Fast, detailed camera with great low-light performance
Built-in support for technical issues
Fast charging support
Vibrant, bright display
First access to Android updates
No microSD support
Single, weak down-firing speaker
Possibly bland design
Google’s Nexus series offered a mid-tier option for those looking for fastlane access to the best of Google’s Android operating system. However, Google never made their own handsets. Instead they handed the reins to other manufacturers and focused on the software. Until now that is. The Google Pixel is the first completely Google phone and they have made bold claims about what to expect.
The phone is finally out and reviews are rolling in. Does the Pixel have what it takes to compete with the big names in Android flagship phones? Let’s see what others are saying!
Reviews on the overall design of the phone are divided. One group feels the phone is bland. The other feels that it’s a perfect take on the designs of the other flagship phones this year. However, no one had issues with quality or comfortable usage. The Guardian noted, “The Pixel feels great in the hand, with nicely curved edges and flat sides that make it easy to grip and hold on to.” Android Police sided with the critics, saying, “The Pixel is a phone that seems to say "You're just going to put a case on me anyway, why should I dress up for the occasion?"
Huawei has slowly evolved from simple Chinese smartphone copycat to a company capable of churning out high quality products. In fact, Google used them to build the Nexus 6P. With the P9, Huawei hopes to finally become a household name.
Despite being cheaper than the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, the P9 doesn’t skimp on quality. It’s slim at only 0.27 inches. The all metal body gives it a nice heft, though it remains a manageable weight of 5.1 ounces. In terms of the design, reviewers were surprised with how comfortable it is. The straight sides seem sharp, but the chamfered edges and rounded corners made it easy to hold and the “tacky” texture thanks to the ceramic coating on the back gave them a good grip. While this design is not uncommon, The Verge states, “I look at the P9’s design, ask myself how it could be improved, and I find no easy answer.”
The Motorola G-Series has built a loyal following on its affordable pricing, bloat-free software and attention to design details. However, Motorola has changed hands from Google to Lenovo since the last release--leaving some wondering what will come of the phone line. With the new Motorola Moto G4, it seems the answer is finally here!
We’ve scoured the leading review sites to see what people are saying about the phone. Let’s take a look at what they’re saying!
Looking at the phone, you’re greeted with a plastic chassis typical of the budget- to mid-tier market. Reviewers all agree that the design is one of the best currently available for the price. The Inquirer chimed in on the look, saying, “Yes it's simple, but the smooth curves make it stylish too.”
As the big brother to Apple’s new iPhone 7, the 7 Plus takes the iPhone series into phablet territory. With the launch out of the way, reviews are rolling in.
But which one should you pick? Let’s see what reviewers are saying!
The iPhone 7 Plus shares many traits with it’s smaller sibling. However, the differences made a huge impression on most reviewers.
The biggest change is the dual rear camera setup. While the 7 Plus includes the same 12MP wide-angle lens as the 7, it also includes a second telephoto lens. This effectively allows you to enjoy 2x zoom without any of the quality loss or noise of digital zoom. Apple also plans to release updates to allow photo effects, such as bokeh, using both lenses at the same time. Many reviewers noted that this made the extra cost of the Plus worthwhile.
Quickly selling out upon release, the iPhone 7 is the next release in Apple’s famous smartphone series. While they typically followed what they called a “tick-tock” release pattern, where major updates and features changed every two releases, the 7 marks a first in that while it should be a “tick” release, it appears to be a refinement of previous releases.
As it’s also the most expensive iPhone to date, do these refinements make it worth purchasing? Reviews are rolling out and we’ve dug into them all to bring you this summary!
Four of the biggest changes to the iPhone 7 come in the design. Reviews indicate that while some are controversial they’re all improvements.
The first is the lack of headphone port on the phone. Apple provides both a pair of Lighting port earbuds and a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter in the box to ensure you can still enjoy your iTunes collection. In a few months, they plan to introduce their AirPods for wireless connectivity.
Highly detailed photos in bright and low light conditions
720p resolution display
Camera lag issues when navigating app and in-between shots
Difficult to adjust to smaller keyboard when typing
While other companies are pushing forward with larger and larger screens, Sony's Xperia Z5 Compact is one of the few smartphones in 2015 that offers a sub 5-inch display. Despite being only 5 inches tall, it manages to be fairly thick at 0.4 inches, leading many experts to call it chunky and chubby. This slight thickness made it feel like a less than premium device to critics, which was only amplified thanks to its plastic sides. With that said, they still found it to be an attractive device thanks to the frosted glass back panel and array of color options. As well, the added thickness and rounded corners provided them with a comfortable fit.
Gracing the front of the Z5 Compact is the petite 4.6-inch, 720 IPS LCD screen. This provides a Retina-like pixel density of 323ppi. While some critics bemoan the fact that it isn't full HD, they all agree it is sharp enough for most people. Still, there are some limitations to this resolution as they were not able to watch some videos at the intended resolution. The screen did deliver in other aspects, however. They describe it as bright with good viewing angles and good color balance. Unlike larger smartphones, they were also able to use the phone one-handed easily. Some reviewers did discover it took them some time to get used to typing on the smaller screen as they had become accustomed to larger ones.
