MacBook Air, iPad Pro, Mac mini, Pixel Slate and more: Reviews round-up

From new Apple devices to a range of smartphones and activity trackers, here's what our reviewers tested during November.
By ZDNET Editors, Contributor
1 of 16 Apple

Apple MacBook Air (2018)

It may be long overdue, but the 2018 edition of the MacBook Air pulls off a good balancing act. Rather than a ground-up revamp, this new model concentrates on refining the elegant, lightweight design that made the MacBook Air so popular in the first place, while also bringing it up to date with features such as the Retina Display and T2 security chip.

For more see: Apple MacBook Air (2018) review: Apple's veteran ultraportable gets a facelift

2 of 16 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

iPad Pro 2018

The new iPad Pro is the best tablet we have ever used. But the same can be said about each year's release. The iPad Pro is as powerful as a computer and can even complete common computing tasks with ease. But it's still a tablet with software issues and a largely mobile experience.

For more see: iPad Pro 2018 review: The best tablet ever is still stuck in computer limbo

3 of 16 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple Mac mini (2018)

Between the number of ports, the types of accessories those ports allow for, and the customisation options, the Mac mini is a computer that's no longer serving a niche market. It's designed for all types of users, whether you want to use it as a server in your home, and set up more than one mini as a set of servers to offload video encoding and code compiling.

For more see: Apple Mac mini (2018) review: The little Mac that could

4 of 16 Google

Pixel Slate

The Google Pixel Slate is an outstanding piece of hardware running a very capable selection of operating systems. It has a more premium fit and finish than any previous Google tablet and even bests the Pixelbook in terms of design. Google just needs to spend a bit more time optimizing Android apps to make it a killer tablet.

For more see: Pixel Slate review: Google tablet vs iPad or Surface? It's beyond compare

5 of 16 palmsolo/ZDNet

2018 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The new Kindle Paperwhite is a solid evolution in the Kindle ecosystem. Amazon did not just add waterproofing to the Kindle, but updated the design and offers customers more capability with it at a reasonable price.

For more see: 2018 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review: Read in comfort at the pool or beach

6 of 16 Lenovo

Lenovo Smart Display

The Lenovo Smart Display brings additional value to Google Assistant, and the mixture of voice and visual responses works well. There's room for improvement though: the physical design is arguably a little clunky, with a maximum depth of 13.6cm to accommodate the landscape/portrait stand, while the speaker seems rather large. A second iteration will doubtless refine the design somewhat.

For more see: Lenovo Smart Display, First Take: A flexible camera-equipped design

7 of 16 palmsolo/ZDNet

Huawei Mate 20

The Mate 20 is a pretty wide phone and offers a very large display for those who want a big phone. It's not very comfortable in my pants pocket though, and is a bit bulky to hold in my hand. In typical Huawei fashion, the battery seems to last forever and it also charges fast with Huawei's charger. The screen looks great, performance is flawless and reception is good.

For more see: Huawei Mate 20 review: Not as good as the Mate 20 Pro and a bit too wide for comfort

8 of 16 palmsolo/ZDNet

OnePlus 6T

The innovative in-screen fingerprint sensor is fun to use, the alert slider rocks, reception cannot be beat, battery life is excellent, and the camera works quite well. We give the OnePlus 6T a very high recommendation and once you give it a try you may not go back to paying nearly twice as much for your next smartphone.

For more see: OnePlus 6T review: Outstanding reception, solid battery life, and extremely fast performance make this one to buy

9 of 16 HP Inc

HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation

It might not have the elegant design of the Mac Mini, but the Xeon processors and discrete GPU options of the Z2 Mini G4 mean that HP's alternative is in a different league when it comes to performance. The high-end models are also competitively priced, especially compared to expensive all-in-one PCs that commit you to a fixed, built-in monitor.

For more see: HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation: HP crams even more power into a compact design

10 of 16 HP

HP Elite x2 1013 G3

HP's Elite x2 1013 G3 is a portable and flexible 2-in-1 detachable. It's certainly a step up from its predecessor, packing in a larger screen, and its keyboard is very usable. The high-resolution screen on our review sample was a pleasure to work with, and didn't seem to cause excessive battery drain -- especially with the brightness turned down a notch or two.

For more see: HP Elite x2 1013 G3 review: A premium Surface Pro alternative

11 of 16 Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review

Xiaomi's Mi 8 Pro is a competent flagship-class smartphone that should give other vendors operating in the £400 to £500 price band pause for thought. This sector was competitive before Xiaomi showed up, and it's even more competitive now.

For more see: Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review: More competition in the affordable flagship sector

12 of 16 LG

LG V40 ThinQ

The LG V40 feels great in the hand and has just about everything you could ever want in one phone. The LG V40 is clearly designed for photographers/videographers who want to take control of the experience. It is also an audiophile's phone with advanced audio support.

For more see: LG V40 ThinQ review: Full-featured smartphone built for Android tinkerers

13 of 16 Xiaomi

Xiaomi Band 3

The Xiaomi Band 3 looks like a bargain at its rock-bottom price, but if you're interested you should consider the accuracy of its basic capabilities -- step counting, distance calculation and heart rate measurement -- before taking the plunge.

For more see: Xiaomi Band 3, First Take: Activity tracking at a rock-bottom price

14 of 16 palmsolo/ZDNet

Huawei Band 3 Pro

This is really not a device to replace a smartwatch, but is an extremely capable activity tracker with GPS. The battery life matches what is advertised on the Huawei website. Functionality exceeded my expectations and for $70 we don't see how you can go wrong choosing this wearable if you don't need a full smartwatch form factor device.

For more see: Huawei Band 3 Pro hands-on: Affordable fitness band with GPS and color touchscreen

15 of 16 Mark Russell

RHA TrueConnect

RHA headsets have impressed us in the past and we had high expectations for its first truly wireless headset. The design is impressive, the battery life is above average, you can control playback and volume right from the headset, and they fit well. The RHA TrueConnect earbuds are very comfortable for long-time wear, making them perfect for commuters, people who like to workout with music, and those looking for something better than the AirPods.

For more see: RHA TrueConnect earbuds review: High quality, stylish wireless earbuds for your commute or workout

16 of 16 palmsolo/ZDNet

Jaybird Tarah Pro

The Jaybird Tarah Pro is the best Jaybird headset we've seen to date with a battery life that's sure to satisfy just about everyone. The headphones are comfortable for hours of playback, are built to last for a long time, and sound great. They are not inexpensive headphones, but $159.99 is acceptable for wireless headphones with these performance specs.

For more see: Jaybird Tarah Pro wireless sport headphones, hands-on: 14-hour battery life powers endurance workouts

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