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.
Android Phone Reviews
“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.
Thanks to the excellent budget smartphones it has been launching consistently in India, Xiaomi has been dominating the smartphone market in the country. This is despite the marketing blitz from the likes of Oppo and Vivo who have plastered their ads in almost every nook and cranny of the country.
The thing about the Galaxy Note 8 is that it’s not ‘just’ a smartphone. It’s that and a stylus-centric tablet and a pocket computer, all in one. Even though there are annoyances, there’s no escaping the raw power and flexibility of the Note 8. It’s beautiful, it’s immaculately built, and it packs enormous productivity and performance punches.
The Nokia 6 is the current* spearhead of the brand’s return to the smartphone world in 2017 and follows several years of being locked out, following the Microsoft buyout of its Devices division in 2013. It’s still Nokia in terms of logo and branding, it’s still designed in Finland, it’s still made like a tank, but the actual firm behind it is HMD Global and all the manufacturing is in China. So take the ‘Nokia’ branding with just a pinch of salt.
Before you dismiss this review thinking large phones like the 6.44-inch Mi Max 2 which blur the line between a phone and a tablet are impractical for use in daily life, think again. Apart from the expensive Galaxy Note series from Samsung, phablets are all but dead. Xiaomi, however, seems to have proven everyone wrong with their Mi Max series.
There are numerous superlatives that could be levelled at the new HTC U11. It’s super-speedy, it takes superb photos, it’s virtually ‘stock’ (Android), the display’s fabulous… and it’s a great mirror. Not electronically, through the selfie camera – the back of the U11 itself is effectively mirrored, reflecting colours and details from whatever’s in front of it. Which at least makes the unadorned phone stand out in a crowd, even if it’s the lady opposite you on the tube checking that her hair looks OK…
After much testing of the new OnePlus 5, this flagship is all about balance. Every manufacturer has to juggle specifications, hardware design constraints and component prices in order to bring the product home at just the right price yet without compromising performance. And OnePlus has proved itself something of a master at this in the past, with the ‘5’ fitting right into the same pattern. The headline omissions from the aforementioned juggling are the use of ‘only’ a 1080p screen, the lack of official waterproofing, and the single loudspeaker, plus there’s a dubiously specified dual camera. But more on these below in my full OnePlus 5 review…