Tag Archive: HandsOn


BlackBerry DTEK50 hands-on: Stuck in neutral

BlackBerry’s second Android phone, the DTEK50, has a vexing name and a lack of star appeal. But it’s also cheap.

I have been fielding radio interviews since mid-2013 about the inevitable demise of BlackBerry’s smartphone business, and each time since then I say, “Sure, this may be it,” and each time I am left wondering whether the company’s stubborn tenacity is its blessing or its curse.

In the DTEK50, BlackBerry may have finally solved the solution  [Read More…]

Wileyfox Spark hands-on: What an £89 Android phone looks like

British startup Wileyfox expands its product line into the budget space, once again tapping CyanogenOS on the software side — but as you might expect, there are a few compromises to deal with in phones priced between £89 and £130.

Wileyfox was part of the broad trend in 2015 towards decent phones that don’t cost a whole lot of money. Partnering with Cyanogen for its software experience allowed the British firm to deliver a solid software experience and decent  [Read More…]

Honor 5C hands-on: Performance on a budget

Honor’s latest brings solid specs and decent construction at a highly affordable price point

The past year has seen Honor, Huawei’s online-focused sub-brand, building out a range of highly focused, highly affordable handsets at various price points. The Honor 7 and Honor 5X were part of the growing trend throughout 2016 of lower-priced phones being able to go toe-to-toe with more expensive competitors in many areas. And although neither device was perfect, they were worth contenders.

  [Read More…]

Moto Z and Moto Z Force hands-on: Welcome to your Moto Mod future

So long Moto X, it’s time for Moto Z now.

Things have just wrapped up here at Lenovo’s Tech World event, where Motorola unveiled the brand new Moto Z and Moto Z Force, the latest in its high-end smartphone lineup. These two phones, which at the core are identical, build nicely on Motorola’s hardware and design chops, leveraging plenty of what it learned from the Moto X Pure Edition, Moto X Play and Droid Maxx 2  [Read More…]

Hands-on: Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 is a sleeker, smarter wearable for fitness enthusiasts

Samsung’s latest wearable combines the best bits of a fitness tracker and a smartwatch into an attractive new wristband.

Back when Samsung was still figuring out how to do smartwatches, the Gear Fit emerged as one of the company’s more palatable wearables. It was lightweight with a small footprint, and had a clear use case which it was pretty good at — tracking your workouts and largely staying out of the way the rest of the  [Read More…]

ZTE Axon 7 Hands-on: Do we really need 6GB of RAM?

A big phone with a big spec sheet.

As a follow-up to its first Axon-branded phone, ZTE has unveiled its latest flagship, the Axon 7. The company says that it skipped straight to Axon 7 to honor the fact that, after a few Grand and Star variants, this in fact the seventh flagship to ship.

It is also the best. With an outrageous spec sheet including a Snapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of  [Read More…]

Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on

Six inches of Sony, and MediaTek — along with some serious camera action — could be the start of another big thing for the Japanese manufacturer’s reboot of the Xperia line.

After unveiling the next chapter of its mobile story at Mobile World Congress in the form of the Xperia X series, Sony has today added another member to its Xperia family. The Xperia XA Ultra takes the basis of the XA and upscales it to an  [Read More…]

Hands-on with the Nextbit Robin update — a major improvement

Nextbit has addressed issues with the Robin in the latest update, and we had a look to see how they did.

Nextbit released the Android 6.0.1 update for the Robin, promising better performance and battery life, improved camera response and better audio tuning for both the front speakers and through the headphone jack. They’ve also made the Robin available through Amazon Prime, which makes it easier to buy.

I’ve had early access to the update, and  [Read More…]

Huawei P9 + P9 Plus hands-on: Dual cameras in Huawei’s new high-end duo

Huawei’s latest high-end phone aims to prove that two cameras are better than one.

The concept of two cameras in a smartphone isn’t new. In the Android world, the trend dates all the way back to the dark ages of 3D phones, with manufacturers like HTC and LG using dual cameras to take 3D images or produce depth-dependent effects. Even Huawei got on the dual-camera bandwagon with 2014’s Honor 6 Plus.

The Huawei P9 — the  [Read More…]

Hands-on with Neato BotVac Connected, a robot vacuum your phone controls

Most robot vacuums kinda suck. But Neato manages to make one that’s better than most — but still has its own room for improvement.

Robot vacuums are, with few exceptions, expensive toys that occasionally clean things about as well as asking a 7-year-old to run a regular vacuum. Many of them have obstacle-avoidance issues that cause them to crash into everything, and you basically have to pre-clean your floors of most things that aren’t dust bunnies to  [Read More…]