“Watch, listen, play” is the opening shot of Razer’s pitch for this, the eponymous Razer Phone. We’ve seen a number of phones aimed at gamers in the past, usually with gimmicky extra controls or savage compromises, but the Razer Phone only has one – which I’ll come to in a moment. I’ve been playing with the very first retail Razer Phone in the UK, exclusively handled by the popular Three network (who also sell it on pay-as-you-go*, don’t worry).
Author Archives: Steve Litchfield
All of Google’s ducks were seemingly lined up in a row. The industry was moving towards ‘bezel-less’ phones with 18:9 screens, its Assistant is now pretty mature, its camera image processing is second to none, its wireless audio is top notch, and so on. And as a result, the Pixel 2 XL is very nearly the perfect smartphone, the template for everything else for the next five years. As Google are inclined to do though, they arguably blew it – and not for the reasons you might suspect me of picking*. I’m talking display and pricing – read on…
And so to this year’s Google Pixels, now with ‘2’ in the name, still with the two sizes (regular and XL), with pumped up internals and stereo speakers but sadly missing a standard headphone jack. Google has put all its expertise in machine learning and image processing into these phones, making them a fascinating choice for the best in phone imaging, but arguably unremarkable otherwise.
The thing about the Galaxy Note 8 is that it’s not ‘just’ a smartphone. It’s that and a stylus-centric tablet and a pocket computer, all in one. Even though there are annoyances, there’s no escaping the raw power and flexibility of the Note 8. It’s beautiful, it’s immaculately built, and it packs enormous productivity and performance punches.
Every. Single. Reviewer. Slams every single phone with no headphone jack and manufacturers just aren’t listening.
You know the drill by now. In a review (or preview) of (e.g.) the (new) Pixel 2 or Essential phone or iPhone 7/8/X or HTC U11, the reviewer says something like: “Sadly” or ‘Unfortunately” or even “Unforgivably”, in the context of there being no 3.5mm headphone/audio jack. I have yet to see a single reviewer or commenter exclaiming “Hooray, the jack has gone”.
The Nokia 6 is the current* spearhead of the brand’s return to the smartphone world in 2017 and follows several years of being locked out, following the Microsoft buyout of its Devices division in 2013. It’s still Nokia in terms of logo and branding, it’s still designed in Finland, it’s still made like a tank, but the actual firm behind it is HMD Global and all the manufacturing is in China. So take the ‘Nokia’ branding with just a pinch of salt.
There are numerous superlatives that could be levelled at the new HTC U11. It’s super-speedy, it takes superb photos, it’s virtually ‘stock’ (Android), the display’s fabulous… and it’s a great mirror. Not electronically, through the selfie camera – the back of the U11 itself is effectively mirrored, reflecting colours and details from whatever’s in front of it. Which at least makes the unadorned phone stand out in a crowd, even if it’s the lady opposite you on the tube checking that her hair looks OK…
After much testing of the new OnePlus 5, this flagship is all about balance. Every manufacturer has to juggle specifications, hardware design constraints and component prices in order to bring the product home at just the right price yet without compromising performance. And OnePlus has proved itself something of a master at this in the past, with the ‘5’ fitting right into the same pattern. The headline omissions from the aforementioned juggling are the use of ‘only’ a 1080p screen, the lack of official waterproofing, and the single loudspeaker, plus there’s a dubiously specified dual camera. But more on these below in my full OnePlus 5 review…
“You get what you pay for” is one of the oldest adages in the English language. Either in the context of something ultra-cheap, or – here – of something super-expensive, with the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ coming in at £779 inc VAT in the UK and similar top end prices across the world. Yet, after spending a week with the S8+ I am forced to admit that you do get an awful lot for your money. Whether you enjoy using all the tech depends, as usual, on how much you like Samsung – its sometimes quirky designs, its software, its ecosystem – and, in this case, how much you’re prepared to experiment with new ways of unlocking your phone.
After a torrid year living down the interesting but horribly flawed G5, LG has seemingly come good with this, the G6 – it does seem as though the even numbered in the ‘G’ range are always the ones to go for. True, there’s nothing spectacular here, but then that’s kind of the point, this is LG doubling down on just doing everything well rather than striking down a new blind alley… again. Notable here in our G6 review is a 2:1 screen with smaller top and bottom bezels, but elsewhere it’s a set of intelligent compromises to try and create a smartphone that’s all things to all men. And on the whole LG has succeeded.