Reviews round-up: 15 devices we've got our hands on in the past month

From the new BlackBerry to notebooks and robotic vacuums, here's 15 pieces of hardware our reviewers tested in June.
By ZDNET Editors, Contributor
1 of 15 BlackBerry Mobile

BlackBerry KEY2

The BlackBerry KEY2 offers an excellent keyboard, and BlackBerry fans will likely be happy to give up some screen space to accommodate it. The plentiful software won't appeal to everyone, but for those who appreciate extras such as the Hub, it works well. Battery life is impressive. The KEY2 will appeal most to old-school BlackBerry fans who simply want to continue using a keyboard-equipped handset. For others looking for a change, it's perhaps an overpriced option -- and giving up today's larger screens might be too much of an ask.

For more see: BlackBerry KEY2 review: An old-school concept, updated

2 of 15 OnePlus

OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 6 has the very latest Android version on board. However, it still lacks MicroSD storage expansion and an IP rating, with the latter likely to be missed most. But considering what you get for the price, the OnePlus 6 is a bargain. At the time of writing, for example, the Huawei P20 Pro costs £669, Sony's Xperia XZ2 £699, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus £718. Every prospective buyer needs to weigh up the pros and cons, of course, but for my money the OnePlus 6 is the smartphone of the moment.

For more see: OnePlus 6 review: Top-quality design, features and performance at a great price

3 of 15 Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen is compact and portable, and the bundled stylus expands the range of use cases. Many users should find battery life good enough for all-day working, and twin Thunderbolt 3 ports will be handy -- although one will be occupied when the battery is charging. There are some drawbacks: the MicroSD card slot is fiddly to get at, audio quality should be better on a device that's aimed at mobile professionals and creatives, there's no ThinkShutter for the camera, and Lenovo still hasn't provided a perfect external housing for its stylus.

For more see: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen review: A top-quality 2-in-1 detachable

4 of 15 Sebaztian Barns/ZDNet

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a very good laptop, and there is plenty to like about it. At this point, we should be raving about the quality of the display, but our memory of this machine will be the fan, its incessant noise, and wondering whether the laptop would heat our jeans like the devices from a decade ago. It's a shame, because this could have been a great device. In a way it still is, but only on paper.

For more see: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: A great display meets a noisy fan

5 of 15 palmsolo

Jabra Elite Active 65t

The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds have a MSRP of $189.99, which is $60 less than the $249.99 price that the Elite Active Sport model launched at last year. If you like to listen to music when you workout and want to enjoy a cord-free setup, then it is tough to beat the Jabra Elite Active 65t. If you don't need the advanced fitness analysis provided in the Elite Sport and want to save some money then you can't go wrong with the Elite Active 65t.

For more see: Jabra Elite Active 65t review: Better than the AirPods and designed for active users

6 of 15 Samsung

Samsung Flip

Samsung's overriding goal for the Flip was to make a straightforward and accessible collaboration screen without too much complexity in either the functionality or the user experience. Given this, and the competitive pricing, its main target market is probably small/medium-sized businesses and enterprise departments, with typical use cases in product development, marketing and IT teams. More expensive collaboration products offer more full-featured operating systems, integrated cameras, pressure-sensitive inking and more, but Samsung could well find a niche, for the moment, with the Flip. But this a fast-developing market, and we look forward to examining forthcoming products like Microsoft's Collaboration Displays and Surface Hub 2.

For more see: Samsung Flip review: A well-priced collaboration display with a twist

7 of 15 palmsolo

HTC U12 Plus

The U12 Plus is a fantastic piece of hardware with some unique features. That said, there are also several things that bug us about the HTC U12 Plus as well and some of these we wouldn't be as concerned about if it was priced a couple hundred less and competing with devices like the OnePlus 6. If the list of bothersome things irks you too much, then move along and look at something from Samsung, LG, Moto, Huawei, or others. Given that there will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Pixel 3 XL likely coming in the next few months, we can't justify paying $800 for the HTC U12 Plus at this time.

For more see: HTC U12 Plus review: Sometimes innovation goes awry

8 of 15 TCL Communication

Alcatel 3V

At first glance people will think you have a mid-level $400 to $500 phone in hand with that large 6-inch 18:9 display, dual rear cameras, and well-built construction. The only obvious signs that you have a less expensive device is the use of microUSB and glossy black plastic on the back panel. The Alcatel 3V is not going to challenge the $500+ mid-range or flagship market, but Alcatel did a good job in providing a low-cost alternative that looks like a phone much more expensive when laid side-by-side. It is a solid spare phone or a first phone for your children.

