Items tagged with review

When Samsung first introduced its new Galaxy S21 5G line-up, the company took a similar good, better, best approach to its previous generation launch. Like the Galaxy S20, the new Galaxy S21 lineup consists of a base device, a mid-tier device and a top-end model, though all of them can be considered "flagship" phones among Samsung's large and varied handset product offerings. However, for the Galaxy S21 launch, it was clear that Samsung was more focused on value at all tiers this time around, with pricing starting at $799 and topping out $1199 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, representing a $200 price cut across the board versus its previous generation Galaxy S20 family. What's even more exciting... Read more...
ADATA has been consistently expanding its line-up of XPG, or Xtreme Performance Gaming branded hardware, targeting PC enthusiasts and gamers. The XPG family now consists of everything from micoSDXC cards all the way on up to full gaming systems and notebooks. XPG's SSDs (Solid State Drives), however, are arguably the most extensive array of products in the company's portfolio. ADATA has a myriad of XPG SSDs available, at a wide variety of price points and performance levels. The two drives we’ll be showing you here today, the new ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 and XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite, are both bleeding-edge PCI Express 4.0 NVMe drives, packing some of Micron’s latest TLC NAND. The ADATA... Read more...
One positive trend in 2020 was that of affordable mid-range 5G-capable smartphones, with devices like the OnePlus Nord, Moto One 5G, Pixel 4a 5G, TCL 10 5G UW, and Realme 7 5G, all costing less than $500 and packing decent specs -- including reasonably quick SoCs, multiple rear cameras, and even high refresh-rate displays. Thankfully, 2021 is looking even more promising, and January isn’t even over yet. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G ($299, Snapdragon 690) recently landed in the US, and Moto just launched the Moto One 5G Ace ($399, Snapdragon 750G), a detuned and unlocked variant of last year’s AT&T and Verizon-exclusive Moto One 5G ($445, Snapdragon 765). So, how do the Moto One 5G... Read more...
Intel's Tiger Lake mobile platform came out of the gate swinging, with excellent performance and improved power efficiency. The early Core i7-1185G7 development platform we evaluated set several mobile processor records in our benchmarks, and retail notebooks were just as strong when they arrived. So far we've reviewed two such notebooks from ASUS and Dell, but both of those targeted the 2-in-1 segment and commanded a bit of premium as a result, due to their smaller sizes and expanded feature sets. For folks who don't mind (or rather, prefer) the traditional clamshell form factor, and would like to save a couple hundred bucks, MSI has a solution in its new Prestige 14 EVO laptop.  MSI's... Read more...
Samsung is expanding their line-up of SATA-based solid state drives, with a new series of products designed to balance performance and capacity. A few months back, the company launched the SSD 870 QVO series of drives, based on QLC, or quad-level cell, V-NAND. These new Samsung drives launching today – the Samsung SSD 870 EVO series – are similar in many regards, but EVO SSDs feature Samsung’s latest TLC (triple level cell) V-NAND, with the commensurate firmware to match. These new TLC-based drives also offer slightly higher performance than their QLC-based predecessors, with longer warranties and better endurance ratings as well. Take a look at the Samsung SSD 870 EVO series’... Read more...
First announced back in September, we've now gotten a chance to test drive the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3. Samsung's new Android slate manages to fill a rather specific niche for those that require the versatility of small tablet, but also need something that is rugged enough to be used outdoors and won’t be affected if it takes a quick dip. The Galaxy Tab Active3 meets these requirements while also boasting support for touch input with gloved hands, which is plus for some the market segments that Samsung is targeting with this tablet. We took a look at the Galaxy Tab Active Pro in June but the Tab Active3 is dialed-up even more robustly, perhaps. Samsung sees the Galaxy Tab Active3... Read more...
The Nokia 8 V 5G UW is a relatively expensive mid-range phone from a storied brand that’s been trying to make a comeback into the US market. Essentially, it is Verizon’s mmWave 5G version of the global Nokia 8.3 5G, a Snapdragon 765G-based handset that was announced back in March but shipped in September -- by which time it had to contend with some stiff competition. This is our quick-take review of this new option from Nokia in the US. At 171.9 x 78.6 x 9mm and 230g -- and with a large 6.81-inch screen -- the Nokia 8 V (for short) is a big and heavier phone. It feels substantial but looks pretty generic. Its build quality is high, but while the rear is shimmery glass, the mid-frame... Read more...
