Items tagged with review

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...
Remember when Coca-Cola reformulated its popular soft drink in the mid 1980s? The so-called New Coke formula barely lasted a few months before it failed and the original was brought back. The company already had a good thing on its hands and it was a valuable real-world lesson in not trying to reinvent the wheel when the one you have spins well. On the surface, soft drinks and laptops like Dell's new for 2020 XPS 15 9500 don't have anything in common, so why bring it up? Generally speaking, this concept also applies to what Dell has done with its XPS 15 series of laptops, or not done, as the case might be. The past two iterations of the Dell XPS 15 (2019) and XPS 15 (2018) models earned... Read more...
For better or for worse, gaming phones are a thing. What started out as a trickle of pricey, specialized handsets from established gaming brands like Razer and Asus ROG has turned into a steady stream of affordable, tricked out smartphones from Chinese sub-brands like Xiaomi’s Black Shark and Nubia’s RedMagic. Which brings us to today’s review of the Snapdragon 865-equipped RedMagic 5G ($579) -- a 5G handset that undercuts the OnePlus 8 ($699) yet offers similar features and a blazing fast 144Hz AMOLED display. If you’re not familiar with Nubia, it started out as a sub-brand of Chinese giant ZTE, but became an independent business in 2015. Since then, it’s been... Read more...
Dell’s premium XPS family of notebooks is growing, literally. The company recently announced the all-new XPS 17, and as the name implies, this new Dell laptop features a spacious – and gorgeous – 17-inch display. It also features the updated design language introduced with the company’s redesigned XPS 13 9380, and the new 2020 XPS 15 9500 carries that DNA as well. A 17-inch laptop may sound cumbersome to some folks that might travel a lot with their notebook. Fortunately, Dell did more than simply scale up the previous generation XPS 15. The new design language features a taller 16:10 aspect ratio and virtually eliminates the bottom bezel. As a result, the XPS 17 is less... Read more...
SilverStone released a handful of new cases and coolers a few months back, targeting an array of price points for DIY PC builders. One of the more affordable additions to the line-up was the SilverStone Fara B1 mid-tower we're evaluating today. The Fara B1 is priced to move at about $60, but it has the looks and features of much more expensive cases. Of course, looks can be deceiving, so we decided to get our hands on the Fara B1 to see if its worthy of consideration for your next budget-friendly desktop #PCMasterRace build. We are going to get down and dirty with the SilverStone Fara B1 and build-up a full gaming system inside it, to ascertain whether or not it is a worthwhile purchase.... Read more...
What do the Alcatel, BlackBerry, and Palm smartphone brands all have in common? They’re all owned by Chinese electronics giant TCL -- which also manufactures products under the RCA brand in the US. TCL is best known for its stratospheric rise in the TV business, where it regularly battles with LG for second place in terms of number of TVs shipped globally (Samsung being number one). It also designs and manufactures its own display panels, unlike many other TV brands, which is no small feat. Anyway, back to smartphones... Alcatel makes budget phones sold by various carriers and MVNOs -- mostly for the prepaid market. BlackBerry experienced a bit of a comeback under TCL back in 2017/18 with... Read more...
True wireless earbuds are all the rage these days, and with many phones lacking a headphone jack, it’s really no surprise. You can mostly blame Apple for the missing port, but you can also thank them for giving the entire industry a reason to copy the AirPods. And Google is finally in the game. See, the first Pixel Buds, which were neckbuds, were a bust back in 2017. So, we were pretty excited when Google announced these new, true wireless earbuds last October. And in terms of first impressions, the $180 Pixel Buds 2 deliver. Google Pixel Buds 2 Design Picture an egg. Now imagine you can somehow flatten this egg a little without cracking it. That’s what the charging case for... Read more...
As a HotHardware reader, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of Oppo before. But if you live in the US and don't follow the latest developments in mobile technology, it’s possible you’re not (yet) familiar with the brand -- unless you’re a hard-core A/V geek and remember the company’s critically acclaimed range of upscaling DVD and Blu-Ray players from the mid-2000s. What you also may not know is that in 2019, Oppo was the top smartphone brand in China and was number 5 worldwide. And if that doesn’t get your attention, Oppo is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, just like OnePlus, Vivo, and Realme. Is that legit enough for you? Readers abroad know that Oppo makes... Read more...
