What happens when Google ditches its beloved Nexus program to take smartphones seriously? You get Pixel and Pixel XL, two phones with high-end specs that are “Made by Google” (in Taiwan by HTC), price tiers that typically only Samsung and Apple can compete in, and a massive marketing campaign. Another way to put that is – Google is finally ready to be your next smartphone maker, and not in a back-alley tinkerer, “You can only come to my website to buy the discounted goods,” hacky and cheap kind of way. The Pixel phones are supposed to be as good as any phones and Google is telling you about them.
Google is using its premium Pixel line to now not only highlight their vision for Android, but also to present an exclusive set of features that they hope will allow these phones to stand out. I’m talking Google Assistant, for the most part. However, Google has a special launcher for Pixel, is super hyped on the cameras they used, and will more than likely continue to add on new features as these phones receive updates.
Did Google succeed this time around? They sure did build a couple of really nice phones, I can tell you that much. I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks switching between the regular Pixel and the Pixel XL. It’s now time to talk about the experience.
This is our Google Pixel review. (more…)
The Honor 8 is another device we wouldn’t typically review, but seeing as how options may seem limited given the circumstance surrounding the Galaxy Note 7, we wanted to spend time checking it out. Additionally, this tier of “mid-range” devices have become quite the little competitors, complete with what we would label as top-tier specs and features for a relatively inexpensive price.
While the 5.2″ FHD display and octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM certainly get the job done in terms of overall performance, the Honor 8 does have its shortcomings. It took me a solid week to really master all of the device’s software tweaks on EMUI, which is a skin I might rank as one of the lowest in terms of ease-of-use and appeal. However, a few of the features might make up for EMUI’s look, so I can’t sit here and stress over it too much. (more…)
For the Moto Z Play, being a mid-range phone that we wouldn’t typically review, we took a different approach to sharing our final thoughts on it. Hey, look, a video review from Droid Life! This should be interesting.
If you have watched the DL Show in recent weeks or follow us on Twitter, you probably know that I’ve actually become quite a big fan of this phone. It might be the legitimate 2-day battery life that has me brainwashed. Seriously, I have never in all my years reviewing phones, seen one that can last this long on a single charge. You get battery estimates from companies as they announce new phones, yet none ever live up to those numbers. This phone does and I am incredibly impressed. (more…)
Since the day the Galaxy Note 7 was released, Tim and I have each had one in hand, in pocket, next to us on a desk, or traveling by our side across the country, accompanying us through every move because this is one of those phones that offers so much, you have to dedicate every ounce of your mobile life to it to get the most out of it. In fact, for the two weeks we have been on the Note 7 full time, you still get the feeling that there is more to learn here.
Note phones have always been thought of as power user phones, though they are also becoming quite good as every-person phones, thanks to Samsung’s recent attempts at softening the software experience. Sure, Note devices still offer top tier specs and S Pens and multi-window fun and a big ass display, but they are also just really damn good phones, even if you don’t want to mess with all of that extra fluff. And I think that’s a lot of what Samsung is trying to do going forward, especially with the Note 7, is remind you that this isn’t just for power users any longer and can really be a great phone for anyone. Let’s talk more about that.
This is our Galaxy Note 7 review.
UPDATE: As you all now know, the Galaxy Note 7 has been officially killed off by Samsung because it kept exploding on customers in hand, on airplanes, and at night when they were sound asleep. That really sucks because this phone was awesome. Either way, we’ve leave this review up as a way to remember what was more than likely the best phone of 2016. RIP, little guy. (more…)
In 2016, if you aren’t Apple or Samsung and you make smartphones for a living, you need to find new ways to stand out or you may not be around for long. This industry is tougher than ever and has become increasingly difficult for anyone to sell enough phones to remain (or become) profitable. For Motorola, they think that could all change through modularity and the idea that a smartphone can be improved depending on the situation, thanks to swappable hardware.
With the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, Motorola has introduced phones that are not only high-end devices with top-tier specs, they are also compatible with Moto Mods, a line of modules that attach to the backs of each via pins and magnets that could help improve an audio experience, battery life, etc. Motorola may not be the first to usher in the era of modules (that would be LG), but they more than likely are the first to at least get it close to right.
Over the past week, we’ve spent time with both the Moto Z DROID and Moto Z Force DROID, the Verizon versions of Motorola’s new phones, to see if 1) they are any good at being high-end phones, and 2) if this Moto Mods deal is worth your attention and investment. I took on the Moto Z, which you’ll find out all about below, while Tim has the Moto Z Force. You can read his review right here.
This is our Moto Z DROID review. (more…)
Introduced as the Moto Z Force DROID Edition, now launched sans Edition, the Moto Z Force DROID could be described as a follow-up to last year’s DROID Turbo 2, but it’s much more than that. On paper, the Moto Z Force DROID attempts to bring the best of specs and modular functionality into a single device, offering a big battery and stellar camera to get people excited for this year’s lineup of DROID phones. Combine all this tech nifty-ness into an incredibly thin body and you would think Moto and Lenovo are positioned to have themselves one very popular device.
The Moto Z (DROID) and Moto Z Force (DROID) were announced on June 9, meaning we have had quite a long time to get unexcited about these devices, but putting the delayed launch aside, let’s find out how they fare after a week in our pockets.
Here’s our Moto Z Force DROID review. (more…)
After what I can only describe as a confusing 2015 for OnePlus, the upstart Chinese manufacturer is back for 2016 with another flagship phone. This time, though, the hypetrain has departed, there are no gimmicky feature trollouts per week, promises of it destroying 2017 phones are no where to be found, and that f*cking invite system that stayed around for far too long, might be gone for good. Oh, and that phone is the OnePlus 3, a phone that on paper, stacks up with the best without any major sacrifices and even has NFC. Yes, NFC is here.
I’ve spent the better part of the past three weeks with the OnePlus 3 in hand and can’t help but nod in appreciation or congratulation to OnePlus. There just aren’t any glaring issues with this phone, nor is OnePlus doing and saying a bunch of annoying things to turn us off. They, for lack of a better descriptor, seem to have done a great job. Let’s talk about it all in greater detail.
This is our OnePlus 3 review. (more…)
Looking over the spec sheet for the OnePlus 3, the device checks off a whole lotta boxes. From what we can tell, as the technology has improved, many people are relying on their smartphones more than ever to deliver high-grade photography. Not everyone carries around a professional camera, so having a smartphone shooter that can capture all of life’s joys is pretty important. Plus, you don’t want to be posting pixelated photos of that gorgeous dinner you devoured last night, right?
So how does the OnePlus 3 camera stack up to others in the field? For specifications, the camera features a 16MP sensor, as well as OIS (optical image stabilization) and EIS (electronic image stabilization). The stabilization tech works to ensure that your photos come out looking crispy and not a blurry mess. Additionally, the OnePlus 3 supports shooting in RAW, allowing for post-shot advanced editing work. Much like other top-tier smartphones on the market, the OnePlus 3 also features a comprehensive Manual shooting mode, granting users access to more mid-shot adjustment tools.
Below, we go over the OnePlus 3 camera’s software, then take a look at a few example shows to give you an idea of what you can expect if you decide to purchase the OnePlus 3. (more…)