Review
iPhone 7 Review

iPhone 7 review

September 23rd at 9:30 AM

iPhone 7 review

When I reviewed Apple’s iPhone 6 two years ago, I wrote about how different reviewing an iPhone is compared to reviewing any other smartphone — or any other product at all, for that matter. A reviewer’s job is generally to present an overview of a product’s user experience, as well as to discuss strengths and shortcomings. The goal in doing this is to assist the reader in making a purchase decision. But with iPhones, this hasn’t been the case since the first-generation model. Either someone is going to buy an iPhone or he or she is not; reviews have almost no bearing on anyone’s decision.

Interestingly, while Apple’s new iPhone 7 is the first new number-generation iPhones to resemble their predecessors so closely in terms of design, they are also the first new iPhones to differ so dramatically in this way: reviews actually do matter. Apple’s new iPhones look so similar to last year’s models and to 2014’s models that people aren’t quite sure what to make of them.

Are they really “boring,” like many gadget blogs have been saying for months? Or are they truly as impressive as Apple’s marketing rhetoric and Apple bloggers’ reviews would lead you to believe? In this review, we’ll cut through the noise and see just how impressive or disappointing Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are. More →

No Comments
Review
Galaxy Note 7 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review

August 16th at 9:00 AM

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review

While nothing is official until Apple makes it so, there’s little doubt in most industry watchers’ minds that we know practically everything there is to know about the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus. It’s going to look eerily similar to the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus, but with a few minor design tweaks. It’ll also feature a new dual camera setup and upgraded specs but apart from that, it will for the most part be a faster iPhone 6s Plus. To be frank, the iPhone 6s Plus is a great smartphone but a pretty lousy phablet, and we likely shouldn’t expect much more from the new iPhone 7 Plus.

When it comes to phablets, Samsung is still ahead of the pack. And with the brand new Galaxy Note 7, the company’s lead in the phablet market has only grown. More →

No Comments
Review
Moto Z Droid Review

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid review

July 21st at 9:00 AM

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid review

Though the smartphone market was nearly as massive a few short years ago as it is today, it was a terrible business to be in unless your company’s name was Apple or Samsung. There were simply no other phone vendors that could figure out how to make any real money selling smartphones. Try as they might — and oh, how they tried — rival phone companies spun their wheels while Samsung and Apple pulled in all of the smartphone industry’s profits.

Today, things are different. Galaxy phones and iPhones are still the most popular handsets by a wide margin, but other companies have managed to put a serious dent in Apple and Samsung’s combined market share. Gaps in the market have been exposed and several companies are taking advantage. Most notably, Chinese vendors have found success selling high-quality phones at surprisingly low prices.

But price isn’t the only area of the smartphone market where there is an opportunity to strike. There’s also an innovation gap just waiting to be filled, and Lenovo’s new Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid are the latest phones that will attempt to fill it. More →

No Comments
Review
OnePlus 3 Review

OnePlus 3 review: A ‘flagship killer’ that really kills other flagships

June 14th at 1:00 PM

OnePlus 3 review: A ‘flagship killer’ that really kills other flagships

Think about how difficult it is right now to break into the smartphone market. You’ve got Apple and Samsung at the top of the pile in developed world, gobbling up well over 90% of the global smartphone market’s profits each quarter and toppling former heavyweights like BlackBerry, Microsoft and Palm. Then you’ve got established players like LG, Sony and HTC struggling beneath them. Despite their big budgets and sleek smartphones, they haven’t been able to get much traction at all in recent years.

At the low end of the market, you’ve got a slew of Chinese smartphone companies churning out shockingly capable handsets at rock bottom prices. Then you’ve got Xiaomi, which took the world by storm when it copied Apple’s every move but sold smartphones at half the price of the iPhone. But even Xiaomi’s sales have hit a wall, so the company is looking to expand its reach in search of growth.

