Items tagged with smartphone

As would be expected after abandoning the smartphone business earlier this year, LG's share of the handset market in the United States has taken a major hit—the latest data shows LG's smartphone share plummeted 35 percent in the first half of 2021, compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, OnePlus is doing gangbusters with its smartphone business. Interestingly enough, LG exited the smartphone business right as the push for 5G technologies began to drive more shipments overall. This is evidenced in the latest data corralled by Counterpoint Research—it shows that the US smartphone market saw a 27 percent year-over-year increase during the first half of this year, and attributed the gain to... 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...
LG's retreat from the smartphone market has been rumored for months, with the most recent report suggesting that the South Korean electronics company couldn't find a buyer for its money-losing division. Today, LG confirmed the news in a statement, saying that the decision to abandon ship was approved by its board of directors. So, what does this mean for LG's smartphone business in the short term? While it would probably be ill-advisable to purchase one at this point, LG says that its current smartphone inventory is still available for sale. Extended software support, including OS updates, which has been somewhat hit-or-miss for LG, will be provided by the company "for a period of time which... 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...
Both Apple and Samsung are the world's leading smartphone manufacturers, and they have been duking it out on global sales leader boards. Quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, Samsung has had a death-grip on the number one spot. But in an interesting turn of events, a new report found that Apple took the number one spot for Q4 sales in 2020. Is it clever marketing and sales from Apple that pushed them to the top or just the luck of the draw? Gartner is a research, advisory, and data collection company for enterprise customers to provide accurate information and insights into many industries. Today, it released a brief report on the smartphone market's current state, which found that smartphone... 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...
OnePlus officially launched North American versions of its Nord N10 5G ($299) and Nord N100 ($179) today. The N10 5G is effectively the same affordable 5G phone we reviewed back in November, and the N100 is a low-priced budget 4G handset. We just spent a few days testing the US-bound N10 5G and wanted to give you an update. So what’s changed versus the European variant? Does the aggressive US pricing help better differentiate it in some way? Let’s find out... OnePlus Nord N10 5G Hardware, Design, and Display From a design and materials perspective, the Nord N10 5G for North America is identical to its European sibling. It looks and feels exactly the same, comes in the same fingerprint-prone... Read more...
The Nokia 8 V 5G UW is a relatively expensive mid-range phone from a storied brand that’s been trying to make a comeback into the US market. Essentially, it is Verizon’s mmWave 5G version of the global Nokia 8.3 5G, a Snapdragon 765G-based handset that was announced back in March but shipped in September -- by which time it had to contend with some stiff competition. This is our quick-take review of this new option from Nokia in the US. At 171.9 x 78.6 x 9mm and 230g -- and with a large 6.81-inch screen -- the Nokia 8 V (for short) is a big and heavier phone. It feels substantial but looks pretty generic. Its build quality is high, but while the rear is shimmery glass, the mid-frame... Read more...
Affordable 5G phones are all the rage right now, with devices like the Moto One 5G here in the US, and in markets like Europe and India with the OnePlus Nord. But while prices are dropping rapidly, corners are getting cut -- like we saw with the lack-luster €349/£329 OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Enter the €279/£279 ($370) Realme 7 5G, a MediaTek Dimensity 800U-powered 5G handset that punches way above its weight class, and gives its OnePlus Nord N10 5G cousin a run for the money. Here’s our quick take on this sleeper alternative Android value phone. Realme 7 5G Hardware And Design It’s impossible to review the Realme 7 5G without comparing it to the OnePlus Nord... Read more...
The increasing cost of flagship smartphones over the last couple of years has put them out of reach for many consumers. We all knew it was coming in late 2018 when Apple priced the iPhone X at a cool $999. It wasn't long afterward that Android handset makers capitalized on the new normal of flagship phone pricing as well, but not everybody wants to toe the line with four-figure purchases for a smartphone that will be quickly outclassed and potentially obsolete after a couple of years, especially should they stop receiving updates. In 2019, Samsung's upper-mainstream device was the $750 Galaxy S10e. This year, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition lands in a similar position in Samsung's line-up, and it... Read more...
LG is a bit like that quiet loner in high school -- often misunderstood, but sometimes brilliant. Take the company’s 2020 smartphone lineup for example. At the top, it consists of the $700+ LG V60 ThinQ 5G, a competent affordable flagship, and the $600+ LG Velvet, a stylish premium mid-ranger. These are good phones by any measure, but they’re often outclassed by the competition, and don't have many stand-out features -- optional dual-screen case aside. Which brings us to the $1000 LG Wing, the first handset born from the company’s Explorer Project. The LG Wing's main display can swivel 90 degrees to reveal another (half) display, transforming from a normal phone... Read more...
