Affordable OnePlus N200 5G will go on sale on June 25th

OnePlus has confirmed that the inexpensive Nord N200 5G will be available in the US and Canada starting on Friday, June 25th, for $239, making it one of the most affordable 5G phones in the US. With US wireless carriers demanding more 5G devices, the N200 will likely get a lot more company soon.

OnePlus had previously dropped a few other details about the upcoming device, like its 6.49-inch 1080p display with 90Hz refresh rate and big 5,000mAh battery. Other newly confirmed specs include a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset (also used by the freshly announced Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable built-in storage, and a rear triple camera with a 13-megapixel main camera. OnePlus doesn’t specify details for the other two rear-facing cameras, but the N100’s 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensor are likely candidates. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera around front, and the N200 offers 18W charging.

The N200 5G features three rear-facing camera sensors, including a 13-megapixel main camera.
Image: OnePlus

The N200 5G becomes one of the least expensive 5G phones to go on sale in the US, coming in $40 cheaper than the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and $60 less than OnePlus’ own Nord N10 5G. It’s likely to gain more competition in the near future, too, as other manufacturers adopt low-cost 5G chipsets like the 480 5G and wireless carriers aim to put more 5G phones on their shelves (and more customers on premium unlimited 5G plans).


Realme GT review: In the flagship fast lane?

(Pocket-lint) – It’s probably no surprise that the Realme GT’s international reveal happened just one day after the OnePlus Nord CE hit the headlines. Because, while the GT isn’t a direct competitor – it’s actually more powerful than OnePlus’ more budget offering – it’s certainly a handset that wants to lead the young brand’s charge on OnePlus’ ongoing dominance in the alt-flagship space.

It’s even pulled the same old-hat promotional tagline – “flagship killer” – which is rather cheeky. But that gives Realme a platform upon which to stand. It is a bit cheeky. It has previously released phones with eye-slapping phrases plastered on them – we lambasted the Realme 8 Pro for its ‘Dare To Leap’ slogan. It’s that bit different, that bit of fun.

With the Realme GT the company is looking to enter the fast lane – the ‘Grand Tourer’ name reference name says it all really – for this alt-flagship has top-tier Qualcomm processing power, a more grown-up looking vegan leather finish than earlier Realme devices, and arrives at a price point that could make you pay attention to this brand over better-established products such as, say, a Moto G100 or Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite.

Design & Display

  • 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Colours: Racing Yellow, Dashing Silver, Dashing Blue
  • Dimensions: 156 x 73 x 9.1mm / Weight: 186g
  • Finishes: Vegan leather or glass back
  • In-display fingerprint scanner

With phones often gigantic slabs these days, it’s rather refreshing to hold onto the Realme GT – because it’s sensibly proportioned, not too thick even in its vegan leather finish, and is on the right side the 200g weight barrier (a limit that we’ve pretty much decided to impose having handled the all too heavy Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra).

Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here

By Pocket-lint Promotion


That the volume control buttons are on the opposite side to the Realme GT’s power button – a rarity in most Android phones – is something you might not immediately love, but we stuck with it and it’s actually a sensible layout. Taking one-handed screengrabs is easier, as one beneficial example.

But it’s not the layout that’ll first catch your attention. It is, but of course, that bright yellow rear – which Realme calls ‘Racing Yellow’, keeping in theme with that GT name. It’s a bold, bright finish, almost like an exemplary Pantone shade card for what a true yellow should represent.

That it’s vegan leather is another standout point, but less for its apparent environmental kudos – although there’s an argument that processes for this material aren’t actually Thunberg pleasing – and more for its tactile quality. It’s nice and grippy. It doesn’t become smeared in heaps of fingerprints. It looks consistent – and the black stripe down from the integrated cameras panel helps to soften the look.


Why, then, Realme has decided to (literally) stick its logo onto the rear is a big question. This silvered stick-on will inevitably fall off over time – not that we’ve actively been picking at it. Maybe that’d be for the better though – we’re not fans of any brand sticking big logos onto its phones. Motorola used to, before realising it looks much better to be subtle. Still, Realme ought to deboss or emboss for added chic.

Flip the phone over to its front and the Realme GT houses a 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, delivering a screen that’s capable of deep blacks and strong colours. Sadly, however, its auto-brightness adjustment is so shy that you’ll often end up squinting at the dulled screen trying to find the manual brightness slider. At maximum brightness it can remain visible in outdoor sunlight though. At lowest brightness there’s some ‘black crush’ to visuals, which is fairly common – an issue other Oppo phones present (Realme is effectively under the same umbrella as that brand).


Interestingly this panel has some top-end features, such as a 120Hz refresh rate, to keep visuals extra smooth and easy on the eyes. You needn’t have the 120 refreshes per second active for the sake of battery life, though, as a 60Hz option is found within the menus – which is on by default anyway. In terms of resolution the Full HD+ span of pixels over the 20:9 aspect ratio panel delivers ample detail – these days you don’t really want or need much more, as it rarely enhances apps and mostly just squeezes the battery life.

Performance & Battery

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, 8GB/12GB RAM
  • Realme UI (v2.0) software over Google Android 11 OS
  • 4,500mAh battery capacity, 65W fast-charging
  • Stainless steel cooling system
  • 5G connectivity

That the Realme GT can cope with a 120Hz refresh rate is no surprise given its top-end hardware under the hood. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM (there are two variants, we have the lower spec 8GB model in for review).


It’s this “my processing power’s bigger than yours” angle that will garner the GT a lot of attention – especially for its asking price. And so it should, for this Realme performs really well whether you’re casually navigating between pages and apps, or digging deep into a gaming session.

Other than when recharging it doesn’t overheat either, which is impressive in the context of a faux leather-backed device with such a strong performance engine running things. The stainless steel cooling system designed within must be part of the reason for the apparent well-managed heat dissipation.

With mixed use we’ve found the GT’s battery life to be perfectly acceptable. Long days will see you finish close to the 20 per cent mark, after around 18 hours, but that includes some gaming so we think that’s pretty good innings. Besides, with a 65W fast-charging capability – no wireless to be found here – topping it up is speedy. It can even learn your typical charging pattern as to not refill the battery too quickly, which will help with long-term battery health.

We suspect the GT could last longer if various settings were activated to throttle the experience. But we’re glad that’s not the case. So often we hit a wall with, say, a Xiaomi phone because its software default controls the way in which apps respond – often causing notification issues or delays. Realme doesn’t have that issue; its Realme UI (version 2.0 here) is effectively a rework of Oppo’s ColorOS, which we’ve found in recent iterations to be generally pleasing.


  • Triple rear camera system:
    • Main (26mm): 64-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture, Sony IMX682 sensor, 0.8µm pixel size
    • Wide-angle (16mm): 8MP, f/2.3, 1.12µm
    • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front-facing selfie camera:
    • 16-megapixel, f/2.5 aperture, 26mm, 1.0µm pixel size

Given the phone’s price point its camera setup is the one area to expect some compromise. Realme has gone down the “triple camera” route – but, really, it’s a main camera paired with ultra-wide that show their worth, while the low-resolution close-up macro camera isn’t even worth including in our view. It’s a trap so many makers have fallen into – to oversell their cameras.

Anyway, that’s not to say expect bad things all across the board. As a straightforward point-and-shoot camera the main 64-megapixel sensor – which uses six-in-one processing to deliver 12-megapixel results by default – is capable enough. For sharing snaps on socials and so forth it’ll deliver the goods.

That said, however, it’s not the most refined in terms of processing. Where detail lacks – subject edges such as buildings, or busier areas such as trees and shrubs – there’s oversharpening, often to the detriment of realism. Colour also can look as though it’s been washed over with a blue filter, while contrast is a bit punchier than needed.


: Main cameraMain camera

Then there’s the wide-angle camera. Results from this aren’t consistent with the main lens – the colour looks different, for example – while detail lacks, and optically speaking it’s not particularly great. The benefit of having the wide camera is, of course, that it’s wide; that you can fit more into a shot, even if the edges are blurred and the contrast pushes image noise into greater visibility. You can compare the main camera and the wide camera – including 100 per cent zoom-in for each shot – in the gallery above.

The Realme GT might have wide-angle covered, but it doesn’t really cater for zoom. Well, it depends how you look at it. The camera app does offer 2x and 5x as part of the controls, but we’d strongly suggest avoiding using these as it’s nothing more than digital zoom. Given that the main sensor is 64-megapixels, however, the 2x ought to be better than it is. The 5x really pushes beyond what’s acceptable, with soft and unimpressive results. You can see the zoom stages from wide to main to 2x to 5x in the gallery below:


: Ultra-wide (16mm)Ultra-wide (16mm)

So while the zoom is one to avoid and the wide-angle isn’t great, the GT’s main camera is passable. It recognises backlighting to boost high dynamic range (HDR). It’s managed pretty well in low-light conditions, too, so if you’re shooting indoors at night then it can still focus and present enough detail – as we found out in a basement distillery at Edinburgh Gin.

That’s the long and the short of it: there’s not really much that’s “GT” about this Realme’s cameras. A “Pro” version might be able to rectify that – but it’d also come at cost, given the list price of camera components. And, really, that’s not the point of this phone. The GT is all about flagship performance for the day to day, not top-tier cameras – if you want that then you’ll have to pay out a lot more cash elsewhere.


From its striking yellow-colour vegan leather finish, to its impressive performance thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 platform, the Realme GT is an impressive alt-flagship – but one that will depend on its eye-catching asking price to lure in a fan base.

As we said up top, this Realme has arrived at a time when OnePlus is no longer, well, “being OnePlus” – i.e. delivering flagship devices for considerably less cash. In that sense, then, the GT slots into the space that OnePlus once occupied in its earlier days, a tactic that’s as measured as it is a bit cheeky.

No, the GT doesn’t offer the greatest of cameras, its auto-brightness is shy to activate, and as a brand name it might not yet resonate with the masses.

But it’s hard to not see the GT’s specification for what it is: more powerful than a Motorola equivalent, such as the G100; and more software consistent than a Xiaomi device, such as the Mi 11 Lite.

In that sense, then, the Realme GT sure does enter the alt-flagship fast lane, overtaking some of the big competition that are also jostling for pole position.

Also consider


Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G

We love the Xiaomi’s colour finish and slender build – it’s a great alternative to the current glut of massive flagship phones. That said, it’s less powerful and the software brings its share of irks.

  • Read our review



Moto G100

It’s about the same price, but with a slightly lower-spec processor, equally so-so cameras, but a more established brand name and near flawless software.

  • Read our review


Writing by Mike Lowe.