Fans of Android phones have loved most of Samsung’s Galaxy-series flagships. However, with the minor issues of the S6 and a fresh wave of flagships debuting from the competition, Samsung needed to hit a homerun with the S7 to stay near the top of the pack.
While the phone might look like an S6 on the outside, Samsung has been hard at work tweaking and polishing their favorite flagship. Do the changes add up? We’ve scoured reviews from the biggest tech sites on the Internet to find out! Let’s dig in!
Excellent picture quality in almost all lighting situations
S Pen novelty wears off after a week
No SD slot
While other phone manufacturers have turned their nose up at the stylus, Samsung has fully embraced it with their Note5 smartphone. Of course, Samsung knows a thing or two about a stylus smartphone as all their Note models ship with one. Besides this addition, reviewers consider the Note5 the least distinctive in terms of overall design. In fact, many find it practically identical to the Galaxy S6 as it has completely straights sides, flat face and slightly curved rear. At 6 x 3 x 0.3 inches, it definitely is a large device. Still, experts explain it had an overall slim feeling to it thanks in part to a thinner middle and thicker top and bottom edges. In a departure from its older models, Samsung decked out the Note 5 with metal edges and a glass back. Sadly, experts did notice the glass back attracted fingerprints, but add the issue is easily remedied with a quick wipe.
The reason for the Note5's large size is due to the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 1,440 pixels, it offers an incredibly sharp 518 pixels per inch. As expected, reviewers had zero issues with fuzziness or pixelization. As an AMOLED screen, it offered critics crisp whites, deep blacks and vibrant albeit oversaturated colors. They also praise its overall brightness with Engadget stating, "…the screen is an absolute champ under the sweltering summer sun…I had no problem thumbing through…various photo sets."
3D Touch adds new layer of information and navigation to touch screen
Upgraded rear and front camera for crisp and accurate pictures
Incredibly smooth and fast performance
Solid build construction
Live Photos capture short video moments seamlessly
Display doesn't offer as high contrast or details as competing Android phones
Live Photos take huge amount of space
3D touch easy to confuse with long touch
Live Photos often come out choppy and erratic
Even for Apple it can be difficult to get consumers excited about a new smartphone every year. After all, how different can the new one be from the prior year? Many reviewers considered the iPhone 6 to be a great phone, but barely an upgrade from the iPhone 5S aside from the larger screen and better camera. Apple promises that the iPhone 6S is different as noted by their marketing tagline, "The only thing that's changed is everything." At first glance, it might seem like not much has changed. The 6S looks almost identical to its predecessor except it is now heavier at 143 grams and slightly thicker at 0.3 inches. The extra padding and weight comes from the use of adoption of the Series 7000 aluminum build. This tougher aluminum frame is meant to prevent bending, an issue some experts discovered in the iPhone 6 Plus. When tested they did not notice any flex with Digital Spy going as far as calling it, "…the most well-constructed handset on the market."
The 6S has the same 4.7-inch, 750 pixel display as the 6, which disappointed reviewers. While it is technically a Retina display (326ppi pixel density) they were not wowed by the sharpness or contrast ratio, especially when compared side-by-side to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. Still, they add it the screen is just as bright and colors still vibrant. What really makes the display special is the new 3D Touch technology. In essence it is a touch sensitive screen that will pull up different options/commands when users do a regular versus a firm press. While it might sound simple in theory, experts warn there is a bit of a learning curve and fine-line between a firm press and the traditional long press. Still, they add once they got used to it, they found it incredibly useful as it accessed dozens of useful shortcuts and gave them the ability to easily preview emails without going into the actual email, check links from messages and view pop-ups in their calendar.
Usually, when you see a “mini” version of a phone released, you expect that they’ve shrunk down its predecessor. In the case of the ZTE Axon 7 Mini, it’s not so much a smaller version of its big brother as an all-around less powerful version. But if cuts are made in the right areas, that’s not always a bad thing?
Did ZTE succeed in trimming the price and size of the well-received Axon 7? Reviews are rolling in! Let’s see what they have to say!
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a contender for the top of the Windows 10 phone rankings. With a quick glance at the specs, it’s clear that the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows is set to shuffle the rankings. But does the phone have what it takes to hold its own at the high-end of the price brackets?
Reviewers have been testing out this latest release and reviews are rolling in! Let’s see what’s good and bad about this new VR-ready device.
Rugged phones are gaining popularity. After all, when you’re dropping hundreds on a phone, you should be able to use it at work. The Cat S60 promises outstanding durability and a feature no one else currently has--thermal imaging. But does the phone sacrifice too much to provide durability as many models do?
Let’s see what reviewers are saying!
Every review available mentioned how heavy the phone felt. This is due to its rugged stainless steel and carbon fiber chassis and the monster-sized battery. The phone is rated to survive falls from up to 6 feet as well as submersion in up to 5 meters of water. It’s good for temperatures ranging from -13F to 132F.
Sony is known for their attention to design details. This isn’t something you see much of in the entry-level mobile market. With the Xperia E5, Sony hopes to offer a refined mobile experience without killing your budget.
Good budget phones are about making the right compromises. Did Sony find the right balance or does this pretty handset disappoint when the power comes on?