Google’s latest ‘flagship’ is unusual, to say the least. You see, it’s not a traditional flagship in terms of specifications or price, yet it’s clearly what Google considers its top smartphone for 2020. It could be argued that 2019’s Pixel 4 and 4 XL are superior – they’re certainly more powerful and (in the XL’s case) larger, plus they did have a proper telephoto camera. You could also argue that this year’s Pixel 4a 5G is better value, but I’d like to review the ‘5’ on its own merits – as it’s a super-compact slice of high tech with only one Achilles heel (for my personal needs).
Author Archives: Steve Litchfield
It’s been a few years since OnePlus really annoyed me (given their ‘Never Settle’ slogan) when they lampooned Apple’s dropping of my beloved 3.5mm audio jack and then their parent company, effectively OPPO at the time, handed them a design to rebadge that… didn’t include the jack. And so they ‘settled’, with some embarrassment. But we’ve forgiven them now and I approached this, the OnePlus 8 Pro, with fresh eyes and enthusiasm, to judge it on its own merits. And was very glad I did – it may not have Apple or Samsung’s brand recognition, but it undercuts the flagships from these brands while often out-performing them. Read our comprehensive OnePlus 8 Pro review after the break.
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.