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Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab review

Think back five or so years to when phone screens were pushing into 5-inch displays. Tablets were still popular and the larger screens were great to have for reading, editing, markups, and writing.

Today, as handsets routinely hover above 6 inches, it’s kind of hard to justify the need or money for a tablet under ten inches. Why drop a few hundred bucks on something that’s not all that different?

As tablet sales have seemingly plateaued, 2-in-1 devices and Chromebooks have picked up more traction. These offer a more unique experience — often one that lends itself to productivity and multi-tasking.

Devices are more appealing when they offer more than just a bigger display. Thankfully, we’re starting to see hardware makers play around with different designs again.

The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is the sort of product that puts Android and Google Assistant support in a body that’s more versatile than a traditional tablet. It might resemble a conventional 10-inch tablet on its face, but there are a few hardware designs underneath that put it in a slightly different space.

We’ve had the chance to spend time with a Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab and are happy to share our impressions and insight into the device.

What is the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab?

Introduced in fall of 2019, it’s largely a 10.1-inch tablet with mostly mid-range hardware. It’s priced about $300 and looks to compete with the likes of the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019).

Powered by Android 9 Pie, the Yoga Smart Tab has a 10-inch display at 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. Internally, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 (octa-core) processor is supported by 4GB RAM with storage coming in at 64GB.

A 7,000mAh battery promises up to 11 hours of web browsing or up to 10 hours of 1080p video playback. In terms of cameras, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab has a rear 5-megapixel shooter with fixed focus; the front houses an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus.

Other traditional specifications include USB Type-C charging, a microSD expansion card slot (up to 256GB), Bluetooth 4.2, and a headphone/mic combo. A pair of 2W JBL speakers offer Dolby Atmos support

What’s so special?

As to what makes the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab more unique, however, is the way it houses the hardware. Flip the device over and you’ll find the design isn’t the same platter you’ve seen time and again over the past decade.

The Yoga Smart Tab has a built-in kickstand that allows for four different ways to use it. Users can hold it, sit it so that you can read at a 45-degree angle, stand it on its side, or even hang it on a wall.

One orientation in particular makes it feel like a completely different product altogether. See, this device has Google Assistant support in it and comes with an ambient mode that essentially turns it into a smart display. Indeed, it’s not unlike how a Nest Hub or Lenovo Smart Display functions. It’s just that here you can pick it up and use it as a full-fledged tablet.

The unique design also gives Lenovo an opportunity to play with the placement of the speakers and audio experience. As such, there are dual JBL HiFi speakers, optimized by Dolby Atmos on the ends of the thick side.

How is the build quality of the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab?

Imagine that you’re reading a magazine and want to hold it with just one hand. What do you do? You fold it over on itself and grip it by the thicker edge, right? That’s more or less what the design calls to mind. It might look awkward at first blush, but once you start to use the hinge/hook, you’ll appreciate it.

To be clear, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Lenovo employ a kickstand/hinge/hook. It’s been used in other tablets in the past, but never with the extra smarts that come with Google Assistant.

We found the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab to be built with care and attention. The moving parts hold strong and don’t show any signs of slipping or weakening. In all other areas it resembles a traditional tablet. The buttons are exactly where you’d expect them to be and are quite responsive, with just the right amount of feedback and travel.

The speakers, while large in appearance, don’t get quite as loud as we’d expect. They’re definitely clear and provide an otherwise even audio experience, but you’ll still defer to a portable speaker if you’re looking to play music for a room. YouTube videos and short clips are great, but full movies might be better enjoyed with a pair of headphones.

One design choice we had a bit of a struggle with was the placement of the USB Type C port. While we’re really glad to see that port included here, it’s the physical placement that bothered us. As it’s located on the side, it makes hanging the Yoga Smart Tab a bit wonky.

How does the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab perform?

More often than not, when we’re not using our tablet, they get powered off and put aside. This device works very well when you’re not actively engaging with it.

Because of its design, and the way it integrates Google Assistant, the Yoga Smart Tab wants to be seen and heard. Much in the way you occasionally glance at your Nest Hub or Smart Display, the Yoga Smart Tab’s ambient mode offers up Photo slideshows and waits for you to task it.

Use the hinge to prop it up on a table or counter and you’ll have a smart speaker and screen that’s ready to leave the house with you. But, getting back to that USB C port…

There may be stretches of days where we don’t need our device to function as a tablet. That’s where hanging it on a wall becomes convenient. It’s like having a digital picture frame in the office or next to the couch.

Plug that power cable in, though, and everything goes off-kilter. The weight of the charging cable makes your digital frame hang crooked. That’s aggravating enough for us to largely avoid that type of usage.

If it’s short bursts, like a few hours at the office, that’s no problem. Come in to work, hang it up, and leave it alone. Or, if you’ve got a place over the kitchen counter, and you want to use it for recipes and walk through videos? Perfect. In our tests the battery was strong enough to consistently deliver 10+ hours of more of typical daytime usage without worry.

