Items tagged with review

When it comes to wireless earbuds, you might say we're fairly particular and almost snooty about them. It's not easy to reproduce decent acoustics with such tiny drivers, never mind with quality active noise cancellation (ANC) that doesn't make it sound like you're listening to music in some kind of weird anechoic chamber. Regardless, at under $100, that's what the TCL MoveAudio S600 True Wireless Earbuds try to achieve. We recently looked at OnePlus' $149 ANC wireless buds offering with the Buds Pro, and found them to be a quality set of wireless buds with a few caveats, most of which could be remedied in software or firmware. TCL's MoveAudio S600 buds were recommended to us as a follow-up... Read more...
Two years ago, Samsung ushered the era of folding phones with the daring (but ultimately flawed) Galaxy Fold. In 2020, the company followed suit with three much improved foldables -- the stylish Galaxy Z Flip, Z Flip 5G, and the powerful Galaxy Z Fold2. With most of the kinks worked out (pun intended), these excellent handsets were finally worth recommending, though cost and durability were still obstacles for many. But things are different today. Samsung’s new water-resistant $1800 GalaxyZ Fold3 and $1000 Galaxy Z Flip3 are more affordable and life-proof than ever. While the Fold series transform from a phone into a small tablet, the Flip models are basically standard handsets that... Read more...
The perfect laptop may not exist, in large part because determining what qualifies as a flawless notebook is partially subjective. Some models come delightfully close, however, and Samsung's Galaxy Book Pro 360 is one of them. It's a splendidly thin and lightweight system, and powerful enough to handle a variety of tasks, even some gaming (though it's not a gaming laptop). Samsung could have stopped there and it would have had a winning combination on its hands, but one of the best features of the Galaxy Pro 360 is its exceptional all-day (and then some) battery life. This is not an Arm-based system, either, but a premium designed laptop built around an 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 processor,... Read more...
The humble webcam has seen a surge to prominence fueled by the rise of web conferencing and remote work, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a few short years ago, a webcam could be buried away below the display of a laptop and few users would complain or even notice. With those days behind us, consumers and professionals alike have been scrambling to improve their on-screen presence to the point of creating a shortage of the now critical device. That same demand has drawn more players into the discrete webcam space, including Dell. Dell's recently released 4K-capable UltraSharp Webcam aims to bring exceptional image quality and ease of use, but does it stand up to the hype? Let's take a look...... Read more...
After releasing the excellent $79 half in-ear OnePlus Buds last summer (now just $59), followed by the decent $49 full in-ear OnePlus Buds Z last fall, OnePlus just launched its most stylish and expensive TWS (true wireless stereo) earbuds to date, the $149 full in-ear OnePlus Buds Pro, which crank things up a notch by adding ANC (active noise cancellation) and wireless charging to the standard feature list. While OnePlus is clearly targeting Apple's $249 AirPods Pro (currently $179 on sale) and Samsung’s brand new $149 Galaxy Buds2, it’s also competing with more affordable, yet quite capable, TWS earbuds with ANC and wireless charging, like Nothing’s $99 ear (1) and TCL’s... Read more...
After weeks of leaks and rumors, and a mere ten months since the original's launch, Google just revised its mid-range Pixel 4a 5G and lowered the price by $50. Behold the slightly larger and heavier Pixel 5a ($449), which bumps the display size from 6.2 to 6.34 inches, increases the battery capacity from 3,885 to 4680mAh, swaps the plastic body for a metal shell, and adds water resistance. The Pixel 4a 5G was arguably Google's best phone of 2020, striking the perfect balance between cost and specs. We're big fans, so there's nothing wrong with an update and price drop. In all, the Pixel 5a inherits its predecessor's overall design and layout, mid-range Snapdragon 765G SoC, and excellent camera... Read more...
Gaming phones have really matured in recent years, with ASUS’ ROG, Lenovo’s Legion, Xiaomi’s Black Shark, and Nubia’s RedMagic all offering compelling performance-packed handsets for gamers. Oppo’s even rumored to be joining the party soon. Here in the US, RedMagic is the gaming phone value champ, and this year’s $599 RedMagic 6 is no exception. It basically updates last year’s $579 RedMagic 5G with a 165Hz display and a Snapdragon 888. That’s all well and good, but what got our attention recently is the $499 RedMagic 6R -- a super-affordable Snapdragon 888 handset with a 144Hz screen and capacitive shoulder buttons that looks and feels more like... Read more...