For more see: Alcatel 3V review: Modern design with some tradeoffs for $150

9 of 15 Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd Gen)

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd Gen) remains an excellent convertible laptop -- definitely up there in the top tier. It's slightly larger and heavier than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen), with thicker screen bezels, but brings 360-degree screen rotation to the ThinkPad X1 range. The stylus is cleverly housed in a bay that also charges its battery, the screen and keyboard are both excellent, and the build is solid. Battery life could be better, though, and the need to use an Ethernet dongle may irritate some users. The top-of-the-range specification, including mobile broadband, a high-resolution screen with Dolby Vision and NFC, is also expensive.

For more see: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd Gen) review: A top-quality convertible laptop for business

10 of 15 Fujitsu

Fujitsu Lifebook T938

Everything fits together very well, and a series of legacy ports will certainly enhance this laptop's appeal for some. Fujitsu fans who want a 13.3-inch convertible with 360-degree rotating screen and an 8th generation Intel Core processor should consider the Lifebook P728. The price for our review unit has not been confirmed, but a Core i5-8250U version costs £1,276 (inc. VAT; £1,066.33 ex. VAT) online. Our Core i7 unit will therefore be a premium-priced system.

For more see: Fujitsu Lifebook T938, First Take: Let's twist again

11 of 15 palmsolo

Unihertz Atom

The Unihertz Atom launches today on Kickstarter at the special launch price of $159. When you look across the current collection of smartphones priced less than $300 that Unihertz Atom stands out as one with NFC, a fingerprint sensor on the front, the latest version of Android, and a price that beats nearly every other phone out there. It's a tiny smartphone, but for $159 it is a great secondary phone to take with you running, fly fishing, biking, hiking, and working out in the field. Even at the full $299 price, it is a solid phone for field workers and those weekend warriors who are out on their phones. It will help you stay in touch without worry while other glass sandwich phones cost you $500 to $1000 and require a bulky case to keep safe.

For more see: Unihertz Atom hands-on: Rugged tiny 4G smartphone keeps you connected in the field for less than $300

12 of 15 Doogee

Doogee S50

There are no fancy additions to the S50's home screen, and no options for one-handed operation, although we did like the fingerprint sensor at the back of the device. We were also disappointed that the toolbox of useful apps was missing in the S50 -- which we used a lot in the S60. All in all, we were very impressed with the Doogee S60 when we road-tested it last year. The streamlined S50, for its nicer form factor, facial unlocking, and easy SIM insertion, is a better piece of hardware -- despite the lack of toolbox apps in this build.

For more see: Hands-on with the Doogee S50: Rugged good looks and face recognition

13 of 15 Kasmer

Kasmer Fitness tracker

We had high hopes for the Kasmer. It is a nice-looking fitness device, and with some more investment in the app and sync functionality, we think it has potential. Although we configured message push notification across all social platforms, we had no notifications -- even though these were all enabled on our Android phone. We think we will wait before purchasing until the app improves its features and gives a historical record of heart rate, blood pressure, and an accurate record of steps.

For more see: Kasmer Fitness tracker: Lots of promise, but fails to deliver

14 of 15 Garmin

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music updates the model released six months ago with more glass on the display and support for offline music. It's the second Garmin GPS sports watch to launch with music support and is priced $150 less than the Forerunner 645 Music. The $300 price puts it in direct competition with the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, and Fitbit Ionic, so with the addition of music the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music is much more competitive. It offers longer battery life and much more customisation of workout tracking with far less smartwatch capability.

For more see: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review: Music comes to the mid-range

15 of 15 iLife

iLife V8s robot vacuum

The V8s cleaned for almost two hours before taking itself back to its charging station, which will charge its 2,600mAh battery for around two hours before it can be used again. This makes this device comparable to the top Roomba models -- at a far cheaper cost. This is a great robotic vacuum cleaner for the small to medium office with hard flooring or carpet -- with the added bonus of a mopping system for hard floors.

For more see: iLife V8s robot vacuum hands on: A great 2-in-1 cleaner for the office

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