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Alun Taylor

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 Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Spawn of Galaxy Alpha and a Note 3 unveiled

My, but how time flies. It seems like only yesterday when The Reg called up and said: “Al, we’ve got this huge phone with a stylus from Samsung called the Galaxy Note. Fancy giving it a once over?” I don’t recall being that enthusiastic. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Android smartphone Making it big: Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 Around …
Alun Taylor, 20 Nov 2014
Motorola Moto X Android smartphone

PHONDLESLAB-ULOUS: Motorola Moto X Android phablet

So, you want a Nexus 6. And why not? It’s a cracking bit of kit. But to my mind it’s a bit big and a bit expensive. And as for personalisation, forget it. Perhaps then Motorola can tempt you with the 6’s smaller, cheaper and altogether more modifiable little brother, the new Moto X? Motorola Moto X Android smartphone Not such a …
Alun Taylor, 18 Nov 2014
Toyota Aygo

The Toyota Aygo is PARKtastic ... but it is very much a City slicker

Toyota had good reason to be pleased with its little Aygo. Launched in 2005, it went on to sell over three-quarters of a million units in Europe alone. That number doesn't include the near identical Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107 cars that also rolled off the Toyota-Peugeot-Citroën Automobile joint-venture production line at Kolín …
Alun Taylor, 16 Nov 2014
Lenovo Yoga 2 Android tablet

Bendy, but hangs loose too: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch Android tab

When I reviewed Lenovo’s original Yoga Android tablet I was impressed by the design but underwhelmed by the technology within. Now Lenovo has released its successor, rather predictably called the Yoga 2. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch Android fondleslab A 10-inch fondleslab with a difference: Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 2 Although it …
Alun Taylor, 11 Nov 2014
Samsung Galaxy Alpha

This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha

It must sting Samsung that the criticism most often levelled at the manufacturer is that its flagship Galaxy S devices feel cheap and plasticky. And for once the criticism is not just coming from Apple fans. Samsung Galaxy Alpha Samsung's Galaxy Alpha: looks like all the others in the range at first glance The Galaxy S3, S4 …
Alun Taylor, 29 Oct 2014
Peugeot 308 e-THP 110

Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110

Peugeot’s recent mid-sized hatchbacks have been a less than inspiring bunch. The 307 and the original 2007 model year 308 were dull, globulous mediocrities and not very well screwed together to boot. The all-new 308 however is a rather more interesting bag of bananas. Peugeot 308 e-THP 110 Peugeot's 308 e-THP 110: handsome in …
Alun Taylor, 26 Oct 2014
Lenovo N20p touchscreen Chromebook

Vulture trails claw across Lenovo's touchy N20p Chromebook

A friend recently introduced me to a North West fast-food tradition called half-and-half. That’s chips, rice and curry sauce to those of us born and raised in the more enlightened parts of the realm. It’s not a combination I’d considered before, but truth be told it’s a pleasant repast. Especially after a beer or three. Lenovo …
Alun Taylor, 23 Oct 2014
Sony Xperia Z3 Android smartphone

Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?

The decisions that must be going on at Sony’s mobile R&D division are certainly intriguing, if not baffling. Six months after it was launched, the Xperia Z2 has been replaced by the Z3 and barely nine months after it was launched, the Z1 Compact has been replaced by the Z3 Compact (there wasn’t a Z2 Compact, so don’t panic). …
Alun Taylor, 20 Oct 2014
Tesco Hudl 2 Android tablet

Son of Hudl: Tesco flogs new Atom-powered 8.3-inch Android tablet

Retailer own-brand tablets are unholy piles of rubbish, right? Usually, yes. But last year’s Tesco Hudl rather bucked the trend. While there was nothing individually outstanding about Tesco’s first tablet, it had a good HD screen, a decent Rockchip CPU, a more-than-adequate battery life and was well glued together. For £129 – …
Alun Taylor, 14 Oct 2014
Alun Taylor dons Google tech specs Google Glass

Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?

