Items tagged with smartphone

Another Apple iPhone launch event has come and gone, with the company's latest flagship and mid-range phones already shipping to customers, arriving on front porches just a few short days ago. In a second consecutive year of component shortages, Apple's deep resources and influence seemed to mitigate any potential issues securing chip fab space, which means there's plenty of iPhone supply to go around. This year's devices bring a mix of needed catch-up features, improvements and interesting bonuses that are designed to set the company's smartphones apart from its Android-bearing rivals.  Despite that, it kind of feels like some of the magic has worn off. These days it's easy to get... Read more...
Samsung has been refining its innovative foldable phone line-up for a couple of years now. While the first iteration of the company's Galaxy Z Fold may not have been terribly robust out in the wild, last year's follow up was by most accounts a solid device. This year, the newest Galaxy Z Fold3 5G seems to have it all: a malleable 7.6" screen, more durable construction, Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 5G Mobile Platform, and enough memory and storage to keep the Galaxy Z Fold3 viable for a long time to come.  There are many questions we wanted to answer with this device. What's it like to carry around? Does the foldable nature of the main display feel strange under our fingertips? What... Read more...
Two years ago, Samsung ushered the era of folding phones with the daring (but ultimately flawed) Galaxy Fold. In 2020, the company followed suit with three much improved foldables -- the stylish Galaxy Z Flip, Z Flip 5G, and the powerful Galaxy Z Fold2. With most of the kinks worked out (pun intended), these excellent handsets were finally worth recommending, though cost and durability were still obstacles for many. But things are different today. Samsung’s new water-resistant $1800 GalaxyZ Fold3 and $1000 Galaxy Z Flip3 are more affordable and life-proof than ever. While the Fold series transform from a phone into a small tablet, the Flip models are basically standard handsets that... Read more...
After weeks of leaks and rumors, and a mere ten months since the original's launch, Google just revised its mid-range Pixel 4a 5G and lowered the price by $50. Behold the slightly larger and heavier Pixel 5a ($449), which bumps the display size from 6.2 to 6.34 inches, increases the battery capacity from 3,885 to 4680mAh, swaps the plastic body for a metal shell, and adds water resistance. The Pixel 4a 5G was arguably Google's best phone of 2020, striking the perfect balance between cost and specs. We're big fans, so there's nothing wrong with an update and price drop. In all, the Pixel 5a inherits its predecessor's overall design and layout, mid-range Snapdragon 765G SoC, and excellent camera... Read more...
Gaming phones have really matured in recent years, with ASUS’ ROG, Lenovo’s Legion, Xiaomi’s Black Shark, and Nubia’s RedMagic all offering compelling performance-packed handsets for gamers. Oppo’s even rumored to be joining the party soon. Here in the US, RedMagic is the gaming phone value champ, and this year’s $599 RedMagic 6 is no exception. It basically updates last year’s $579 RedMagic 5G with a 165Hz display and a Snapdragon 888. That’s all well and good, but what got our attention recently is the $499 RedMagic 6R -- a super-affordable Snapdragon 888 handset with a 144Hz screen and capacitive shoulder buttons that looks and feels more like... Read more...
As would be expected after abandoning the smartphone business earlier this year, LG's share of the handset market in the United States has taken a major hit—the latest data shows LG's smartphone share plummeted 35 percent in the first half of 2021, compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, OnePlus is doing gangbusters with its smartphone business. Interestingly enough, LG exited the smartphone business right as the push for 5G technologies began to drive more shipments overall. This is evidenced in the latest data corralled by Counterpoint Research—it shows that the US smartphone market saw a 27 percent year-over-year increase during the first half of this year, and attributed the gain to... Read more...
In 2020, TCL ventured beyond its successful TV business by launching three TCL-branded phones in the US -- the $450 TCL 10 Pro and $250 10L (which we both reviewed), followed by the $400 TCL 10 5G UW. The company is no stranger to mobile, having previously sold budget handsets under the Alcatel brand. But last year’s TCL 10-series was aimed squarely at Moto’s US mid-range lineup, and was quite competitive. Then, at CES 2021, TCL announced the 20-series, which first landed in other regions, but is now available in the US with three phones -- the $500 TCL 20 Pro 5G, $250 20S, and $190 20SE. A lot has changed this past year. LG’s left the mobile space, and both Samsung and OnePlus... Read more...
Last summer we reviewed the eponymous OnePlus Nord, and came away impressed. It never made it to North America, but its successor -- the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G -- did, and while the price was on point, we found that it simply cut too many corners to really hit the sweet spot. Most importantly, it seemed to lack that signature combination of OnePlus design and performance magic and the company's special attention to detail. We were somewhat disappointed, but it still flew off the shelves. Enter the $240 OnePlus Nord N200 5G, an attractive looking Snapdragon 480-equipped 5G phone which brings OnePlus even closer to budget territory. We just spent a few days testing it, and while the lower price... Read more...