You’ll have to jump through a couple of tiny hoops to get the Assistant set up in a way that works best for you. Some of the default settings somewhat contradict other rules. Lenovo could do a better job of walking users through the process, making it a more proactive way of setting up the tablet.

When it comes to hardware prowess, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab isn’t designed with benchmarks and performance in mind. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor and 4GB RAM put it around the lower end of the mid-tier in 2020. With that said, it’s no slouch.

Gaming has never been all that interesting or fun on a tablet. Even with high-end hardware under the hood, tablets aren’t where we game. Casual stuff, and titles that work with occasional tapping, strategy, and turn-by-turn mechanics are fine. Suffice it to say, if there’s a game or app you’re using on a current tablet, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab will likely work.

Reading books, email, school papers, and browsing long-form websites and writing is how we find ourselves using tablets. Thanks to the physical design of this one, you can hold it for long periods of time without fatigue. Similarly, you can prop it up at the angle you want for viewing Netflix and other videos.

Conclusion

What do you do when you’re not actively using your Android tablet? Nothing, right? The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab lets you place it on a night stand or kitchen counter and let it operate as a smart display. That’s pretty damn cool if you ask us.

Using the hinged kickstand you can also hang the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab on a wall. It’s a perfect opportunity to add another smart display to your home or office. A display that works as a full-on Android tablet, remember.

As a full-on Android tablet it’s more than sufficient for everyday usage. Passive stuff, like reading and watching video requires very little hardware. But feel free to dive into a bit of casual and a more involved gaming as you should be fine here, too.

 

Could you get away with cheaper tablets? Sure, if that’s all you want, go for it. Heck, you can get a Fire HD 10 and likely be content especially if it’s a standard tablet experience you’re after.

The real draw here is the Google Assistant aspect that’s paired nicely with a unique design. You’d likely spend $100 or more for a decent sized smart display, right? Lenovo’s own Smart Display 8″ currently retails for about $90. Here, you get a 10-inch screen that’s not tied to a wall outlet.

Another factor that makes this stand out over Amazon’s offering is the full suite of Google apps and Play Store. There’s just something to be said about having access to anything and everything that Google puts forward.

Is the hardware unique or somewhat of a first-gen approach to something new? Sure. Does it feel like a gimmick or something that others might not embrace? No way. We could very easily imagine somebody else looking to replicate this experience.

The final question is whether it’s all worth the $300 asking price. As there’s no direct competitor in the space, its hard to compare it to what others are doing. But, taken as a whole, and given its intended usage, we have no issues recommending the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab.

Availability

You can purchase the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab for $300 at Lenovo’s website. Keep an eye open for promos over there as we recently saw it offered for $250 with an included Smart Clock. That’s a hell of a deal.

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Grab a refurbished 8-inch Lenovo tablet for just $63

As much as we like our phones and their ever-growing large screens, sometimes we appreciate having an even bigger display. Reading emails, books, and longer articles is much better when you don’t have to squint. The same goes for games. Developers put a lot of time and attention into graphics and game play. It deserves to be seen.

Buying an unlocked phone? Ask yourself these questions!

The problem with buying tablets is that it can sometimes get pretty expensive. And, when you have kids in the house, or happen to be working with a limited budget, it’s not easy to drop a few hundred bucks on one.

For a limited time you can pick up a refurbished 8-inch tablet from Lenovo for just $69.99. It’s a great option for buyers looking to add a big-screen unit without breaking the bank. And for a short time, you can save another 10% on the tablet, getting it for as little as $63.00.

USE PROMO CODE LOVE10 AT CHECKOUT!

Have children in the house and want to give them a dedicated device for watching YouTube or play games? This Android tablet is a solid way to ease your way into the space.

Made for pure enjoyment and great convenience, the Tab 3 Essential is one incredible tablet with 1280 x 800 hi-res display, MediaTek 1.0GHz quad-core processor, dual cameras, and 4,290mAh battery.

Work, play, or just tap away. The beautiful 8″ touch screen display makes every image appear closer, clearer, and sharper. Match it with Dolby Atomos audio enhancement for louder, more natural, and distortion-free sound for a complete streaming experience.

Powered by a 4,290 mAh battery, this pocket-size tablet offers up to 10 hours of battery on a single charge, letting you enjoy uninterrupted binge-watching, gaming, or social media without recharging. And, with this refurbished model, you can get your own for a fraction of what it would cost new!

Availability

Pick up your Lenovo tablet for just $69.99 in the AndroidGuys Deals Store while supplies last. It’s a limited time affair and likely won’t last long. If you act fast, and use the promo code LOVE10 at checkout, you can save an extra 10%.

Best Sellers

Save even more!

For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.

First Time Buying?

If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.

Free Stuff

Not looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

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Lenovo serves up a pair of Chromebook experiences at CES

Lenovo this week announced a pair of Chromebook-based devices as part of its CES lineup. The IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook is 2-in-1 with stylus support while the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is more of a tablet-like device. Both are expected in the second quarter of this year (Q2 2020).

