Continuing our Surface Duo 2 coverage - a possible next step for Microsoft-loving Lumia enthusiasts and also a refreshing 'something different' for Android fans - we have a £82* leather case from premium accessory maker Noreve. In summary, beautifully made (though perhaps go for a different colour?) but there are some design and usability issues that you need to be aware of.
Recent Reviews - Page 2
Leaving aside the whole 'started on Windows' back story (hence 'Surface Phone', its longed-for name for so long), the Surface Duo arrived with Android on board and we now have the Android 11-running Surface Duo 2, which I reviewed here two months ago. With a Duo 2 now permanently at 'All About' Towers, and in addition to software features, I'm going to be reviewing some of the accessories available for this unique dual-screened smartphone/tablet. Starting with the crazily priced but ultimately, dare I say, essential, official Duo 2 Bumper. Oh, and... Happy New Year!
It's... Google's latest and greatest. It really is. The highest specced Pixel ever made. But that doesn't mean that it's perfect, as you'll see in my review. Niggles include the 'zoom gap' and a plastic top edge, but don't worry, there's also plenty that I loved. Whether it's worth £949 for the recommended 256GB model is your call, of course, but there's no denying the raw power and future proof software set-up. (See also my imaging comparison with a flagship iPhone.)
You'll have seen my unboxing and first impressions of the new NexDock 360 - a lapdock? A portable monitor? A fancy screen-enabled USB hub? Well, just as with the previous NexDocks ('2' and Touch), the NexDock 360 is all of these. Slightly smaller than its predecessor, the '360' adds a twist in being able to fold back from laptop to tent to tablet. Which is pretty cool, even if the bezels and speaker situation mean that you might not do this very often. The highlight for 'All About' fans is, of course, that this can expand your Windows 10 Mobile or Android* smartphone to a desktop experience. Plus it's a flexible HDMI monitor for everything else. Including iPhones and games consoles.
What would a 2021 smartphone look like if you turned all its sustainability dials up to 11? Six years of security updates, five Android OS versions, five year hardware warranty, and with the entire phone coming apart with one screwdriver in minutes, for part replacement? Thankfully, we don't have to guess, since this is the Fairphone 4, which I review below. While it won't win any prizes for performance or value (or even cosmetics), it's miles out in front of the rest of the pack for 'right to repair'. And electronic waste neutral all the way, apparently.
2017’s Project Andromeda, four years on, has evolved through Surface Phone (unreleased), Surface Duo (2020, poorly received and very poorly selling), to the new Surface Duo 2. It has specs right up with flagships of today, a truly innovative form factor (as per the original concept), and is priced at an absolute premium. But is it for you? I attempt to answer that in my full review below.
These being the 'All About' sites, there has been an emphasis on phone cameras over the years. Both my interest in the topic and Nokia's obsession with imaging has meant lots of chat about classics like the Nokia N8, 808, Lumia 1020 and 950, then recent iPhones and - here - my review of the 2021 Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. With a few caveats, this is the single most capable phone camera system I've ever used.
It's not that often that I review a new Nokia, especially here mid-2021. True, this is the 'new' Nokia, under HMD Global, and true, most of the new Nokia handsets are somewhat 'meh', but the XR20 is a little different, as covered in my head to head and imaging showdown pieces here recently. So here I wrapped everything up in a review, in text and - yes - video form, all below. Summary? It's a nice idea but completely the wrong form factor, I contend. Note that because of the brand name, this is, I think, of interest to all the err.. 'All About' sites!
Reviewing smartphone accessories in the modern age is a frustrating business - as fast as something is reviewed then it seems to go out of production. This happened twice to my previous mobile power bank, the Aenkyo (née Ponsinc) 10000mAh with flying leads - and I can't find it for love nor money still for sale. But I cheered up a bit when this Soaraise alternative popped up as a lightning deal in my Amazon last week - with more then double the capacity and yet still two flying leads (saving having to carry cables around), this looked like it could fill a gap in my family's day to day facilities.
When questioned by me about the $70 (£50) price of the BLOCK 30 power bank, Tegic was unapologetic, this accessory is an attempt to make power banks 'sexy', with CNC-machined aluminium shell/edges, and with see-through tempered glass window, showing some of the circuitage and the status LEDs. And, with the caveat that this was a review sample and that I didn't have to buy it with my own money(!), I think I'm won over. This is indeed a premium bit of technology and instantly wins a place in my gadget bag.