17-inch laptops are becoming somewhat of a rarity these days. Every manufacturer has a couple of models in their line-up, but they don't get a ton of attention because they're typically quite bulky and harder to tote around than sleeker, smaller machines. However, the system we'll be showing you today isn't just any run-of-the-mill 17" notebook. Dell's XPS 17 series has been cramming as much display real estate into as small of a frame as possible for a while now, and this year's model doesn't make any concessions in that regard. The newest XPS 17's footprint is just barely big enough to hold that panel.  That's not to say that the XPS 17 is all pizzazz and no performance, or places form... Read more...
In 2020, TCL ventured beyond its successful TV business by launching three TCL-branded phones in the US -- the $450 TCL 10 Pro and $250 10L (which we both reviewed), followed by the $400 TCL 10 5G UW. The company is no stranger to mobile, having previously sold budget handsets under the Alcatel brand. But last year’s TCL 10-series was aimed squarely at Moto’s US mid-range lineup, and was quite competitive. Then, at CES 2021, TCL announced the 20-series, which first landed in other regions, but is now available in the US with three phones -- the $500 TCL 20 Pro 5G, $250 20S, and $190 20SE. A lot has changed this past year. LG’s left the mobile space, and both Samsung and OnePlus... Read more...
Last summer we reviewed the eponymous OnePlus Nord, and came away impressed. It never made it to North America, but its successor -- the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G -- did, and while the price was on point, we found that it simply cut too many corners to really hit the sweet spot. Most importantly, it seemed to lack that signature combination of OnePlus design and performance magic and the company's special attention to detail. We were somewhat disappointed, but it still flew off the shelves. Enter the $240 OnePlus Nord N200 5G, an attractive looking Snapdragon 480-equipped 5G phone which brings OnePlus even closer to budget territory. We just spent a few days testing it, and while the lower price... Read more...
Most of you are likely familiar with ASUS’ extensive line of PCs and related components, including ASUS’ ROG gaming products. You’ve probably also seen our ASUS ROG Phone 5 benchmarks, which showcase this incredibly fast gaming phone. But let's not forget that ASUS has also been making innovative non-gaming handsets for years. In fact, the Zenfone series was first to introduce both the periscope camera and the flip camera to market. This year ASUS decided to launch two Android flagships, the €799 Zenfone 8 Flip, which continues the flip camera lineage, and the US bound €599 Zenfone 8, a tiny (5.9-inch display) but mighty (Snapdragon 888 SoC) phone with a more traditional... Read more...
Lenovo's venerable ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been one of the longest-running of the company's trusted business-class laptop series. Now in its 9th generation, Lenovo sought to re-energize the X1 Carbon not only with Intel 11th Gen Core Series processors (Tiger Lake), but with Intel Evo certification that brings with it a number of key refinements. The machine that we have on tap for review here today also includes an impressive new 16:10 format UHD+ (3840X2400) display. Though the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 retains its unmistakably classic and understated hybrid carbon fiber weave and magnesium alloy body, weighing in at a feather-light 2.49 pounds, we're now also treated to a single, unified hinge... Read more...
At CES 2020, ASUS unveiled the ROG Zephyrus G14, which as its name implies is a 14" gaming notebook. It was our first experience with Zen 2-based APUs from AMD, particularly the 35-Watt Ryzen 9 4900HS. That processor had eight cores with AMD's best CPU architecture at the time, and despite the thin design and tight thermal budget of the G14, the performance of both the Ryzen APU and the included GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q really knocked our socks off. The system was relatively light, possessed performance that far exceeded its weight class, and was quite eye-catching with its unique, perforated lid design. Fast-forward a year, and we're looking at the updated ROG Zephyrus G15, launched at this... Read more...
Last month, OnePlus launched its OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro flagships, which we recently reviewed. At the same time, it also announced the OnePlus 9R (a reworked Snapdragon 870-equipped OnePlus 8T for India and China) and the $159 OnePlus Watch. This didn’t come as much of a surprise considering rumors of a OnePlus smartwatch have been swirling for years. It even looks similar to the Watch RX that its partner company Oppo teased last year. Before we dive into reviewing the OnePlus Watch, we have to set clear expectations. This device doesn’t compete directly with the Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Fitbit, and Wear OS smartwatches. It’s in a category of wearables that look like watches... Read more...
Lenovo's flagship ThinkPad X1 lineup has historically been one of our favorite business-class laptop product lines. Lenovo made a quick transition recently, and upgraded this popular laptop series with Intel's 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors that roared onto the scene with a nice performance lift and useful platform updates late last year. Besides the platform upgrade though, Lenovo also pulled a proverbial rabbit out of its hat when it dropped Tiger Lake into the thin and light 1.99lb ThinkPad X1 Nano. The performance-per-pound ratio of this machine should prove impressive and make for a solid, highly portable combination for business professionals or casual mainstream laptop users alike. Though... Read more...