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook

We begin with the 2-in-1 design and more conventional Chromebook experience. Weighing in just under three pounds, this laptop sports a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen and an integrated stylus.

Power comes from a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB DDR memory and storage options include 32GB/64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD. Battery is rated up to 10 hours per charge.

Other noteworthy details include a water-resistant backlit keyboard, microSD, a pair of stereo speakers, two USB Type-C ports, a USB A port, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook arrives in June with a $360 starting price.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

While its name signals a 2-in-1 experience, this one is actually a tablet with a detachable keyboard and kickstand case. It’s bundled with the tablet, of course, so call it what you will.

The 10.1-inch tablet has a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution and a peak brightness of 440 nits. A Mediatek Helio P60T processor is bolstered by 4GB RAM with storage up to 128GB. A microSD expansion card slot allows for additional media.

Whereas it’s not an overly powerful experience, it does have stylus compatibility and — count ’em — eight years of Chrome OS updates. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook goes on sale in May with a $280 starting price.

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Lenovo Smart Display review

Google Assistant is awesome. It’s everywhere we go, knows just about everything, and helps us keep track of our lives. We use it in our phone multiple times a day and our homes are starting to fill up with Assistant-powered smart speakers and connected devices.

If you thought talking to Google was really cool, wait until you’ve interacted with it visually. That’s the basic premise of the Lenovo Smart Display, one of the first products of its type to hit the market which is powered by Google Assistant.

Available in 8-inch and 10-inch configurations, the slate is everything your kitchen or home office ever needed. Well, that might be just a slight exaggeration. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine a future without something like this in every room.

What is the Lenovo Smart Display?

The Lenovo Smart Display runs a different, but increasingly interesting operating system in Android Things. It’s not the full-blown Android experience that you get with a phone or tablet; it doesn’t have any apps or access to the Google Play Store. In essence, it’s a canvas that compliments your lifestyle using anything and everything possible from your Google account.

When not in use, the Smart Display defaults to a digital picture frame or clock. Walk into a room and you’ll see it cycling through a Google Photos album or simply offering up the current time. Prompt it with “Hey Google” or “Okay Google” and it gets down to business.

Think of all of the things you do with Google Assistant today. Whether it’s asking for the weather forecast, a glimpse into your day, or querying Search for some random statistic, you’re tapping into it quite often. If you’re like us, we’re using more with each passing week.

Once you have the ability to literally see what Google knows, it changes the game. Now, instead of hearing how tall a particular building is, you get a picture and a readout of the stats, too.

If you ask for a timer on your phone, you get a countdown that can run in the background. If you ask to watch a video, your phone hands you off to YouTube. Music? Here’s that playlist with album artwork on Google Play Music. How about a recipe? Ask Google how to make a raspberry Danish and your phone pulls up neatly organized results with easy-to-read ingredients and directions.

The Lenovo Smart Display takes all of that stuff you get on your phone and reconfigures it for the kitchen. Or home office. Or bedroom. It works no matter where you put it, and it works in so many facets of our lives.

This isn’t simply taking the same results and actions and expanding them to a larger display. No, Google does an excellent job of taking advantage of a bigger, portrait orientation.

Design

We’ve already talked quite a bit about what the Smart Display can and does do. Let’s back up and discuss how it’s designed as well as how it looks, and sounds.

First, and foremost, it takes up a fair amount of space. It’s not the same as a 10-inch tablet as there’s a speaker grille to the left with a curved, angular back with bamboo finish. It’s a unique design that lets the Smart Display sit in both landscape and portrait orientation.

There are rubber feet on the bottom and left end, meaning it is meant to fit your environment. That’s physically, at least. For not the software does not allow for any portrait stuff just yet.

In a crowded kitchen, on a smaller nightstand, or on a cluttered desk the portrait mode would work best. With that said, if there’s room for it, the landscape looks awesome and it compliments pretty much any decor.

The 10-watt speaker, and two passive tweeters are fairly nice, but it’s not what you want to use for really diving into music or starting a party. It gets loud enough, sure, but it doesn’t have the range you get from other Bluetooth speakers.

We’ve enjoyed playing music, casting YouTube TV, and other audiovisual media if, for no other reason, than to have an extra place to consume content. If you’re using the Smart Display for recipes, timers, alarms, and other daily needs, the sound experience is great. The same goes for taking in a podcast. You can easily fill a room with a respectable sound.

Unlike the Google Home Hub, the Lenovo Smart Display houses a front-facing camera. Don’t be alarmed, though, as you can slide a shutter over it to block it out. This was the sort of peace of mind we hoped for as we moved the device to the bedroom for a few days. Similarly, there is an option to toggle the microphones, too. Rest easy knowing Google isn’t listening to you talking in your sleep.

The two microphones do an excellent job of recognizing voices, particularly those you’ve set up with Google Assistant. As you may already know, it behaves differently when different people use it.

