Reviews

2017 Ford Flex Limited Review: Twin-turbo road trip king continues to deliver

2017 Ford Flex Limited Review: Twin-turbo road trip king continues to deliver

Most full-size SUVs tend to fall into one of two design categories: forgettable family blobs, or frighteningly massive hunks of truck-based steel. The 2017 Ford Flex, however, proves that you can package exceptional practicality in something that's been styled to be distinctly different from the vast majority of its people-moving brethren. Even more impressive? The Flex manages to stand tall alongside the competition while riding on one of the oldest platforms in the sport-utility segment.

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Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 910 Review: a big, beautiful (and pricey) all-in-one PC

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 910 Review: a big, beautiful (and pricey) all-in-one PC

Lenovo is back with a new all-in-one desktop computer, the IdeaCentre AIO 910. This model is aimed at consumers who want a simple but powerful desktop experience, and it follows in the footsteps of things like the A740. As we'd expect from an all-in-one desktop, this system brings everything someone needs for a proper computing experience: a large monitor, all the desktop hardware built into the monitor/base, plus a wireless keyboard and mouse. With a starting price of $1,799 USD, though, consumers largely have one big question about this AIO: is it worth it? Read our review to find out!

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review: On the shoulders of giants

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review: On the shoulders of giants

In the cat and mouse game between Samsung and Apple, the user is the real winner, and never has that been so apparent as with the new Samsung Galaxy S8. Undoubtedly the most eagerly-anticipated Android smartphone of 2017, the Galaxy S8 is Samsung's first big opportunity to put the Note 7 battery debacle behind it, and instead wow consumers with its latest industrial design, services, and more. Question is, with the same camera as the old Galaxy S7, not to mention flagship feature Bixby Voice absent until later in the year, does the Galaxy S8 and its big S8+ sibling do enough today to overshadow the iPhone 8 tomorrow?

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2017 BMW M760i Review: More than M7

2017 BMW M760i Review: More than M7

Seldom is my A/B testing quite so entertaining as comparing this, the 2017 BMW M760i, with the Alpina B7. Each a riff on what a performance version of the stately 7 Series might look, sound, and drive like, the two cars may be showroom stablemates but they take very different routes to their 600+ horsepower. Few will get the opportunity to cross-shop them, much less the chance to throw them around familiar roads as I've been doing.

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2017 Porsche Macan Review: The average edition of a stellar SUV

2017 Porsche Macan Review: The average edition of a stellar SUV

Porsche does not often, if ever, build lackluster vehicles. Rather, its stock in trade are automobiles that catch your eye just before their power makes you stop to catch your breath. Consider, then, the exception that is the new-for-2017 base model Porsche Macan, the entry-level follow-up to the outstanding Macan S, GTS, and Macan Turbo trio that have dazzled since first introduced a mere two years ago. Now equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder motor in place of the turbo six found in its siblings, the most affordable Macan makes a clear trade: scintillating performance for mass market appeal.

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Lenovo X1 Carbon (5th Gen) Review: Almost perfect

Lenovo X1 Carbon (5th Gen) Review: Almost perfect

Imagine pulling a laptop out of its box for the first time, only to worry that it may not include a battery due to its insanely light weight. That was my first thought when I retrieved the latest Lenovo X1 Carbon (5th generation) from its box. It's hard to imagine that this laptop is powered by anything other than thin air, mostly because it's hard to imagine there's an entire set of hardware -- including a battery, of course -- inside this thin and light body. What kind of sacrifices had to be made to produce such a svelte laptop? Surprisingly few, it turns out.

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Chuwi Hi10 Plus Review

Chuwi Hi10 Plus Review

Once upon a time, the big names in the device market tried to put Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows side by side on the same machine. Neither platform maker was happy and the likes of Samsung and ASUS backed out for fear of earning their ire. This gave other smaller players, like Chuwi here, to thrive in a market very few dared. The Chuwi Hi10 Plus represents one of the latest of such devices, combining the power of Windows 10 with the mobility of Android in one affordable package. But how does that tempting promise perform in practice? We take the Chuwi Hi10 Plus for a whirlwind tour to find out.

