Reviews round-up: 18 devices we've looked at in the past month

From the new Nokia smartphone to notebooks and wireless headsets, here are 18 bits of kit our reviewers tested in July.
By ZDNET Editors, Contributor
1 of 18 Nokia

Nokia 8 Sirocco

The Nokia 8 Sirocco has plenty of plus points: battery life is good, there's plenty of internal storage at 128GB, the Snapdragon 835 processor is competent, the dual rear cameras work well enough, an IP67 rating is welcome, and Android One makes for good future-proofing. But one glaring issue brings the whole handset down: the 5.5-inch screen. To find out why, read the review.

For more see: Nokia 8 Sirocco review: A flawed flagship

2 of 18 Honor

Honor 10

The 5.8-inch Honor 10 is the flagship Honor device for 2018. At £399 (inc. VAT) it's a relatively low-cost handset, in keeping with the company's value-for-money ethos. The Honor 10 is an excellent mid-range handset. It has lots of features and certainly gives the Huawei P20 and P20 Plus a run for their money.

For more see: Honor 10 review: Flagship features at a mid-range price

3 of 18 Asus

Asus ZenFone 5

The Asus ZenFone 5 is a bit of an enigma. On the outside it looks like a pretty standard handset, but it starts to reveal more as you delve into what's on offer. The various elements under the phone's AI banner are often scattered across different settings, which is a missed opportunity. Asus should bring them together somewhere, even though they aren't really deal-makers. If you're after a new handset in the £250-£350 price range, the ZenFone 5 is well worth considering -- but you should also consider similarly priced phones from Motorola, Honor and Nokia.

For more see: Asus ZenFone 5 review: A mid-range handset with hidden depths

4 of 18 Alun Taylor/ZDNet

Elephone U Pro

Is the Elephone U Pro worth a punt? We would say a qualified 'yes'. The fantastic 6-inch screen, large battery, voluminous and expandable storage, and good looks certainly make this handset a desirable bit of kit. On the other hand there are one or two rough edges and the main camera performance, in particular, is rather poor. And don't forget you can pick up a Moto G6 Plus in the UK for around £260 which, if not quite as powerful or as funky, could be a safer bet.

For more see: Elephone U Pro review: An affordable but flawed Galaxy S9-alike

5 of 18 palmsolo/ZDNet

Cat S61

The Cat S61 smartphone is not designed to compete with the Apple iPhone, OnePlus 6, Galaxy Note 8, or any other typical high-end or mid-range smartphone. You should only consider buying the S61 if your company has a need for thermal imaging technology. An advanced thermal imaging camera, a laser distance tool, and an air quality monitor are all tools of the trade for the enterprise. With the Cat S61, these tools are found in an Android smartphone that lets you also do all that a smartphone can in a single rugged unit.

For more see: CAT S61 Android smartphone review: Taking the smartphone as a tool to the next level

6 of 18 Ockel

Ockel Sirius A Pro

The Sirius A Pro is a curious little wedge-shaped Windows 10 PC with a 6-inch touch display. The Windows 10 Home-based Sirius A costs €699, while the higher-spec Windows 10 Pro-based Sirius A Pro costs €799. The question is whether there's much demand for a 6-inch touchscreen PC. There are enough compromises to make us wonder whether Ockel would have been better off refining its original Sirius B concept -- and keeping costs down -- rather than pushing mobility on hardware that doesn't meet most people's expectations for on-the-go battery life.

For more see: Ockel Sirius A Pro review: A pocket-size Windows 10 PC

7 of 18 Lenovo

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen

Lenovo has done little more with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen than keep it up to date with processor and screen upgrades. It would have been good to see some size and/or weight shaved off, and for the screen bezels to slim down. It's also time to think about improving the speakers. However, as with its predecessors, the X1 Carbon's tough chassis and excellent keyboard are standout features, while all-day battery life should be possible for all but the most demanding power users.

For more see: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen review: A peerless business ultraportable

8 of 18 Toshiba

Toshiba Tecra X40-E

Toshiba's Tecra range is built specifically with businesses users in mind, and while the 14-inch, 1.25kg Tecra X40 E is on the large side for an ultraportable, it does offer plenty of high-end features, including 8th-generation Intel processors. Overall this is a nice workhorse laptop, aimed more at knowledge workers than media creators. It has a great keyboard and good battery life, so it should suit mobile professionals. The touch screen is useful, but it's a shame the lid is rather flexible.

For more see: Toshiba Tecra X40-E First Take: Better battery life boosts mobile credentials

9 of 18 Fujitsu

Fujitsu Stylistic Q738

The Stylistic Q738 is primarily a tablet with its keyboard an attachable option. As befits its 'tablet-first' approach, all computing components, from the battery to the processor plus all ports and slots, are on the tablet section. With a starting price of £999 (ex. VAT) the Stylistic Q738 is not overly expensive, but it will probably have to function as your only computer, so you'll need to be able to live with its tablet-first architecture.

For more see: Fujitsu Stylistic Q738, First Take: A 2-in-1 detachable for the mobile professional

10 of 18 HP Inc.

