Finally, modular phones done right, at least if you're hankering to slap on nifty accessories. The Moto Z and Z Force aren't the kind of modular that requires you to assemble core parts from building blocks, rather they work with magnetic Moto Mods like the JBL stereo speaker back, a projector and extended batteries. They're the first phones to break from Moto's attractive, but well-worn look and feel. Gone are the complexly curved sides, thick middle body and unibody construction. Instead we have a modern and somewhat angular design that's actually very slim, unlike the old Moto design that got chubby toward the middle. Inside it's all flagship power with the 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820, 4 gigs of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, NFC and your choice of a good 13MP camera on the Moto Z and an excellent 21MP camera on the Moto Z Force. We look at the Droid Edition of these phones, which means they're on Verizon Wireless.
The 4th generation Moto G and Moto G Plus unlocked Android smartphones sell for $199 and $249 respectively-- that's a lot of phone for the price, both literally and figuratively. The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are big phones with 5.5" IPS full HD displays. They're identical except for the fingerprint scanner on the front of the G4 Plus and a high resolution camera with PDAF and laser autofocus. The phones run Android 6.01 Marshmallow on the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 CPU with Adreno 405 graphics and 2 gigs of RAM (you can get the G Plus with 4 gigs for more money). They work on both CDMA and GSM carriers: that means the big 4 US carriers and smaller regional and prepaid carriers.
The MateBook is Huawei's first Windows machine, and it competes with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. This 12" tablet has a high resolution touch screen that also supports the optional MatePen, and there's a keyboard porfolio to turn it into a small laptop. It's a silent, fanless Intel Core m tablet with 4 or 8 gigs of RAM and an SSD. It has an elegant design with slim bezels and an aluminum back, and it weighs just 1.4 pounds. It starts at $699, but the must have accessories and upgrades can bring the price up quickly.
Samsung's new fitness wearable with smart features has a faster CPU and a wider display than the 2014 model, as well as a more supple band. The $179 Gear 2 is available in 3 colors and 2 sizes and it has a heart rate monitor, GPS, step counter, stair counter, sleep monitor and 4 gigs of internal storage for music and apps. It runs Samsung's Tizen OS and it works with any Android phone running OS 4.4 KitKat or newer. It's IP68 water resistant, and it has a vibrate motor, Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi. The curved AMOLED 1.5" display is colorful and bright enough for outdoor use.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is the rugged version of the S7 that's exclusive to AT&T in the US. The S7 Active has the same excellent core specs as the standard S7: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with Adreno 530 graphics, 4 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage plus a microSD card slot. It has the same 12MP rear camera, front 5MP camera and S Health with heart rate monitor and blood oxygen monitor. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung's TouchWiz UI and app suite. It weighs 5.63 ounces, which is approx. 1.3 ounces heavier than the S7 and it has a rugged casing that meets IP68 specs for water and dust resistance and it has a shatterproof 5.1" AMOLED QHD Gorilla Glass 4 display.
The battle for thinness isn't over, and thankfully as technology advances, the penalties are fewer. The 2.45 lb. HP Spectre 13.3" is currently the world's thinnest laptop, but performance, keyboard ergonomics and heat don't suffer. The Spectre is available with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual core CPUs for true Ultrabook performance and the dual fan "hyperbaric chamber" design keeps intense heat at bay. The keyboard is crisp and tactile, and the only casualty we lament is the lack of a touch screen. As a consolation, you do get one of the nicest full HD IPS displays we've seen in a while.
A 14 inch, 4.25 lb. gaming laptop with the power of a much larger machine. It's clad in a stealthy aluminum matte black that you could take into a meeting. For 2016 Razer lowers the price, updates the CPU to 6th gen Intel Skylake, improves cooling, tweaks the Chroma keyboard, and uses a more legible keyboard font. The 0.7" thick laptop is great for pro apps and gaming. It runs Windows 10 on the Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad core CPU with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 6GB DDR5 graphics. It has 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM and your choice of a 256 or 512 gig PCIe NVMe SSD. It has what might be described as the world's most entertaining notebook keyboard thanks to Chroma backlighting and many available effects with infinite color choice.
The Lenovo Yoga 900S is the smaller and lighter counterpart to the already svelte Yoga 900. This is a 12.5" Windows 10 convertible with Lenovo's signature watchband 360 degree hinge and Intel 6th generation Core M CPUs inside. It supports both pen and touch and is available in full HD and QHD resolutions. The 2.2 lb. laptop offers good battery life and a fast PCIe SSD too. It's highly portable and quite literally flexible, making it a versatile ultraportable.
Dell's sexy new high end 13.3" business Ultrabook weighs just 2.48 pounds. This is one of the best looking 13" business laptops on the market, and it's available with a carbon fiber or aluminum lid. Dell also offers 12 and 14 inch models and 2-in-1 versions, but we look at the traditional laptop design here. The machine is available with the same 1920 x 1080 and Sharp IGZO QHD+ 3200 x 1800 displays as the Dell XPS 13, but these have an anti-glare finish. The notebook is available with Intel Skylake 6th generation Core m3, m5 and m7 CPUs and 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM. You can get with an M.2 SATA3 or PCIe SSD in capacities from 128 to 512 gigs.
The Microsoft Band 2 started out as a pricey proposition, but now that street prices have dropped significantly, it might be time to look at Redmond's second generation fitness band with a bit of smartwatch thrown in. The Band 2 is more supple and durable than the original, and it has an impressive array of sensors including GPS, heart rate, barometer, skin temperature sensor and more. Better yet, it's not tied to a single platform- it works with Windows Phone, Android and iOS.
It's rare that we see a gaming laptop with good dedicated graphics and a fast quad core CPU for under $1,000. The Dell Inspiron 7000 "Gaming Series" model 7559 is just that machine. It currently sells for $750 to $799 nicely appointed with an Intel 6th generation Skylake Core i5-6300HQ CPU, NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics, 8 gigs of RAM, a full HD non-touch IPS display and a 1TB hard drive. It has enough horsepower to tackle current demanding 3D games, is strong at editing video and can handle number crunching and large code compiles. You can get it with a Core i7, more RAM and an SSD if you like.
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