Seldom has a device been so reviled and praised at the same time. But is Google Glass the future of wearable connectivity or simply the toy of the self-appointed tech elite? Is it perhaps something in between? I’m by no means an early adopter of gadgetry. I buy kit only when can I see a clear use for it and I don’t …
Alun Taylor, 28 Aug 2014
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 4G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

If by the size of its TV ad campaign shall ye know it, then the Galaxy Tab S is clearly a Very Big Deal to Samsung. I get the impression the Tab S range is Sammy’s most determined effort yet to convince people that its Android tablets are not just better than anyone else’s, but better also than Apple’s iPad alternatives. …
Alun Taylor, 12 Aug 2014
Asus MeMO Pad 7 Android tablet

You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad

What’s the best affordable 7-inch tablet? Surely it’s got to be either the Nexus 7 or the LG G Pad 8.3 or if the pair of them are too dear, the Hudl – right? Wrong. Asus MeMO Pad 7 Android tablet Asus MeMO Pad 7 Android tablet Asus’s new £120 MeMO Pad 7 may not be better than the Google, LG and Tesco devices in all areas but …
Alun Taylor, 28 Jul 2014
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Porsche has been messing about with hybrids for a few years now. You could even go back as far as 1943 with the Ferdinand Elefant tank destroyer that had a hybrid electric drive. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: no more nickel-metal hydride batteries here The company’s more recent efforts, the first …
Alun Taylor, 25 Jul 2014
Acer Aspire Liquid E3

Say goodbye to landfill Android: Top 10 cheap 'n' cheerful smartphones

So, you want a smartphone but you don’t want to pay more than £150 (and ideally a whole lot less). You’re going buy a Motorola Moto G, right? Probably. The G is a very safe bet. But are there alternatives? Indeed there are. All the devices poked here with The Reg stick run Android bar one. That device will soon to get an Android …
Alun Taylor, 18 Jul 2014
BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Supercar

BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

I almost felt sorry for the BMW press team last November at the i3 press launch. The questions hacks kept returning to were: “When is the i8 going on sale?” and “When can we drive it?”. Fair play to the BMW staffers, who didn't stop telling us how groundbreaking and generally fantastic the i3 was. As indeed it is. BMW i8 Plug- …
Alun Taylor, 15 Jul 2014
Getac F110 rugged Windows tablet

Military-grade bruiser: Getac F110 rugged tablet... is no iPad

Getac’s F110 is just another Windows tablet in the same way that AM General’s Humvee is just another off-roader. Getac F110 rugged Windows tablet When the going gets tough: Getac's F110 rugged Windows tablet You see, it isn’t – strictly speaking – a consumer product. It’s more the sort of kit you’d expect to find bolted to …
Alun Taylor, 11 Jul 2014
Alcosense Digital Breathalyser Lite

Top ten car gadgets: Get your motor running with new shiny-shiny

With more and more cars rolling out of the factory gates with built-in Bluetooth and navigation systems, the market for in-car gadgetry should be drying up but there is still a wealth of interesting tech add-ons for your jalopy. Of course, one reason for this is that cars have a much longer lifecycle than gadgets. A four-year- …
Alun Taylor, 04 Jul 2014
BioLite Wood Burning Camp Stove & Gadget Charger

Top 10 tech essentials for the festival season

According to the calendar, Summer is icumen in, which means it’s time to stand in a muddy field and listen to the sonic outpourings of the latest beat combos. Personally, (Live Aid and Stevie Nicks at Red Rocks being two exceptions) I’ve yet to see an outdoor concert that held a Zippo to a good indoor event but they seem to be …
Alun Taylor, 19 Jun 2014
Geeksphone Revolution Android/Firefox OS Smartphone

Doubletalk: Geeksphone Revolution dual-OS smartphone

Open-source enthusiasts have hailed Mozilla’s Firefox smartphone operating system as a liberation from the power and intrusiveness of Google, Apple and Microsoft, who each demand your soul in return for getting the most out of their mobile OSes. The open-source crowd may have a point, though a larger number of commentators are …
Alun Taylor, 05 Jun 2014
Sony Xperia Z2 tablet