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Snipperclips review: A great Nintendo Switch co-op puzzle game

Snipperclips review: A great Nintendo Switch co-op puzzle game

Despite my love for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its numerous brain-teasing shrines, I have to say that I’ve never been much of a puzzle game fan. Video games, in my mind, have always been about the adventure or competition or relaxation. Working through puzzles never seemed like something I’d want to do to wind down at the end of the day. As it turns out, I was wrong about that - I just needed a game like Snipperclips to show me the light.

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2017 Jaguar F-PACE 35t Prestige Review: A crossover with claws

2017 Jaguar F-PACE 35t Prestige Review: A crossover with claws

Jaguar knows how to make a handsome car, and the 2017 F-PACE is no different. The British automaker's crossover borrows liberally from the design language of the slinky F-TYPE coupe and the imposing XJ sedan, no bad thing in either case, and the result is a striking and aggressive SUV. Still, the styling isn't the only thing Jaguar poached from the F-TYPE: there's the engine, too.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro Review

Huawei Honor 8 Pro Review

Just when you thought you've seen all the Android flagships that this half of 2017 has to offer, along comes Honor to blow your presumptions away. Many might brush off this Huawei sub-brand because it is, well, a sub-brand. That, however, would be a grave mistake with the Honor 8 Pro. Because as far as this latest Honor flagship is concerned, it could have been called the "Huawei P10 Plus Lite". Which is to say, it's pretty darned impressive. Especially for something that comes well under this year's high-end smartphone prices.

Design

Let's face it. A lot of consumers will knock the Honor 8 Pro off for looking like an iPhone knock off. Admittedly, that impression might be warranted. You have the same soft curves on the edges and the same all-metal unibody build. It even has the very conspicuous antenna lines though, thankfully, not as bad as the iPhone 6 and 6s.

There are subtle differences, of course, and the biggest one is the rear camera bump. Or rather, the lack of it. Despite being only 6.97 mm thin, Honor has seemingly done the impossible and made the camera bump disappear. What you get is one, flat, continuous rear what won't rock when placed on a flat surface.

You'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you stopped at how the Honor 8 Pro looked. If you manage to get past the all too familiar surface, you'll discover a treasure trove of features you'd only find in more expensive smartphones this time of year.

Specs

Calling the Honor 8 Pro a "Lite" version of Huawei's P10 Plus is actually not too far-fetched. Actually the Honor 8 Pro is larger than the P10 Plus, so we can't really call it "mini" either. But for almost all intents and purposes, the two are eerily similar, give or take a few misses.

With the Honor 8 Pro, the company is jumping onto the QHD bandwagon at long last. Previous models would settle for 1080p Full HD, even at 5.7 inches like this one. It is powered by the latest Kirin 960, the very same processor inside both the Huawei P10 and the P10 Plus. There's also an 8 megapixel front camera, exactly like those other two.

Of course, there are differences as well, and, quite surprisingly, for the better. Unlike the Huawei P10 Plus, for example, the Honor 8 Pro only has one memory configuration: 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable storage. And also unlike the P10 Plus, the Honor 8 Pro has a larger 4,000 mAh battery that's promised to last even longer but still charge just as fast. Here's a rundown of those juicy numbers:

• Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat, EMUI 5.1
• CPU: Huawei Kirin 960, octa-core 4x2.4 GHz + 4x1.8 GHz
• RAM: 6 GB
• Storage: 64 GB, expandable up to 128 GB
• Display: 5.7 inches, 2560x1440 QHD (515 ppi)
• Main Camera: 12 MP + 12 MP f/2.2
• Secondary Camera: 8 MP f/1.9
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz/5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, micro USB, 3.5 mm headphone jack
• Battery: 4,000 mAh, fast charging
• Dimensions: 157 x 77.5 x 6.97 mm
• Weight: 184 g

The bottom line here is that the Honor 8 Pro is almost, blow for blow, equal to the Huawei P10 Plus, which is no slouch in any department. The Kirin 960 is one of the underestimated powerhouses in the mobile processor market, and Huawei's EMUI 5.1 promises even more performance optimizations on the software side.

