It’s not often that an accessory is perfect. Yet this Mophie design gets as close as it possibly can, building inexorably to something of a huge caveat: its price. But hopefully this look through the tech and design will convince you that this is worth $100 or so, if you occasionally live on the ragged battery edge…
Android Phone Reviews
One complaint about general phone reviews has been that they focus(!) too much on the cameras – most of us only take a handful of photos per day, yet quite often a third of a phone review is talking about its camera. However, remember that you may only take a few photos and use your phone for a few minutes each day, but the shots it produces are memories and will stay with you for years to come, while the hours you spend in Twitter and Facebook are utterly ephemeral.
Starting with a (ahem) mock drama set in Samsung’s boardroom, I present my assessment of the brand new Galaxy S9 (and, by extension, the S9+, since most of the hardware and software are identical). It’s perhaps the ultimate do-everything smartphone for the man in the street, and Samsung knows its market – this will sell by the tens of millions. Is it perfect? Not quite, as you’ll see, but it’s darned good and worthy of heaps of praise here.
Xiaomi has had one heck of 2017 in India. Building on the success of the Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, and the Mi A1, the company managed to surpass Samsung and become the largest smartphone vendor in the country.
Attending Honor’s big event this week in London, I couldn’t help shake the feeling that despite their claims about innovation, and a few software tweaks aside, all they really did was copy what has already been done and make it cheaper to end users. From the 2:1 display – understandable – to a new, upcoming front camera projector and ID system, teased for 2018, that’s set to be a carbon copy of what the iPhone X does – complete with Animoji. However, like most of us, I’m all for making things cheaper, and I loved last year’s Honor 6X – really decent specs and capabilities in a premium-feeling phone that cost around £220 or so. Amazing. Can the 7X live up to the same billing?
Right up front I have to tell you, there’s nothing special to see here, nothing unique. Move right along. Unless you want a bargain Android flagship. You see, the USP here is the price. By taking imaging and durability down just one small notch from the top end, the OnePlus 5T manages to shave off many hundreds of pounds. While keeping the flagship internals and traditional OnePlus attributes and popular features. In short, it’s a hit!
Last year, Xiaomi managed to make the whole of the smartphone industry sit up and take notice of its efforts with the original Mi Mix. Wanting to outgrow its image of a Chinese company making cheap iPhone clones, Xiaomi took the help of world-renowned designer Philippe Starck to design the bezel-less Mi Mix.
“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).
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.