Sony Xperia Z2: What we REALLY thought of this Android fondleslab

While Sony seems wedded to a six monthly update cycle for its flagship smartphones – we’ve had the Xperia Z, Z1 and Z2 in the last twelve months – its tablet release schedule is a tad more leisurely. The impressive Xperia Z tablet rocked up in June 2013 and now, just shy of a year later, we have an update: the Z2 tablet. Sony …
Alun Taylor, 28 May 2014
No flash and a fixed battery

Motorola Moto E: Brill budget blower with one bothersome blunder

Motorola couldn't have asked for more from the affordable Moto G. It bumped the company’s UK smartphone market share from next to nothing to 6 per cent all by itself. For the first time in more than a decade, it gave European stores a Motorola device people actually wanted. Motorola Moto E budget Android smartphone Motorola's …
Alun Taylor, 19 May 2014
Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition

A premium smartie lump: Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition

While most Chinese smartphone OEMs started life making cheap tat and then slowly began moving upmarket, Oppo has taken a slightly different tack. Its devices have been fairly high-end from the get-go and the N1, initially released running Android 4.2 back in September 2013, made quite a splash. Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition Oppo …
Alun Taylor, 22 Apr 2014
Samasung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

As if Samsung's Galaxy range of tablets wasn’t broad enough with its plethora of Tab and Note machines in various screen sizes, the company has added a new subgroup: the Galaxy Pro. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 The line-up consists of both Note and Tab machines – the latter minus the S Pen …
Alun Taylor, 07 Apr 2014
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

For the last 18 or so months, if you'd wanted a high-end Android smartphone you’ve had to make do with something a bit on the large size. The HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G Flex, Nokia 925, Sony Xperia Z1 all have one thing in common: they are big old Hectors compared to Apple’s iPhone 5S. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sony Xperia …
Alun Taylor, 28 Mar 2014
Motorola Moto X

X-rated Android antics: Motorola's Moto X puts boot in chunky brother

When the Moto X was launched in the US back in August, it was a pretty big deal. Why? Because it was the first handset wholly conceived by Motorola under Google's stewardship, it was assembled in the States itself rather than the Far East, it was available with a dizzying number of personalisation options thanks to the Moto …
Alun Taylor, 04 Mar 2014
Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet

Toshiba Encore: The Windows 8.1 tablet that might catch on

Windows tablets have hardly set the world on fire. Limp processors, confusion in the mind of Joe Public over the difference between Windows proper and Windows RT, plus a lack of apps for the user-interface-once-known-as-Metro have all combined to dampen enthusiasm. Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet Mighty Atom: Toshiba's Encore …
Alun Taylor, 21 Feb 2014
LG G2

Baby's got the bends: LG's D958 G Flex Android smartie

Ask any consumer technology pundit and they will tell you the future of communications gadgets is all about physical flexibility and wearability. With its new G Flex tablette, LG has embraced the former and produced a device with a flexible screen and a flexible battery. It's a handset that trumpets its form just as loudly as …
Alun Taylor, 07 Feb 2014
Asus Transformer Book Trio

This THREESOME is a HANDFUL: It’s the Asus Transformer Book Trio

No matter what sort of tablet you prefer, be it an iPad or an Android slate, there will be times when you will also need a good old-fashioned Windows laptop too. Asus, which has form when it comes to cooking up strange combo designs - witness the PadFone - obviously thinks that’s the case as the new Transformer Book Trio is both …
Alun Taylor, 03 Feb 2014
Ouya

We see ya, Ouya, you tasty Android games console gear

The Powers That Be at El Reg originally asked me to take a shufty at the Ouya gaming box when it first launched in the middle of 2013. I demurred. It seemed obvious to me at the time that the success or failure of this Kickstarter poster child would depend entirely on the enthusiasm with which game makers and the wider developer …
Alun Taylor, 22 Jan 2014
Lenovo Yoga 10

Lenovo Yoga 10: Mediocre tech, yes, but beautifully fondleable

Do tablets have to be dull, flat slabs? If you are Asus, Apple, Samsung or Nokia, the answer to that question is clearly ‘yes’. Sure, each may boast a decorative lip here, an extra button there, or an unusual profile curve someplace else, but essentially they all look much the same. Sony once tried something different with its …
Alun Taylor, 21 Jan 2014
Motorola Moto G

Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Regular readers of my phone reviews for El Reg will be well aware that I like cheap devices. On these very pages I have sung the praises of handsets such as Huawei’s Ascend G310 and ZTE’s Skate – aka the Orange Monte Carlo – after being impressed by the quality they offered for the money demanded. Motorola Moto G Moto G: …
Alun Taylor, 02 Dec 2013
HP Slate 21

HP’s ENORMO-SLAB: The Slate 21 MONSTER tablet

Hewlett-Packard’s first attempt at an Android tablet, the Slate 7, was a cheap, wretched and irredeemably awful device. So when I heard that the Palm killer’s follow-up fondleslab was to be a 21-inch affair, my reaction was one of incredulity mixed with foreboding. HP Slate 21 Your new desktop? HP’s Android-based Slate 21 In …
Alun Taylor, 26 Nov 2013
Sony Xperia Z1

Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

The Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short stint as the top dog of Sony’s smartphone range and has now been unceremoniously ousted by the Xperia Z1. Sony Xperia Z1 Sony’s Xperia Z1: getting it right, second time around? But the new Z1 isn’t just a cosmetic warm-over. It has a more powerful processor, a much improved screen, a …
Alun Taylor, 18 Nov 2013
LG G2

LG’s G2: The phondleslab that wants you to TOUCH ITS BEHIND

For all the variation in screen size and the occasional BlackBerry with a keyboard, the design of modern smartphones is remarkably similar: an oblong lump with some sort of button arrangement below the screen and the power and volume controls scattered around the edge. LG G2 LG’s G2: not large in the hand But no longer. With …
Alun Taylor, 14 Nov 2013
BMW i3

ULTIMATE ELECTRIC driving machine? Yes, it’s the BMW i3 e-car

People can sometimes behave like sheep. They will go somewhere, do something or buy a certain product simply because other people are doing so or because they recognise the brand. Call it consumer herd mentality. It’s one reason why the Toyota Prius sells so well in the States. BMW i3 Brands Hatch bound: the BMW i3 Here in …
Alun Taylor, 12 Nov 2013
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Once, twice, three times - a Very Large Phone™

Laying Dell’s Streak to one side, you can blame Samsung for starting this whole VLP™ business with its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, which sold in more-than-decent numbers, as much to the surprise of its maker as anyone else, I suspect. Its successor, the Galaxy Note 2, upped the stakes by featuring a 5.5-inch screen and promptly sold …
Alun Taylor, 16 Oct 2013
Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra: The quad-core 2.2GHz MEGA SCREEN PHONDLESLAB

Two years after Samsung opened the Very Large Phone (VLP™) Pandora’s Box with the original Galaxy Note, Sony has thrown its hat into the ring with the Xperia Z Ultra: a device boasting a 6.4-inch screen and a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. Now I have a pretty wild imagination, especially after a few pints and an injudicious late- …
Alun Taylor, 03 Oct 2013
Audi S3

A £30,000, 295bhp 4G MODEM?!? Must be the Audi S3 Quattro, then

Network-connected cars are nothing to get overly excited about these days and, to be honest, neither are fast hatchbacks. But the chance to a drive an unusually hot hatch with 4G connectivity was more than enough to stir El Reg’s auto desk out of its customary torpor. That’s how I found myself behind the wheel of Audi’s new S3 …
Alun Taylor, 02 Oct 2013
Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Can't fit slab AND mobe in your tight pockets? 10 tablets with built-in 3G/4G

If you want a tablet that is always connected to the internet, there are several options to consider. One that involves no extra hardware expense is simply to use your smartphone as a wireless hotspot, routing connections over 3 or 4G - if your chosen mobile network lets you. Another option, which has the advantage of not …
Alun Taylor, 23 Sep 2013
Google Nexus 7 2013

Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

When Google launched the Asus-built Nexus 7 Android tablet back in August 2012, it dropped a big mean city-raised alleycat among the budget tablet pigeons. Starting at only £160 for the 8GB version, the Nexus 7 offered performance, style and build quality (kind of) at a price that previously had only bought you shoddy no-name …
Alun Taylor, 09 Sep 2013
Peugeot 208 GTi

