Review August 30

One of the downsides of Google’s second-gen Pixel Buds, as well as their mid-range successor the Pixel Buds A, is that there’s no noise cancellation. With powerful competition like the AirPods Pro and the Galaxy Buds Pro both packing noise cancellation, it was a shame to see the Pixel Buds skip it.

In its place though, the most unique aspect of the Pixel Buds series is their ability to respond to the “Hey Google” hotword, which up to this point had not been replicated on any third-party earbuds. That is, until now. JBL’s latest true wireless earbuds, the JBL Tour Pro+, are the first third-party earbuds to have full Google Assistant integration, including audible notifications and “Hey Google” support.

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Review August 27

Foldable smartphones offer a lot of potential, but price has always been a prohibitive factor. For the first time, Samsung has dropped pricing considerably this generation, with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 coming in at $999. With a price that, frankly, is worth it, is there any reason to stick with a traditional smartphone?

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Review August 24

Do-it-yourself home security has been the way to go for many, with the costs of cameras and other smart home gear coming down and getting more reliable. Google’s Nest lineup has long been among the best in this arena even though it comes at a cost. After several years, Google is finally refreshing its Nest Cam lineup with the arrival of a brand-new lineup that’s headlined by the Nest Cam (battery). Is it a worthwhile upgrade? Let’s dig in.

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Review August 18

You can buy truly wireless earbuds at just about any price point now, whether that’s super-premium options that cost well over $200 or super-affordable options that cost just $20. It’s the middle ground, though, which I find the most interesting. That’s where Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds 2 sit, and they accomplish their given task very well.

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Review August 17

Ahead of its launch, many believed the Pixel 5a would simply be a rehash of the Pixel 4a 5G. However, having used it, I now believe the Google Pixel 5a with 5G carries the torch of the Pixel 5 to counteract costly flagship phones.

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Review July 23

As Google’s Android TV platform continues to expand, the TVs running it are only getting better. For the past couple of months, I’ve been using the Hisense U8G that runs Android TV with a great display, and importantly, much better software performance than I expected.

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Review June 21

Google’s Android TV platform has been around for nearly seven years, but it’s only taken on traction in the past two or three. The reason? Primarily, hardware has been hard to find and, more specifically, affordable hardware. That’s why the Walmart “onn” 4K streaming box is so important — it’s one of the most affordable Android TV devices to date. 

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Samsung’s foray into the the affordable spectrum has improved year-over-year, and the Galaxy A52 5G might be the best of the bunch.

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Review June 16

It’s taken a while, but only the second smartwatch to come packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 has arrived in the guise of the TicWatch E3, which oddly, is the second such watch from Mobvoi.

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Review June 15

It feels like each and every week, a newer, cheaper, more powerful Android smartphone is released. The latest such device to hit shelves in European markets is the Realme GT – which turns out to be very impressive.

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Review June 5

With the rise of mobile gaming and more recently cloud gaming, the need has never been greater for a reliable and affordable controller for your Android phone. But does the GameSir X2 rise to the occasion? Let’s find out.

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Review June 3

After a flawed first attempt at wireless earbuds in 2017, the second-generation Pixel Buds were, on paper, an absolute win for Google. However, over time, audio cutouts and complaints about battery life soured some users on the $180 earbuds. Now, the Pixel Buds A-Series are making their debut with virtually the same design, but a price that’s nearly cut in half.

After using them for the past week, I can definitively say they’re the better product.

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Review April 27

The Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro is a good phone trapped between two price points and living in the shadow of the excellent Poco F3.

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Review April 22

Smartwatches for Android are a tough subject. Wear OS works, but it has a lot of flaws. Samsung’s Tizen-based smartwatches are great, but they’re also pretty expensive and work best on Samsung’s own smartphones. Fitbit smartwatches are excellent for fitness, but not so amazing for smart features. That’s why there was a lot of excitement for OnePlus to debut its own smartwatch, the OnePlus Watch. The final product, though, isn’t what most people wanted, and after using it for nearly two weeks, it’s hard to express just how disappointed I am in the OnePlus Watch.

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Review April 20

As the “main” flagship for Xiaomi in 2021, at least on paper, the Mi 11 Ultra really doesn’t disappoint. No smartphone is used on paper though and how it stacks up is far more nuanced.

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Review April 9

I think I may have jumped the gun in late 2020 by declaring that the OnePlus Nord might offer price-to-performance perfection because clearly, I hadn’t thought about Xiaomi’s efforts in the mid- to-low-end range. If you want a taste of things often reserved for far more exorbitantly priced devices, then the Poco F3 is an absolute steal.