Here’s a question for you: what’s Motorola’s most recent flagship phone? Take your time, we’ll wait... Perhaps the lovely Moto X from 2013 comes to mind, or the Moto X 2nd gen, or even the Moto X Pure/Style? Or maybe you’ll recall the Moto Z and Moto Mods? We’re here to tell you that, technically, Moto’s most recent flagship was the Z2 Force back in 2017. Yes, there was a Moto Z3, but it came with a Snapdragon 835 back when the 845 was still king. And while Moto eventually made an X4 and Z4, these were mid-range phones. So, needless to say, Moto’s recent Edge and Edge+ launch was a big deal. Our focus today is the Moto Edge+, a $1000 flagship exclusive... Read more...
The highly anticipated OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are on sale starting today, and lucky for prospective Android flagship shoppers, we have our full deep dive review on the pages ahead. OnePlus has made a name for itself over the years, especially with Android enthusiasts, for building high quality devices with thoughtful feature inclusions, while limiting costly unnecessary features and delivering exceptional value at almost unheard-of price points. Top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices with more RAM, more storage, and OnePlus' lean, mean Android-based Oxygen OS -- at price points hundreds less than competitive devices -- has been the hallmark of the brand. However, this new OnePlus 8... Read more...
It’s fair to say that when you think of flagship phones, LG may not be the first brand that comes to mind. Although the company's made some strong devices over the years, including some of Google's Nexus and Pixel-branded phones, the South Korean giant hasn't had the same kind of success in the mobile space as some of its larger competitors. The company's introduced some competent handsets over the years, but often seems to rely on the strength of its carrier relationships -- at least here in the US. As a result, LG’s phones often feel designed to please the operators more so than end users, and to meet a particular -- typically aggressive -- price point. Last year’s G8 and... Read more...
Samsung's Galaxy S line is the company's premier family of flagship Android phones. Over the years it has been underpinned by a recurring theme of bigger, faster, and prettier, with a ever-growing list of features. This year's Galaxy S20 family is no exception, starting out at a bold 6.2-inch format for the smallest Galaxy S20 5G device, 6.7-inches for the Galaxy S20+ 5G, and topping-out at the bodacious 6.9-inch Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. We have the Galaxy S20 Ultra on tap for review here and it's Samsung's full boat, no compromises offering in the Galaxy S20 line-up. As its name suggests, the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is a 5G-ready phone powered by Qualcomm's most powerful Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform,... Read more...
Gaming on a much larger screen has always had this almost unnatural appeal. Over the years, many enthusiasts likely have tried to hook up a PC to a much larger display for gaming bliss, whether it was a TV or projector via S-Video, component or DVI, or nowadays, the biggest possible LCD one can afford. When LCD TVs became the norm for home entertainment use, it made adopting the large screen experience much easier. PC Monitor manufacturers started catching on and now offer display sizes up to 65-inches in regular 16:9 or ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratios, with what we’d consider bare minimum PC gaming features these days: a 120Hz panel, G-Sync or FreeSync variable refresh rate compatibility,... Read more...
Motorola seemingly has a knack for knocking out excellent mid-range Android phones like the Moto G series and the Moto Mod-capable and 5G ready Moto Z3. With more and more entrants bringing good enough performance at affordable price points, however, it's getting harder for manufacturers to differentiate. Even the underlying platforms are mostly standardized these days, with SoCs coming from just a couple of big players like Qualcomm. What's a manufacturer to do to stand out in the crowd? That's what Motorola is striving for with its Motorola One family of devices, specifically today's entrant, the Motorola One Action.  Motorola's One lineup consists of several entrants all with different... Read more...
The high end 2-in-1 notebook market is pretty crowded with entrants from Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, HP, ASUS and others. As a result, it's pretty tough to make a convertible laptop that stands out from the rest. HP's doing its best, however, with its new Elite Dragonfly line of lightweight, 2-in-1 hybrid PCs.  What we have on hand today is the currently-shipping edition of the Elite Dragonfly. That means this notebook carries an eighth-generation Intel Core processor. No doubt that right now is a transitional period, where the previous generation is being phased out, and new Intel 10th Gen CPUs, with either Ice Lake or at least Comet Lake architectures with more cores, are the new... Read more...
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