OnePlus Nord CE 5G review: Hardcore, you know the score

(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus has be on something of an exploratory journey over the past 12 months or so. Rather than delivering one or two phones at a time and launching them both globally, it took a more regional approach. 

That meant while some markets got the original Nord, others – like the US – didn’t, then OnePlus followed up with various models to suit different territories. It even continued this approach with the OnePlus 9 series, offering a 9R in India, but nowhere else.

This is pretty standard practice for most manufacturers, but wasn’t for OnePlus. At least, not until now. But obviously this transition to being a ‘proper’ smartphone manufacturer is working, because it’s back again with another Nord: the Nord CE 5G. 

Plastic fantastic

  • Dimensions: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm / Weight: 170g
  • No official waterproofing
  • 3.5mm headphone port
  • Blue Void, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray colours

For a while there’s been this sense that when building a good smartphone, you have to start with the right materials. It had to be aluminium or steel and glass. Using plastic was as good as writing ‘cheap trash’ over the back of the phone in capital letters. But things have changed, thanks in part to the efforts of Samsung. 


With its Galaxy Note 20, S20 FE and this years S21, it showed you can use plastic materials in a way that doesn’t detract from the look and feel of the phone. OnePlus has taken the same approach with the Nord CE. Our unit in Blue Void has a lovely frosted/matte finish to it that’s very reminiscent of the Samsung approach, and we like it a lot. 

It has an eye-catching blue finish with just the slightest splash of purple up the edges. There are two other safer colours in Charcoal Ink (Black-ish grey) and Silver Ray. 

Being a frosted/matte finished plastic does have its advantages too. Firstly, it’s not at all slippery. So it’s not hard to keep a hold of one-handed, and it’s not likely to just randomly slide off the arm of your sofa. Secondly, it not as likely to crack or turn into tiny shards when it’s dropped or banged against something. It’s a very practical choice. 

Also, it just feels, well, nice. 


That’s not the only practical choice made by OnePlus with the Nord CE. It’s both slimmer and lighter than the first Nord, so it doesn’t feel like a huge phone in your hand. It’s not exactly compact, but it’s easy to hold and comfortable enough to use. And it has a 3.5mm socket for wired headphones and headsets. 

One choice that might not go down so well with long-time OnePlus fans is the removal of the alert switch. For years this simple slider button on the side has set the company’s phones apart from rivals, offering an easy tactile way to switch your phone to silent or vibrate. Apparently, that’s not considered ‘Core’ enough to make it on to a ‘Core Edition’ OnePlus phone. 

In case you were wondering: yes, that’s what CE stands for. 

Other core design choices include: not having a physical fingerprint sensor. Instead, there’s an in-display one so there’s nothing on the back, breaking up that glorious matte blue surface. The camera housing is a pretty basic pull-shaped protrusion and the display has just the one hole punched through it for a single camera. 


Sadly, one last feature not deemed essential to a Core Edition phone is a subtle haptic motor for feedback. That means, with it enabled, keyboard taps are accompanied by a nasty feeling buzz, rather than a subtle tap. We quickly switched it off. 

Display and software

  • 6.43-inch AMOLED 90Hz display
  • 1080 x 2400 resolution
  • OxygenOS 11

Screen resolutions haven’t changed much in recent years with most smartphones opting for some version of full HD. This particular flavour is 1080 x 2400, which is the same as on most other OnePlus phones. That means it’s plenty sharp enough for day-to-day tasks with individual pixels imperceptible. 

It’s AMOLED too, which means it’s a pretty punchy panel with vibrant colours and deep blacks. In its default ‘vivid’ mode the screen often over eggs the colours a bit, but with this being a OnePlus phone running OxygenOS, you get to customise its balance quite lot. Switching to ‘sRGB’ mode balances things out a lot more, but does make it a bit less exciting.  


The 90Hz refresh rate ensure that when you touch the screen, or swipe at something in the interface, the response is immediate and smooth. It doesn’t reach the heights of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 120Hz, and doesn’t feature the advanced adaptive refresh rate tech that adapts it to the content, but it’s impressively fluid and smooth for a mid-ranger. 

That’s not the only element where you just about get the hint this isn’t a top tier panel. 

For instance, despite being AMOLED, when the screen’s off (or black) it’s not quite as dark as the black frame around the panel, so you don’t get that blending effect, you can see where the bezel stops and the screen starts. There’s also a slight colour shift when you look at a white screen from different angles. 

Just for a little perspective though, the fact we’re picking up on such non-issues as a slight negative shows two things: how competitive the mid-range market has become recently and how good this phone is for the money OnePlus is asking for it. 

Part of the joy of OnePlus phones over the years is the customisation on offer from the OxygenOS software. We’ve already mentioned the ability to calibrate the screen to your exact liking, but there are also modes like Reading Mode which turns the screen monochrome for when you load up your favourite e-book app. 

There’s not much new to report from a software side with the Nord CE. It’s the same as the software found in the OnePlus 9 series and OnePlus 8T that came before it. It’s OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11, which represented a major redesign when it first launched. 

While OnePlus was often seen as a manufacturer offering a stock-like Android experience with lots of customisation choices, it no longer feels that way. Oppo’s ColourOS offers far more customisation of elements like the fingerprint scanner animation, always-on display, icon styles and shapes. OxygenOS by comparison feels quite stripped back and bare. 

This does help it retain that feeling of ‘essentialism’ though. It has everything you need, presented in a clean and clutter free way. There aren’t any unecessary apps pre-loaded, and even core parts of the experience like phone, messages and software updates are now powered by Google’s own apps, rather than OnePlus’ own design. 

Power and performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor (8nm)
  • 6GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM – 128GB or 256GB storage
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 30W fast charging

Where the Core Edition OnePlus Nord gets it right is the feeling of speed and fluidity under your fingertips. A big part of that, as mentioned, is down to the high refresh rate of the screen and the software. OnePlus has always done a great job of optimising its software animations to feel speedy. 

That performance transitions well into games and apps too. Using it daily as a main phone, it never left us in any real need of more, despite ‘only’ having Snapdragon 750G. It’s not a top-tier platform, but just like the Snapdragon 765G that appeared in the first Nord, this one gets the job done without any trouble. 

Playing Mario Kart Tour was a hassle-free and smooth experience, as was browsing the web, scrolling through Twitter and any other app we came across in our day-to-day phone usage. 


Similarly, the 4500mAh battery inside is more than strong enough to cope with the most demanding of days. For the most part, with light usage, we’d finish the day with something like 40 per cent of the battery left over. That’s with the usual hour or so of web browsing and social media, plus a chunk of gaming. 

Once empty it fills up quickly, as is typical OnePlus style. It uses a 30W wired charger, which OnePlus has clunkily named ‘Warp Charge 30T Plus’. In actual fact, it’s almost the same as Warp Charge 30T, in that it can fill 70 per cent of the battery in abut half an hour. It’s been a mainstay feature for OnePlus phones for many years and something of a lifesaver when you’ve forgotten to charge your phone or when it drains unexpectedly. 


  • Triple rear camera system:
    • 64MP primary camera
    • 8MP ultra-wide (119-degree)
    • 2MP monochrome sensor
  • 4K recording at 30fps
  • 16MP selfie

Ah, OnePlus and cameras. It seems to be an age-old complaint of OnePlus phones having a not-quite-good-enough camera system. They’ve definitely improved the quality over the past couple of years, there’s no denying that, and for the most part the primary snapper on the Nord CE is decent. 


You’ll get sharp photos with good colours and depth of field from the 64-megapixel sensor. It pixel bins down to 16-megapixel images automatically, so isn’t using all 64 million of those pixels individually. Not unless you enable it. 

It has all the camera features you’d expect too. It’ll take portrait shots with excessive background blur, night mode shots, panoramas, timelapses, slow motion video and even has a ‘pro’ mode for adjusting ISO, white balance and shutter speed manually yourself. 

There is one major weakness we’ve encoutered on the Nord CE’s primary lens however, and that’s focus distance. It really, really doesn’t like focusing on anything closer than about 13 or 14cm, which means close up shots of flowers, bugs, berries and the like are near-on impossible. You can see examples that would normally be simple shots, impossible because it refused to focus. 

The only solution is either taking the photo from further away and cropping the photo in edit, or using the 2x zoom function to zoom in digitally when taking the photo. 

We don’t expect super macro skills from an affordable mid-range necessarily, but we do expect it to at least handle close up focusing a bit better than this. 

Without being too cricital though, having the 2x zoom and the seperate ultra-wide lens means you get enough versatility in shooting to make it useful in most situations. There’s a variety in focal lengths, but we do question the decision to put such a visually distinct different between them. 

What we mean by that is there’s a noticeable drop in quality when switching from the main to the ultra-wide. Images lose some crispness, and appear visually more contrast heavy and darker, losing a lot of vibrancy in the colours while adding more noise, even in daylight. At times it also adds a hyper-real element to the colours where they just seem unnaturally saturated. It’s not the most consistent of cameras. 

As for the third camera, that’s just a low resolution black and white sensor to act as a backup to the other two, bringing in some more light data. 

Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here

By Pocket-lint Promotion

On the front, the selfie camera is decent enough with OnePlus’ HDR capability shining when it comes to balancing out heavy backlighting behind you when snapping pictures of yourself. So even if the sky and clouds look too bright to get a decent shot of your face, the system does well to make sure that it’s not over-exposed and washed out. 


OnePlus Nord ‘Core Edition’ is something of an unusual phone in its position. The first OnePlus Nord in itself was supposed to represent the core essentials of OnePlus phones. Stripped down, but without real compromise. So in essence, the OnePlus Nord CE is a Core Edition of a Core Edition phone. But that’s perhaps overthinking it a bit. 

What really matters is that for the money you’re getting a phone without any significant flaws. It’s fast and responsive, is well-designed, has a good camera and a good screen. It’s comfortably one of the best phones in its price bracket. 

We question the removal of the alert slider though. It was one of the few remaining fixtures that helped OnePlus phones stand out from its competition. Without it, it feels like OnePlus is doing more blending in with the environment. It’s transitioned away from standout phone maker, to just another phone maker and the CE is the culmination of that effort. 

Alternatives to consider


OnePlus Nord


The original Nord is still here, and still packs a punch. It’s fast, fluid, smooth and has a more premium glass back, slightly more powerful processor and is now discounted because it’s a bit older. 

  • Read the review


Redmi Note 10 Pro 


The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of 2021’s best value smartphones. It boasts similar specs and capabilities to the Nord CE, but is cheaper. Crucially, it has a bigger battery, bigger display and is water resistant. 