As time goes on, more laptops built around Intel's Evo platform are emerging, bringing with them a combination of specifications and features that meet or exceed specific baseline criteria for performance, battery life, connectivity, and a few other bits. These common threads weave through Intel's Tiger Lake silicon with Xe graphics, which are key cogs in the Evo machine. HP's latest refresh of its Spectre X360 13 for 2021 is one of those laptops, blending luxury styling with Intel's newest generation CPUs and graphics, and the result is an absolutely gorgeous convertible with plenty of zip. The gas mileage is decent on this convertible as well, which is something we'll talk about a little later.... Read more...
By now, you’ve read the leaks, rumors, buzz and hype. The OnePlus 9 series is finally here, and as always, there’s a lot to talk about. 2020 saw OnePlus launch three flagships, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in the spring, and the 8T (basically an updated OnePlus 8) in the fall. But OnePlus also went down-market with three more handsets last year -- the mid-range Nord and the affordable Nord N10 5G and N100. If that seems like a lot of devices, it is -- not to mention the TVs, earbuds, and watch. OnePlus is basically following Oppo’s playbook. And after years of obviously sharing tech, the two companies recently consolidated their hardware research teams under one name: OPlus. Yes,... Read more...
If you’re a regular HotHardware reader, or live outside the US, you’re probably somewhat familiar with Chinese giant Xiaomi. The company makes and sells a wide variety of consumer electronics from smartphones (branded Mi, RedMi, Poco, and CC), to electric scooters. It keeps prices low by subsidizing its products in several markets (like China and India) via online services -- much like Amazon does here in the US. Today, Xiaomi ranks number three in global smartphone market share. Its latest flagship, the $750 / €750 Mi 11, was the first handset to feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 when it shipped January 1st, beating Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S21 to the punch. With... Read more...
When Samsung first introduced its new Galaxy S21 5G line-up, the company took a similar good, better, best approach to its previous generation launch. Like the Galaxy S20, the new Galaxy S21 lineup consists of a base device, a mid-tier device and a top-end model, though all of them can be considered "flagship" phones among Samsung's large and varied handset product offerings. However, for the Galaxy S21 launch, it was clear that Samsung was more focused on value at all tiers this time around, with pricing starting at $799 and topping out $1199 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, representing a $200 price cut across the board versus its previous generation Galaxy S20 family. What's even more exciting... Read more...
ADATA has been consistently expanding its line-up of XPG, or Xtreme Performance Gaming branded hardware, targeting PC enthusiasts and gamers. The XPG family now consists of everything from micoSDXC cards all the way on up to full gaming systems and notebooks. XPG's SSDs (Solid State Drives), however, are arguably the most extensive array of products in the company's portfolio. ADATA has a myriad of XPG SSDs available, at a wide variety of price points and performance levels. The two drives we’ll be showing you here today, the new ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 and XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite, are both bleeding-edge PCI Express 4.0 NVMe drives, packing some of Micron’s latest TLC NAND. The ADATA... Read more...
One positive trend in 2020 was that of affordable mid-range 5G-capable smartphones, with devices like the OnePlus Nord, Moto One 5G, Pixel 4a 5G, TCL 10 5G UW, and Realme 7 5G, all costing less than $500 and packing decent specs -- including reasonably quick SoCs, multiple rear cameras, and even high refresh-rate displays. Thankfully, 2021 is looking even more promising, and January isn’t even over yet. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G ($299, Snapdragon 690) recently landed in the US, and Moto just launched the Moto One 5G Ace ($399, Snapdragon 750G), a detuned and unlocked variant of last year’s AT&T and Verizon-exclusive Moto One 5G ($445, Snapdragon 765). So, how do the Moto One 5G... Read more...
Intel's Tiger Lake mobile platform came out of the gate swinging, with excellent performance and improved power efficiency. The early Core i7-1185G7 development platform we evaluated set several mobile processor records in our benchmarks, and retail notebooks were just as strong when they arrived. So far we've reviewed two such notebooks from ASUS and Dell, but both of those targeted the 2-in-1 segment and commanded a bit of premium as a result, due to their smaller sizes and expanded feature sets. For folks who don't mind (or rather, prefer) the traditional clamshell form factor, and would like to save a couple hundred bucks, MSI has a solution in its new Prestige 14 EVO laptop.  MSI's... Read more...
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