Peugeot 208 GTi: The original hot hatch makes a comeback

Back in the day, Peugeot made a truly great little motor car called the 205 GTi. I owned one, the 1.9-litre version, and absolutely loved it. For charging down narrow B-roads few things on four wheels were faster or more enjoyable. Along with the Volkswagen Golf GTi the 205 GTi pretty much created a whole new breed of car in the …
Alun Taylor, 09 Sep 2013
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The mobe for CHUCK NORRIS TYPES

The key advantage Sony’s Xperia Z has over the Samsung Galaxy S4 is its IP57-rated waterproofing. However, Samsung hasn’t got where it is today by sitting still and letting a rival get away with any sort of competitive upper hand, so now we have an S4 that carries an IP67 rating. Enter the S4 Active. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active …
Alun Taylor, 05 Sep 2013
Huawei Ascend Mate

Huawei Ascend Mate: The phondleslab for the skint

Whether you think VLPs (Very Large Phones™) are the ultimate evolution of the personal telecommunication device or the bastard offspring of smartphone and tablet, there’s no doubting the little – well, not so little really – buggers are racing out of the woodwork. Most are rather expensive but Huawei’s Ascend Mate, like the …
Alun Taylor, 29 Aug 2013
Huawei Ascend P6

Huawei Ascend P6: Skinny smartphone that's not just bare bones

Just who the heck does Huawei think it is? Surely it is the purveyor of budget Android tat and carrier-branded dreck? I’m loathe to use the word "landfill" because some of its newer cheap handsets, like the 4.5-inch Ascend GS510, aren’t actually that bad and I’d certainly take one in preference to an appless, gutless, webcam- …
Alun Taylor, 27 Aug 2013
Shadowgun: DeadZone

Ten top new games for phones ’n’ slabs

Time to once again take a paddle in the duck pond of mobile gaming and burn some time with a selection of the more interesting titles to have rocked up in recent months. All the games were played on Android devices – mostly the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, which is a near perfect size and shape for mobile gaming – but you can find …
Alun Taylor, 24 Aug 2013
Volvo V60

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Volvo’s new V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the second vehicle of its type to go on sale in Blighty after the Toyota Prius Plug-in, which we drove and reviewed last year. The Volvo, however, has the potential to be of more interest to prospective e-car owners. Why? It can drive further and faster using just electricity than the Toyota, …
Alun Taylor, 16 Aug 2013
Samsung Mega 6.3

Samsung Mega 6.3: Enter the PHONDLESLAB

Some made-up words deserve a place in the popular lexicon. I’m thinking about “friscalating” or “omnishambles”. Others, like the wholly wretched term “phablet”, most certainly do not. So from now on I’ll be calling smartphones with screens between 5 and 7 inches VLPs, or Very Large Phones. Anyone using the word phablet in my …
Alun Taylor, 14 Aug 2013
Cat B15

Caterpillar B15: The Android smartphone for the building site

There’s no doubt that smartphones are getting more robust. Both the Sony Xperia Z and the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 Active boast IP57-rated resistance to dust and water intrusion which is handy if you take your phone to the beach or the pool and come over all clumsy. Drop either of them out of a third-floor window on a …
Alun Taylor, 11 Jul 2013
smartphones

Seven snazzy smartphones for seven sorts of shoppers

The main drawback of folk thinking you know more than the average person in the street about digital kit is the inevitable stream of requests from friends, relatives and people you’ve slept with to suggest the ideal new phone for them come upgrade time. It’s not that I mind helping but I do tire of the inevitable “...but so-and- …
Alun Taylor, 09 Jul 2013
Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Sony Xperia Tablet Z: Our new top Android ten-incher

Not so long ago, Sony declared its aim to be the second most popular tablet vendor after Apple. More recently, that morphed into an ambition to sell the most mobile devices after Apple and Samsung. If both those targets are not to be consigned to the rubbish bin of ill-advised statements, Sony’s phones and tablets need to start …
Alun Taylor, 01 Jul 2013