Of course, the Honor 8 Pro isn't the Huawei P10 Plus, so something, other than the design, has to be different. Or to put it bluntly, worse. Sadly, that comes down to the cameras, but it isn't as bad as it sounds.

Camera

Huawei has found its calling in dual camera smartphones and that DNA has naturally been inherited by is sub-brand as well. Unfortunately, it couldn't inherit everything (otherwise, it would be a clone, wouldn't it?). Some things, like a privileged contract with famed camera maker Leica, are reserved for the bigger brand.

Here, the Honor 8 Pro had to settle for a bit less. Instead of the P10 Plus' massive dual 20 megapixel f1/.8 sensors, the Honor 8 Pro only gets a 12 megapixel f/2.2 combo, almost similar to last year's Huawei P9. Almost. There is no trace of Leica here, however, which would give some more professional mobile photographers pause for thought.

In practice, however, the Honor 8 Pro still packs quite a punch in this aspect, better than its rivals on this tier. Photos, especially in bright light, are bright and colors are quite vivid. With the right manual settings, you can get near-professional output without having broken your bank account. Of course, there are tons of modes and features that ad a bit of flavor to your photos and videos, like the now common Beauty mode. The "wide aperture mode" is probably going to give the most interesting effect, blurring the background for a bokeh effect.

Naturally, it has its shortcomings, especially in handling less than ideal lighting situations. Then again, even the Huawei P10 Plus, with its f/1.8 aperture, sometimes falters there. What chance does an f/2.2 has then? And unlike the P10 or P10 Plus, the Honor 8 Pro's front camera doesn't have extra features to boast of. It's not bad, definitely, but nothing to fall head over heels either.

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Wrap-up

The Honor 8 Pro is definitely one of the unexpected surprises of the smartphone market this year. You would have never expected that Honor, whose smartphones so far have been on the far side of mid-range, would come so close to Huawei's own flagship while still remaining within reach for many consumers. That translates to around 500 EUR, roughly $540, still well below the $700-800 tags on this year's premium handsets.

It's not perfect, mind you, but it gets damned close, especially for that price. Sure, you won't get FullVisions or Infinity Displays, Quad DACs or even Leica lenses. But you still get a solid performing smartphone with a very acceptable camera at a bargain. You might call it the "poor man's Huawei P10 Plus" or even the "iPhone 7 Plus for Android fans", but don't let that prevent you from seeing what the Honor 8 Pro truly is: one of if not the most formidable Android smartphones to hit the market this year.

Moto G5 Plus Review : Budget Phone Authority

Moto G5 Plus Review : Budget Phone Authority

The 5th generation of Motorola’s Moto G series returns to a place of extraordinary accomplishment. What Lenovo’s Motorola crew have done is to design a device that does exactly what its originator intended for the series. Like the Moto G, the Moto G5 Plus is delivered with highly acceptable hardware and software for an extremely reasonable price. Plus it has the same image sensor as one of the very best smartphone cameras ever released.

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Sonos PLAYBASE Review: A flat soundbar with big sound

Sonos PLAYBASE Review: A flat soundbar with big sound

Sonos is the first to admit it made a mistake. The PLAYBAR, its home entertainment-focused soundbar speaker, was an audio marvel back in 2013 when it was first announced, but the ergonomics didn't live up to the sound. Turns out, Sonos belatedly realized, that while the PLAYBAR works best when wall-mounted, only the minority of people actually wall-mount their TVs. Enter the Sonos PLAYBASE, completely redesigned to slip right underneath your flatscreen.

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