Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Xiaomi's Redmi series has been wildly popular over the past few years and for good reason. The low prices and good features have really set these models apart, and even other Chinese players have found them hard to compete with. Thanks to this competition, you can get a lot more in a budget or even mid-range smartphone than you used to be able to a few years ago. After pushing powerful components and cutting prices, manufacturers have started focusing on premium aesthetics and build quality, which appeal even more to customers. We've seen a lot of metal being being used by companies rather than plastic, such as with the recently released Honor 5 X (Review) and Le Eco Le 1s (Review). In terms of specifications, 3GB of RAM is not something to boast about anymore, and Coolpad has proven to everyone with the Coolpad Note 3 (Review) that even fingerprint sensors are not restricted to premium phones.
In light of all this, the Redmi 2 series feels a bit dated, and so Xiaomi is right …

Beats Studio review

What are the Beats Studio headphones?The Beats by Dre. Studio have, for years, been the top-end model in the highly-recognisable Beats range. And now they've been given a refresh for 2013 and beyond.

The price hasn't changed, £269.99, and for that you get a pair of great-feeling, good-looking headphones that feature active noise cancellation to make them even more commute-friendly. These are the best-sounding Beats headphones we've tried, too, but as ever with Beats headphones the sound quality doesn't entirely match the price.

Beats Studio - Design and ComfortBeats by Dre. has simplified the Beats Studio look in this new reincarnation. Where the previous model had cups that stuck out a way from the side of your head, these stick pretty close. 

Any design suggestion that these are headphones for the music studio seems to have vanished, besides the name, as the design here is clearly formulated with the commuter in mind. And really, that's no bad thing. 

These are rea…

Beats Pill XL review: Dr. Dre's newest speaker is supersized and super loud

Back in 2012, Beats unveiled its diminutive Pill wireless speaker in a bid to steal the Jambox's thunder. Since then, its main rival hasn't exactly been standing still: Jawbone has released two more Bluetooth speakers, including the well-received Big Jambox. Not to be outdone, Dr. Dre & co. recently began selling a super-sized version of their own: the $300 Beats Pill XL. As the name suggests, it is indeed a larger version of the original and it packs a much larger punch in the sound department as well. The list of features is nearly identical too, with NFC, dual 3.5mm jacks, a heavy dose of bass and more than a day's worth of battery life. Heck, you can even use the speakers to charge your phone, should the need arise. But let's be honest: Bluetooth speakers come a dime a dozen these days. It's not uncommon for press releases on six, seven, eight models to hit our inboxes in the course of a week. Given that the market's so saturated, has Beats done enough…

Sony Xperia XA review

WHAT IS THE SONY XPERIA XA? Sony is becoming irrelevant in the mobile space. Its high-end phones are increasingly dull and forgettable, highlighted by the recent Sony Xperia X, and it’s now falling behind in the mid-range space thanks to the OnePlus 3Moto G4 Plus and Vodafone Smart Ultra 7. Sony needs something new, something exciting. Enter the Sony Xperia XA. Is this the phone to make people care about the Japanese brand’s smartphone business? Probably not, but it’s still a better buy than the Xperia X.
SONY XPERIA XA – DESIGN The Xperia XA looks nicer than the more expensive Xperia X. While the boring Xperia X pales into middle-of-the-road territory, the Xperia XA has a spark that differentiates it from most budget phones. It’s the near edge-to-edge display that really catches the eye. It’s nowhere near as pronounced as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but it’s a design choice rarely seen in the lower end of the phone market.
It’s light, too, probably because metal is kept to a minim…

Beats Pill XL Bluetooth speaker review:

First, an apology. We're a little tardy in reviewing the Beats Pill XL, the bigger brother to the standard Beats Pill Bluetooth speaker. Part of the reason for that may have been that I was underwhelmed by theoriginal Pill , which was decent enough but cost too much ($200) when it was released a while back. Thankfully, the Beats Pill XL, which lists for $300 but retails for about $270 (£260 UK, AU$400) online in a variety of color options, is a far better-sounding speaker. While it obviously isn't as compact as its little brother, it weighs a manageable 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) and has a built in handle that makes it easy to carry around. It's really a nice design feature. I also liked the pause/play button in the middle of the speaker. It looks like a harmless Beats logo, but in fact, it does something.
You get volume controls on the speaker, though no controls for skipping tracks forward or back. You'll have to do that from your Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet. And yes,…

Sony Xperia M2 review

WHAT IS THE SONY XPERIA M2?First reviewed August 2014 Released in May 2014, the Sony Xperia M2 is the mid-range follow-up to the previous year’s Xperia M. It actually looks more similar to the higher-end Xperia Z2, minus some of the more expensive materials and flashier specs. These cut-backs meant a price tag of £200 SIM-free at launch, a price that has since come down to a more wallet-friendly £130 since the announcement of the Xperia M3. The Xperia M2 faces stiff competition from one our favourite ever budget handsets, the Motorola Moto G. In many respects it’s not as good as the 4G version of that, and it does feel like you’re paying slightly over the odds in this case just for the Sony branding. This is less of an issue at the new, lower, price. If you’re looking for fairly large screen without breaking the bank, the 4.8-inch Xperia M2 is a decent mid-range choice. SONY XPERIA M2 - DESIGN The Xperia M2 is a much more stylish handset than its 2013 predecessor, the Xperia M. It’s …

Sony Xperia Z2 review

WHAT IS THE SONY XPERIA Z2? First reviewed: April 2014 The Sony Xperia Z2 has now been superseded by the Sony Xperia Z3
Launched as Sony’s new flagship handset in April 2014, the Sony Xperia Z2 comes just six months after its predecessor, the Xperia Z1, which itself arrived just a few months after its little brother the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Sony looks set to keep up with this insanely short turnaround time, bringing us its current flagship phone, the Xperia Z3, just a further six months on from the Z2. Confused? So are we. Given this short refresh cycle it’s unsurprising that the Xperia Z2 is only a little different from its predecessor. As Sony’s first flagship handset for 2014 the Xperia Z2 goes head to head with other high-end models like the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8LG G3 and the iPhone 6. Those are some impressive handsets it has to compete with. Can it compete with those great phones though? Well there are some problems with the design and hardware, but a long battery life, …