  • Read the review

Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Chris Hall.


Samsung Galaxy A32 5G review: 5G on a budget

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If you’re looking for a 5G Android phone and want to spend as little as possible, you can stop right here. At $279, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is your best bet right now, especially if you’re in the US where such options are scarce. It offers good 5G support (including the all-important C-band!), a huge battery, and four years of security updates. That’s a compelling package for under $300.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. The A32 5G’s screen isn’t great, performance is a little laggy, and though capable, its camera is limited. If you can spend just a bit more, you can get a phone that does better in at least one of these areas. And if you can hold off on your phone purchase for even a few more months, we should see many more very affordable 5G phones on the market to choose from, like the OnePlus N200. But if you don’t have time to wait and can’t spare the extra cash, I can’t find a good reason to talk you out of the A32 5G.

The A32 5G is a big device, housing a 6.5-inch screen and a large 5,000mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G screen, performance, and design

The A32 5G features a big 6.5-inch 720p LCD panel that’s best described as nothing special. Colors look a little flat and washed out, and though it gets bright enough to see in direct sunlight, the screen’s reflective plastic protective panel makes it challenging. It’s also a low resolution to be stretched across such a large screen, so you’ll see a little pixelization if you look close.

The phone uses a MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G processor that compares well with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 5G chipset for budget 5G phones, used by OnePlus Nord N10 5G. The Galaxy A32 5G combines the MediaTek processor with 4GB of RAM (decent) and 64GB of storage (skimpy but just enough to get by, and you can throw in a microSD card to expand it), and it performs well enough for its class.

There’s noticeable hiccuping with media-dense pages, brief pauses when diving into a demanding task like starting Google Maps navigation, and noticeable camera shutter lag. For the most part, though, I just didn’t notice slowdowns as I jumped between apps, scrolled through Instagram, and just generally went about using the phone normally. That’s about all I’d ask for from a sub-$300 phone.

The phone’s headline feature, 5G, still isn’t something we’d recommend you run out and buy a new phone to get. But the A32 5G has a couple of features that make it worth your time, even considering that good 5G is still a year or two away in the US. Crucially, the A32 5G has been cleared by the Federal Communications Commission to use C-band frequencies that Verizon and AT&T, in particular, will be utilizing for 5G in the coming years. Not all 5G phones can use C-band, so that’s a big ol’ checkmark in the A32 5G’s favor. There’s no mmWave support here, which is the fastest and scarcest flavor of 5G, but that’s no great loss.

The second factor here is that you can reasonably expect to keep using this phone for enough years to actually see 5G that’s meaningfully better than LTE because Samsung will keep offering security updates for four years. Many budget devices only get about two years of security update support, but the A32 5G’s lengthy lifespan should see it through to the actual 5G age in a few years.

Battery life is one of the A32 5G’s strengths. Its 5,000mAh capacity battery is big indeed, and I had no trouble getting two full days of moderate use out of it. My usage was more battery-friendly than someone else’s might be, with battery optimization on and the bulk of my time spent on Wi-Fi, but even the most power-hungry user would be able to get a full day — if not more — out of the A32 5G.

With a 6.5-inch screen, the A32 5G is a big phone for sure. It’s a little too bulky and awkward-feeling in my hand. What I dislike even more is that it feels slippery to me — the back panel plastic feels hard to get a decent grip on. On one occasion, I set the phone down on a softcover book, and it somehow shimmied itself across the cover and off of a side table when I wasn’t looking. (There’s a happy ending, though: it only fell about a foot into a box filled with hand-me-down baby clothes waiting to be put away, so there’s a good argument for keeping clutter around your house.) Anyway, get a case for it if you buy this phone, and know that if your hands are small, it won’t be very comfortable to use.

There’s a decent-quality 48-megapixel main camera on the A32 5G’s rear panel.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G camera

There are two cameras of consequence on the A32 5G’s rear panel: a 48-megapixel standard wide and an 8-megapixel ultrawide. There’s a 5-megapixel macro camera that’s not very good and a 2-megapixel depth sensor that may or may not help with portrait mode photos. There’s also a 13-megapixel selfie camera around front.

  • Taken with ultrawide

  • Taken with ultrawide

Considering the phone’s price, the A32 5G’s main camera performs well enough. Like most any other phone, it takes very nice pictures in good lighting. That’s no surprise, even for a budget phone. But it reaches its limits quickly in less-good lighting, like interiors. That’s where optical stabilization or more sophisticated image processing would come in handy, neither of which the A32 5G offers. Instead, you may find some of your photos indoors are a little blurry, and you’ll be very challenged to get a sharp photo of a moving subject in anything less than bright daylight.

The ultrawide camera shows its shortcomings if you look close — there’s some distracting flare in direct sunlight, and some noise visible in shadows of high-contrast scenes. There’s no telephoto lens here, with shortcuts in the camera app to jump to 2x (acceptable), 4x (eh), and 10x (don’t use it) digital zoom.

The Galaxy A32 5G’s generous security support timeline means it’s a phone you can plan to use for the next few years.

It’s tough to say how the Galaxy A32 5G compares to the competition because it doesn’t have much yet. It’s among the least expensive 5G phones you’ll find anywhere. Its closest competition at the moment is the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, which is a little more expensive at $299 but offers some worthwhile hardware upgrades, like a nicer screen, a bit better camera performance, and faster charging. It’s a nicer phone in a lot of ways, but it’s only slated for two years of security updates.

Of course, if you only plan to hold on to your phone for a couple of years, then the N10 5G is worth strongly considering. If that’s the case, then 5G becomes a less important feature, too. If there’s room in your budget, consider the $349 Google Pixel 4A, which will get you a much better camera, cleaner software, and timely updates over the next couple of years, albeit without support for 5G at all. It’s a much smaller device, though. So if a big screen is part of the A32 5G’s appeal, you might want to look at something like the $279 Motorola Moto G Stylus.

If you’d like to avoid the hassle of phone shopping again in two years and you want a future-proof choice that’s easy on the budget, then the Samsung A32 5G will do the trick.

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge


The Moto G Stylus 5G is a step-up version of our favorite budget stylus phone

Motorola has announced the Moto G Stylus 5G, a new version of its very good, non-5G budget-friendly stylus phone. It offers broadly similar hardware to the 4G version, with notable exceptions in the new Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with sub-6GHz 5G connectivity and a bigger 5,000mAh battery. Priced at $399, it’s at the higher end of the budget range and will go on sale June 14th.

Like its 4G peer, the G Stylus 5G features a large 6.8-inch 1080p screen, ready for your notes and doodles courtesy of a built-in stylus. It includes 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and ships with Android 11. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a charging brick is included in the box. The Stylus 5G is a little bigger and heavier than the 4G version, but not by much — it’s about four grams heavier and 0.3mm thicker.

The G Stylus 5G offers a rear triple-camera array that’s very similar to the 4G G Stylus’, with a 48-megapixel f/1.7 standard wide, 8-megapixel ultrawide, and 5-megapixel macro, plus a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Around front, there’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

The G Stylus 5G isn’t the most aggressively priced 5G phone in the budget market. OnePlus says its upcoming N200 5G will cost less than $250, and Samsung’s Galaxy A32 5G is currently selling for $279. It’s also surprising to see the Snapdragon 480 5G chipset used here, since it’s intended for more affordable 5G devices well under the Stylus 5G’s $400 price.

On the other hand, the G Stylus 5G is quite a bit cheaper than the other prominent 5G phone with a built-in stylus, the $999 Galaxy Note 20, if you want to look at things that way.


ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G review: Seriously good value

(Pocket-lint) – When ZTE told us the Axon 30 Ultra 5G was en route for review, we got that fuzzy feeling inside. That’s because the older Axon 20 5G was the first device we’d ever seen with an under-display selfie camera – so surely the Axon 30 Ultra would take this technology to the next level?

Um, nope. Instead the Axon 30 Ultra instead has a more traditional punch-hole selfie camera front and centre, so that fuzzy feeling quickly dissipated. Without such a ‘magic camera’ on board what then is the appeal of this flagship?

The Axon 30 Ultra is all about power and affordability. It crams a top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor into a slender body with a 6.67-inch AMOLED display that can push its refresh rate to a class-leading 144Hz. All for just £649 in the UK and $749 in the USA. So is that as exceptional value as it sounds or are there hidden compromises?

Design & Display

  • 6.67-inch AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 144Hz refresh rate
  • Dimensions: 162 x 73 x 8mm / Weight: 188g
  • Finishes: Black, White, Blue, Light Brown
  • Under display fingerprint scanner
  • No 3.5mm port

Having moved out of the gigantic Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the ZTE’s more slender frame and trim 20:9 aspect ratio felt like a revelation by comparison. It’s not that the Axon 30 Ultra is small, per se, but it’s a well balanced scale.


The model we have in review is apparently black – that’s what the box says anyway – but the phone’s rear has a much softer metallic appearance about it, with some degree of blue to its colour balance. Really we’d call it a metallic grey. It looks pleasant, while fingerprint smears aren’t a massive problem thanks to the soft-touch material.

The camera unit on the rear is a fairly chunky protrusion, but that’s because there’s a 5x zoom periscope housed within that frame. It’s a relatively elegant block of cameras, though, and even with the phone flat against a desk it doesn’t rock about unwantedly.

The screen is the big selling point though. It’s a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel, the kind we’ve seen in the Redmi Note 10 Pro, for example, except the ZTE goes all-out when it comes to refresh rate by offering up to 144Hz. You can pick from 60Hz/90Hz/120Hz too, with the option to display the refresh rate in the upper left corner.


Having a faster refresh rate means smoother visuals, especially when it comes to moving content. You’re more likely to notice it when scrolling through emails than much else, though, so we’ve found our preference for balancing rate to battery life has meant settling on 90Hz. A more dynamic software approach would be better, or the option to designate specific apps to function at specific frame rates – especially games.

Are you really going to tell the difference between 144Hz and 120Hz? No. But the simple fact the Axon 30 Ultra can do this is to show its worth; to show that it’s got more power credentials than many less adept phones at this price point.

Otherwise the screen hits all the right notes. It’s got ample resolution. Colours pop. Blacks are rich thanks to the AMOLED technology. It’s slightly curved to the edges too, but only subtly to help hide away the edge bezel from direct view – and we haven’t found this to adversely affect use due to accidental touches and such like.


There’s also an under-display fingerprint scanner tucked beneath the screen’s surface, which we’ve found to be suitably responsive for sign-ins. Or you can sign-up to face unlock instead to make things even easier.

