Samsung Galaxy Fold, Google Pixel 4, OnePlus 7T, Apple Watch Series 5, and more: Reviews round-up
Samsung Galaxy Fold
We thoroughly enjoyed the Fold experience. It is pretty incredible for a first-generation device that offers technology not yet seen in any other device. However, at $2,000 it still isn't a phone that everyone should buy, but everyone should at least see it to appreciate what Samsung has done and where the future of smartphones may go.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
LG has taken a different approach to adding screen area to a handset. A second screen does make for a bulkier, heavier handset, and it challenges the battery, but these trade-offs are to be expected. 5G support will give this phone a degree of future proofing. Five cameras (two front, three back) deliver good enough photos, but there's nothing exceptional on offer here.
For more see: LG V50 ThinQ 5G review: A dual-display 5G flagship
LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen
While Samsung's Galaxy Fold is pushing technology forward, LG offers up an affordable two-screen device that is better for productivity than the Fold. The flexibility to use the LG G8X as a standard Android phone with one screen is a benefit, too. If you want a phone that can stand up to the elements, brings an interesting experience with a second display, and doesn't break the bank, then you should seriously consider the LG G8X ThinQ.
The performance, quick updates, gorgeous design elements, decent battery life, and more make devices like the OnePlus 7T a solid smartphone to get work done. Battery life has been solid, but there is also fast charging with the included Warp Charge 30T charger. At $599 it is hard to complain about this phone.
For more see: OnePlus 7T review: The best smartphone value of 2019
Google Pixel 4 XL
If you have a Pixel 3, we wouldn't recommend getting a Pixel 4. If you're happy with the Pixel 3's battery life and performance, there's little reason to upgrade. The camera features are neat, but not worth the upgrade alone. On paper, the Pixel 4 XL reads like the perfect Android phone. In the real world, it's a mixture of surprises and disappointment.
Google Pixel 4
While wireless charging and fast charging is offered, this still cannot justify less battery life and it's an unacceptable trade-off for the enterprise. Google Pixel phones are known for regular firmware updates, but for businesses this may actually be a deterrent. The camera on the Pixel 4 is excellent, but you can get very similar photos with the new iPhone 11 series, the Galaxy Note 10, and Galaxy S10 as well.
Don't think of this as a successor to the Pixelbook and view it as a new addition to the Google lineup. This model is designed to fill the laptop-only mode and come in at the lowest starting price of a Google-branded Chromebook. The Pixelbook Go is a very well constructed and designed Chromebook that focuses on helping you work efficiently and enjoy media on the go.
Apple Watch Series 5
For first-time Apple Watch buyers, do you buy the $199 Apple Watch Series 3 or the $399 Apple Watch Series 5? After two weeks of testing, the Series 5 feels like what the Apple Watch should have been from the start. In addition to the always-on display, you're getting a bigger screen, fall detection, and Apple's ECG app for detecting irregular heart rhythms.
Apple iPad (2019)
By expanding the capabilities of the iPad through hardware and software improvements, including enterprise additions, the standard iPad is just as capable as the iPad Pro and it's a fraction of the price. For the average user who wants a streamlined computing experience, at home or work, the new iPad is an affordable option that will surely get the job done.
Sony Xperia 5
The Xperia 1 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset, which delivers good benchmarks: three-pass average Geekbench 5 scores of 745 (single core) and 2849 (multi-core). The Xperia 5 runs on Android 9 rather than the newer Android 10. The handset's 3,140mAh battery is a bit under-specified, but still managed to deliver more than a day's use in the real world.
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is a flagship-class handset with a great screen, good battery life, dual SIM support, an in-screen fingerprint reader and a 3.5mm headset jack. The triple rear camera setup is very capable, and while the pop-out selfie camera's mechanism might not appeal to everybody, there's nothing wrong with its photo quality.
The Fairphone 3 is a handset that's designed to be taken apart and repaired by its owner. Fairphone's aim to produce a handset based on ethically sourced materials and properly paid workers is laudable. But buyers will have to accept compromises beyond those of build and styling: anyone looking at purchases of equal monetary value - €450/£400 - will immediately see the difference in specification.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen)
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga 4th Gen is solidly built with the usual Lenovo look and feel. We felt the combination of high-resolution 4K screen and 4-speaker system on our review unit are ideal for work presentations and after-hours relaxation, the stylus with an on-device housing is a bonus, and there are plenty of security features too. But beware of the 4K screen as it's a battery drainer.
HP EliteBook x360 830 G6
HP's EliteBook x360 830 G6 isn't the lightest 13.3-inch laptop around, but it's among the most solidly built. The many security features are compelling. Battery life is impressive, too. On the downsides, viewing angles are poor and the stylus suffers from an awkward tethering system. Also, the speakers could be better, and there's no privacy cover for the webcam.
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019
Amazon's Kindle Oasis is a high-end e-reader that's now on its third edition. The Oasis is a lovely product both to hold and to read with. It delivers a premium experience in this respect, and has the edge over Kobo's Forma, primarily because of the aluminium back and excellent page-turn buttons. But a headset jack and a USB-C charge connector would be welcome, and could have been achieved without impacting case size, design or usability.
Kobo Libra H2O
The Libra H2O is a new 7-inch e-book reader from Kobo, which at £149.99 (inc. VAT; or $169.99) sits below the company's flagship 8-inch, £239.99 (or $249.99) Kobo Forma. Reading was a pleasurable experience on the Libra H2O, with the Kobo UI rather less cluttered and easier to navigate than the Kindle's. The big deal-maker for Kobo is that its e-readers support library loans -- if your library uses OverDrive.