Google replies with specifics when you ask your phone how your day looks or to remind you of upcoming appointments. But, that doesn’t mean your spouse can’t pick up the phone to use it for other, broad purposes. That’s the same situation with the Smart Display.

Setup

Setup is surprisingly easy. If you’ve ever used a Google Home or Google Home Mini, you know what it’s like. In essence, you use the Google Home app and follow a few steps as the device is found and registered on your network.

We’ve moved it from home to the office and found it really simple to set up. The only thing we’d caution is to go into the settings and have the device “forget” the current Wi-Fi network before taking it to another location. Once off the registered network you’ll not be able to communicate between phone and device.

Once you’re up and running, you are able to tap into Google Assistant right away. Ask Google whatever questions you have, direct it to play a video, or look up a recipe. This is where the fun begins.

Usage and Features

Having a display for Google Assistant is pretty damn cool. If you’ve ever asked to broadcast “it’s dinner time”, you know it’s accompanied by a dinner bell. Here, you get visual representations, too. So, when mom tells you to come downstairs to eat, and you’ve got your headphones on, your Smart Display will show fun, attention-getting animations.

When used for recipes, for instance, you get sharp, large text with a standardized format and photos. Tap the button to get going and you’ll get prompts to preheat the oven with a nice large readout of 350 degrees.

We found that we’ve significantly increased our usage of Google Assistant in the time we’ve spent with the Smart Display. Instead of setting reminders on our phone or putting in a cooking timer on the oven we simply said, “Hey Google, set a timer for 15 minutes”. Doing so gives us large clock which counts down until zero when it rings and flashes an image.

While much of what we do with the Smart Display is done via voice, the screen does reply nicely to touch. What’s more, navigation is intuitive hassle-free.

Swipe from the left and you find it acts like a “back” button. If you’re listening to a podcast, you can swipe back to the home screen or ambient screen saver. Swipe up from the bottom and you can adjust volume and brightness.

You won’t find very many screens to go through, which we found to be refreshing. Too much stuff tends to feel like clutter and leads to a confusing experience. It takes all of a few minutes to figure out how things work here and what you’ll see.

The Google Home app gives you control over what you get to see. Let’s say you don’t want to see your personal photos splashed across the screen or show your calendar appointments. That’s all really easy to change and you’re never stuck with any particular settings.

One thing we’d like to see in Google Home is the ability to add merge more than one account. It would be nice to see both our personal and work calendar but that’s not a shortcoming of the device.

Making and receiving calls via Google Duo is pretty interesting, and is probably the most compelling reason for the service yet. We could imagine having these throughout the home or office so it makes sense that contacts can reach us as easily as they would through a phone.

Thinking more broadly, it doesn’t seem a stretch to consider an update which allows room-to-room calls or video chat from one office to another. The more we outfit our homes with smart displays with cameras, the more helpful they become. A mom can ask to see a baby’s room regardless of where she is in the house. A co-worker can go over the TPS report with management without leaving the cubicle.

We love using the Smart Display as a screen for casting our apps. Whether that’s from our phones with YouTube TV in the kitchen, or Google Play Music from a web browser in the living room, it’s a seamless experience.

It might only be 10-inches, and sound really small, but catching up on the news is awesome when putting dishes away. Forget about pausing live TV or recorded shows because you have to hang up laundry. Cast to your Smart Display and make sure you catch that touchdown drive.

Conclusion

The Smart Display might be manufactured by Lenovo but it is Google through and through — and that’s awesome. We use its services for search, Chrome, Gmail, calendar appointments, YouTube, and much, much more. This is a piece of hardware that ties many of those things together, and it does it in a uniform and interesting experience.

We would love to see how this works in portrait mode and hope that an update is not far away. Upright could change things quite a bit and force us to reconsider how and where we use it.

We’ve already increased our Google Assistant use with just one of these devices. A second one, or one in another location such as work, feels like the next move.

Although Google Home and Google Assistant have been around a few years, we’re just starting to kick things into gear. Devices like the Lenovo Smart Display make us giddy with anticipation over where we might be a year or two down the road.

As of the time of publication we were not able to use the Home Hub features or add the Smart Display to a group. Both of these issues will be resolved in an update which should arrive in the coming weeks.

Availability

You can purchase the Lenovo Smart Display in 8-inch and 10-inch options for $179.99 and $249.99, respectively. It’s available at lenovo.com as well as through retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot, and Newegg.

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The Best Unlocked Phones you can buy today (September 2018)

It’s all fine and dandy to be able to walk into a store and pick out the best smartphone available. What’s not as easy is what to do if you don’t want a phone from a carrier or someone like Samsung.

Well, we’re here to help as we have compiled a list of the best “unlocked” phones you can buy today. Just a reminder, all of these are devices that are not available in from your carrier of choice.

Best Overall

Our Pick: OnePlus 6

OnePlus continues to deliver flagship devices at unbelievable prices. The OnePlus 6 starts off at $529 and offers excellent specs, build quality, and a second-to-none software experience.

