136 articles published since November 11, 2021
About Chris Thomas
Chris has spent the last several years writing for numerous online tech magazines, of which Android Police is the latest and most fun. Chris has been a freelancer with AP since early 2022, writing comparisons of cutting-edge smartphones and gathering the most powerful and convenient smart home devices for beginners and experts.
His focus lies on straightforward, helpful buying guides that make it easy for the average electronics user to make informed decisions on the most cost-effective devices. In particular, he loves recommending affordable wireless headphones that outperform far more expensive brands.
Chris's first foray into electronics included fixing and destroying early PCs in his dad’s basement while testing the overclocking capabilities of an Intel 486 CPU. Since then, he’s melted considerably fewer processors while pushing increasingly powerful gaming hardware to its limits.
What is their favorite ever phone?
His favorite phone of all time was the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. It's been years since the market's seen a truly compact device built around flagship-level hardware, and, much to Chris's dismay, we may never see such a thing again.
Google's new Pixel tablet threatens to dethrone the longtime leader in the midrange tablet market
It won't take a hard look at the market to understand why Apple's 10th Generation iPad (2022) retains a gigantic presence. The tablet offers up a streamlined design, high-quality hardware, and a reasonable price point, not to mention the buttery smooth user experience that iPad owners have come to expect. Making things more lopsided, it's been nearly five years since the release of the ill-fated Pixel Slate, a tablet that underwhelmed yet came in at an inflated price tag.
Convenient, durable wallet cases from the most reputable brands
The Google Pixel 8 Pro sets an impressive standard when it comes to features, design, and processing power. While the phone itself is actually quite durable, it's also pretty expensive, so you'll want to do everything in your power to keep it safe from damage. Among the host of great Pixel 8 Pro cases are a handful of dependable wallet cases from trusted manufacturers. Whether you want a premium leather folio, heavy-duty hard-sided case, or detachable wallet compartment, one our selections is sure to meet your needs.
Some less-than-obvious upgrades bring Amazon's most versatile smart display in line with the latest smart home tech
Generational upgrades can be a little underwhelming these days, with manufacturers refining their devices instead of introducing tons of new features each generation. Amazon's new third-generation Echo Show 8, though, not only looks decidedly different, but also packs some hardware and software improvements that make it a must-buy for dedicated smart home enthusiasts. There wasn't anything majorly wrong with the 2021 Echo Show 8, and in fact we actually liked it quite a bit, but the new one offers enhanced connectivity and even further improved audio, at only a $20 list price increase over the first two versions.
Add ports, flexibility, and functionality to your Chromebook with an excellent USB-C hub
The best USB-C hubs for Chromebooks can effectively turn your laptop into a connectivity oasis, all with a compact piece of hardware that can even travel with you quite easily. Some Chromebooks might have enough ports for your needs as they come, but even today's best Chromebooks are paring things down with a focus on USB-C. And thanks to the versatility of the USB-C port, there's a huge variety of powerful hubs to choose from.
The best wired and wireless keyboards, including the top models with Chrome-specific key layouts
The best Chromebooks aren't exactly performance monsters suitable for gaming (though if you attach a monitor they'll handle indies and some less demanding titles), they're incredible, portable productivity solutions. That said, to truly unlock their potential, you'll need to pair them with a proper keyboard, particularly if you're going to be doing a lot of writing or editing.
At long last, there's a decent selection of quality cases for the Tab S8 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra was clearly designed to serve as a visual powerhouse, backed by some heady specs which power a large 14.6-inch display in a slender but solid frame.
The new QC Ultra earbuds offer some neat, novel features, but aren't much different from the QC Earbuds II
While it's got plenty of presence across the digital audio landscape, Bose is practically synonymous with high-end headphones. And it's not just famous for how good its cans sound, it's also become the industry leader in active noise canceling. In 2022, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II improved on the audio quality, noise canceling, and form factor of their predecessors, leading to a reputation as some of the best earbuds you can buy. Just a year later, Bose released the even more premium QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds after a much shorter turnaround time than flagship headphones usually see. The more advanced, updated model doesn't change much, but it does add some novel features, and the list price is the same — so, depending on what kind of discounts you can find, either pair is a great choice for the discerning music listener (or podcast fanatic).
The Pixel 6a is a phenomenal phone that only deserves phenomenal cases
With the Pixel 8 line already here, it's easy to forget about the Pixel 6a. However, it's precisely because it's a generation or so old that the Pixel 6a qualifies for our best budget-friendly Android phones and has aged particularly well, securing it the top spot - even above the more recent Pixel 7a. The Google Pixel 6a was a great phone at launch, lauded for its feature set, performance, and built quality, and it remains one of the best for budget-conscious consumers.