It’s been a busy, transformative year for OnePlus. After releasing the $699 OnePlus 8 and $899 OnePlus 8 Pro flagship back in April, it launched the €399 OnePlus Nord mid-range device in July, and the $749 OnePlus 8T in October. We were very impressed with the Nord, but it wasn’t destined for our shores. OnePlus promised to remedy this by introducing a variant of the Nord for the US market, which brings us to today’s phone. Behold the €349 ($415) OnePlus Nord N10 5G. It’s a completely different 5G handset from the original Nord that swaps the Snapdragon 765G for a Snapdragon 690, and the 6.44-inch AMOLED screen for a 6.49-inch IPS display. OnePlus sent us a European... Read more...
Google’s phone strategy has always been a bit of a mystery. While it successfully entered the mid-range market with last year’s Pixel 3a and -- more recently -- the $349 Pixel 4a and $499 Pixel 4a 5G, it’s been struggling to find its place at the high-end. Pixel flagships have always been interesting options in the market, especially for those who want a stock Android experience. However, they're sometimes overpriced, with high-end configurations in some ways (processors) but also lacking in some areas (RAM and storage options). So, Google appears to be taking a gamble and trying something different this year. It’s targeting the popular $600 to $750 price range and joining... Read more...
Don’t let the Pixel 4a 5G’s name fool you into thinking this device is the same as the Pixel 4a that was released back in August, with the sole addition of 5G support. Although the branding may be somewhat quizzical, the Pixel 4a 5G is a completely new device, with a larger form factor (it’s actually bigger than the Pixel 5), newer processing platform, additional rear camera, and a few other bells and whistles. The new Pixel 4a 5G does look nearly identical to the “older” Pixel 4a, but that is by design. Google has embraced an overall aesthetic with its Pixel devices that’s distinctly similar across all its devices from the last couple of generations. Depending... Read more...
Back in April, OnePlus wowed us with the $899 OnePus 8 Pro -- its first bonafide flagship. We were less enamored with the $699 OnePlus 8, which -- while still being a great phone -- cut a few too many corners (no telephoto, no wireless charging), and cost too much for an affordable flagship. Then in July, the €399 OnePlus Nord rekindled our excitement by redefining the premium mid-range handset. It just wasn’t destined for the US -- yet. Which brings us to today’s $749 OnePlus 8T, the direct successor to the OnePlus 8. It comes with more base RAM/storage (12/256GB), a flatter 120Hz screen, a better 5MP macro, a larger 4500mAh battery, and faster 65W charging. But is all this... Read more...
Samsung's line of Galaxy handsets hardly need an introduction. By now, even casual smartphone shoppers are familiar with the Galaxy brand, which spans top-of-the-line flagships like the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20, to much more affordable options like the Galaxy A and Galaxy 5G. And of course there is the innovative Galaxy Z Fold 2. But one Galaxy handset you may not have heard of before is the Galaxy XCover Pro. So, what exactly is it? The Galaxy XCover Pro is a bit of a different beast in the Galaxy family, designed specifically for working environments and job sites, including healthcare settings, manufacturing facilities, retail shops, and so forth. That's to say, the Galaxy XCover Pro... Read more...
Moto is on a tear with new releases lately. So far in 2020, the company has launched 21 handsets globally, and nine in the US alone -- namely the G Stylus, G Power, Edge+, Edge, G Fast, E (2020), One Fusion+, One 5G, and Razr 5G. And that’s without counting phones rebranded for T-Mobile, including the $400 REVVL 5G -- a detuned version of the subject of today’s review, the $445 Moto One 5G. This let’s-see-what-sticks strategy is confusing, to say the least. While the Razr 5G, Edge+ and Edge fit into well defined categories, these other handsets (especially the sub-$270 E- and G-series) overlap in terms of specs and pricing, and often lack must-have features like NFC. Combine... Read more...
When it comes to smartphone plans, many of us have simply become resigned to the fact that prices in general have been on an upward swing (with the exception of T-Mobile in some cases). The arrival of 5G is sending monthly bills even higher, which means that many customers are likely looking for relief. AT&T CEO John Stankey has an idea on how customers could potentially lower their bills, and it might be a controversial one for some. The executive is suggesting that AT&T could adopt a strategy in which a portion of a customer’s monthly bill would be subsidized with advertising.  “I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would... Read more...
It’s been a rough few years for LG. The company has experienced steadily diminishing phone sales and market share as of late. Yet not too long ago, it was hot on the heels of fellow Korean giant Samsung. Over the last decade, LG even brought us many features and innovations we take for granted today, like the first QuadHD screen (LG G3 - 2014), the first ultrawide camera (LG G5 - 2016), and the first 18:9 aspect ratio display (LG G6 - 2017). The G6, and the LG V30 that followed later that year, established LG’s fresh (at the time) new aluminum and glass sandwich design, which is still evident in the company’s latest flagship, the V60 ThinQ 5G. Unfortunately, this look -- not... Read more...
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