Having that scanner in such a position, rather than over the power button, leaves the Axon 30 Ultra’s edges to be rather neat. Other than the on/off and volume up/down rocker to the one side, and USB-C port, single speaker and SIM tray to the bottom edge, there’s nothing to disrupt the phone’s form. That keeps it looking neat and tidy. It also means no 3.5mm headphone jack, but that’s hardly a surprise.

Performance & Battery

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8GB/12GB RAM
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/1TB, no microSD card slot
  • Battery: 4600mAh, 66W fast-charging
  • Software: ZTE MyOS 11 (Android 11)

Elegant looks complement an elegant operation, too, largely down to the power that’s available on tap. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor on board, couple with 8GB RAM, there’s little else more powerful that you can buy. Indeed, the Axon 30 Ultra is knocking on the door of gaming phone territory given that 144Hz refresh rate screen.


Navigating around the interface is super smooth and speedy, apps open quickly, and there’s no downturn in performance if you happen to open a whole bunch. Games are a breeze, too, as you’d expect from this kind of hardware – although we’d like a game centre to prevent over-screen notifications and such like.

But it’s not perfectly smooth sailing on account of ZTE’s own software, which here is MyOS 11 over the top of Google’s Android 11 operating system. It’s a common problem among Chinese makers, so we probably sound like a broken record, but there are definitely issues with notifications. WhatsApp might take a couple of hours to notify you of a message, for example, but there’s never a fixed period of time – and other times it’s immediate. The mail app Outlook rarely to never notified of new mails in the inbox either. 

A lot of this is down to software management. Because there’s rather a lot of it in MyOS. Under battery settings is an ‘Apps AI-control’, which is said to intelligently manage apps to save power. Except, as we’ve highlighted above, this can stifle some apps inappropriately. It can be turned off for manual control, where individual apps can have their auto-start and background running characteristics specified.

All of this is an attempt to aid the overall battery life. Because, as you can imagine, cranking out gaming sessions using the 144Hz and top-end engine from Qualcomm’s SD888 definitely eats away at the supply pretty rapidly. The 4,600mAh cell on board isn’t as capacious as some competitors we’ve seen and that, as a result, can see a heavy use day only just about scrape through a 15 hours day. It’ll manage, but only just.


Another oddity we’ve experienced with the Axon 30 Ultra is Wi-Fi connectivity seems to be a little up and down. With less strong signal our Zwift Companion app was very choppy in its updating of data – something that hasn’t been an issue with other phones we’ve compared in the same environment. We suspect that’s because the ‘a/b/g/n/ac/6e’ designation is catering for higher frequencies (‘ac’ is 5GHz only, for example, whereas ‘ax’ caters for both 2.6GHz and 5GHz, while the newly adopted ‘6e’, i.e. 6GHz, isn’t widely supported yet).


  • Quad rear camera array:
    • Main (25mm): 64-megapixel, f/1.6 aperture, 0.8µm pixel size, optical stabilisation (OIS)
    • Portrait (35mm): 64MP, f/1.9, 0.7µm
    • Wide (13mm): 64MP, f/2.2, 0.7µm
    • Zoom (123mm): 8MP, f/3.4, OIS
  • Front-facing selfie camera: 16MP

On the rear the Axon 30 Ultra houses an apparent four lenses: a 64-megapixel main; a 0.5x ultra-wide (also 64MP); a 5x periscope zoom lens (just 8MP); and what we would call a ‘portrait lens’ with 2x zoom (also 64MP).

It’s a bit of a mish-mash when it comes to results though. The main camera, at its best, is really great. It snaps into focus quickly, reveals heaps of detail – as you can see from the main flower shot below – but isn’t the most subtle when you look in detail, as images are over-sharpened.

The ability to zoom in the camera app is actioned on a slider to the side, but you don’t really ever know which lens you’re using – until there’s a clear ‘jump’ between one visualisation and the next, because, for example, the 5x periscope zoom is far poorer in its delivery. It’s only 8-megapixels, for starters, so there’s not nearly the same clarity revealed in its images. Plus the colour balance looks far out of sync with the main lens. Really this periscope is overoptimistic.

The 2x portrait zoom lens we also can’t really work out. Sometimes zoom shots are great, sometimes they’re quite the opposite – all mushy and, again, over-sharpened. It seems to depend which sensor/lens the camera is using at that particular moment – because the image of a horse in a field that we captured (within gallery above) looks fine, whereas the sheep in a field (shown in our wide-to-main-to-zoom-to-periscope gallery, below) is miles off the mark.

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By Pocket-lint Promotion


: Ultra-wide lensUltra-wide lens

There’s potential here overall. The specifications read rather well, but somehow the Axon 30 Ultra gets away from itself a little. It needs to rein in the offering really, simplify things, and deliver a more detailed app that explains specifically what kit you’re shooting with. That said, the main lens will please plenty, while close-up macro work – with the artificial intelligence ‘AI’ activated – snaps into focus really well.


To answer our opening question: what compromises do you have to accept if looking to buy the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G? Relatively few at this price point. There are some irks, though, such as the software causing notification problems (by which we mean absences), the battery being a little stretched, and the cameras get away from their potential somewhat – despite the main lens being perfectly decent.

Otherwise ZTE has crammed one heck of a lot into the Axon 30 Ultra. Its screen is commendable and having that headline-grabbing 144Hz refresh rate is sure to bring attention. The subtlety of the design is elegant, too, delivering a well-balanced scale that’s comfortable to hold and fairly fingerprint-resistant on the rear. And there’s bundles of power from the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, ensuring apps and games run a treat.

There might be less ‘wow factor’ than if there was an under-display front-facing camera to captivate prospective customers (like there was in the Axon 20), but given the Axon 30 Ultra 5G’s price point undercuts the big-dog Samsung, that’ll be enough of a lure to many.

Also consider


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The ‘Fan Edition’ Galaxy might be a year older than the ZTE, but it’s a similar price, has more stable software in our experience – and that makes all the difference to everyday use.

  • Read our review


Writing by Mike Lowe.


Moto G30 arrives for pre-order in the United States

The Moto G30 arrived in Europe in February and later it expanded its availability to India. Now, the phone has gone on pre-order in the United States on Amazon, revealing its price – $299.99.

The phone was initially launched with 128GB storage, but the US version is getting downgraded to 64GB, as well as just 4GB RAM. At this point the only available in Black with the flashier Pastel Sky color missing.

Other specs of the phone include a Snapdragon 662 chipset, a 5,000 mAh battery and four cameras on the back, with the main one having a 64MP sensor. This device is not 5G-enabled, maxing out at LTE networks but it does support NFC and Bluetooth 5.0.

The Moto G30 will start shipping on July 30 according to the listing. This is more than two months from today, but at least the phone is not tied with any telecoms and is sold unlocked for all carriers.



Asus ROG Phone 5 review: A gaming phone with little compromise

(Pocket-lint) – Gaming phones have become something of a fixture in the Android space; while many flagship devices push their gaming prowess, for a select few, gaming is their raison d’être, their everything.

The ROG Phone is one such device, pushing Asus’ Republic of Gamers brand and weaving into that the experience Asus has gained from its regular phones. And in the fourth-generation of this phone Asus is more ambitious than ever.

Here’s why the Asus ROG Phone 5 is not only a great gaming phone, it’s a great phone outside of that too.

Design & Build

  • Dimensions: 173 x 77 x 9.9mm / Weight: 239g
  • Under-display optical fingerprint scanner
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • ROG Vision rear display

Gaming phones often show their colours when it comes to the design. Aside from being large – which the ROG Phone 5 definitely is – you’ll often find more overt graphics and emotive finishes rather than just being a safe black or grey.


The ROG Phone 5 doesn’t go to an extreme though: from the front it just looks like a normal phone. Flip it over and you’re treated to subtle design touches etched into the rear glass, which also gives some indicator of where the touch points are for the AirTriggers (which Asus describes as “ultrasonic sensor zones that can be customised to perform different functions, such as reproducing actions in specific games and launching specific apps”. We touch upon these in more detail in the last section of this review).

The thing that gives the game away is the ROG Vision display on the rear of the phone. There are two different versions of the display, with a dot display on the regular ROG Phone models and a slightly smaller but more sophisticated display panel on the Pro and Ultimate models – the Pro is shown in this review.

  • ROG Phone 5 comes in regular, Pro and Ultimate editions


That blows the subtlety out of the water, allowing you to have RBG illumination on the back of the phone – with the Pro and Ultimate models offering a wider range of graphics and animations – all of which can be controlled through the Armoury Crate app on the phone, just like Asus PC components.

That control includes turning the Vision display off if you don’t want it – but you’ll soon forget it’s there until people mention it. It’s on the back of the phone and it’s rare to be looking at the back of the phone when you’re doing something, so let’s not dwell on it.

There are a couple of other quirks around the body: The USB-C on the base of the phone is offset to one side rather than central (and we don’t know exactly why), while there’s a secondary USB-C on the side of the phone. This secondary USB sits alongside the contact point to power the AeroActive Cooler 5 – the clip-on fan – and both have a rubber seal that presses into the side to keep out dust.


This cover is probably the worst piece of design implementation on the ROG Phone 5. The fact that there are a couple of spares in the box tell you everything you need to know: you’re going to lose this cover, because it’s a separate piece of rubber.

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By Pocket-lint Promotion

We’ve found it flapping off when pulling the phone from a pocket, and just when handling the device. We’re constantly pushing it back into place and a couple of times we’ve found it missing and then located it in the bottom of a pocket.

An out of box experience all phones can learn from

One of the great things about gaming phones is what you get for your money. There are a whole range of phones on offer and none are really expensive compared to flagships from brands like Samsung and Apple. The ROG Phone 5 starts at £799 in the UK – and that’s for a 12GB RAM model with 256GB storage, not the bottom of the range loadout.


But it’s not just about the core device, it’s about the rest of the experience. Lavishly packaged, opening the ROG Phone 5 is an event. From the cool comic book graphics of inside of the box, that flow through into the startup process for the phone, there’s a sense of theatre. It’s a reward for your custom and it’s so much better than just sliding a phone out of a box.

You also get more in the box: the 65W charger that will deliver a fast charge; the case that brings some grip to what is, admittedly, a slippery phone given its massive size; and the clip-on AeroActive Cooler 5 fan, which integrates a kickstand, two physical buttons, and another RGB logo.


Some might baulk at this as more landfill, but some companies will make you pay for the charger – and here you’re getting a powerful charger you can use with your other devices too.


  • 6.78-inch AMOLED panel
  • Up to 144Hz refresh rate
  • 2448 x 1080 resolution

There’s a 6.78-inch display in the ROG Phone 5. It’s big by any standard, with Asus hanging onto the bezels top and bottom. The top bezel integrates the front-facing camera, so there’s no need for a notch or punch-hole.

