Author: William Frazier

The Asus Nexus 7 has to make room for the LG G Pad X 8.0 as the world’s most unappreciated tablet. LG released the popular tablet in 2016 and found great success by bundling it with major phone carriers. As a 4G LTE tablet, it was one of the few devices on the market that could function with high-speed network data. LG’s partnerships with major phone carriers was only part of the surprise when introducing the tablet. The LG G Pad X 8.0 would go on to set a lot of industry standards, including some hardware improvements that have yet…

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The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is for consumers that want a bit more tablet out of their laptop performance. It’s more portable, more kid-friendly, and brings with it a longer battery life. Having the friendliest price tag from the Surface line helps, but is still not its main feature. Microsoft has the unfortunate burden of creating some of the best laptops this generation. With juggernauts like the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X, things are getting a little crowded for 2-in-1 laptops. Instead of standing out, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 has to go through a familial gauntlet of…

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No one will ever accuse Microsoft of lacking imagination. Execution is their Achilles heel, or at least it used to be. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a strong contender for device of the year. With the Surface line still trying to find a firm identity, the Pro 7 comes in like a hammer. With past iterations of the Surface, users either got a good laptop or a good tablet. It was a toss up which side the Surface would land on, as Microsoft was still working out the kinks. With the introduction of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, the…

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The Microsoft Surface Duo is a tablet/smartphone combination device. If you listen to the marketing, this is the next big thing in the smartphone industry but as far as next-gen gadgets go, it’s in a league of its own. That works for and against the Microsoft Surface Duo. As companies fall over their own feet to jump on foldable smartphone technology, Microsoft took the easy way out by attaching two screens together with a hinge. It’s a bit lackluster as a smartphone, but there is no denying that this is the next big thing among portable devices. Design The only…

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Smartphones are not Pokemon, and you don’t have to buy them all. The Moto G8 Power is a comfortable compromise for buyers that want a modern touch that doesn’t go overboard. It’s pretty, light, and can run a lot of modern apps. As a tradeoff, you get a phone that is considered to be the ‘netbook’ of smartphone models. In its heyday, the netbook wasn’t a bad purchase. It stripped out a lot of power features in favor of a compact experience. Accessibility was key, and the price made sense. This is exactly how the Moto G8 Power is marketed,…

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If you’re a consumer looking for a good smartphone, Motorola may have been one of your device finalists. The problem is that users looking for a great smartphone never seem to have Motorola on their list. It’s a curse that may have a lot to do with bad marketing. The Moto series is still going strong, with the G models considered a solid mid-range smartphone build. The company is doing as little as possible to take advantage of its Lenovo ties. Having exclusive compatibility with Lenovo desktops and laptops is a game-changer, but seems to be more of a consumer…

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The iPhone SE is the 2020 revamp of the 2016 model with the same name. Apple isn’t known for taking mulligans with their product line, so seeing the Apple iPhone SE will spur some mixed feelings. It was their shot at a mid-tier iPhone, but came out a few months before the more powerful iPhone 7 and its plus variant. In the days leading up to the release of the original Apple iPhone SE, its existence didn’t make sense. Even for budget consumers, the lack of features compared to a full-fledged iPhone was not worth the cost savings. With the…

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The market for midrange phones remains wide open, with the Huawei nova 5T right at the center. When looking at the spec sheet, the Huawei nova 5T is a confusing choice for average consumers. It has the hardware of a modern phone and really looks to be the equal of the Honor series, which is supposed to be high-end. Instead of focusing on the missed opportunities with marketing, it’s better to appreciate the slight difference in the models. The nova series has an interesting set of features, and they all meet a price point that everyone can agree on. Finding…

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A lot of smartphone companies have won consumers over by focusing on a blockbuster feature. The Huawei Honor View 20 does the same by pushing an incredible camera setup. It’s well beyond the power you would expect from a smartphone and may be the true successor to the Nokia Lumia 1020. But mega hardware doesn’t always equal success. And consistency with their hardware and software marriage is a weakness of Huawei. The Huawei Honor View 20 looks to break that mold and usher in a new wave of camera expectations for smartphones. If any company can brute force their way…

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With the Huawei Honor 10, you can have your cake and eat it too. In less than a year, Huawei modernized one of the most historic smartphones of all time. The changes are vast, and as a result, the Huawei Honor 10 loses a lot of mod support. What you get is a phone that is meant to go head to head with the big dogs – at half the price. A few fans will question some of the changes, and may not want to move forward with the Honor series. What was once a unique smartphone choice has now…

