following. Now the high-end niche phone from 2017 has a high-end niche audio accessory to go with it: the Audio Adapter HD. But a single-device, $150 external DAC/amp might be a bit too niche.

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Review: The Google Pixel Slate is a beautiful mess - but mostly just a mess

The Pixel Slate is, in a word, flawed. It’s not a very good laptop; the official keyboard case is nigh-unusable on anything but a completely flat surface, far too bulky for most airline trays, and the folding fabric kickstand can make balancing it a precarious affair. Nor is it an especially good tablet, with Chrome OS’s full-touch experience making it feel more like an unfinished software science experiment than a real first generation product.

Buggy Bluetooth, strange screen tearing, and frustrating tablet web browsing take what has already been a disappointing experience and make it downright frustrating. How can a product so closely related to Google’s wonderful Pixelbook - and in many real ways, superior to it - be so much worse?

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Mophie Powerstation USB-C 3XL: Lots of power for lots of money, but device compatibility is a deal-breaker

It's weird to think that there's a high-end power accessory market, but there is. Mophie pretty much dominates it with just a few special characteristics: a slightly more premium build quality, better materials, and high-end specs. Of course, Mophie's products also typically come with a sky-high price tag, and that's the case here with the Powerstation USB-C 3 XL. You get 45W of power on both USB-C input and output (with pass-through and different ports for each, too), a voluminous 26,000mAh capacity, and an exorbitant $200 MSRP to go with it. Unfortunately, it refused to work with any Chromebook I tested it with.

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Rowkin Ascent Charge+ review: Affordable but frustrating truly wireless earbuds

If you peruse our Winter 2018 Most Wanted audio guide (and you should — good stuff in there), you'll notice an unfortunate trend. With few exceptions, manufacturers of wireless audio gear seem timid about adopting USB Type-C charging. So I was excited to get my hands on the Rowkin Ascent Charge: they're fully wireless earbuds whose case is decked out with not only the increasingly standard USB-C, but also Qi wireless charging. And after using the buds for a couple of weeks, I like them a lot, but a few grating flaws are stopping me from loving them.

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Vinpok Split review: An undeniably neat and totally overpriced portable touchscreen monitor

Like an increasing number of people, I do all my work on a laptop. When I'm at home, it's generally docked at my desk, attached to a large, stationary monitor. When I take the show on the road, I find I miss the convenience of having two screens at my disposal. Less real estate to work with means more switching between tabs and windows, making for a workflow that's less productive overall.

So conceptually, I find the Vinpok Split enticing. It's a portable, 15.6-inch, 1080p touchscreen monitor that connects to your laptop over either HDMI or USB-C. I'm not the only one intrigued: the product's Indiegogo campaign, which initially set out to raise $5,000, has collected nearly $2 million since October.

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