Upstart smartphone builder OnePlus's motto is Never Settle. And with its recent launch into Australia, OnePlus is here to upset the apple cart -- it's selling a phone that will go toe to toe with top Androids and the best of Apple. This is the OnePlus 5, a flagship-killer Android phone that looks like an iPhone, for half the price of either.
In August 2017, Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, and his disciples at Essential Products descended onto this mortal plane to grace us with the PH-1 -- a device that seeks to right the wrongs of modern smartphone design. Almost monolithic in appearance, the PH-1, or the Essential Phone as it's more commonly known, is forged from a combination of titanium and ceramic meant to withstand the rigors of daily living without needing to be shrouded in ugly plastic cases. OK, let's get real, there's a lot of hype behind the phone, but is all that hot air really warranted? Ummm, no.
Forgive me for passing up the chance to beat the exploding battery joke into the ground. Let's get straight to the point: Samsung's once dominant flagship phablet is back after a two year hiatus. Sporting a stunning extra-widescreen 18.5:9 display, the new Galaxy Note8 is bigger and more engaging than ever before, and it packs a larger power pack than any Note besides the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 too. But a lot has changed since 2015 -- especially when you consider that starting at $1499, the new Note8 is now more expensive than ever.
That means there are two questions it needs to answer: Does the Galaxy Note8 still make sense in 2017, and can it possibly be worth $1499?
A year after the disastrous Galaxy Note7, Samsung is back with another Note, its flagship big-screen smartphone that is the best it'll build in 2017. Welcome to the Note8 -- it's a masterpiece, an agenda-setting phone that's the first of a new breed of devices that could well replace your entire PC.
The Galaxy Note8 faces stronger competition than ever, but that's a great thing for you, the customer. It catches up to Apple and its competitors with an excellent dual camera, and it streaks ahead with the best screen of any phone ever. If this is the benchmark for top-end phones, I'm really excited to see what this forces everyone else to come up with.
Motorola's mod-friendly smartphone, the Moto Z, is back. It's back in Z2 Play form, refining the original idea a little and bringing one of 2016's most interesting -- if not exactly compelling -- phones into late 2017. The base hardware is better, and Motorola is to be applauded for that, but the Moto Mods themselves have changed little.
Every time a new platform comes out, the gadget world runs headfirst into a vicious Catch-22: How do you get people to adopt new technology when there isn't any content, and if there isn't anyone using the tech, how do you convince developers to make content for that platform? Recently, we've seen this situation unfold for VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Despite both systems' ability to evoke profound jaw-dropping reactions from those who've tried it, VR is still too expensive and thin on content for people to really care.
In the world of smartphones, the Essential Phone has been anxiously anticipated with the reverence we should probably save for Kendrick Lamar albums. Why? Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, is behind the whole thing. After ditching Google in 2014, Rubin ran off to open a bakery (YUM!), but he's returned to the world of gadgets to "inject passion back into smartphones," whatever that means. It's not even out yet and people are calling his new device the anti-iPhone.