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At last week’s event, Samsung announced two smartphones, the Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra, and a new set of earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro. We and reviewed more niche products: the Hatch Grow smart scale for infants, a moddable arcade stick from 8BitDo, and a tracker from Polyend. We spent the past week putting them all through their paces, and for the most part, we’ve been impressed.
According to Cherlynn Low, the smallest — and cheapest — of Samsung’s latest flagships, the, offers a compelling set of features for its reasonable $800 price. With a hand-friendly, appealing design, a 6.2-inch screen, and high-end specs, the S21 ditches the extra stuff while retaining what users want most. Cherlynn was pleased that the phone still has a high-end Snapdragon 888 processor, a 120Hz screen, a long-lasting , helpful software, and versatile cameras.
A high-res screen is missing from the S21’s features (its 2,400 x 1,800 resolution is lower than that of the more expensive. However, Cherlynn didn’t miss those features in light of everything else the S21 had: a sturdy, premium feel and a slew of camera and software additions like the Qualcomm 3D sonic sensor, which recognizes two fingers simultaneously on display. looked vibrant, and she enjoyed the abilities of the triple camera setup during testing. In Cherlynn’s opinion, the speedy processor and advanced photo features help the S21 edge out the on Android handsets that offer the best bang for your buck.
Theoffers excellent performance, valuable software, and polished cameras — all things we would expect from a premium Samsung smartphone. But none of these features make it a particularly dramatic departure from its predecessor, the S20 Ultra. The large 6.8-inch size, and the accompanying $1,200 starting price, will keep some from choosing this phone, but Chris Velazco still felt that the S21 Ultra was a polished powerhouse of a that showed competence in multiple areas.
The handset’s display is a big selling point. Chris said thehas one of the best-looking screens he’s ever seen on a smartphone and that the performance didn’t lag a bit thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chipset. Combine that with solid battery life and 5G support, and you have a capable smartphone worth recommending.
But even when you’re shelling out $1,200 for a phone, there are some downsides you’ll have to live with: Thedoesn’t have any expandable storage, something that might be a deal-breaker for power users. Also, the S Pen experience isn’t quite as good as the Note series: there’s a slight latency when using the stylus on the . And Chris found some of the camera’s features to be flaky, though he still enjoyed shooting with the five-camera array more than he expected.
Billy Steele has reviewed a lot of headphones and earbuds, so when he claims that the newis Samsung’s best earbuds yet, that’s saying a lot. The Galaxy Buds Pro has a unique design that allows them to sit securely in the curves of your ear without going into the ear canal itself, which Billy found quite comfortable. They also offer plenty of features, including active noise cancellation (ANC) and 360 Audio which uses Dolby technology to create a more immersive sound.
However, that 360yet, so he couldn’t comment on how well it worked. He tried the battery life, which matched Samsung’s estimate of five hours with ANC turned on. He was impressed with the companion app, touch gestures, and ANC capability. Thanks to the 11mm woofer and 6.5mm tweeter, he found it crisp and punchy regarding sound quality. In this case, you get what you pay for — the premium Galaxy Buds Pro comes at a bonus $200 price.
has made a name by producing minimal, cleanly designed sound machines and nightlights for babies and adults alike. They’re even popular with some of the parents on Engadget’s staff. But the is a departure from the company’s usual lineup, and unfortunately, we found it difficult to recommend.
The Grow scale has a lot of potentials — it’s simple to operate, easy to clean and has a companion. However, the scale won’t , and the app won’t import data from any other tracking programs you may be using. While we found the scale accurate in measuring a child’s weight, you may get inconsistent readings if the positioning is slightly off. And the “record a feed” feature, which would make the Grow particularly helpful for breastfeeding parents, never provided accurate results. At $149, it’s also much more expensive than a standard scale.