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Review April 1

Samsung is the current leader when it comes to foldables, and after spending a few months with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, I was eager to get my hands on the company’s other option, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. After the company opened up a 100-day trial, I figured it was worth a shot, but here’s why I won’t be buying the Galaxy Z Flip.

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Review March 31

The OnePlus 9 Pro is not the killer Android that it may be marketed as, but it’s the best Pro-series OnePlus to date, but it doesn’t necessarily improve in quite as many ways as you initially thought.

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Review March 30

Technology today is already quite assistive, from location-aware reminders to notifications telling you when to leave, factoring in live traffic conditions. In fact, that’s now the base level of usefulness we expect from our gadgets. After using Google’s 2nd-gen Nest Hub for the past week, I experienced the next level of computers passively suggesting what improvements can be made in your life, and it will take some time to get used to.

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Review March 29

Review: Verizon Stream TV offers fairly priced Android TV with a not-awful skin

Like the Android platform it’s based on, one of the wonderful things about Android TV is that it can suit a variety of different hardware and software needs. Using the “Operator Tier,” some companies can even heavily customize the platform. That’s what Verizon does with its $69 Stream TV box, and it’s actually a relatively solid product on the whole.

Review March 26

OnePlus has spent the better part of a decade building its reputation on two thing: the best specs and the lowest prices. Over time, the latter has been eroded away a bit, and OnePlus also introduced its “Pro” lineup that, well, creates a device that directly goes against the “Never Settle” motto. In 2021, though, the regular OnePlus 9 still stands in the Pro’s shadow, but it’s a better alternative than ever before.

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Review March 16

If you are to go out and get a smartphone in early 2021, the Oppo Find X3 pro should be a candidate. That’s provided you can stomach the entry price and it’s available in your region.

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Review March 9

Sony’s efforts in the mobile space over the past few years may have been a mixed bag overall, but the Xperia 5 II — and Xperia 5 prior — is easily the best in recent memory for a number of reasons.

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Review March 6

Around a year ago, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 series. While they proved to be great smartphones in the end, they were flawed. Samsung’s pricing was out of control, and the value for its devices just wasn’t there. Now, Samsung is correcting a lot of that with the Galaxy S21 series by making cuts to bring the price down by $200. Samsung is admitting its mistake, and it’s for the best.

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Review January 29

Samsung has long made some of the best flagship phones in the Android world, and starting in 2020, the company decided to go all out with its “Ultra” models. To enthusiasts, it sounds like an amazing idea, but for the average customer, it’s not exactly an easy sell, especially when we’ve seen the rise of excellent devices at nearly half the cost with “affordable flagships” such as the Pixel 5. Still, Samsung accomplished its goal, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best Android phone you can buy, and it might even be worth its price tag. 

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Review January 21

After striking gold with the TicWatch Pro 3, Mobvoi’s Earbuds Gesture wireless Bluetooth headphones have arrived after a successful Indiegogo campaign complete with some hands-free head gestures.

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Review January 18

Last year’s Galaxy Buds+ were some of the best truly wireless earbuds to date, but they still left quite a bit of room for improvement. For 2021, Samsung is launching the Galaxy Buds Pro that provide a new design, additional features, and a higher price tag. Through it all, they might be Samsung’s best earbuds to date.

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Review December 31, 2020

You still shouldn’t buy a foldable. 2020 has seen tech move leaps and bounds, with Samsung especially releasing the excellent Galaxy Z Flip and, more importantly, the Galaxy Z Fold 2. After three months using the $2,000 foldable, I’m thoroughly convinced that this technology is the future, but it’s not ready yet. Let’s talk.

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Review December 18, 2020

The state of smartwatches on Android has been relatively unimpressive. Google’s Wear OS platform has a decent foundation but lacks any strength when it comes to health features. That’s why Google in the process of buying Fitbit. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been wearing the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3, the brand’s latest smartwatches, to learn what all the hype is about. While, personally, I still wish the operating system on these watches was closer to Wear OS, I finally see what all the hype is about in the health department. Here’s what you need to know about Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense.

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Review December 3, 2020

Earlier this year, Google Stadia Games and Entertainment announced partnerships with a handful of studios, including Uppercut Games, the developers of Submerged. The result is Submerged: Hidden Depths, a sequel to the 2015 original and a Stadia exclusive.

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Review November 30, 2020

The most confusing of Made by Google series launches effectively concluded in 2020 with the public-facing release of the Pixel 4a 5G — from the outset, a particularly tricky handset to review.