It’s also a flat display, all practical design decisions made to give you the best gaming experience, ensuring that you get as much visual space as possible. Given how problematic we found the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s display, we’re just fine with the ROG Phone 5 going flat.


The ROG Phone 5 models all stick to a Full HD resolution and while devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can technically produce finer detail, generally speaking that makes little difference. We can’t fault the ROG Phone’s display for detail.

It also offers refresh rates up to 144Hz (if you have any games that support that, there’s a full list on the ROG website), with options to select 60 or 120Hz – or Auto, which will pick the refresh rate based on the content.

HDR 10+ is supported to bring pop to the visuals for high dynamic range content, while that AMOLED panel provides rich colour visuals, with the option to tune that to your preferences.

It’s a great display and about the only thing that separates it from the best displays on the market is the peak brightness. It offers 800 nits, which is still bright enough for most, but Samsung’s top-end offerings will outshine this model – most notable when outside in sunny conditions.


Flanking the display top and bottom are dual stereo speakers, while there’s also a 3.5mm headphone socket for those wanting to go wired. The speaker performance is stellar, amongst the best you’ll find on a smartphone. It’s rich and immersive, with substantial bass and volume that means you don’t need headphones to get the most from your content.

Hardware & Performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform
  • 8GB-18GB RAM, 128GB-512GB storage
  • 6000mAh battery, dual USB-C 65W wired charging

The fact the ROG Phone 5 houses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 platform makes it especially good value for money – as you’re getting the latest flagship hardware that will embarrass some other phones.

Of course it comes in at different price points, with RAM and storage leveraging the price, although not all models will be available in all regions. We actually tested the 16GB/512GB model (the ROG Phone 5 Pro – a model that isn’t planned for the UK; although there’s a 16GB/512GB version of the standard ROG Phone 5, the only difference being the type of display you get on the back of the phone).

The performance is also exemplary. There are a number of elements to this. It’s got that great hardware and, as a result, we’ve found the gaming performance to be outstanding.


This is a phone that eats hours of Call of Duty Mobile or PUBG Mobile, giving solid gameplay, combined with those design elements and some software enhancements that feel like they give you edge, or at least give you the opportunity to establish new preferences thanks to the bespoke gaming options offered.

We also didn’t find the ROG Phone 5 to get excessively hot under load, despite the option of the clip-on fan.

But the important point about performance is that the ROG Phone 5 also runs fast and smooth outside of gaming. We’ve seen gaming phones that drop the ball when it comes to simple tasks, because of poor software. The ROG Phone 5 is stable, which makes for a great experience.

There’s a huge 6000mAh battery, which is fitting for a phone of this size, again with Asus splitting the battery and enabling 65W wired charging. That makes for really fast charging, with the option to bypass charging – and just have the power used for the system rather than recharging the battery.

Again, this is an option for gamers, so you’re not charging (which produces heat) and loading the system (which produces heat) and could potentially lead to a drop in performance.


A big battery means big battery life. In regular use the ROG Phone 5 will easily see you through the day and into the next. It’s not a charge every night type of phone. Even with a couple of hours of gaming thrown in – at top brightness and max settings – battery life isn’t a worry. That’s a great position not just for a gaming phone, but any smartphone.

There are power modes available, with X Mode firing up full power to let things rip, and a Dynamic Mode to keep things balanced. You can customise the power modes to suit your preferences with things like network, display, performance, and other controls all selectable.

There’s an under-display fingerprint scanner that’s fast to unlock, while calls comes through loud and clear too – with no detected problems with Wi-Fi or 5G connectivity.


  • Triple rear camera system:
    • Main: 64-megapixels, f/1.8 aperture, 0.8μm pixel size
    • Ultra-wide: 13MP, f/2.4
    • Macro: 5MP, f/2.0
  • Front-facing selfie camera:
    • 24-megapixels, f/2.5 aperture

The camera on any gaming phone is often something of an afterthought. The focus is on the experience of gaming – so the camera is seen as less of a focus. Despite that, Asus is pushing the ROG Phone 5 as having a triple camera system.


The main camera is a 64-megapixel sensor, using pixel combining to produce a 16-megapixel image as standard. You can shoot in full resolution, but you have to dig into the menu to find that option, which no one is ever going to do.

There’s an ultra-wide lens, giving the equivalent of 0.6x, although the quality isn’t great, with visible blurring around the edges if there’s any detail there – but fine for open shots of expansive landscapes.



The final camera is a macro camera, which we’re generally non-plussed about. As on other devices, macro cameras seem to be thrown in to make up the numbers – and that’s what it feels like here too.

So back the main camera and the performance is reasonable, producing naturally balanced pictures, although perhaps not getting the most out of scenes and not showing as much pop as other cameras we’ve seen can offer.

Low-light shooting offers that slow exposure so you can watch the image get lighter, which we like – and it will take those shots automatically in low light, which means people will actually use it. 

There’s a portrait mode for blurring the background that works well enough, although it seems to soften the background with over-exposure which makes results look a little clumsy.

Portrait works on the front and back cameras and we generally prefer the results without portrait mode – and you can’t adjust the levels of blur after the fact, so it’s worth taking a few photos and figuring out what gives you pleasing results so you can change the settings before you take the picture. The selfie camera is generally good, although images quickly get softer in lower light conditions and aren’t good when it gets dark.

There’s no optical zoom on offer here, although you can pinch-to-zoom from the main camera out to 8x. It’s not an especially elegant system and the results are typical of digital zoom, with quality dropping as you increase the “magnification”.


One of the reasons for the high-resolution sensor – apart from for the benefit of the spec sheet – is to allow 8K video capture, on top of the 4K 60fps option.

The important thing about the camera is that it gets the job done: while other phones will sell themselves on camera features above all else, that’s not really the ethos behind the ROG Phone 5. This phone is all about the power and the gaming experience. So, yes, there are more engaging cameras elsewhere, but at the same time, this Asus will give you perfectly good results in most situations.

Software and custom gaming options

  • Android 11
  • Armoury Crate
  • Custom gaming controls

As we’ve said previously, the software on the ROG Phone 5 runs smooth and fast. We’ve experienced no problems with the tweaks and changes that Asus has made over Google’s Android operating system, and it’s easy to swing in with Google versions of apps rather than supplied alternatives.

It’s running Android 11 too, so the latest version of Google’s OS – although Asus doesn’t quite have the update record that a company like Samsung now offers, so there’s no telling how long it would be before it moves to Android 12 once that’s released later down the line.


What’s more relevant here is the gaming software and the options that controls. We’ve mentioned Armoury Crate, which will let you control things like the ROG Vision display on the back of the phone, and act as a launch pad for your games.

Within each game you can see how long you’ve spent playing that game, but more usefully you have a record of profiles for that game. You can, for example, restrict background CPU usage when playing a particular game, change the touch performance, turn off background network syncing – all designed to ensure you have the optimal gaming experience.

That you can customise this to each game is great. For something like a shooter where connection and touch matters more, you might want to restrict everything else. For something casual like Pokemon Go, you might be happy to have everything else on your phone happening. It’s freedom to choose, rather than one gaming mode fits all.


Within games you have access to the Game Genie dashboard too, allowing you to perform essential things, like tweak the brightness, turn off alerts or calls, speed up your phone – and block navigation gestures so you don’t accidentally exit the game.

There’s the option to have stats always showing – CPU and GPU usage, battery, temperature, fps – and you can drag these to anywhere on the screen so they are out of the way.

But it’s the AirTriggers that are the biggest differentiator from other phones, giving you a range of touch zones around the body of the phone that you can customise. That also includes two physical buttons on the AeroActive Cooler accessory too – which might convince some people to use it, as those buttons feel more positive than the touch areas of the phone’s casing.


The Cooler buttons are great for things like dropshotting in shooters, because you can hit the deck while still firing, and get back to your feet, all without having to touch anything on the screen – which is a real advantage during games.

There are two ultrasonic buttons on the top of the phone, like shoulder buttons, with haptic feedback. These can offer a full range of programmable options – taps, swipes, slides – and they can be divided into two buttons each side, or you can programme and assign a macro to that button for a sequence you might use in a game.

Then there’s motion support, which you can assign to controls in the game – like forward tilt to reload, or whatever you like.

There’s also (on the Pro and Ultimate models only) rear touch zones you can use for slide input for your fingers on the rear of the phone.


The challenge is how you incorporate all these tools to make things easier for you during games – although setting them up is easy enough and each setup is unique to each game.

Even if you just find one thing that’s useful, then you’re a step ahead. That might be using an additional AirTrigger for an on-screen control you find hard to hit – or that you can then remove from the display so you have less UI in the way of the game.


The thing that really hits home about the Asus ROG Phone 5 is that it’s not just a great gaming phone: it’s a great phone full stop.

Yes, you can’t avoid the fact that the majority of phones are now based around the camera experience – and that’s one area that the ROG Phone 5 doesn’t really go to town on. But with huge battery and display, this is a great media phone in addition to a gaming delight.

For keen gamers, there’s a market of phone choices out there – and the ROG Phone 5 should definitely be high up your shortlist. For everyone else, if you can accept that this Asus is designed for gamers first, it’s still an awful lot of phone for the money.

Also consider


Nubia Red Magic 6

This gaming phone attempts to steal the show with a 165Hz display. Despite being a powerful device that’s good value for money, it does oversell the cameras and also brings with it some software quirks you’ll need to work around.

  • Read our full review


Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Mike Lowe.


Oppo Find X3 Lite review: A solid mid-ranger

(Pocket-lint) – Oppo has enjoyed some successes recently; with some players faltering, such as Huawei, it’s clear that Oppo is attempting to step into the vacuum that’s been left behind.

The Oppo Find X3 Pro received rave reviews as a flagship. It’s also flanked by a couple of devices that share its name: the Find X3 Neo is, basically, built on the previous year’s flagship hardware, while the cheapest of the bunch is this, the Find X3 Lite.

Despite the ‘Lite’ name, however, good performance continues, with plenty that’s enjoy in this mid-range phone.

Design & Build

  • Dimensions: 159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9mm / Weight: 172g
  • 3.5mm headphone socket

If you’re a follower of Oppo phones, you might get caught off guard but the shuffle in naming convention. The Find X3 Lite effectively rivals much of what the Find X2 Neo offered, but does make a couple of sacrifices to achieve its price point.