HP EliteBook 840 G5

This is a laptop that copes well with mainstream workloads. We did experience quite a lot of fan noise, though -- even when simply browsing a few web pages, writing a document and streaming a bit of music. The other potential issue is battery life -- commuters might need to administer a power boost during the afternoon to keep the laptop running until they get home. The EliteBook 840 weighs 1.61kg with a touch screen or 1.48kg without, so it's no lightweight. It's also on the bulky side at 32.6cm wide by 23.4cm deep by 1.79cm thick. Still, this is a well made laptop with some high-end components, including above-average speakers.

For more see: HP EliteBook 840 G5, First Take: A solid business-class laptop

11 of 18 Teclast

Teclast F7

Teclast is aiming high and aiming for the corporate market with its new F7 Tbook Notebook PC. The Teclast F7 Tbook notebook PC is a lovely-looking device. Even its packaging is high quality. The outer carton has a hinged lid, and the F7 nestles in a well-constructed black card that surrounds with foam lid padding. We like this notebook PC. It is fast enough for most office tasks, light enough to carry around in a bag, and the battery will last most of the day when you are out and about. At around $280, the F7 is a good-performing addition to your tech arsenal.

For more see: Teclast F7 hands-on: A lightweight notebook for mobile workers

12 of 18 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Meeting Owl

The Meeting Owl is an impressive piece of kit, and although it's not cheap at £799 ($799 in the US), it's certainly a great deal more affordable than the only other 360-degree conferencing camera we're aware of -- Polycom's CX5500 (a descendant of Microsoft's RoundTable), which costs around £5,000 (circa $6,500). Meeting Owl also provides a more satisfying experience for remote workers than, for example, manipulating a pan-tilt-zoom camera at the other end of a call. And in the meeting room, participants have the freedom to move around and interact more naturally than if they had to remain within a regular camera's field of view.

For more see: Meeting Owl review: Putting remote workers in the video conferencing picture

13 of 18 Nest

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest IQ Outdoor security camera adds facial recognition and a good set of notifications to keep you in the loop. It is an impressive package; sleek, premium hardware, very good image quality and a set of useful notifications, including facial recognition. The alerts are particularly helpful and lift the camera from passive gadget into a useful addition to home security. But it's a premium package at a premium price, and that's before you add in the subscription package that you'll need to get the best out of it. Many people may be happy with a smaller feature set or the lower quality offered by cheaper cameras, but a the high end the Nest IQ Outdoor is a compelling package if you want to spend more.

For more see: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Premium hardware and clever software make for a smart security package

14 of 18 Mobvoi

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro

Outside of rebranding Android Wear to Wear OS in March, there hasn't been a lot going on with Google's wearable platform. So with no real competition released in recent memory, it'd be easy to proclaim the TicWatch Pro as the best Wear OS device you can get right now. But the truth is, the TicWatch Pro is the best Wear OS smartwatch you can buy right now. Without any meaningful updates to hardware and software from Google or its device partners in however many months, Mobvoi's at least trying to push its smartwatch offering forward by doing something unique.

For more see: Mobvoi TicWatch Pro review: Two screens really are better than one

15 of 18 palmsolo/ZDNet

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

The Fenix 5X Plus is a champion multi-sport GPS watch with music, Garmin Pay, and advanced sleep tracking. It is a very expensive GPS sports watch, but it doesn't lack in anything and the battery seems to go on forever. Garmin offers GPS watches at half the price for more casual athletes or those focused on one or two sports. However, if you want a single device that works across a number of sports and will last you for years, then this is one to consider.

For more see: Garmin Fenix 5X Plus review

16 of 18 Sebaztian Barns/ZDNet

Sony Xperia Ear Duo

The Duo is a Bluetooth headset that rather than plugging up your ear to block the sound of the outside world, has a hole to intentionally let the world in. Sony should be applauded for at least trying something different. If magic battery technology arrives shortly, or the ability to have higher volume is added to the device, it could be more useful, but AU$400 is a lot to spend on a device most useful when you know you are going to be interrupted.

For more see: Sony Xperia Ear Duo: A concept not yet complete

17 of 18 palmsolo/ZDNet


With the removal of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack from phones, wireless headsets are required to enjoy your media content. A new accessory is designed to help keep those headphones charged at all times. Step forward the IFROGZ Cocoon, which is a nice accessory for the gym or commuter who uses their headsets and may forget to charge them up after a workout or train ride. If you put a longer cable in the Cocoon, then you can even charge up your wireless earbuds while using them if the earbuds are completely dead.

For more see: IFROGZ Cocoon earbud charging case: Charge, carry, and store your wireless audio gear

18 of 18 palmsolo/ZDNet

RHA MA390 Wireless

RHA Audio makes high quality headphones and with the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, wireless is the solution. For $69.95, the MA390 Wireless is an excellent affordable option.

For more see: RHA MA390 Wireless earbuds hands-on: 8 hour battery, assistant button, and reasonable price

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