Is there any room for another player in this crowded market? OnePlus found a niche by creating unique flagship-grade smartphones that appeal to hardcore Android fans but sell for far less than any high-end iPhone or Galaxy S handset. Now the company is back with the OnePlus 3, a stunning device that is easily OnePlus’s most impressive accomplishment to date. More →

No Comments
Review
HTC 10 Review

HTC 10 review: An exciting new flagship phone that’s better in every way

April 14th at 12:00 PM

HTC 10 review: An exciting new flagship phone that’s better in every way

If we’re really being honest, smartphones had become pretty boring for a while. They all looked the same and were all replaced each year by newer models with slightly better specs and minor feature upgrades. But then something started to happen. Growth slowed for some of the industry’s top players and completely vanished for others, thanks in part to a lack of innovation and increased pressure from low-cost options out of China.

Phone makers are seriously turning up the heat in 2016 as a result, and the fresh new HTC 10 is the latest new offering that looks to reignite consumers’ love affair with smartphones. More →

No Comments
Review
Nextbit Robin Review

Nextbit Robin review: A 32GB smartphone that never runs out of space

February 18th at 9:00 AM

Nextbit Robin review: A 32GB smartphone that never runs out of space

Outside of the Asia-Pacific region and emerging markets, the global smartphone business is dominated by just two just companies. Apple and Samsung. Galaxy phones and iPhones as far as the eye can see. At this point it seems like no company will ever be able to make a meaningful dent in this duopoly. That’s obviously not the case and what goes up must come down, but for the time being it’s Samsung and Apple’s market and the rest are left fighting over scraps.

Of course, there’s still plenty of money to be made from those scraps. And with top global contenders like HTC, Sony and LG struggling to differentiate themselves in any sort of meaningful way, a new breed of startups has emerged in an effort to fill some sizable gaps. Companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus have shown that it’s possible to make waves as a young player in the market, and now a new face will seek out similar success.

Meet the Nextbit Robin. More →

No Comments
Review
iPhone 6s Review

iPhone 6s review

September 30th at 10:00 AM

iPhone 6s review

When I reviewed the iPhone 6 last year, I explained how different reviewing an iPhone is compared to reviewing other smartphones. Reviews typically have a great deal of influence over readers, giving them a good sense of a device’s strengths and weaknesses before it even launches. Smartphone shoppers then use this information to help guide their purchases. With the iPhone, however, reviews don’t carry anywhere near as much weight with readers. Instead, people make decisions more often than not based on Apple’s marketing and its general aura. At least, that’s typically the case.

This year, things are different. I have never received emails from so many people on the fence about whether or not they should buy a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus. Hundreds of emails from iPhone owners wondering if the 6s is a worthy upgrade from the 6, and from Android users debating whether or not to switch.

What is perhaps most surprising about the timing of this shift in sentiment, interestingly, is the fact that the answers to these questions are easier in 2015 than they have ever been in the past. More →

No Comments
Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review

August 20th at 10:50 AM

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review

Twice a year each and every year, just like clockwork, smartphone reviewers like myself used to look forward to finding new ways to phrase the same exact complaint. The [INSERT NEW GALAXY S OR NOTE MODEL NAME HERE] is a great phone with a stunning display, but the plasticky case looks bland and feels cheap. Users had the same complaint as well, of course. Can you imagine paying $640 for a phone made out of plastic that’s this thin and cheap feeling?

But Samsung’s sales kept climbing higher and higher… until they didn’t.

Following several consecutive quarters of declining sales, Samsung finally decided to step up its game. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge were the first Samsung phones ever to be constructed out of premium materials to match their premium price tags. But in the new flagship phones’ launch quarter, Samsung’s operating profit in its mobile division plummeted 38%.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge simply don’t have what it takes to compete with Apple’s iPhone 6. Now, it’s time to see if the exact same strategy will fare any better against the upcoming new iPhone 6s Plus.

