Author Archives: Steve Litchfield

About Steve Litchfield

Steve Litchfield has been a freelance writer, blogger and videographer, specialising in PDAs, smartphones and mobile imaging for the last 20 years. For Android Beat, he handles mainly device reviews, in conjunction with his hands-on video assessments for The Phones Show. Steve is married, with one daughter, and lives in the UK. As far away from the rat race as possible!

The OnePlus 8 Pro Review: The Best Android Phone in the World Right Now

The OnePlus 8 Pro Review: The Best Android Phone in the World Right Now

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.

Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20+ Review – A Mixed Bag, Not a ‘Must’ Upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20+ Review – A Mixed Bag, Not a ‘Must’ Upgrade

It’s 2020, so why not the Galaxy S… 20. Rather than the S11, which is really what it is, a continued iteration from the decent S7, S8, the superb S9, and the slightly compromised S10. In essence, the S20 retains the ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor, which I was never that keen on, fiddles with the camera system – as Samsung does every year – and… gets rid of the popular 3.5mm audio jack and heart rate/blood oxygen sensors. The main attractions here then are probably the 2020 chipsets and increased RAM, plus the optional 120Hz display. But are they enough? Find out in my full Samsung Galaxy S20 review.

Google Pixel 4 XL Review – six weeks on, still early days for this flagship

Google Pixel 4 XL Review – six weeks on, still early days for this flagship

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.

Google Pixel 3a to 3a XL: Differences, Hands-on Review

Google Pixel 3a to 3a XL: Differences, Hands-on Review

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?

Google Pixel 3a Review: Peace of Mind and a Superb Camera for the Mainstream

Google Pixel 3a Review: Peace of Mind and a Superb Camera for the Mainstream

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!

Galaxy Unpacked 2019: Verdict and Hands-on with the Galaxy S10

Galaxy Unpacked 2019: Verdict and Hands-on with the Galaxy S10

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.

The Best Android Phones of 2018

The Best Android Phones of 2018

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…

Google Pixel 3 XL Review: The Always-Beta Android Flagship

Google Pixel 3 XL Review: The Always-Beta Android Flagship

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.

Google Pixel 3 Review: a Pure Android Experience and Super Camera, but what a price!

Google Pixel 3 Review: a Pure Android Experience and Super Camera, but what a price!

The new Google Pixel 3 is, in theory, a well-balanced phone that provides just about everything the discerning Android user needs, in a surprisingly small form factor. And it gets extra kudos for this, in today’s phablet-dominated world. However, despite the use of pure Android, Google-style, a great camera system, and blazing performance, it’s not easy to fall in love with. The blame for this? At least one unambitious component choice and a marketing-driven price that’s patently crazy.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Sleek and Futuristic, but with Compromised Imaging

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Sleek and Futuristic, but with Compromised Imaging

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.