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Old school cool is the best way to describe the Huawei Honor 9. It is a relic from the past that still remains a viable smartphone option for interested consumers. Like all old phones, there are a few nitpicks that need to be addressed before going all in. Buyers who want a customizable smartphone will have a field day with the Huawei Honor 9. But consumers who just want something to work out of the box will be disappointed. Like all old phones, convenience features are either not included or terribly outdated. To turn the Huawei Honor 9 from a…

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The Pixel is one of the most talked about smartphones in the industry. It’s not often a software maker comes out with competitive hardware to make use of its own systems. Microsoft failed with its Windows line of phones while Apple soared with its numerous hardware models. Google started the gears rolling with the Nexus line in 2010. But it was in 2016 when Google became a serious name in the smartphone game. With the Google Pixel 4 XL, the company managed to take all of the pros of previous releases while minimizing the cons. It’s a massive improvement that…

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When the Surface series began in 2012, it marked a confusing time for the industry. Smartphones were still under six inches and could fit in one hand. Tablets were still considered expensive toys and hadn’t yet found a place in the industry. Apple was considered the de facto laptop choice but was out of the price range of the everyday consumer. With the Surface Pro series, Microsoft gave consumers the true heir to the Lenovo ThinkPad T series. The Surface Pro 6 is another iteration of their successful laptop that continues to get better every generation. What started out as…

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It’s not often that a high-end smartphone series can play ball with the big boys. The LG V20 entered the market with a lot of promise. For the most part, the company exceeded expectations for the entire line. The hardware and software of the LG V20 won’t beat down Samsung or Apple, but it does a good job of staying in the race. Consumers should think of the LG V20 as the warm up to what has become one of the best high-end phone lineups in the industry. As such, the LG V20 will leave you wanting more. But for…

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The LG G6 is a great smartphone in a sea of other great smartphones. There is no wow factor with its specifications, but you won’t be disappointed as an owner. From a more dramatic perspective, this was the last mid-tier phone to come from the G series before its rebrand. As the alternative to the top-tier G V30, it was a bit underwhelming. As a swansong to the now-defunct G series, it really didn’t make as many waves as the V30 did. If you’re thinking about an upgrade, this may not be it. But when you want a phone without…

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LG released the V series in 2015 to serve as their high-end answer to the smartphone market. Although the LG V10 was impressive, it still looked like a budget phone compared to the competitors. The release of the LG V20 put them on more even footing, and the LG V30 made things interesting. Not only did the company surpass expectations, but they took a nice chunk of attention away from the growing Huwuei and Xiaomi customer base. And with a little bit of clever marketing, they stole some sales away from Samsung, and to a lesser extent Apple. The LG…

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Buyers that want to try Affinity Photo are in for a treat. It’s available on multiple devices, and provides a great all-around user experience. Originally developed with the Mac in mind, Affinity Photo branched out to become a serious raster graphics editor in a short amount of time. Developer Serif also creates the Affinity Trinity that includes Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. Functionality is great for what it offers, but there are some key things you’ll miss by not going all-in on the Affinity Trinity. Serif apps are a good example of the current software landscape that requires going all-in…

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The ever-changing usefulness of Snapseed has made it one of the more exciting products to use on mobile. In its early days, Snapseed was a mini identity crisis for developer Nik Software. It is a former 2011 App of the Year and was originally available for the iPad only. A year later, it made a pretty soft debut on Windows. When Google purchased the company shortly after, it only took a few years for the app to reach its popular 2.0 status. With over 100 million downloads, Snapseed is an incredible achievement considering its history. It may very well be…

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A long time ago, the divide between good and great photo editing products was easy to distinguish. Adobe has had a monopoly on excellence for several years, and the release of Corel Painter Essentials 7 won’t change that. Beginner-friendly photo editing products can be found everywhere, with rivals like GIMP remaining the most popular free program. Corel released Essentials as a beginner-friendly version of their full photo editing suite. Unfortunately, the lite version strips out more features than the value can stand. Install There are few things in life that invoke grown adults to throw a fit. One of those…

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Ring lights are popular for social media and selfies. By shooting up in popularity faster than the selfie stick, the ring light improves the already superior camera of an iPhone. We thought you might benefit from learning about our picks for the best ring lights for your iPhone. Ring lights are not just for beauty or glamour shots and have often been used for commercials. Having concentrated light while filming is an underappreciated feature in non-professional shoots. An iPhone camera has a lot of hidden potential that a ring light can tap into. When you need to highlight the best…