One area that doesn’t seem to have been sacrificed, however, is the build. The Find X3 Lite is a quality device, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and rear to help protect against scratches, and an aluminium frame holding everything together. There’s a clear case in the box too, to keep things looking fresh.

As is often the case on affordable devices there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket. However, there’s no stereo speaker offering: it’s a mono affair, with the speaker on the bottom of the phone providing the power – and it’s easily blocked when holding the phone in landscape orientation,  such as when playing games.

The Oppo Find X3 family have differing designs, so there’s no sculpted bump on the rear for the Lite’s cameras, it’s a lot more conventional – but we like the looks, especially on this Starry Black version where it’s slightly less prominent than some.


In line with the Lite name there’s no waterproofing on this model, as you’ll find elsewhere in the range.


  • 6.4-inch AMOLED panel, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 90Hz refresh

There’s a flat display on the Find X3 Lite, with minimal bezels for a smart look. A punch-hole sits in the top left-hand corner for the front camera, a convenient position for those playing games in landscape, as this corner generally is covered by your left hand, so you don’t have a hole getting in the way of your game.

It’s an AMOLED display, measuring 6.4-inches on the diagonal, with a Full HD+ resolution That’s become the average for this size and type of device, with many flagships now sticking to similar resolution for the sake of battery life.


There’s a 90Hz refresh rate, helping to smooth out some of your scrolling content, with the option to switch back to 60Hz if you prefer – although this is fairly buried within the settings so we doubt that anyone will bother to make that change. Again, it’s a typical setting for this level of device, with an increasing number of devices over the past 12 months offering a faster refresh.

You’ll note that the touch sampling rate is 180Hz, slower than many of the top devices, and while this doesn’t matter to a lot of people, it’s one area where Oppo is keeping a tight check on things to deliver at this price point.

The display is vibrant, delivering a great palette of colours, looking great whether you’re browsing online, gaming or watching movies. It’s not the brightest display around, so it struggles a little in brighter outdoor conditions and you may have to bump the brightness up or down a little to suit the conditions you’re in.


There’s a fingerprint scanner under the display too, which provides fast unlocking and has proven generally reliable, although it only takes a little dust or water to disturb it.

Hardware and performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G, 8GB RAM
  • 4,300mAh battery, 65W fast-charging
  • 128GB storage

The hardware loadout fits with those great mid-range devices from 2020. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G found here is good solid hardware that’s delivered many great phones in the recent past. Technically, that’s now been replaced with the Snapdragon 780G, but the Find X3 Lite was launched before that hardware was available.

That’s not a huge loss: while there might be some incremental improvements to performance, you’re still getting a great device for the asking price. Indeed, the Motorola Moto G100 uses that newer hardware, but is quite a bit more expensive than the X3 Lite.


Performance wise, there’s little to complain about. We’ve been playing a full run of games on the Find X3 Lite and they play perfectly smoothly, while everything else is slick and fast. There’s not really anything in performance terms that fits with the Lite name – it’s a great experience.

There’s no microSD card support, however, so you’re looking at 128GB storage being your all.

Where Oppo is adding some excitement is with 65W charging. That’s thanks to the SuperVOOC 2.0 technology and the chunky charger that you’ll find in the box. What this means is you’ll be able to recharge the phone’s battery at blistering speed – from zero to full in around 35 minutes.

There is battery management software that will attempt to control the charging speeds to preserve battery health though, so that short time-frame isn’t always feasible. This software monitors your usage patterns and will charge the battery slowly as applicable, if you’re in the habit of charging overnight, to ensure it’ll last longer over an extended period of ownership.


However, this can be irritating at times – especially if you only have time for a short charge overnight, because the automatic system doesn’t seem to recognise the difference between you plugging it on at the normal time, or 6 hours later, meaning you can wake up with a phone that’s not charged if you don’t have the, for example, full 8 hours on the charger that you’d normally get.

We also found that this setting had a habit of turning itself back on, even when we’d turned it off. The best solution, in reality, is a short quick charge during the day and leaving your phone off the charger at night. That should work out for most people, because the battery life of the Find X3 Lite is good, easily lasting through the day, including a few hours of gaming.

Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here

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  • Quad rear camera system:
    • Main: 64-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture
    • Ultra-wide: 8MP, f/2.4
    • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
    • Mono: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front: 32MP, f/2.4

Oppo plays the typical 2021 mid-range phone game, plastering the rear of the camera with sensors so it can claim it’s a “quad camera”. There’s the appearance of the low-resolution macro sensor – which isn’t anything to get excited about – and there’s also a 2-megapixel “mono camera”.


This mono lens notionally feeds data into the portrait system to improve its performance. Portrait is offered on the front camera from a single lens, suggesting to us that it’s simply an unnecessary feature.

The portrait performance isn’t especially good anyway, with the edge detection a little crude. The bokeh effect needs to be set at the time of taking the photo because you can’t adjust it once the picture is taken. Yes, there are options to increase the blur, but unlike the options from Samsung or Google Pixel, for example, you can’t reduce the level of the blur if you find the effect too strong.

The Lite’s front camera is reasonable: we can’t fathom why it’s a 32-megapixel sensor as that doesn’t really deliver any benefits. There’s no pixel binning, as it pumps out 32-megapixel images which just take up more storage and need more data to share. It will give you a decent shot in good conditions, but you’ll need to use the night mode in low-light as it gets noisy rather quickly in less than perfect situations.

The rear camera sees a headline 64-megapixel main, which is par for the course. This is very much about appearing to keep up with rivals than actually delivering better images – but again, it’s typical for this level of phone.

Here there is some pixel binning, with 16-megapixel images as a result by default. If you want to shoot at full 64-megapixel resolution you have the option to turn that on in normal photo mode; there’s also an Extra HD mode which oversamples to give a 108-megapixel image.

Visually, those images basically look the same (the Extra HD mode loses the AI scene optimisation), but greater resolution gives the potential to zoom and crop – although the detail is rather mushy and we can’t see anyone really wanting to do this.

With all that said, the main camera puts in a decent performance for this price of phone and you’ll get decent photos from it in most conditions. There’s no zoom, however, which is a slight limitation, only offering digital zoom.

The ultra-wide camera puts in an average performance, although  we like the options this introduces from a usability perspective. However, there is a colour shift between this and the main camera, as well as blurring as you move out of the centre of the frame.

As with many phones in this price category, the Lite will probably do everything you want it to do – as well as a whole load of stuff you don’t want it to do. Just don’t fall for the “quad camera” system marketing and stick to main lens and there’s a perfectly usable single camera on the rear.


  • Google Android 11 OS
  • Oppo ColorOS 11

Like many brands, Oppo goes to town customising Google’s Android operating system with its own ColorOS setup. ColorOS has seen great improvements over recent years to make it a lot more usable and approachable – and the offering on the Find X3 Lite isn’t too bad.

There isn’t too much bloat or duplication – except for photos, music, and an app to help you relax you’ll likely never use – but with Google Messages, Gboard and Chrome all in place, there’s not too much messing around needed to get to the services you want. Access to Google Discover from the home screen is welcomed too.


But beneath this, ColorOS changes the look and feel of many areas of Android 11. It gives you plenty of options for customisation, but some things fall down the cracks too.

Notifications seem to be particularly irksome: some applications have failed to deliver notifications consistently, we’ve also found that “bedtime mode” – part of the digital wellbeing suite – took about a week to figure out how to run to the schedule we gave it.

Some of these might just be teething troubles, but the experience doesn’t feel quite as slick as the software on the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, which is a close rival to this phone.

At the same time, we’ve not found the software to get in the way: once you’re in your favourite app or game things run very much as they should.


There’s a lot that’s interesting about the Oppo Find X3 Lite: the core hardware is solid, the display is good, and fast battery charging is a real benefit.

The niggles are also fairly minor: the over-sell on the cameras, the single speaker that’s easily blocked, and some software quirks that seem to block notifications. Despite this running on year-old hardware, it’s still a capable phone, and the Lite naming is perhaps an undersell considering how much you get for your money.

But over the past 12 months, this has emerged as the most competitive smartphone segment: there are better camera performers on this hardware (Pixel 4a 5G), there are better displays in this position (Samsung Galaxy A52 5G) and lots of options besides.

Also consider


Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung’s budget offering sits a little lower in the hardware stakes, but offers waterproofing – which is rare at this level – as well as a great 120Hz display.

  • Read our full review



Redmi Note 10 Pro

Redmi offers blistering value for money, although this is a 4G model only and on slightly lower hardware – but you still get a lot of phone for your money.

  • Read our full review


Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Mike Lowe.


ZTE Blade 11 Prime review: wireless charging for under $200

The Blade 11 Prime offers a 6.5-inch screen and Qi wireless charging in a well-priced budget device.

If you’re already invested in a wireless charging lifestyle, the Blade 11 Prime is a budget phone to match it

The ZTE Blade 11 Prime offers one standout feature in a field of largely similar sub-$200 phones: wireless charging.

In the smartphone trickle-down economy, wireless charging is basically guaranteed on any flagship-level phone, but it’s still hit-and-miss among midrange phones and all but absent from the budget class. You’re much more likely to find a really big battery on a sub-$200 phone than wireless charging.

Outside of that feature, the $192 Blade 11 Prime’s specs are much the same as competing models like the Galaxy A12 and Moto G Play. Like those models, it offers a 6.5-inch 720p LCD, though it includes a little more RAM (4GB compared to 3GB) and a little less battery capacity (4,000mAh compared to 5,000mAh).

Choosing a phone that’s priced under $500 means you need to pick your priorities carefully, and that’s even more true of a $200 phone. If wireless charging is your chosen priority, then I have good news: the ZTE Blade 11 Prime is the budget-priced phone for you. If it’s not a major priority and more of a nice-to-have item, then I’d suggest looking elsewhere. You won’t do a lot better on any individual feature, like a better screen or camera, but you can do a little better.

The Blade 11 Prime supports the Qi wireless charging standard at 5W.

ZTE Blade 11 Prime screen, battery, and performance

The Blade 11 Prime is on the bigger side with a 6.5-inch display. Its 720p resolution is stretched a little thin here, and you’ll notice certain images looking a little pixelated if you look closely. The screen gets nice and bright, but its auto-brightness setting kept bringing the level down a little too dim for my liking. I also noticed faint repeating vertical lines on dark parts of the screen indicative of a low-quality panel — not a huge distraction but visible.

It doesn’t have the biggest battery in its class, but the Blade 11’s battery performance is generally good anyway. I got about two days of light, mostly Wi-Fi use on a single charge. Spending a full day out and about on LTE would drain the battery faster, but most people could expect to get through at least a full day of heavy use before needing to charge up again.