As time goes on, Intel's 10-nanometer Tiger Lake processors will pounce on more laptop designs, given that it has only been a handful of weeks since the chip maker launched its latest mobile CPUs (which replace Ice Lake). Lenovo was quick out of the gate, however, and the company sent us an interesting sub-$1,000 Tiger Lake configuration from its rather plentiful 2-in-1 lineup. Specifically, the Lenovo Yoga 7i that arrived on our doorstep, and it's a flexible 14-inch convertible which is also the first to land in our lab armed with an 11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 processor in tow. Our dalliances with Intel's Tiger Lake platform up to this point have been encounters with higher end SKUs, including... Read more...
Affordable 5G phones are all the rage right now, with devices like the Moto One 5G here in the US, and in markets like Europe and India with the OnePlus Nord. But while prices are dropping rapidly, corners are getting cut -- like we saw with the lack-luster €349/£329 OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Enter the €279/£279 ($370) Realme 7 5G, a MediaTek Dimensity 800U-powered 5G handset that punches way above its weight class, and gives its OnePlus Nord N10 5G cousin a run for the money. Here’s our quick take on this sleeper alternative Android value phone. Realme 7 5G Hardware And Design It’s impossible to review the Realme 7 5G without comparing it to the OnePlus Nord... Read more...
LG is a bit like that quiet loner in high school -- often misunderstood, but sometimes brilliant. Take the company’s 2020 smartphone lineup for example. At the top, it consists of the $700+ LG V60 ThinQ 5G, a competent affordable flagship, and the $600+ LG Velvet, a stylish premium mid-ranger. These are good phones by any measure, but they’re often outclassed by the competition, and don't have many stand-out features -- optional dual-screen case aside. Which brings us to the $1000 LG Wing, the first handset born from the company’s Explorer Project. The LG Wing's main display can swivel 90 degrees to reveal another (half) display, transforming from a normal phone... Read more...
Intel's 10-nanometer Tiger Lake processors have one of the fastest CPU architectures available in Windows notebooks today. That's not to say they've got the fastest overall CPUs, though. There are competing mobile processors available with more cores and support for additional threads that are better suited for complex, multi-threaded tasks. It does, however, mean that right now Intel's single-threaded performance in Windows notebooks is king. It only makes sense, then, that Dell would want to bring Tiger Lake to its XPS 13 2-in-1 family as quickly as possible, because fast single-thread performance translates into a snappy, response experience, which is something everyone wants. The world's... Read more...
A few months back, we took DJI's Mavic Air 2 for a test flight and came away impressed with its performance, overall photo/video capabilities, and its ability to stay aloft for a half hour or more. Today, DJI is back again with another new drone, and this one will go a lot easier on your wallet than the Mavic Air 2. We're talking of course about the Mini 2; the "Mavic" portion of its name has been dropped with this generation. The Mini 2 retains the compact, lightweight form-factor of the Mavic Mini, weighing in at just 249 grams. This allows the Mini 2 to continue to skirt Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that require drones that are 250 grams or heavier to be registered.... Read more...
It’s been a busy, transformative year for OnePlus. After releasing the $699 OnePlus 8 and $899 OnePlus 8 Pro flagship back in April, it launched the €399 OnePlus Nord mid-range device in July, and the $749 OnePlus 8T in October. We were very impressed with the Nord, but it wasn’t destined for our shores. OnePlus promised to remedy this by introducing a variant of the Nord for the US market, which brings us to today’s phone. Behold the €349 ($415) OnePlus Nord N10 5G. It’s a completely different 5G handset from the original Nord that swaps the Snapdragon 765G for a Snapdragon 690, and the 6.44-inch AMOLED screen for a 6.49-inch IPS display. OnePlus sent us a European... Read more...
AMD made some bold claims when it unveiled the Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 series during its event early last month. Terms like “historic IPC uplift”, “fastest for gamers”, and “leading power efficiency” -- among a few other superlatives -- were bandied about with impunity. Over the course of the announcement, however, as AMD disclosed actual performance data and ran a few live demos, it became clear the company wasn’t kidding. If all of AMD’s claims proved true, the Ryzen 5000 series would be poised to lead the industry in content creation and gaming workloads, single- and multi-core performance, process technology, and power efficiency. They say, “You... Read more...
Back in April, OnePlus wowed us with the $899 OnePus 8 Pro -- its first bonafide flagship. We were less enamored with the $699 OnePlus 8, which -- while still being a great phone -- cut a few too many corners (no telephoto, no wireless charging), and cost too much for an affordable flagship. Then in July, the €399 OnePlus Nord rekindled our excitement by redefining the premium mid-range handset. It just wasn’t destined for the US -- yet. Which brings us to today’s $749 OnePlus 8T, the direct successor to the OnePlus 8. It comes with more base RAM/storage (12/256GB), a flatter 120Hz screen, a better 5MP macro, a larger 4500mAh battery, and faster 65W charging. But is all this... Read more...
