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.
Recent Reviews - Android - Page 2
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!
What a great idea and implementation. One high current braided (non tangle) cable to suit everyone. USB-A or Type C to Lightning or (again Type C) - a few of these in your gadget bag and it really doesn't matter which one you pull out, since you just adjust the ends as needed. Supporting up to 60W power transfer, at under £20 this is a cable that thoroughly tickles my gadget brain!
Wireless charging continues to grow and grow in popularity. Anecdotally I've only plugged a smartphone in to charge about twice in 2021 - everything else has been wireless. And, although we've been used to trickle charge power ratings from Qi in the past, 'fast wireless charging' (15W and higher) is now almost ubiquitous in smartphone flagships. Meaning that many old pads really need replacing in order to get higher wireless charging speeds. Even my beloved 5-coil Choetech pad maxes out at 10W per device, while generic pads from before 2020 will likely top out at 5W or 7.5W. Enter the Moshi Sette Q, promising dual 15W charging, as well as premium materials and bonus USB-A 'daisy chain' power out.
Yes, yes, it's a confusing situation. I blame Apple, for taking away the 3.5mm headphone jack from their flagships (to boost sales of their new AirPods) and then I blame other companies for copying Apple. Happily, most phones under about £400 still come with jacks, but for anyone wanting an Android flagship for the last two years and who isn't all-in on Bluetooth, some way of getting wired audio out of a Type C jack is worth researching. Online, you can get 'adapters' from £1 to £100, which means that you might like some guidance from AAWP. Here, I test two candidates and am blown away by one in particular!
Following on from my feature on adding a Qi charging coil to a generic smartphone that doesn't have Qi built-in - and following on from my earlier Flow story of a 1000mA (1A) coil that utterly failed to work with the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro - I've bought in the upgraded 2000mA (2A) coil, to see how that changes things. The bad news (AAM) is that compatibility with Android phones is patchy, but the good news (AAWP) is that it reverses its predecessors failings by working with the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro and adding a whole new feature to this otherwise forgotten faux-flagship on Windows 10 Mobile...
Qi wireless charging is starting to make it into power banks now and this is a great example of the breed, sent in for review by Choetech. As you'll see below, you can even charge three smartphones or other devices at the same time, which is impressive, perhaps on a family day out. It's tough, it's capable, it's very pocketable, and it's not too expensive. It even supports pass-through charging, so you can use it as a desktop Qi charging pad when at home.
The original 'NexDock 2' (yes, yes, there was a original from a previous generation) lapdock was reviewed here in some detail and I was generally impressed, though let down a little by the screen bezels and the appallingly quiet speakers. The NexDock Touch manages to fix both of these, with bells on, then adds a full capacitive touchscreen and a much bigger internal battery. In theory compatible with the Lumia 950 and other Continuum-enabled Windows 10 Mobile phones, plus Samsung DeX-enabled Galaxy devices, I give this the full review treatment. Tldr; Windows 10 Mobile enthusiasts will want to stick with the NexDock 2, but Samsung owners can see this as full steam ahead into a touch lapdock world. [UPDATE: Now compatible with Lumias via a workaround]