The Blade 11 Prime’s marquee feature, wireless charging, works well if a little slowly; the phone supports Qi charging at 5W. Taking it from 50 percent to a full charge took almost exactly two hours, during which the phone got warm but not worryingly so. As long as you don’t expect incredible speeds, wireless charging is a convenient option on the Blade 11 Prime, particularly if you’re the type of person who charges your phone overnight.

We don’t expect dazzling processing speed from a $200 phone, but the ZTE Blade 11 Prime falls a little short even considering its price. It uses a MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 chipset with a relatively healthy 4GB of RAM, but this combination struggles with even light tasks like scrolling through Instagram or Twitter.

Apps open quickly enough, but there was significant stuttering and hesitation just browsing my usual social media timelines or scrolling through the home screen app drawer. Some slowness is expected in this price bracket, but I didn’t see as much consistent stuttering using the Motorola Moto G Play recently.

The ZTE Blade 11 Prime ships with Android 11, which is nice — some of its slightly less recent competitors are still on 10 waiting for an update. ZTE says there’s no plan to offer any additional Android OS upgrades, only that it will offer security patches as needed. That’s not too surprising given the phone’s price point; the Blade 11 Prime just isn’t built for longevity past a couple of years of use. There’s also 64GB of built-in storage, which isn’t a lot. If you don’t download too many apps or store too many photos on your device, you’ll be able to get by, otherwise adding a microSD card for additional storage to your purchase is a good idea.

Camera hardware is modest: on the rear panel, you’ll find a 16-megapixel main and 8-megapixel ultrawide camera.

ZTE Blade 11 Prime camera

The rear camera system on the Blade 11 Prime includes a 16-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel ultrawide, plus a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It’s a basic setup, and it does fine in good lighting conditions. It’s a little more prone to clipping very bright spots in photos than other systems I’ve used recently, but it does a nice job overall with exposures of high-contrast scenes. In moderate indoor lighting, some detail-smoothing noise reduction is visible, and low-light photos look smeary even at the reduced image sizes used for social sharing.

  • Taken with ultrawide

  • Taken with ultrawide

  • Taken with ultrawide

As for the other cameras, they’re just fine. The ultrawide doesn’t handle high-contrast scenes as well as the main camera, with some noticeable noise appearing in shadows. There’s also a short delay after pressing the shutter button before you can take another photo that isn’t present when using the main camera. The selfie camera thankfully avoids over-smoothing faces, and photos look good as long as there’s plenty of available light.

If you aren’t already a wireless charging devotee, it would be best to look elsewhere in the budget phone class.

If your budget is strict and wireless charging is a must-have, then the ZTE Blade 11 Prime is the right phone for you. But if you can make do without wireless charging, I’d strongly encourage you to look elsewhere. Iffy performance with basic tasks will be more of an inconvenience in the long run than having to plug in your phone every night to charge it.

This year’s Motorola Moto G Power would be a worthwhile alternative if you can spend a little more; you’ll get a faster processor and better battery life, though you should definitely plan on buying a microSD card to supplement its meager 32GB of storage. The G Play is a good alternative, too, even with a processor that’s a bit slower than the G Power’s.

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge


Motorola Moto G Play (2021) review: a fairly good phone for a very good price

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The Moto G Play is the least expensive of four phones that Motorola introduced for the US market earlier this year. Introduced at $169, it’s already enjoying an apparently permanent $10 mark down, placing it firmly in budget territory.

Most of what you’ll find on the G Play’s spec list makes a lot of sense given that price point: a 6.5-inch 720p LCD with standard refresh rate, Snapdragon 460 processor with 3GB of RAM, and a generous 5,000mAh battery.

There’s another factor that might sway some shoppers toward the G Play, too: as LG leaves the budget phone space and its remaining stock disappears from retailers’ shelves, Motorola’s budget-friendly phone will be one of a smaller number of options. In the US. we haven’t seen the kind of sub-$150 devices from Motorola that the company has introduced in other markets this year, so for now, the G Play is a likely candidate for the budget-oriented phone shopper’s consideration.

There are a couple of aspects of the phone’s feature set that feel underwhelming even considering the price: namely, a paltry 32GB of storage (though it can be expanded after the fact) and a 13-megapixel main camera when more advanced, high-resolution pixel-binning sensors are becoming the norm at every price point, for example. But in short, the G Play performs just fine for its price. Just know that you’ll need to bring patience and acceptance of a few shortcomings, and that spending an extra $50 to $100 if your budget allows would get you some meaningful upgrades.

The G Play’s 6.5-inch display is a bit low-res for its size and hard to see in bright outdoor light.

Moto G Play performance and screen

The G Play uses a Snapdragon 460 chipset which was introduced over a year ago and is an entry-level Qualcomm processor. Coupled with 3GB of RAM, it manages to keep up with routine tasks like jumping between apps and scrolling social media, albeit with subtle-but-noticeable stuttering along the way. Heavier tasks like starting and stopping Google Maps navigation take an extra couple of beats. It’s not as frustrating as my experience with the LG Stylo 6 was, but it’s a step down from the kind of performance you can expect from a phone that’s $50-100 more expensive, including those in Motorola’s own G-series lineup.

The screen, likewise, gets the job done but doesn’t particularly shine. Its 720p resolution is stretched thin across the 6.5-inch display and images are noticeably pixelated. Colors are on the cooler side and the screen is a bit dim unless you max out the brightness. Even with the brightness cranked all the way up I had a hard time seeing it outdoors. We spend so many hours looking at our devices that this is one area where it might be worth upgrading. That said, there isn’t exactly anything wrong with the display — it’s just not very nice.

There’s better news on the battery front. The G Play includes a 5,000mAh battery, which is significantly bigger than the typical 4,000 or 4,500mAh found in other comparably sized Android phones. Motorola claims it will get three days of battery life, which is probably true if you’re a light user and conservative with your screen brightness. I had no problem getting two days on a charge with a couple of hours each day of screen-on time. A full day and then some of heavy use is definitely reasonable to expect.

The Moto G Play includes just 32GB of storage — about as low as it gets in 2021. Considering roughly half of that will be taken up with operating system files, it’s just not enough. Storage is expandable via microSD card, so plan on that extra $10-15 as a necessary part of the purchase if you don’t already have one.

The G Play ships with Android 10 installed. While it’s on Motorola’s list to receive an Android 11 update, the timing is unclear and, given the company’s track record, could be many months away. The phone will receive security updates until January 2023. That’s an unfortunately short life span, so you might want to count on trading it in or cashing in your upgrade with your carrier after a couple of years.

There’s just one camera on the Moto G Play’s rear panel — plus a depth sensor and a flash.

Moto G Play camera

The G Play has just one 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor) and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. That’s it. Even in the budget class, that’s not many cameras in 2021. I don’t think anyone (myself included) will miss having the low-quality macro camera that manufacturers keep putting on their devices these days, but not having an ultrawide is a bummer considering it’s not hard to find a phone that offers one at this price.

If nothing else, the G Play’s camera offerings are very straightforward. There are just two main shooting modes in the native camera app: photo and video. Portrait mode and a few other extras are available in the shooting menu, but there’s no night mode here.

Outside in good lighting, this 13-megapixel camera does okay. Overall exposures are balanced and the camera doesn’t try to do too much HDR-ing, which I appreciate, but you don’t have to look too close to notice that details in grass and leaves are smoothed over. Things go downhill quickly in less good light — the G Play just isn’t up to low-light photography. The selfie camera is also guilty of aggressive over-smoothing at its default “Face Beauty Auto” setting that made my face look like a glazed donut. Thankfully, you can turn this off.

The G Play is well-priced for what it offers, but spending a bit more would mean some valuable upgrades.

Clearly the G Play has its share of shortcomings — at $160, it has to. The question is whether these are trade-offs you can live with for a couple of years. If you enjoy a very casual relationship with your phone, the G Play will do all of the things you need it to do.

Everyday performance for the basics — light web browsing, social media, email, music — is sufficient. If you just use your phone camera for quick snapshots out and about and don’t expect too much from it, the G Play will do fine.

If you suspect that you need a little more from your phone, or that you want the experience of using your phone to be a little more enjoyable, then I’d strongly encourage spending a bit more on something like Motorola’s own Moto G Power for a better camera. Samsung and OnePlus have recent entries in the sub-$200 class that are worth looking at, too; I haven’t tested them, but they’re specced competitively.

If your relationship with technology is less complicated than those of us who spend hours each day of our precious time on this Earth staring at the little glowing screen in our hands, jumping between social media apps, and pushing our phone cameras to their limits, then you’ll get along fine with the Moto G Play. Just spare a thought for the rest of us, please?

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge


ZTE is selling a $200 phone with wireless charging through Visible and Yahoo Mobile

ZTE is offering a feature rarely seen in the budget class of phones: wireless charging. The Blade 11 Prime is on sale now in the US for $192 through Visible and Yahoo Mobile, two MVNOs that use Verizon’s network. It’s an otherwise fairly unremarkable budget device, with a 6.5-inch 720p display shipping with Android 11.

In addition to wireless charging, the Blade 11 Prime supports reverse wired charging to provide some power to other devices in a pinch. However, the phone’s 4,000mAh battery is on the smaller side, so the feature is probably best reserved for emergencies. The 11 Prime uses a MediaTek 6762 chipset with 4GB of RAM and offers 64GB of built-in storage. It features 16-megapixel standard and 8-megapixel wide rear-facing cameras, plus an 8-megapixel selfie camera.

The 11 Prime includes a 16-megapixel main camera in its rear triple-cam array.
Photo: ZTE

There’s not a lot to get excited about here outside of wireless charging, but it is a nice feature to have available as an option in the budget class. More than a few phones around $200, like the Moto G Power and OnePlus Nord N100, offer huge battery capacity as a differentiating feature, but the option to use a wireless charger that’s likely compatible with other gadgets you already own is another handy proposition.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G review: Chic and unique

(Pocket-lint) – The Xiaomi Mi 11 range spans a significant spectrum from top-tier flagship, in the Mi 11 Ultra, to the standard Mi 11, down to the more entry level – which is where this, the Mi 11 Lite 5G, finds itself.

Despite plonking ‘Lite’ into its name, however, the Mi 11 Lite 5G really is not a low-power phone by any means. It’s just not as crazy-powerful as the upper echelons in the range. The second clue to that regard is the ‘5G’ aspect of the name – because, yes, there’s also speedy connectivity.

So if you’re not looking to spend a fortune on a phone, want 5G connectivity, and having a slimmer and easier-to-manage handset is high up your list of appeals, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G ticks a lot of boxes. But then so do a bunch of competitors. So can this entry-level 5Ger deliver?