Moto is on a tear with new releases lately. So far in 2020, the company has launched 21 handsets globally, and nine in the US alone -- namely the G Stylus, G Power, Edge+, Edge, G Fast, E (2020), One Fusion+, One 5G, and Razr 5G. And that’s without counting phones rebranded for T-Mobile, including the $400 REVVL 5G -- a detuned version of the subject of today’s review, the $445 Moto One 5G. This let’s-see-what-sticks strategy is confusing, to say the least. While the Razr 5G, Edge+ and Edge fit into well defined categories, these other handsets (especially the sub-$270 E- and G-series) overlap in terms of specs and pricing, and often lack must-have features like NFC. Combine... Read more...
It’s been a rough few years for LG. The company has experienced steadily diminishing phone sales and market share as of late. Yet not too long ago, it was hot on the heels of fellow Korean giant Samsung. Over the last decade, LG even brought us many features and innovations we take for granted today, like the first QuadHD screen (LG G3 - 2014), the first ultrawide camera (LG G5 - 2016), and the first 18:9 aspect ratio display (LG G6 - 2017). The G6, and the LG V30 that followed later that year, established LG’s fresh (at the time) new aluminum and glass sandwich design, which is still evident in the company’s latest flagship, the V60 ThinQ 5G. Unfortunately, this look -- not... Read more...
Google’s Pixel phones are well known for their superb cameras, timely updates, and unique features (Call Screen, Now Playing, etc...) But the company’s handset strategy -- and its lineup -- is difficult to decipher. It’s like Google is beating its own drum, blissfully (or purposefully) unaware of the market. On one side, you have the Pixel flagships, which are tough sells due to their relatively high prices, lackluster specs in light of competitive offerings, and other compromises (like middling battery life). For example, there was the Pixel 3 XL, with its massive notch and sparse 4GB of RAM, and there’s the Pixel 4 and 4 XL with their top-heavy bezel, missing ultrawide... Read more...
Since its inception, ASUS has gone the extra mile to bill the ROG Phone as a gaming-first smartphone, and not simply another high-end handset with a flagship processor and fast refresh rate. Now in its third iteration, the ROG Phone 3 takes what we liked about the previous two models and improves upon the brand's gaming-oriented features, to enhance the experience even further. And yes, it's also delightfully fast, armed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G SoC that ASUS claims gives the ROG Phone 3 a double-digit (10 percent) performance advantage over top-shelf phones rocking a regular Snapdragon 865. As such, this handset is not only quick on the draw, it is the speediest Android handset... Read more...
It’s hard to believe that OnePlus is already six years old. The company’s all grown up now. You can find the OnePlus 8 in T-Mobile and Verizon stores, and the OnePlus 8 Pro competes directly with the best flagships from Apple and Samsung. But this has come at a price -- literally. With the OnePlus 8 costing $699+ and the OnePlus 8 Pro $899+, OnePlus is no longer first and foremost a price leader -- especially in fiercely competitive markets like Europe and India. And now there's the OnePlus Nord. In an outstanding example of masterful marketing, the company has spent months building up hype for a quality sub-$500 5G smartphone that lives up to its “Never Settle” catchphrase.... Read more...
If there’s still any doubt that truly wireless earbuds are a thing, let us introduce you, dear reader, to the second wave -- exemplified by the OnePlus Buds. See, the first wave really took off when Apple introduced the original AirPods -- meh sound, OK battery life, high price. The focus was on convenience, reliability, and calls. Other major brands followed suit, like Samsung, Sony, Jabra, Amazon, Microsoft, and most recently Google -- some offering special features like long battery life, or active noise cancellation, or tight AI assistant integration. You either spent upwards to $200 on these brands, or bought cheap (and often crappy) no-name TWS (true wireless stereo) earbuds on Amazon... Read more...
Depending on your age and background, the Sony brand might be synonymous with Bravia TVs, Alpha cameras, PlayStation game consoles, or even Walkman audio players. And you’d be right in thinking that way, but did you know Sony also makes Xperia smartphones, and even sells them in the US? Well, it’s true. Sony's Android handsets also often include features found in the company’s TVs, cameras, game consoles, and audio players. They’re always quite premium, differentiated in a unique way, and always very "Sony".  However, for years now, Sony has struggled to stand out in the rapidly commodifying smartphone market -- not so much for lack of being different, but more for... Read more...
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