If you can get past it's biggest flaw, the Galaxy S22 is still a very solid phone
When the Samsung Galaxy S22 was released, alongside its two big brothers, the S22+ and S22 Ultra, it certainly got lost in the shuffle as these smaller Android phones tend to do. Most of the market is focused on larger phones, as most of the best Android phones all seem to have a huge screen that makes one-handed operation difficult. But being left behind (so to speak) may be the greatest strength of the Galaxy S22 today.
Don't over-Think the branding
For a brand as ubiquitous in the business world as ThinkPad, it's truly astounding that Lenovo (and, I suppose, IBM before it) never attempted to move into the mobile world. It's all too easy to assume that there must've been a failed ThinkPhone in the early 2010s — it got stuck on Gingerbread, right? — or, even before that, a BlackBerry clone that a couple of Fortune 500 companies adopted and forgot about just as soon after.
Motorola's midrange contender can't stand up to the competition
While a flagship smartphone has to hit all the notes to justify a sky high price tag, mid-range devices have a little more flexibility. The more affordable a product is, the more you'll need to compromise on what you want out of your phone. On paper, the latest Moto Edge is a solid compromise — a big, fast display; a thin and light chassis, and a massive battery. But with so much competition in the budget smartphone space, nailing the right mix between affordable and impressive can, as this phone reveals, really be a challenge.
The Galaxy A54 washes away a lot of the sins of its predecessor
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G was my most disappointing device of last year. I'd anticipated a great battle between the A53 and the Google Pixel 6a — with the A53 offering a fantastic display and impressive battery, while the 6a countered with its raw performance and camera capabilities — all for the same $450 price tag. Instead, Samsung’s mid-range model was plagued by lag at every turn, making it painful to complete even the simplest tasks like pulling down the notification shade or taking a photo. Even for the price, it was hard to recommend a phone so prone to stalling harder than a pug walking up a steep hill.
The king of mobile gaming is back for its crown
It's that time of year again; Asus has a new gaming phone to sell, known as the ROG Phone 7 and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. This review will deal specifically with the Ultimate model, taking the highest end for a lengthy spin to see just how well it stacks up to last year's offering and the competition, especially when that competition is heating up.
Low-effort sleep tracking, no wearable required
Practically every piece of tech that goes on your wrist can, in some way, track your sleep: smartwatches and fitness trackers from Garmin, Samsung, Fossil, Google (including Fitbit), and others can all keep tabs on your nightly rest. But solutions like these require charging and wearing a watch to bed can be uncomfortable.
The 13 Pro is Xiaomi's best internationally available phone yet
Xiaomi may be known mostly for its excellent budget phones, and while these may make up the biggest portion of the company's revenue, the brand has also been offering enticing high-end flagships for a while now. Its products never felt like they quite reached the same level of refinement and polish as its competitors, but with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, this is changing. The latest Xiaomi flagship feels the most grown up yet. The Xiaomi 13 Pro has one of the best camera sensors and setups in the industry (right up there with the Vivo X90 Pro), an excellent build quality with a high-end ceramic back, and finally offers IP68 water and dust proofing. It's also right up there with the competition when it comes to software support.
The OnePlus 11 combines powerful specs, unbeatable battery life, and an affordable price point
For the past couple of years, it's seemed like OnePlus has been lost in the woods. After some incredible flagships that paired impressive specs with affordable pricing, the OnePlus 9 seemed to highlight the end of something special. With a controversial update to Android 12 and a botched merger with Oppo's ColorOS, the enthusiast-focused company many fell in love with seemed to be all but gone, something only cemented by the wildly overpriced OnePlus 10 Pro just one year ago.
Don't expect too much, but for a basic phone, the Samsung ultra-cheap Galaxy isn't such a bad deal.
While Samsung makes a big splash every year with its Galaxy S-series of phones and its lineup of foldable phones, the truth is those are very expensive. Heck, many of the best Android phones you can buy today are costly, often pushing over $1,000. However, plenty of manufacturers have gotten quite competitive in the midrange and budget phones market as of late. So even though Samsung often makes headlines with its more premium phones, they also make some of the best budget Android phones — including the Galaxy A03s.
