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iPhone XS, iPhone XR, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3 and more: Reviews round-up

From flagship smartphones to laptops and Fitbit's latest activity tracker, here's what our reviewers tested during October.

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Topic: Reviews
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1 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple iPhone XS

It's hard not to look at the XS and see it as the middle child, with most of the attention going to the less expensive -- and more colorful -- iPhone XR, all while the iPhone XS Max is setting the example. Or, we could be looking at this way too deep and it simply boils down to your budget, or maybe what size of screen you want. But to be clear, the iPhone XS is every bit as good as the iPhone XS Max, save for battery life.

For more see: iPhone XS review: Everything Apple has to offer, but in a smaller package

#5: Colors, colors, and more colors!
2 of 13 Apple

Apple iPhone XR

Compromises made by Apple to get the iPhone XR to be the the least expensive iPhone released this fall include LCD instead of OLED, IP67 instead of IP68, haptic touch vs 3D Touch, aluminum vs stainless steel frame, CAT 12 vs CAT 16 LTE support, one rear camera instead of two rear cameras, and 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB.

For more see: Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

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3 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Google Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3 XL is the Android phone to beat. Google delivers a complete experience with the Pixel 3 XL. Battery life, performance, the camera, and the small software customisations are currently unmatched.

For more see: Google Pixel 3 XL review: Constant surprise and delight

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4 of 13 Google

Google Pixel 3

If you're looking for one of the best flagship Android phones today, it's tough to beat the Google Pixel 3. It is not inexpensive though, and there are still a few software updates needed to smooth things out and provide promised features, but Google is good about releasing those updates too.

For more see: Google Pixel 3 review: Excellent camera, pocketable form factor, and Google software are compelling

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5 of 13 Huawei

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei has thrown everything at the Mate 20 Pro, which costs €1,049, and for the most part the results are pleasing. It has a great screen, super battery life, a very good camera system, good in-screen fingerprint recognition, a very fast processor and plenty of internal storage. There are niggles, of course. But overall, Huawei has put itself right at the top of the flagship handset pile.

For more see: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Feature-packed flagship joins the smartphone elite

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6 of 13 Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga 730

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is a powerful laptop. Discrete graphics, a touch-screen, a high resolution display and the bundled Active Pen 2, along with 360-degree hinge, make it tempting for creative types. The relatively short battery life is a let-down, but this can be mitigated by taking the FHD rather than UHD screen option. That will also make this a less expensive purchase.

For more see: Lenovo Yoga 730 (15.6-inch) review: A well-built 2-in-1 convertible, but battery life could be better

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7 of 13 Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad P1

Considering the punch it packs, the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is a pretty compact laptop. It's still quite large and heavy compared to true ultraportables, but anything less than a 15.6-inch screen would compromise the ability to fulfil its workstation purpose. The display itself is superb, even in its FHD incarnation without touch support.

For more see: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 review: Workstation power in a portable package

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8 of 13 HP

HP EliteBook 745 G5

The HP EliteBook 745 G5 has some impressive features, including a solid build and a good array of ports. The keyboard is comfortable to use, although the cut-out for the pointing stick is oversized and makes typing with the G, H and B keys awkward. Unfortunately the screen is a big let-down, lacking in both brightness and in colour vibrancy.

For more see: HP EliteBook 745 G5 review: A solid AMD-powered laptop, but screen and battery life disappoint

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9 of 13 Alun Taylor/ZDNet

Chuwi Lapbook SE

Go shopping for a budget Windows laptop with a decent-sized screen and you could end up with something like HP's Stream 14 -- a plastic disappointment. However, if you peruse the offerings of smaller Chinese manufacturers like Chuwi, then for about the same price as HP's offering you could get a notebook that's altogether better. With the Laptop SE, you get a lot of laptop for your money.

For more see: Chuwi Lapbook SE review: A lot of laptop for very little money

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10 of 13 Alldocube

Alldocube M5S

If you want a large but affordable Android slate there are some half-decent options shipping from China. The latest, and one of the cheapest, is the M5S from Alldocube, which is available from AliExpress. The M5S's chipset is no thoroughbred, but it still manages to keep everything moving along fluidly. The AnTuTu benchmark app scored just below 98,000 which is perfectly decent.

For more see: Alldocube M5S review: An affordable Chinese 10-inch Android slate with 4G

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11 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Amazon Echo Plus (2018)

The second-generation Echo Plus is a solid upgrade from last year's effort. Its appearance alone makes a big difference, combine that with upgraded audio and a small touch like the temperature sensor, and the new Echo Plus is an appealing smart speaker. For those who already have a few Echo devices spread throughout rooms, the Echo Plus is the logical addition. For everyone else, you'll need to figure out how much you care about sound quality and go from there.

For more see: Amazon Echo Plus (2018) review: A refined upgrade

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12 of 13 Ring

Ring Alarm

When you take into consideration the hardware cost and the monthly fee, it's clear Ring Alarm is an affordable and effective way to monitor your home from afar. For anyone who is already a Ring customer, the Ring Alarm is an easy option to recommend as a way to secure the inside of your home. For everyone else, the Ring Alarm is still worth your consideration. It's easy to set up, inexpensive, and reliable.

For more see: Ring Alarm review: An affordable home security system

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13 of 13 palmsolo/ZDNet

Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 3 does a great job of tracking your daily activity and sleep with the ability to also track exercises with some basic information shown to you as you use it. It is very comfortable and can be worn for days between charging.

For more see: Fitbit Charge 3 review: Comfortable activity tracker

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