The OnePlus 6 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. The octa-core chip is clocked at 2.8 GHz and is fast as hell. Backing up the SoC is either 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage. While there’s no expandable storage here, OnePlus offers a ton of storage standard and it’s only about $50 to purchase a model with higher capacity.

Read more: OnePlus 6 review: The best value smartphone of 2018

On the back of the phone, we find a dual 16 + 20 MP camera setup. Both of the sensors have a f/1.7 aperture, while the main sensor has both EIS and OIS for extra stability. The front-facing camera is a 16 MP f/2.0 sensor that promises excellent selfies.

One of the biggest changes for OnePlus is going to a glass back. Previous iterations normally had metal backs, but this year we’re seeing a gorgeous black or white glass that gives the OP6 an even more premium look.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have wireless charging, but OnePlus does include its excellent DASH charging that promises a day’s worth of battery in just an hour of charging.

OnePlus 6 purchase linksOnePlus | Amazon

The runners-up

Huawei P20 Pro

Despite not being readily available here in the States, Huawei has created another head-turner with the P20 Pro. The handset sports a unique design, along with some powerful specs.

On the front, there is a 6.1-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2240 x 1080. This may seem like a bit of a bummer, but opting for the FHD display definitely helps with battery life.

We would also be remiss if we failed to mention the notch found at the top, which houses the front-facing cameras. However, Huawei has included a way for users to hide the notch through the software.

Under the hood, the P20 Pro is packing just a little bit of heat (/s). Powering this beast is the Kirin 970 chipset, with a total of 8 cores. This has been combined with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage.

As for the cameras, the front of the P20 Pro sport a single 24MP lens with a f/2.0 aperture. On the rear, we have an 8MP telephoto lens, 20MP monochrome sensor, and a 40MP RGB sensor with a f/1.8 aperture.

All of this combines for an extremely appealing package for just about anyone interested. Since you can’t just walk into Best Buy and pick one of these up, you’ll have to resort to online ordering.

Huawei P20 Pro purchase links: Amazon | Swappa | eBay

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

The days of Sony providing a real presence in the US are long gone (if they ever were really relevant). Instead, the company has focused on providing its new flagships to other regions of the world.

Sony’s latest offering, the Xperia XZ2 Premium, is what the company thinks a flagship smartphone in 2018 should be. The handset launched earlier this year and sports a new, curved, design compared to previous iterations.

Under the hood, you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, which has become the standard. Additionally, there are 6GB of RAM and 64GB of base storage, which can be expanded.

On the front, Sony has packed a gorgeous 5.8-inch 4K display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. More importantly, there are no notches to be found here.

As for the cameras, there is a single 13MP front-facing sensor. On the rear, there is a primary 19MP sensor and a secondary 12MP lens.

All of this has been packaged into a rather interesting, yet gorgeous, design. However, you’ll have to swallow the pill of paying $999 outright for this one.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium purchase links: Amazon | Focus | Best Buy

Best Under $500

Our Pick: Honor View 10

Huawei’s sub-brand Honor released one of the best phones of the year in the Honor View 10 (also called the Honor V10 in some markets). The $499 device combines high-end specs, simple yet elegant design, and a great camera to offer great value to customers.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Honor View 10 is the display. The display itself won’t blow anyone away, but Honor somehow managed to get a 6-inch 18:9 display on the device and keep the front-facing fingerprint scanner too. The button sits just below the screen and can also go back and open the multitasking menu via swipes and taps. We’ve seen this tech in phones from Motorola, but never on a phone with this aspect ratio.

Just because you’re spending a little bit less on a device doesn’t mean you should miss out on the best processor available. Honor included the Hisilicon Kirin 970 chip, Huawei’s in-house flagship processor, in the Honor View 10. The chip also includes a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that helps the phone process AI-related tasks. Not bad for $500.

Read more: Honor View 10 Review: The budget flagship king?

Not only do you get a great processor, but the rest of the specs are impressive too. There’s 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage standard. A 3750 mAh battery keeps the show running all day, and a dual 16 MP + 20 MP camera provides great pictures even in low light.

So, what’s the biggest problem with the Honor View 10? Availability. Right now it’s next to impossible to get the phone in the United States without importing it. The best you can do is finding a unit on third-party sites like eBay or AliExpress. Honor says the View 10 is launching “this year” in the US, but we don’t have any specifics yet.

Honor View 10 purchase linkseBay | GearBest | AliExpress

Runner-up: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Despite the controversy that surrounds the company, Huawei churns out great devices every year. This year is no different with the Mate 10 Pro. The device is Huawei’s best phone ever and offers customers blistering speed, fantastic looks, and quality build quality.

Like most flagships released in 2017, Huawei opted for a glass and metal sandwich for the Mate 10 Pro. This gives the device an ultra-premium feel in the hand. When you pick it up, you instantly remember why you dropped $800 on the device. It feels like something that would cost that much.