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Review November 27, 2020

Review: Mecool’s KM3 Android TV box is only for the power user on a budget

Media platforms have existed for your TV for years, but Android TV is perhaps one of the most powerful. It has more potential you can unlock compared to a Roku or an Apple TV, but a lot of that depends on the hardware available. “Power users” demand a lot of ports and capable specs, and the Mecool KM3 Android TV box delivers exactly that.

Review November 19, 2020

One year ago today, Google unleashed Stadia, their ambitious game streaming platform, onto the world. In the time since then, my gaming has been done almost entirely through Stadia alone. Over the course of 2020, Google Stadia has grown in many ways, stagnated in some others, but a special something about it has always shined through.

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Review November 16, 2020

Whether you’re trying to save on energy usage, set a schedule, or just make it more convenient to adjust the temperature of your home, the Nest Thermostat line has been available for years to do it all. Now, the Nest Thermostat (2020) has hit the market with a new design, updated software, and the most affordable price to date. Here’s what you need to know.

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Review November 14, 2020

Smartphone design over the past few years has hit a bit of a plateau. There’s only so much you can do with a glass slab after all. While other OEMs are pushing foldables as the future, LG had the bright idea of coming up with some unique designs and throwing them at the market to see if they stick. The LG Wing is the first of those devices with its wacky swivel design and… it’s quite something.

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Review November 11, 2020

OnePlus might be going through a transition phase right now, but they’ve still managed to crank out a number of new devices plus another affordable pair of wireless earbuds in the form of the OnePlus Buds Z.

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Review November 6, 2020

The Nokia 8.3 5G is a reasonably solid device that is massively let down by its release timing. Announced in March 2020, had it hit the market then, it would have been a far more enticing smartphone.

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Review November 5, 2020

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro has been released into a very different landscape to that of its predecessor, the Mate 30 Pro. Restrictions have tightened, but that hasn’t dulled the Chinese firm’s enthusiasm for flagship smartphone releases.

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Review October 29, 2020

The OnePlus 8T is probably the best OnePlus smartphone to date in a number of key areas. It also falters in a few, simply to justify the existence of the OnePlus 8 Pro.

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Review October 24, 2020

As gaming on phones has slowly become less and less casual — thanks to both native games like Fortnite and cloud gaming from Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass — so too have the gaming accessories. We got a chance to play with the Razer Kishi to see if it holds up to the rigors of “hardcore” phone gaming.

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Review October 23, 2020

For better or worse, the Pixel 5 is not like previous flagship Google smartphones. It’s a very different proposition for buyers as a result — but is it actually a good device?

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Review October 22, 2020

2020 has been quite a year, but outside of the obvious things, it’s also been notable for the barrage of streaming services that have changed how we consume TV shows and movies online. There have been perks, sure, but it’s only made finding our favorite content more confusing. In steps Google with its new watchlist feature, a new platform, and a brand-new piece of hardware to watch it all on — Chromecast with Google TV.

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Review October 17, 2020

Flagship smartphones are ridiculously expensive in 2020, and frankly, people are tired of it. No one wants to spend over $1,000 on a phone, but Samsung’s entire Galaxy S20 lineup demanded four figures. After those devices failed to gain traction, though, Samsung has responded with the Galaxy S20 FE, a $699 smartphone that has everything a buyer actually needs for a fraction of the cost.

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Review October 13, 2020

For a few years now, Google has maintained three sizes of smart speakers: small, large, and just right. With the new Nest Audio speaker, Google has taken “just right” to a whole new level.

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Review October 12, 2020

The first thing you probably think of with Google’s Chrome OS platform is a cheap laptop. That’s understandable — the platform has built its popularity on super-affordable laptops that don’t suck. However, there’s a whole other side to the Chrome OS coin. Premium Chromebooks offer the simplicity of Google’s platform with killer performance and premium features. Lately, I’ve been testing out two premium Chromebooks from HP — the HP x360 14c and the HP C640 Pro. Here’s why they’re some of the best “high-end” Chromebooks you can buy, and possibly better than Google’s Pixelbook Go.

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It’s hard not to be tough on Wear OS and feel guilty, but the advent of new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear chipsets really does hint at a bright future for the platform — and the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 helps prove that.

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Review October 6, 2020

Over the last few years, Chromebooks have become useful to more than just students. Thanks to support for Android and Linux apps, Chromebooks are great for productivity and even app development. Now Chromebook makers are rising to meet the needs of power users and developers, and the Acer Spin 713 is one of the best and most affordable high-performance Chrome OS devices.

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Review September 18, 2020

The Poco X3 NFC may not officially come to the US, but boy is this an impressive smartphone that feels like it could be an instant hit.

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