Design & Display

  • Display: 6.55-inch AMOLED panel, 90Hz refresh, 1080 x 2400 resolution
  • Finish options: Truffle Black, Mint Green, Citrus Yellow
  • Dimensions: 160.5 x 75.7 x 6.8mm / Weight: 157g
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • No 3.5mm jack

Upon pulling the Mi 11 Lite 5G from its box we let out a rare gasp. Because, shown here in its apparent ‘Mint Green’ finish – it looks more ‘Bubblegum’ to us, which is the name for the non-5G variant – this handset looks really fresh and standout. Very dapper indeed.

That’s partly because Xiaomi has redesigned the range, so the Mi 11 Lite looks way more evolved than the previous 10T Lite version. Look at those side-by-side and the older model looks rather dated – it’s quite a stark difference. Yet there’s mere months between them in terms of release cycle.

That said, the Mi 11 Lite 5G is only a little like other Mi 11 handsets in terms of design. The cameras are far different to the Ultra’s “megabump”, arranged in a really neat format that, although similar to the Mi 11, doesn’t protrude to the same degree from the rear.

The rear finish is good at resisting fingerprints too, which is a breath of fresh air (minty fresh, eh!), while the branding is subtle and nicely integrated.

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But above all else, it’s the Mi 11 Lite 5G’s thickness that’s its biggest take-away point. By which we mean thinness: because this handset is far slimmer than, well, pretty much anything we’ve used for months and months. We can’t think of a slimmer 5G smartphone. That, for us, has bags of appeal – it’s been really refreshing not carting a brick around in the pocket for the couple of weeks we’ve been using this phone.

Such a svelte design means the 3.5mm headphone jack has been binned, though, so it’s wireless connectivity only in that regard. But we can take that – it makes the design look more enclosed and complete anyway. There’s also no under-display fingerprint scanner here, with a side-mounted one in the power button a perfectly acceptable alternative – that operates speedily and we’ve got very much used to using it.

The display, at 6.55-inches, is still large despite the phone’s overall trim frame. It’s flat, with the phone body curving gently at the edges to make it really comfortable to hold. And there’s no teardrop notch to cry about this time around either – it’s a single punch-hole one to the upper corner, which is fairly inconspicuous.

That screen, an AMOLED panel, delivers on colour, brightness and verve, while a 90Hz refresh rate can deliver a little added smoothness to proceedings. There’s not a 120Hz option here – kind-of odd, as the 10T Lite did have that – but, really, most eyes aren’t going to tell the difference. We’d take the battery life gains every time instead, thanks.

Performance & Battery

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G, 8GB RAM
  • Software: MIUI 12 over Google Android 11 OS
  • Battery: 4250mAh, 33W fast-charging
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB, microSD

Speaking of battery, that’s the first thing we assumed would be poor in the Mi 11 Lite 5G – because of how slim it is. But how wrong we were. For starters the 4,250mAh capacity cell is pretty capacious – and in our hands was easily able to deliver 16 hours a day with around 25 per cent battery or more remaining.

That’s been irrelevant of what we’ve asked the phone to do in a given day. Strava tracking for an hour and an hour of gaming in the evening, in addition to hours of screen time, calls and so forth. It’s no problem for this device. Note, however, that we’ve been unable to locate a 5G signal area during testing – lockdown and all that – so whether that would adversely affect battery life is for debate. What we do see in the settings, however, is a 5G option to toggle the connectivity off when it’s not needed, to further extend battery life.

However, while battery life ticks along just fine, part of the reason is down to the rather hardcore software approach. Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 – skinned over the top of Google’s Android 11 operating system – by default has a lot of “off” switches selected. Seriously, MIUI is hell-bent on ensuring battery lasts and lasts – sometimes to the detriment of the experience and use of apps.

As such, you’ll need to investigate individual apps within the settings and permit them to self wake as and when they need, removing any automated battery restrictions from the important ones that you have and would, say, expect push notifications from. In the past we’ve had MIUI cause delays with notifications in other Xiaomi phones. In the Mi 11 Lite 5G, however, that’s been no problem whatsoever – perhaps because we’re so used to it and in setting the software in how we want to conduct our business; or, perhaps, because Xiaomi has sorted that issue out in an incremental update!

Otherwise the software is pretty robust. There are some oddities, such as an additional Xiaomi store as an addition to Google Play, but the two hardly interfere too much. And having copied over a bumper crop of apps, it’s clear to see that there are Xiaomi pre-install favourites and various not-needed staples – browsers, calendars, that kind of stuff – that just clogs up the home screen to start with, but is easily replaced with Chrome and your other favourites.

Regarding the phone’s innards, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G platform handling proceedings, putting the Mi 11 Lite 5G one step down from the top-tier 800 series platform. Does that really matter? We’ve not found it to at all. From general user interface use, to app opening time, fluidity has been high throughout.

Besides, a 700 series chipset is more than good enough to run your more demanding favourites too. We’ve been plugging away at South Park: Phone Destroyer and PUBG: Mobile without hindrance, showing just how good the balance of power and battery life can be in devices such as this.


  • Triple rear cameras:
    • Main: 64-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture, 0.7µm pixel size, phase detection autofocus (PDAF)
    • Wide-angle (0.5x):  8MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm, 119-degree angle of view
    • Macro: 5MP, f/2.4
  • Single front-facing punch-hole selfie camera: 20MP, f/2.2

Buy a ‘Lite’ phone and you’re never going to expect too much from the cameras, right? However, Xiaomi has done a reasonable job here of balancing things out. For starters all three lenses are actually useful – there’s not a lens here for the sake of number count, like with so much of the competition.

The main 64-megapixel sensor uses four-in-one processing to output 16-megapixel shots as standard, which hold enough colour and detail. Even in low-light conditions we’ve found the quality to hold up fairly well, too, so this sensor delivers the goods.

It’s a shame that there’s no optical stabilisation on the main lens, because holding it steady – especially when shooting Night Mode shots – is tricky and can result in a little softeness in dim conditions if you’re not careful.


: Wide-angle – full shotWide-angle – full shot

The wide-angle, however, is a weaker sensor. It’s just 8-megapixels in resolution, can’t deliver the fidelity of the main one by any means, and displays some blur to the edges. That’s pretty common for wide-angle cameras, sure, but there are better iterations around. Still, there’s practical use from a sensor such as this, so it’s a positive to have it rather than not.

Last up out of the trio is a macro sensor. Now, typically, these are throwaway afterthoughts. But, actually, the one on this Mi handset is acceptable – probably because it’s a 5-megapixel sensor, not the 2-megapixel type that too many other budget handsets opt for. That means images are of a usable scale, and you’ll get a little extra something out of super close-up shots from this sensor. We doubt you’ll use it a lot, though, as it’s hardly a practical everydayer, plus its activation is tucked away in settings – but there’s fun to be had from it nonetheless.

What we like about the Mi 11 Lite 5G’s camera setup is that it’s not trying to oversell you a bunch of pointless lenses. It doesn’t protrude five miles from the back of the phone, either, delivering a neat-looking handset that, while hardly reaching for the stars in what it can do, is perfectly capable. And, compared to the likes of the Moto G100, for example, the Xiaomi actually has the upper hand in its image quality delivery.


Although the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G looks and feels different to the rest of the Mi 11 family, there’s something refreshing about its design. It’s really slim, light, and that colour finish looks super. We can’t think of a slimmer, tidier-looking 5G handset – which makes this something of a unique proposition.

Despite being called a ‘Lite’ phone, it shouldn’t be seen entirely in that regard either. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G handling everything, there’s ample power to keep that 90Hz AMOLED screen ticking along, for battery life to last surprisingly long – we didn’t expect it, given the trim design – and software that, if you tend to it with a bit of pruning from the off, has been more robust here than many other Xiaomi handsets we’ve seen in the recent past.

However, forego the 5G need, and there are lots of cheaper competitors that might also appeal, such as the Redmi Note 10 Pro. Similar grade handsets, such as the Moto G100, may also appeal – but, as far as we understand it, the Xiaomi undercuts that device’s price point, asserting its position as one of the top dogs in the affordable 5G market.

Also consider

Moto G100

A near-ish comparison in that there’s 5G and gaming-capable power for less than a flagship price. We prefer the Moto’s software, but the Xiaomi’s design has the upper hand in our view.

  • Read our review


Writing by Mike Lowe.


Motorola is once again announcing a low-cost phone with a 90Hz screen and a huge battery

Motorola has announced several low-cost devices with big batteries and fast-refreshing displays this year, and now it’s offering its least expensive model yet: the Moto G20. Launching in Europe this week for €149 (about $180), it includes a 6.5-inch 720p LCD with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 5,000mAh battery. It’s the latest in a series of budget devices from Motorola targeting slightly different price points in the budget range, and it would likely have a place in the US market if the company chose to offer it in the States.

The G20 features a 48-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro and depth-sensing cameras, and a 13-megapixel selfie camera. Unlike other Moto G-series phones launched this year, the G20 does not use a Snapdragon chipset, offering instead a Unisoc T700 processor with 4GB of RAM. The device’s built-in storage of 64GB or 128GB can be expanded via microSD, and it will ship with Android 11.

The Moto G20 includes a 48-megapixel main camera along with an ultrawide.
Photo: Motorola

There’s no indication whether the G20 will be sold in the US — the G100, G50, and G30 introduced earlier this year haven’t been offered stateside as of yet either. Motorola’s current US offerings are largely situated above the $200 mark, and there are rumblings that high-end Edge devices may be coming next. But with the void LG is leaving at the budget end of the market, Motorola certainly has a full portfolio of devices it could offer if it wanted to try to fill the gap.


Motorola teases Moto G60 and Moto G40 Fusion key features

Motorola has been teasing the Moto G60 and Moto G40 Fusion on its Instagram profile, and today it has finally revealed some of the key specs of the duo.

The two new smartphones share a Snapdragon 732G chipset and a massive 6.8” screen with HDR10 support and 120Hz refresh rate.

The main difference between the Moto G60 and Moto G40 is the sensor behind the main camera – the G60 has a 108MP imager, while its sibling is downgraded to 64MP.

The other two members of the triple-cam setups on the back are identical and so is the selfie camera inside a punch hole at the front.

The screens are likely of the LCD variety because we can see a fingerprint scanner on the back. The volume rocker, Google Assistant and power key are all lined on the right side, while the left hosts the SIM tray.

The full launch of the Moto G60 and Moto G40 Fusion will take place on April 20, and the phones will be sold through Flipkart.