Read more: Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

Between the glass on the front and back of the device sits an absolutely gigantic battery. The battery measures in at 4,000 mAh making it one of the largest on the market today. It tops battery champs like the Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 6, equaled only by the Razer Phone and Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Combining that big of a battery with strong background restrictions in software means that the Mate 10 Pro ranks near the top of the charts in battery life.

The Mate 10 Pro ships with the Kirin 970 chips that boasts enhanced A.I. capabilities. What exactly does that mean? Huawei says that the chip has an on-board NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that allows it to process A.I.-related tasks faster than ever. This lets the Mate 10 Pro provide contextually aware smart tips, offer better noise cancelation in calls, and scene recognition in the camera application. This is one seriously smart phone.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro purchase linksAmazon | Best Buy

Best Under $300

Our Pick: Moto G6

Motorola is back with another installment in its fabulous G lineup and we’re in love. While it doesn’t quite have the specs of the Pocophone F1, it does have more than adequate specs for the price.

Inside the device, we find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage standard. The plentiful RAM stands out to us as most flagships have the same amount of RAM but cost far, far more that the $250 Moto G6. We also love the 64 GB of internal storage that can easily be expanded via micro SD card.

Read more: Moto G6 vs Moto G5, worth the upgrade?

Motorola decided to class its G lineup a bit and use some more premium materials. Both the front and the back of the G6 are coated in Gorilla Glass. The back looks and feels outstanding and reminds us of phones that cost far, far more.

But, one of the big draws of picking up a Motorola device has always been its adherence to stock Android. The Moto G6 is no different. It comes with a clean build of Android Oreo with a few smart additions thrown in by Motorola.

This phone is fast, clean, and fun to use and you can pick one up by clicking one of the links below.

Motorola Moto G6 purchase linksAmazon | Motorola | Verizon Wireless | Best Buy

Runners-up

Nokia 6.1

Although owned by HMD Global, the Nokia brand is making a rather surprising return to stardom. Instead of trying to take down the flagship brands, Nokia is focusing on the budget market.

The “new” Nokia 6.1 features a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. No notch can be found here, as you’ll be looking at the Nokia 6.1 Plus if you want to be special.

The Snapdragon 630 chipset acts as the brains of the operation, which works with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. This can be expanded to up to 256GB with the help of a microSD card.

On the front, there is a serviceable 8MP selfie camera capable of taking 1080p videos at 30fps. Moving to the rear, there’s a single 16MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash.

The more intriguing aspect of the Nokia 6.1 is the fact that it runs Android One. This provides a near-stock experience without dealing with any extra bloatware, which is something that should be coming to more handsets

Nokia 6.1 purchase linksAmazon | Best Buy | B&H Photo

Huawei Mate SE

Huawei might have suffered some setbacks recently with the Mate 10 Pro, but it hasn’t stopped the China-based company from selling its phones in the US. One of the most compelling devices it offers is the $230 Mate SE.

The Mate SE features some high-end features like a 1080p 18:9 display, a dual rear camera setup, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage.

The display is a 5.93-inch 1080p panel that reaches from edge to edge. You’ll have to get out your microscope to find the bezels here (okay, maybe we’re exaggerating a bit) and it makes the phone feel all that more premium. When you combine the power-efficient 1080p display with the generous 3,340 mAh battery, you’re in for some amazing battery life too!

Read more: Huawei Mate SE review

The standard loadout for most flagship phones in 2017 and early 2018 has been 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. That’s pretty generous and leads to some happy customers. But, Huawei went one step further and included these specs on the budget Mate SE. Not only do you get a ton of RAM and storage, but there’s a micro SD card slot to boot so you can add even more storage.

All-in-all, the Huawei Mate SE is one of, if not the best, cheap phone on the market today.

Huawei Mate SE purchase linksAmazon | B&H Photo | Walmart

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New Kylo Ren expansion is coming for Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

Last year Lenovo graced us with a Star Wars experience of a lifetime when they launched Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Utilizing special hardware and offering an augmented reality experience Star Wars: Jedi Challenges allowed us to become a Jedi without even leaving our living room.

Darkside Expansion

Offering four different modes you were able to have one on one lightsaber matches, lightsaber battles, play Holochess, or command armies. This year Lenovo is expanding upon that with a free expansion pack.

The new Dark Side Expansion update will now allow you to play as Kylo Ren. Get ready to test your might against Yoda, Rey, and more as you battle as Kylo Ren for the fate of the dark side. This free update is expected to roll out beginning in October so start training now.

Ship Battles

The multiplayer experience is also getting an update called Ship Battles. Get ready for an all-out war as you battle your friends for the fate of the universe without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Ship Battles sounds one of the most epic versions of Battleship I’ve ever heard of. Opponents will compete one on one commanding Empire and Rebel fleets in a real-time strategy game.

New Lightsaber

The new Darkside Expansion update wouldn’t be complete without Kylo’s legendary lightsaber. Which is why they are releasing the limited edition lightsaber this winter for $99.99.