Most of you are likely familiar with ASUS’ extensive line of PCs and related components, including ASUS’ ROG gaming products. You’ve probably also seen our ASUS ROG Phone 5 benchmarks, which showcase this incredibly fast gaming phone. But let's not forget that ASUS has also been making innovative non-gaming handsets for years. In fact, the Zenfone series was first to introduce both the periscope camera and the flip camera to market. This year ASUS decided to launch two Android flagships, the €799 Zenfone 8 Flip, which continues the flip camera lineage, and the US bound €599 Zenfone 8, a tiny (5.9-inch display) but mighty (Snapdragon 888 SoC) phone with a more traditional... Read more...
LG's retreat from the smartphone market has been rumored for months, with the most recent report suggesting that the South Korean electronics company couldn't find a buyer for its money-losing division. Today, LG confirmed the news in a statement, saying that the decision to abandon ship was approved by its board of directors. So, what does this mean for LG's smartphone business in the short term? While it would probably be ill-advisable to purchase one at this point, LG says that its current smartphone inventory is still available for sale. Extended software support, including OS updates, which has been somewhat hit-or-miss for LG, will be provided by the company "for a period of time which... Read more...
By now, you’ve read the leaks, rumors, buzz and hype. The OnePlus 9 series is finally here, and as always, there’s a lot to talk about. 2020 saw OnePlus launch three flagships, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in the spring, and the 8T (basically an updated OnePlus 8) in the fall. But OnePlus also went down-market with three more handsets last year -- the mid-range Nord and the affordable Nord N10 5G and N100. If that seems like a lot of devices, it is -- not to mention the TVs, earbuds, and watch. OnePlus is basically following Oppo’s playbook. And after years of obviously sharing tech, the two companies recently consolidated their hardware research teams under one name: OPlus. Yes,... Read more...
If you’re a regular HotHardware reader, or live outside the US, you’re probably somewhat familiar with Chinese giant Xiaomi. The company makes and sells a wide variety of consumer electronics from smartphones (branded Mi, RedMi, Poco, and CC), to electric scooters. It keeps prices low by subsidizing its products in several markets (like China and India) via online services -- much like Amazon does here in the US. Today, Xiaomi ranks number three in global smartphone market share. Its latest flagship, the $750 / €750 Mi 11, was the first handset to feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 when it shipped January 1st, beating Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S21 to the punch. With... Read more...
Both Apple and Samsung are the world's leading smartphone manufacturers, and they have been duking it out on global sales leader boards. Quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, Samsung has had a death-grip on the number one spot. But in an interesting turn of events, a new report found that Apple took the number one spot for Q4 sales in 2020. Is it clever marketing and sales from Apple that pushed them to the top or just the luck of the draw? Gartner is a research, advisory, and data collection company for enterprise customers to provide accurate information and insights into many industries. Today, it released a brief report on the smartphone market's current state, which found that smartphone... 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...
OnePlus officially launched North American versions of its Nord N10 5G ($299) and Nord N100 ($179) today. The N10 5G is effectively the same affordable 5G phone we reviewed back in November, and the N100 is a low-priced budget 4G handset. We just spent a few days testing the US-bound N10 5G and wanted to give you an update. So what’s changed versus the European variant? Does the aggressive US pricing help better differentiate it in some way? Let’s find out... OnePlus Nord N10 5G Hardware, Design, and Display From a design and materials perspective, the Nord N10 5G for North America is identical to its European sibling. It looks and feels exactly the same, comes in the same fingerprint-prone... 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...
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...
The increasing cost of flagship smartphones over the last couple of years has put them out of reach for many consumers. We all knew it was coming in late 2018 when Apple priced the iPhone X at a cool $999. It wasn't long afterward that Android handset makers capitalized on the new normal of flagship phone pricing as well, but not everybody wants to toe the line with four-figure purchases for a smartphone that will be quickly outclassed and potentially obsolete after a couple of years, especially should they stop receiving updates. In 2019, Samsung's upper-mainstream device was the $750 Galaxy S10e. This year, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition lands in a similar position in Samsung's line-up, and it... 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...
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...
Google’s phone strategy has always been a bit of a mystery. While it successfully entered the mid-range market with last year’s Pixel 3a and -- more recently -- the $349 Pixel 4a and $499 Pixel 4a 5G, it’s been struggling to find its place at the high-end. Pixel flagships have always been interesting options in the market, especially for those who want a stock Android experience. However, they're sometimes overpriced, with high-end configurations in some ways (processors) but also lacking in some areas (RAM and storage options). So, Google appears to be taking a gamble and trying something different this year. It’s targeting the popular $600 to $750 price range and joining... Read more...
Don’t let the Pixel 4a 5G’s name fool you into thinking this device is the same as the Pixel 4a that was released back in August, with the sole addition of 5G support. Although the branding may be somewhat quizzical, the Pixel 4a 5G is a completely new device, with a larger form factor (it’s actually bigger than the Pixel 5), newer processing platform, additional rear camera, and a few other bells and whistles. The new Pixel 4a 5G does look nearly identical to the “older” Pixel 4a, but that is by design. Google has embraced an overall aesthetic with its Pixel devices that’s distinctly similar across all its devices from the last couple of generations. Depending... Read more...
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