Protect that slippery hunk of glass from the cruel, concrete world
Despite a few years removed from its release, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is still a workhorse smartphone that many users rely on daily. The phone is still a great option as a new purchase too, and if you're contemplating adding a Pixel 6 Pro to your collection of electronics, it remains a quality smartphone that can be found at steep discounts. Perhaps most importantly, the Pixel 6 Pro still takes excellent pictures, competing surprisingly well against its successors.
Keep your OnePlus 11's display looking great for the long haul
The high-performing but reasonably priced OnePlus 11 takes the company back to its enthusiast-brand roots and packs flagship-level hardware, thanks to the superpowered Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. It also features a gorgeous design with a smooth glass back and a Hasselblad-tuned camera that stands out and looks the part. Then there's its excellent battery life, which only adds to its case as one of the best Android phones of the year — it's the phone to buy for anybody who was a fan of OnePlus in its heyday.
Two (great) different phones for different folks
The newly released Samsung Galaxy S23 FE borrows the form factor of the fantastic Galaxy S23+, but omits a few of the high-end features to reach a much more palatable price. By contrast, the Galaxy A54 makes a few significant strides over its predecessor, the A53, to compete for the title of today's best midrange smartphone. While they each have their faults, one's almost certain to satisfy anybody who loves high-quality Samsung phones with premium display quality, a user-friendly interface, and the savings that come from avoiding the high-end flagship market.
Keep 2023's most striking new clamshell out of harm's way
Over the years, the Moto Razr has been a lot of things to a lot of people. Once upon a time, it was a status symbol, then it became a mainstay of Verizon's Droid line before inevitably fading into obscurity. The Moto Razr+ (2023) is a new chapter. Not only does it represent a return to form (and relevance) for the Razr, but it's also one of the best foldable smartphones available and makes a case for itself as one of the best Android phones, period.
Heavy-duty cases for complete protection of the new Samsung Galaxy S23
Samsung's Galaxy S23 may be the smallest of the company's flagship lineup, but don't let its pocket-friendly size scare you – It's still one of the best Samsung phones you can get. This small but mighty device packs the same SoC, performance, and most of the features as its larger counterpart, the S23+. This even extends to the display with identical resolutions giving the smaller phone a higher PPI. Still, this phone isn't cheap with its gorgeous materials so if your drop it without a case on, you'll feel it in your soul.
Keep your electronics juiced up while on-the-go
The USB port is a constant in the increasingly complex ecosystem of fast chargers, as most phones rely on the power drawn from a USB plug. Even when using a wireless charger, the pad demands a wired connection via a USB cable. However, the realities of charging equipment come into stark focus when on the move. While every driver will eventually need to charge their phone on the go, not every car includes a free USB port. Moreover, those that do probably lack advanced charging standards like USB Power Delivery and Programmable Power Supply (PPS), both of which are used in phones like Google Pixel 7 and Samsung Galaxy S23.
Choosing between Samsung and Google's reasonably priced, yet still excellent phones
A lot of people don't want to spend first car money on a smartphone. Thankfully, mid-range phones are fantastic these days, providing a user experience that's more than good enough for most people.
Here's what you bought on sale the most
Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days are winding down, but there's still a host of last-minute discounts, particularly when it comes to smartphones and headphones. But now that we've had time to seek out the best deals over these two days, we're also getting some data about what you, dear readers, felt most compelled to pick up at a discount this shopping holiday.
Top-tier noise cancelling and sound quality for less than $120? Sign us up!
It's no secret that Sony makes some of the best wireless headphones on the planet, especially in terms of active noise cancellation. The problem is, that kind of quality usually comes at a price. Despite all the press that various top-of-the-line over-ears with ANC get, some high-end headphones also slide in under the radar and perform nearly as well. In fact, a lot of people won't even notice an appreciable difference between the absolute industry leaders and cheaper offerings a tier or two below in cost.
They're all-around great performers, at a 40% discount today
Buying wireless earbuds can be tricky. If you're anything like me, they're one of the easiest things on the planet to lose, so you might not want to invest a fortune. But it's also important to avoid sketchy manufacturers or ultra-cheap, throwaway headphones that just won't last very long. Longtime headphone manufacturer JBL comes to our rescue this time with the Vibe 200TWS, a pair of quality earbuds at the low price of $30 for just a few more hours during October Prime Day.
An unbeatable value on in-ear headphones, but act fast
After reaching far and wide to make sure you get the best of the remaining October Prime Day offerings, we're excited to see that our much-loved Sony midrange earbuds are still on sale. They aren't exactly fancy and don't boast a ton of advanced features like some of the best wireless earbuds, but their neutral sound profile, distortion-free playback, and above-average noise cancellation make them an easy choice at just $88.
The most popular buys so far include lots of high-end electronics at impressive discounts
We're counting down the hours until the end of Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days, and some of everybody's favorite electronics are still on the table at massive discounts. To be clear, these aren't older, overstocked models passed off as new or obscure devices with cheap builds. We've researched the most-bought gadgets during the sale so far, squared that with our expert knowledge, and collected this list of high-performing electronics that we're honestly surprised are so cheap.