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Lenovo releases new family of tablets with prices starting at $70

Whether you’ve been looking to replace your old tablet with something new or looking to get your first one, Lenovo has a tablet for you. Their new family of tablets comes in several different sizes, colors, and prices. To get things started, Lenovo has a line up of affordable E series tablets focused on low prices, different size options, sharing, and entertainment.

Lenovo Tab E7

The E series of tablets comes in three different sizes beginning with the Lenovo Tab E7, a 7-inch tablet that runs Android Oreo Go Edition. This is the cheapest and smallest of the three tablets priced at $69.99. It is ultra portable featuring a slim small size and has a battery that is good for up to 5 hours of video playback. The Tab E7 will be available exclusively through Walmart starting in October, just in time for Christmas.

Specs

  • 7-inch 1200 x 600 TN LCD display
  • MediaTek MT8167 processor 1.3GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 2MP fixed focus camera; 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • 2750mAh battery
  • Android Oreo 8.0 Go Edition
  • 0.6lbs

Lenovo Tab E8

The Lenovo Tab E8 steps it up a little more with some upgrades over the Tab E7. It has a larger screen, better camera, and much larger battery. Thanks to the dedicated profiles feature it is perfect for families looking to share a tablet. It even has a dedicated mode for children to put your mind at ease when the little ones are using the tablet.

The Tab E8 will be great for watching movies with its 8-inch HD screen, front facing speaker with Dolby Atmos, and up to 10 hours of local video playback time. Unfortunately, the Tab E8 only comes with Android Nougat, unlike the Tab E7 which is a version ahead. The Lenovo Tab E8 starts at $99.99 and is available starting today from Walmart.

Specs

  • 8-inch 1280 x 800 HD IPS LCD display
  • MediaTek MT8163B 1.3GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Nougat
  • 0.71lbs

Lenovo Tab E10

If you or your family loves watching videos and you are less concerned with portability then the 10 inch Tab E10 is what you’re looking for. The Tab E10 not only has a larger screen for movies, but also includes two front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos for better sound as well.

Along with the larger screen, the Tab E10 also comes with a Qualcomm processor, more RAM, and boasts up to 7 hours of video playback. The E10 will be available starting in October for $129.99 from Walmart and other retailers.

Specs

  • 10-inch 1280 x 800 HD IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 210 1.1GHz processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Oreo Go Edition
  • 1.17lbs

Lenovo Tab M10

The M in the Lenovo Tab M10 must stand for midrange, as this 10-inch tablet from Lenovo improves upon the previous E series. The Tab M10 comes with a faster processor, more RAM, more storage, and a higher resolution screen. Plus, it still includes the dual front facing speakers with Dolby Atmos for killer sound.

There is also an option for a Kid’s Pack which includes a protective bumper for the tablet as well as a kid’s mode with content curated especially for children. This way not only can you enjoy videos on the Full HD screen but so can your kids. The Lenovo Tab M10 will be available this winter from Amazon.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core 1.8GHz processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage; microSD card up to 256GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Oreo
  • 1.06lbs

Lenovo Tab P10

If I had to guess, I would say the P in the Lenovo Tab P10 stands for Pro because this is the highest end of the tablets announced today. It starts with premium materials such as an all metal frame and a glass back similar to most flagship phones. The 10.1-inch FHD screen is surrounded by slimmer bezels and it includes not two but four speakers total, along with Dolby Atmos processing.

You’ll also find a fingerprint scanner on the Tab P10 which takes advantage of the multi-user mode. By using the fingerprint scanner each family member can log into their own user account with the tablet customized just how they like.

Beyond the obvious cosmetic upgrades, the tab P10 also includes more RAM, more storage, better cameras, and a larger battery over the Lenovo Tab M10. What’s even more impressive is the large 7000mAh battery providing up to 15 hours of video playback while also weighing in less than the tab M10. If you’re wanting to get your hands on this high-end tablet you’ll have to wait until winter when it becomes available from Amazon.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core 1.8GHz processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of storage; microSD card up to 256GB
  • Rear 8MP auto-focus camera; 5MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 7000mAh battery
  • Android Oreo
  • 0.97lbs

Lenovo unleashed quite a lot of tablets on us today. Ranging from affordable options you can trust your kids with all the way up to more premium offerings. It is pretty obvious from the specs and price point that the E series is meant to compete against Amazon’s Fire tablets. While the Tab M10 and Tab P10 are targeted towards a more mature consumer who is looking for a higher-end tablet.

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Lenovo releases new family of tablets with prices starting at $70

Whether you’ve been looking to replace your old tablet with something new or looking to get your first one, Lenovo has a tablet for you. Their new family of tablets comes in several different sizes, colors, and prices. To get things started, Lenovo has a line up of affordable E series tablets focused on low prices, different size options, sharing, and entertainment.

