Author Archives: Steve Litchfield
The Pixel 4 XL (and, by extension, the slightly smaller Pixel 4) is a stunning piece of technology and a worthy flagship. It really is. And yet, even six weeks on, I can’t possibly recommend anyone buy it… yet. While its camera system is stunning, while its stereo speakers are jaw droppingly good, while its face recognition system is fast and effective, at least for unlocking the phone, real world activity is still massively impacted by third party banking and password apps not supporting the new biometric APIs (think Face ID) system. Again… yet. It’ll all come together in time and, as usual Google will need an update or two of their own (a ‘feature drop’ is happening as I write this), so I’ll leave a lengthier verdict for some time in early 2020.
Last week, I reviewed the new Google Pixel 3a, concluding that it was a huge deal in terms of getting guaranteed updates and Google’s vision for Android (plus that excellent camera) to the true mainstream, at a price half or a third that of other top smartphones, many of which will be left high and dry in terms of support after a year or so. So here we have the Pixel 3a XL, the sister device and – obviously – larger. So what’s different and is there any more significance to the XL?
It has to be said that the Google Pixel 3a (and 3a XL, not shown here) is something of a work of material science magic. So much of this handset screams ‘premium Pixel’, yet it’s plastic and yet it costs less than £400 in the UK, roughly 60% the cost of last Autumn’s Pixel 3. So what’s missing, does it matter, and how will the Pixel 3a fare in the mainstream ‘normob’ market? Read on for my verdict!
We’ve covered the specifications and other details about Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 (and Fold) range of handsets elsewhere on Android Beat. In gory detail and across multiple stories. But I wanted to share some hands-on impressions of the principal new Galaxy S10 hardware.
A popular feature every year, here’s our ‘Top 10’ phones from the Android world at Christmas 2018. Yes, CES and MWC are just around the corner in 2019, but for now here’s the best of the best in our (team opinion), presented in reverse order to err…. increase suspense! Factoring in functionality and value, there’s something for everything below…
Having reviewed the standard sized Pixel 3 already here on AndroidBeat, you’d think that a review of the XL version would involve a lot of copy and pasting – but that’s not entirely true. The XL involves several design and spec decisions that are well worth talking about. Why the delay in looking at the Pixel 3’s larger variant? Because the Pixel 3 XL has been decidedly buggy until a day or so ago, when the December 2018 update hit from Google. At last we can review this properly.
This is a futuristic smartphone with many highlights…and also a single significant disappointment. This is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and is arguably the highest specified phone the company has ever made. In theory it ticks every box, in the hand it feels like a million dollars, yet its biggest Unique Selling Point – its imaging – is, I argue, currently fundamentally flawed.
Conventional wisdom says that smartphones in 2018 are little more than glass slabs with similar features and, while the discerning enthusiast knows that this is not true (there are plenty of differentiators), the new OnePlus 6 is a great example of a ubiquitous ‘slab’ with little real character or star quality. Other than value, since it retains the OnePlus tradition of offering flagship chipsets at a relatively affordable price.