And that's exactly what makes it so exceptional
Flagships are in a weird place these days. Each year, manufacturers push the envelope on what a smartphone can do. Larger sensors, bolder displays, mobile ray tracing, 8K video recording — truly, the sky's the limit. But as the specs sheets get bigger, so do the price tags, and in a world where 95% of users can have their needs met by phones on sale for well under $500, is it really possible to recommend a flagship to everyone?
The middle S23 is the best one for most people
It's hard to paint the Samsung Galaxy S23+ as an exciting phone. The upgrades from last year are minor: it's got slightly faster performance, longer battery life, and a mildly refined look.
The camera is incredible, but sadly, the software not so much
Overshadowed by the launch event for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its more affordable siblings, Vivo announced the global release of the Vivo X90 and X90 Pro in early February. We wouldn't blame you if you didn't take notice of this handset — after all, it's yet another Android phone that won't make its way to the US, just like the Xiaomi 13 Pro hasn't.
Endurance for days is the highlight of this smart budget pick
I miss the old OnePlus. Sure, those were the bad old days of invites, and shaky software support, but it felt like the company had a mission: it was making the flagship killer. The OnePlus One wasn't just supposed to impress us with its different approach to hardware and software, but also to marketing, and at $300 (or $350 for the 64GB model) this was clearly a company going after the budget market. Sadly, those days did not last, and now OnePlus is a regular full-fat flagship brand.
An upgraded 90Hz display, two-day battery life, and a price tag you can afford
Smartphones can be expensive, particularly if you're after a high-end flagship device. While you might have to shell out the big bucks for the best flagship phones, Samsung offers capable devices across the board, including some of the best cheap Android phones you can buy today. That continues with the Galaxy A14 5G, the latest A-series device that delivers functional specs with some advanced features for just $200 out of the box.
Honor’s first international foldable surpasses Samsung in key areas, but falls short in others
Honor first revealed that it would bring a folding phone to international markets in September 2022. It then gave us a preview and hands-on experience of what we can expect in November 2022, and now, at MWC 2023, the company has finally revealed the Honor Magic Vs for its international audience — though the US is still left out in the cold.
The iQOO 11 may not go in for a ton of pizzazz, but with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 under the hood, it doesn't need to
Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 late last year, promising to deliver the power that the best Android phones need to succeed. Since then, a lot of companies have already announced products featuring the Qualcomm flagship. One of the first to brace the global markets was the iQOO 11, beating the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and many other flagship phones to the punch. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is certainly the highlight of the iQOO 11, by far the most important part of this phone.
A low price doesn't mean you have to skimp on performance
Nubia’s Redmagic brand has been trundling along for years, releasing budget gaming phones with killer hardware. Last year’s Redmagic 7 is a great device if you value performance over all else, but buggy software means it’s a challenging recommendation for everyday use. However, Nubia has finally ironed out some (but not all) of the issues, making the Redmagic 8 Pro a much easier device to recommend than its predecessor.
The most anticipated phone of the year is finally here, and it’s good
The Nothing Phone 1 was one of the most anticipated and best Android phones of 2022, and US folks were understandably upset that the device didn't make it across the pond. That is finally changing. Nothing has opened up a new Beta Membership that allows you to buy a Phone 1 to experience the company's Android 13 beta for the sweet sum of $300 — even though the phone doesn't work on all US carriers.
The Unihertz Tank delivers up to 100 days on a single charge and better performance than most rugged smartphones
Rugged smartphones tend to only be good at one thing: being rugged. They can survive going through a window, but scrolling Instagram or watching videos on a decent display is often too much to ask. It’s that perception that the Unihertz Tank is seeking to change. It has all the qualities you want in a good rugged device without losing out on essential smartphone features.
It's heavy and expensive, but Anker's new power station is insanely beefy
Once your portable power needs exceed even the best battery banks on the market, power stations may be your next stop. The $1,400 price tag doesn't exactly make the Anker 757 Powerhouse an impulse purchase, but there are more expensive options that aren't quite as good. With its hefty bank of over 1200Wh in long-life LFP cells, and 1500W of AC output, the Powerhouse is ready for years of powering household appliances.