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Phone Reviews

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Moto Z3 Play review: An unacceptable price for a decent phone

Motorola has changed a lot since the days when it was a Google company. Ah, what a time that was! With the glory days of the Moto X long behind us, it's all about Moto Mods now. The company has just launched its first 2018 Z device—the Moto Z3 Play, and it's pushing the modular angle even harder. When you purchase the Z3 Play, you get a Motorola battery Mod in the box, plus support for all the Mods released thus far. Unfortunately, that's not as strong a selling point as Motorola would have you believe.

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Nokia 1 review: Stepping into 2018 with hardware from 2011

Over the past year or two, HMD Global has ushered a revival of the Nokia brand with stock Android software under the hood. But perhaps none of the smartphones it has released has been more reminiscent of the Nokia of yore than this Nokia 1 — a device that looks like it took a time machine from Espoo in 2011 to 2018, with a quick detour in Mountain View for a fresh coat of Android 8.1 paint.

The Nokia 1 was announced at MWC 2018 with Android Oreo (Go edition), a small low-resolution display, a slow processor, and 1GB of RAM.

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Alcatel 1X review: Android Go is a huge compromise in every sense, including price

Affordable phones will always be a compromise, but Google hopes it can make entry-level devices a bit better with something new: Android Go. It's the same Android platform you know and presumably love, but optimized for sub-1GB RAM environments. That way low-end hardware can have its own low-end version of Android, rather than suffering an OEM debate between shoehorning in the latest version to perform terribly, or an older version which won't be secure or feature-filled.

Enter the Alcatel 1X. It's the second Android Go device to hit the US behind the ZTE Tempo Go—and the only one you can actually buy right now—at a mere $100.

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Nokia 6.1 review: The best budget phone of the year is not without its flaws

The budget phone space is certainly filling up with some spectacular options. From the extremely capable Honor 7X to the newly-released Moto G6, buyers strapped for cash have several great phones to choose from. But as much as those devices have impressed us in the last few months, HMD Global's Nokia 6.1 has surpassed all of my expectations for a sub-$300 phone.

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BlackBerry KEY2 review: One of the most unique phones around comes up short of awesome

The BlackBerry KEY2 is a phone unstuck in time, marrying modern silicon and software with a look that recalls handsets from a good decade before its release. Models like the Priv and last year's KEYone have been fighting the good fight for physical hardware keyboards long after the rest of the world has moved on.

Now the KEY2 is picking up the torch (no pun intended) with its mid-range Snapdragon 660 SoC, relatively petite 4.5-inch HD display, and a new dual-12MP rear camera system. Pricing is up $100 to $650 this year, and it's available in July unlocked at Amazon and Best Buy.

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Moto G6 review: A predictably good value

Motorola's high-end phones have disappointed in the last few years, but its budget devices have offered the best value of any low-cost phones. We don't know how Moto's 2018 flagship story will shake out, but the new Moto G6 has arrived to (mostly) carry on the tradition of giving you a lot of phone for just a little money.

This phone makes several changes that I love, as well as a few that I don't. The Moto G6 has a slower processor than its predecessor, but the performance is still solid, and Moto's software impresses. You also get a Type-C port (finally) and a taller 18:9 screen, both features that were rare on budget phones not long ago.

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HTC U12+ review: No buttons, no sale

The U12+ is the latest high-end smartphone from HTC, and while the ‘+’ moniker may have you wondering where the “regular” version is - this is it: HTC is, for the time being, only launching a large premium phone in 2018. It packs the latest Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm, a large 6.0” Quad HD LCD display, and four cameras. It also costs a whopping $800, and you can only buy it direct from HTC or Amazon in the US.

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Nokia 7 Plus review: A flagship at heart, a midranger in price

It feels a little bit surreal to see the Nokia name become relevant again in the smartphone market. Two years ago, I had thought the beloved mobile brand that I grew up with was hopelessly lost, and yet here we are today, devouring every piece of news to come out of HMD Global. The Finnish company has been doing an excellent job of reviving the brand by sticking to a few core guidelines: good hardware, competitive prices, pure Android software, and fast updates. That bet has paid off so far and, with one full generation of devices under its belt, HMD kicked things up a notch with the announcements it made at MWC this year.

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LG G7 ThinQ review: LG needs to do some thinQing about how to stand out

A year ago, it felt like LG was at the forefront of the next big movement for phone design. After handset sales had been dominated by models with 16:9 screens for so long, the G6 introduced us to the brave new world of 18:9 displays. And in the time since, we've seen manufacturer after manufacturer update their own lineups with similar phones featuring ultra-wide screens.

So while the G6 had a pretty compelling hook, not only have a lot of other players embraced that new screen shape in the time since its launch, but they've also been iterating around towards the next big evolution in screen design — the notch.

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HTC's U12+ shows a smartphone company in free fall

It’s no secret that HTC, as a smartphone company, is hard up. And while the relative success of its Vive VR unit has warded off active ‘death watch’ speculation to date, there’s little doubt that HTC’s days as a smartphone maker are winding down. The company’s release schedule has become haphazard: it announced a “U Ultra” smartphone in early 2017 seemingly out of nowhere - that ended up being a complete flop. Six months later it revealed the U11 to largely positive reviews, but little in the way of consumer response. The “light” version of that phone, the U11 Life, wasn’t even worth a second glance, and now it seems HTC won’t even release a proper mainstream premium phone in 2018 at all.

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