Meet Samsung’s new flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note 5. More →

No Comments
Review
OnePlus 2 Review

OnePlus 2 review: There can be only one

August 18th at 11:35 AM

OnePlus 2 review: There can be only one

Call them Android fanboys, enthusiasts, geeks or whatever else you want, but the fact remains: avid Android fans tend to have great taste in smartphones. They don’t want to deal with cumbersome user interfaces from smartphone makers, and they always have a zero-tolerance policy for carrier bloatware. “Pure Android” that is free of clutter is always preferential, and that’s why Nexus phones are so popular among hardcore Android fans.

But in 2014, a new player emerged and blew Android fans away. The OnePlus One had style, power, a shockingly affordable price and CyanogenMod software, which is often heralded by fans as an even better option than pure Android. For many savvy Android users, it was the perfect phone.

If you thought the OnePlus One was great, just wait until you see the OnePlus 2. More →

No Comments
Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 review

March 30th at 12:01 PM

Samsung Galaxy S6 review

I have been pretty hard on Samsung over the past few years, but let’s be honest: the company deserved it. Time and time again, we’ve seen Samsung launch fantastic flagship smartphones that are class leaders in almost every key area. Samsung’s mobile displays are the best in the world, many of its software additions have mass appeal, and its phones are always among the best available when it comes to performance.

But where design, build quality and materials are concerned, Samsung has always been at the bottom of the pile.

That changes in 2015, and the Galaxy S6 is our first look at the future of flagship Samsung phones. On the inside, the S6 is everything we have come to expect from the company’s premium smartphones. And on the outside, the Galaxy S6 is like nothing we have ever seen before from Samsung. More →

No Comments
Review
HTC One M9 Review

HTC One M9 review

March 22nd at 8:00 PM

HTC One M9 review

It’s easy to call the HTC One M9 the best smartphone HTC has ever built; HTC outdoes itself each and every year, as we have come to expect, and the M9 is better than its predecessor in nearly every way. It’s also easy to call the HTC One M9 the most important smartphone HTC has ever built; the company continues to struggle against rivals 10 times its size that are currently dominating the smartphone market.

The real task here is to determine whether or not HTC’s new One is real competition for rival flagship smartphones, and that question is more difficult to answer in 2015 than it has ever been before. More →

No Comments
Featured
New Nintendo 3DS XL Review

Review: What it’s like to upgrade from a Nintendo 3DS to a New 3DS XL

February 3rd at 2:35 PM

Review: What it’s like to upgrade from a Nintendo 3DS to a New 3DS XL

I’ve owned a Nintendo 3DS ever since the day it launched. It’s not the most inventive or the most attractive portable on the market, but it features an incredible selection of first-party and third-party content. But its physical limitations have always bothered me, to the point where I simply started taking my PS Vita on trips with me rather than my 3DS.

The New 3DS XL is going to change that. More →

No Comments
Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Review: Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge dares to be different, but does it innovate?

November 13th at 9:00 AM

Review: Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge dares to be different, but does it innovate?

Samsung doesn’t need saving just yet, but most people seemed to laugh it off last year when I said that the South Korea-based giant was quickly headed toward a big mess. In developed markets, customers flocked to Samsung’s giant phones and their magnificent displays. In regions where mid-range and low-end phones are more prominent, Samsung flooded the market with dozens of affordable models. Even more important, perhaps, the company devoted double-digit billions each year to marketing and advertising its devices, and all that money helped Samsung keep its impossible promise.

But a huge problem was developing and not everyone saw it. Samsung apparently didn’t even see it, or it simply turned a blind eye. The problem with being a leader is that others will follow. Apple’s lawsuits may have branded Samsung a copycat, but the company was absolutely a leader in building a wide range of big-screen smartphones and an even bigger arsenal of capable, affordable mid-range and low-end phones.

Then, others followed. And they did it better. Now, no one seems to be laughing anymore. More →

No Comments