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Apple revolutionized smartwatches in 2014 when it unveiled the company’s first model. Every iteration since that date has become better, with the Apple Watch Series 5 being the pinnacle achievement. Just like the smartphone space, Apple has created its own little niche with unique features. Even if you’re not fully integrated into the company’s ecosystem, the Apple Watch 5 works great as a standalone innovation. Design Elegance describes the Apple Watch Series 5 perfectly. The best feature of the Apple Watch is that it is hard to distinguish it from a normal designer watch. With this new model, they really…

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Excitement is always in the air when Xiaomi announces a new product. The Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro is exactly what you would expect from an Android Pie smartphone, right down to the large screen. Against the big players in the industry, the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro has a lot of ground to cover. The specifications are on point, but what can this phone actually do? Design The design of the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro is the same as the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, since they’re the exact same phones. There aren’t any standouts with the design, right down to the…

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The Wacom Cintiq 16 is one of the first models that gets mentioned for entry-level drawing. It’s not feature-rich, but it gets the job done without hitting your wallet. With a lot of new competition from other companies, this model may go further down the recommended list. But the most surprising revelation is the amount of competition that comes from the same family of tablets. The Wacom Cintiq 16 is a good, but not great drawing tablet. Design Wacom products are always a masterclass of design. The Cintiq 16 is no different, and has the perfect form factor for its…

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When the Valve Index was announced, it was a historic moment in gaming history. Up to that point, the only VR experience that was catered towards gamers was the PlayStation VR headset. The Oculus was a nice choice, but it wasn’t built from the ground up with gamers in mind. With the biggest pc gaming marketplace in the world backing their own headset, there is a good chance the Valve Index is here to stay. But like other great creations from Steam, is it more of a proof of concept? Design The Valve Index is the most VR looking headset…

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Affordable virtual reality used to be the hardest thing to find in the tech world. Now that more companies have embraced it, the number of models keeps growing. There is still a clearly defined line that separates the budget headsets from the heavy hitters. No one is going to realistically expect a Samsung Gear VR to outperform the Valve Index. But for basic use scenarios, a Samsung Gear VR might both serve as the introduction and permanent resident to any VR interested home. Design The design of a VR headset is more about comfort than it is about looking goofy.…

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The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best version from the trio in the 11 series. There is a huge difference between the versions that becomes notable with long-term use. For early adopters, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the smartphone that every Apple user has been waiting for. The slick camera combined with iOS 13.4 is hard to beat, and in some ways makes the other versions seem pointless. But will the refined features of the iPhone 11 Pro Max be enough to justify its high cost? Design With a quick glance at the back of the iPhone 11…

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Samsung goes head to head with Apple every year, and it is always a fun battle. Both companies put their all into flagship devices, making them the top choice by millions of consumers. Even the Samsung Galaxy S8 gets love as an older, but very reliable smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the newest member of the family, and it’s gorgeous. Instead of toeing the line between smartphone and phablet, Samsung has completely smashed it to pieces. Whether this hurts or helps the sale of the new model is anyone’s guess, but it is still interesting to watch. Design…

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The iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s first real attempt at releasing a phone with hardware specifications that are equal to its competitors. Unfortunately, the flagship hardware it’s matching is more in line with smartphones from three years ago. With an industry-leading camera and the best mobile software in history, what does the iPhone 11 Pro bring to the table? Design The iPhone 11 Pro shares a lot of design similarities with the iPhone XS. That is not a knock on the phone itself and is actually one of its benefits. At 5.8 inches, it is big enough without being too…

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When a new high-end smartphone comes out, the news headlines go crazy. Huawei has been making some major steps over the years to separate themselves from the competition. With the release of the Huawei P40 Pro, they get a chance to fine-tune one of the most revolutionary models in the P-series. This is their chance to have a seat at the big boy table, and Huawei has done everything in their power to earn it. Design The P-series has always been known for having a wide choice of color options. Starting with the P30, users had great choices when deciding…

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The first thing you will notice about the Xiaomi Mi 8 is its low price. It will take a while for the shock to wear off from witnessing a low-priced full-featured smartphone. Instead of gawking at what Xiaomi has been doing for years, take the time to look at what’s missing. Based on your specific needs, the Xiaomi Mi 8 may be the world’s first ‘build your own smartphone’. Design The beautification of the Xiaomi Mi 8 design offers a sound cover for its lack of under the hood mechanics. Slim bezels highlight an upgraded screen from previous models, showcasing…

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