Lenovo Tab E7

The E series of tablets comes in three different sizes beginning with the Lenovo Tab E7, a 7-inch tablet that runs Android Oreo Go Edition. This is the cheapest and smallest of the three tablets priced at $69.99. It is ultra portable featuring a slim small size and has a battery that is good for up to 5 hours of video playback. The Tab E7 will be available exclusively through Walmart starting in October, just in time for Christmas.

Specs

  • 7-inch 1200 x 600 TN LCD display
  • MediaTek MT8167 processor 1.3GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 2MP fixed focus camera; 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • 2750mAh battery
  • Android Oreo 8.0 Go Edition
  • 0.6lbs

Lenovo Tab E8

The Lenovo Tab E8 steps it up a little more with some upgrades over the Tab E7. It has a larger screen, better camera, and much larger battery. Thanks to the dedicated profiles feature it is perfect for families looking to share a tablet. It even has a dedicated mode for children to put your mind at ease when the little ones are using the tablet.

The Tab E8 will be great for watching movies with its 8-inch HD screen, front facing speaker with Dolby Atmos, and up to 10 hours of local video playback time. Unfortunately, the Tab E8 only comes with Android Nougat, unlike the Tab E7 which is a version ahead. The Lenovo Tab E8 starts at $99.99 and is available starting today from Walmart.

Specs

  • 8-inch 1280 x 800 HD IPS LCD display
  • MediaTek MT8163B 1.3GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Nougat
  • 0.71lbs

Lenovo Tab E10

If you or your family loves watching videos and you are less concerned with portability then the 10 inch Tab E10 is what you’re looking for. The Tab E10 not only has a larger screen for movies, but also includes two front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos for better sound as well.

Along with the larger screen, the Tab E10 also comes with a Qualcomm processor, more RAM, and boasts up to 7 hours of video playback. The E10 will be available starting in October for $129.99 from Walmart and other retailers.

Specs

  • 10-inch 1280 x 800 HD IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 210 1.1GHz processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage; microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Oreo Go Edition
  • 1.17lbs

Lenovo Tab M10

The M in the Lenovo Tab M10 must stand for midrange, as this 10-inch tablet from Lenovo improves upon the previous E series. The Tab M10 comes with a faster processor, more RAM, more storage, and a higher resolution screen. Plus, it still includes the dual front facing speakers with Dolby Atmos for killer sound.

There is also an option for a Kid’s Pack which includes a protective bumper for the tablet as well as a kid’s mode with content curated especially for children. This way not only can you enjoy videos on the Full HD screen but so can your kids. The Lenovo Tab M10 will be available this winter from Amazon.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core 1.8GHz processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage; microSD card up to 256GB
  • Rear 5MP auto-focus camera; 2MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 4850mAh battery
  • Android Oreo
  • 1.06lbs

Lenovo Tab P10

If I had to guess, I would say the P in the Lenovo Tab P10 stands for Pro because this is the highest end of the tablets announced today. It starts with premium materials such as an all metal frame and a glass back similar to most flagship phones. The 10.1-inch FHD screen is surrounded by slimmer bezels and it includes not two but four speakers total, along with Dolby Atmos processing.

You’ll also find a fingerprint scanner on the Tab P10 which takes advantage of the multi-user mode. By using the fingerprint scanner each family member can log into their own user account with the tablet customized just how they like.

Beyond the obvious cosmetic upgrades, the tab P10 also includes more RAM, more storage, better cameras, and a larger battery over the Lenovo Tab M10. What’s even more impressive is the large 7000mAh battery providing up to 15 hours of video playback while also weighing in less than the tab M10. If you’re wanting to get your hands on this high-end tablet you’ll have to wait until winter when it becomes available from Amazon.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD display
  • Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core 1.8GHz processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of storage; microSD card up to 256GB
  • Rear 8MP auto-focus camera; 5MP fixed focus front-facing camera
  • 7000mAh battery
  • Android Oreo
  • 0.97lbs

Lenovo unleashed quite a lot of tablets on us today. Ranging from affordable options you can trust your kids with all the way up to more premium offerings. It is pretty obvious from the specs and price point that the E series is meant to compete against Amazon’s Fire tablets. While the Tab M10 and Tab P10 are targeted towards a more mature consumer who is looking for a higher-end tablet.

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Motorola unveils Smart Speaker MotoMod with Amazon Alexa integration

Earlier this year, Lenovo-owned Motorola unveiled its Amazon Alexa Mod for the Moto Z line, but the company also said at the time that its relationship with Amazon (and Alexa) is far from over. Well, that statement has now turned incarnate, as Motorola has unveiled a Moto Smart Speaker today with Amazon Alexa integration, allowing you […]

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Lenovo’s Moto G lineup in 2018 said to include a Moto G6 Play

For those who missed seeing a Moto G5 Play version this year, we have some good news. According to reliable leakster, Evan Blass (known as @evleaks) Lenovo will be offering a Moto G6 Play model next year, alongside the standard Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus. Next year will see the return of Play to […]

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