Smartphones have been getting closer to this Star Trek-like form factor for years. Just as the original Samsung Galaxy Nexus appalled us all with a giant 4.7” screen in 2011, a vision of the future from Google, the Xiaomi Mi Mix here with a screen that almost touches the edges on three sides, with a 6.4” display in a form factor smaller than any previous sub-6” phablets, is a clear indication of where things are going. And we know where they’ll end up – we saw it on TV, on Star Trek Next Generation 20 years ago…
Android Phone Reviews
To much fanfare, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year. Despite the handset being primarily available in China and India, Xiaomi decided to unveil its flagship handset for the first half of 2016 at the biggest mobile event in the world to show off its engineering prowess. The Mi 5 sure impressed everyone when it was first launched with its sleek design and impressive specs. However, when the device actually launched, it did not turn out to be that impressive. The glass black felt cheap, the 4-axis stabilized 16MP camera was mediocre, and MIUI on the Mi 5 was filled with bugs.
Time to answer a few questions. Yes, this is Google’s headline Android phone for the year. Yes, it goes under the Pixel brand rather than Nexus. Yes, Google’s marketing department has gone into overdrive trying to create a genuine consumer phone that can more obviously match the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. And yes, as a result it’s arguably at least £200 too expensive here in the UK. And similarly across the world. But is the super speedy and phenomenally well put together Google Pixel XL worth the branding premium?
Xiaomi is no longer the unicorn of the smartphone market that it was once hailed by everyone. The company has been outgunned by other local Chinese OEMs like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo. Nonetheless, this does not mean the company does not release impressive handsets — far from that. The company’s budget mid-ranger, the Redmi Note 3, is still the most impressive handset that I have used this year.
Building on the very successful Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 7 on the 2nd of August. The company’s latest Note packs in many firsts for the series and also reintroduces some key features that were missing from its predecessor.
LeEco, formerly Letv, is a fairly new entrant in the smartphone market, but the company has made a name for itself in China and India thanks to their blitzkrieg marketing. In India, the company recently launched its budget handset, the LeEo Le 2, to take on the massively popular Redmi Note 3 from Xiaomi.
As far as smartphone reviews go, there is rarely a time when one finds a device so perfectly designed to meet its market that its flaws, though annoying, seem too trivial a matter. The Oppo A37, is not that device, but it does come dangerously close to being it. The device might not be perfect, it even lacks a full HD screen, but it kind of grows on you, eventually.
I have had a love-hate relationship with OnePlus. Even before the company announced their original flagship killer, the OnePlus One, the very prospect of a company launching a phone running CyanogenMod out of the box got me excited.
Huawei’s online-only sub-brand Honor has made a name for itself with some excellent budget devices that are doing extremely well in the European and Chinese market. The latest entrant from the company in its Honor lineup is the Honor 5c that sits just below the Honor 5X.
The original Moto G played a key role in bringing Motorola back from the dead. The handset sold like hot cakes in India, United States, and Brazil and helped Motorola in once again cementing its position in the smartphone market. The company then followed it up with the Moto G2 and Moto G3, both of which were excellent handsets in their own right.