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Alun Taylor

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honda crv hero shot

Honda CR-V: SUV-lite that’s also light on the pocket

Vulture at the Wheel This wasn't the car I was expecting. If I’d been paying attention I would have known that the new twin-turbo, 9-speed auto, 4WD 1.6L diesel turbo CR-V isn’t on the UK press fleet yet. What rolled up outside Vulture Central was the decidedly white-bread 2WD i-DTEC single-turbo 1.6L diesel. honda crv 1 Honda's CR-V is a big old …
Alun Taylor, 29 Mar 2015
Audi TT

Audi TT: It's NOT a hairdresser-mobile, the dash is too flash

Vulture at the Wheel When flacks from a car maker ring us, it’s usually to say that their new model goes like the wind, uses next to no fuel or redefines what we understand by “handling”, “braking”, “packaging” or value. When I was offered a loan of the new Audi Mk. 3 TT coupé the push was... the dashboard. Audi TT Cabin looks short of gadgets at …
Alun Taylor, 21 Mar 2015
Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV

We're not sure what it is, but we like it: Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV

Vulture at the Wheel Oh, for the days when it was obvious what category a car sat in. You see, I don’t rightly know which pigeonhole to try to shove the latest Lexus NX300h into. The closest thing in spirit is probably Nissan’s Juke, another style wagon that is part SUV, part four door coupé. Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV The Lexus NX300h – looks like a …
Alun Taylor, 15 Mar 2015
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: A side swipe at smartphone design

Review Edge. Get used to the word. From here on in, if the scuttlebut is to be believed, several flagship Samsung devices will be available with an Edge variant.  An Edgy version of the Galaxy S6 has already been confirmed.  A what? In simple terms with a bit of extra screen that curves around the right hand edge of the device. …
Alun Taylor, 03 Mar 2015
Mad Catz Mojo Android gaming console

Revival of fortune: Mad Catz Mojo Android gaming micro console

Review Like the Kickstarter poster-child Ouya, Mad Catz’ Mojo was sent before its time into this breathing world, scarce half made up. Or to put it in a less Shakespearean way, it lacked the full Google Play experience and was a bit pricey. Mad Catz has now had a pop at fixing both those failings. The price has dropped from £220 to a …
Alun Taylor, 27 Feb 2015
Panasonic Toughbook CF-54

Think you’re hard? Check out the frozen Panasonic CF-54 Toughbook

Pics Thinner, lighter, harder. Pick any two right? Not according to the flacks from Panasonic who reckon the new CF-54 Toughbook is all three and more. In fact, they are suggesting that the CF-54 is the first semi-rugged laptop you may just want to splash out for, even if you are just a regular consumer. Albeit one with deep pockets …
Alun Taylor, 13 Feb 2015
Yotaphone 2 dual-display Android smartphone

Russian revolution: YotaPhone 2 double-screen JANUS MOBE

Review The more touchscreen smartphones find homes, the more the world is cluttered with uniform, conformist devices. No matter who designs them or who makes them, they all look pretty much the same. Interesting decorative design can be found in abundance but true innovation is a rare bird. Yotaphone 2 dual-display Android smartphone …
Alun Taylor, 10 Feb 2015
Acer Chromebook 13

Acer Chromebook 13: The best Googletop on the market?

Review Take a quick gander at any decent tech news site and you'll find stories about Chromebook sales doubling in 2014 and the Googly laptop being a gadget that is here to stay. That’s why every self-respecting PC maker is muscling in on the Chromebook scene. Acer Chromebook 13 Acer's Chromebook 13: full HD display anyone? Newest …
Alun Taylor, 16 Jan 2015
HTC Desire Eye Android smartphone

HTC Desire Eye: The Android superior selfie shooter

Review Why has HTC’s flagship M8 One not been more popular? It’s visually arresting, critically highly regarded, has a great display, and is very well made. It should sell more strongly than it does. Of course there are some negatives. The 4MP large-pixel camera is a bit of a strange fish, some regard the ostentatious speakers as ugly …
Alun Taylor, 12 Jan 2015
Zony Xperia Z3

Grab a SLIM MODEL for Xmas cheer: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Review With small tablets getting bigger it came as quite a surprise to me when one of the main Android tablet wallah’s newest devices turned out to also be its smallest. Prior to the launch of the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact (sic) Sony’s smallest fondleslab packed a 9.4-inch screen. Yes, I know that ignores the clamshell Tablet P but …
Alun Taylor, 24 Dec 2014
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 tablet

Goes like the blazes: Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 late 2014 edition

Review Before you all take to the comments page and start asking why in the name of hell it has taken us more than six months to review the Fire 8.9 HDX, let me clarify one thing. This is the new, refreshed winter 2014 model. Yes, I know it looks very similar, OK, make that identical, to the previous (3rd) generation 8.9 HDX but trust …
Alun Taylor, 16 Dec 2014
Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid car

The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Vulture at the Wheel It would have been difficult for Audi to launch an electric car differentiated more from BMW's. Whilst the BMW i3 has been styled and engineered to look and perform like something from another planet, the new A3 e-tron most definitely has not. Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid car Bar the stickers, the e-tron looks like any other …
Alun Taylor, 14 Dec 2014
Amazon Fire Phone

What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight

Review Having a headline piece of consumer tech crash and burn in the US market is every company's nightmare – and that's exactly what happened to Amazon’s Fire Phone, whose price has just PLUNGED from $449 to $199 Stateside. Amazon Fire Phone top and bottom bezels. Pic: Alun Taylor Hefty bezels: Amazon's Fire Phone is pretty pricey …
Alun Taylor, 26 Nov 2014
Asus ZenFone 5

Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Product round-up Cheap Android smartphones have their place ultimately in a landfill site1 for those on a tight budget or as an extra for convenience abroad or elsewhere. So what if you fall into the middle ground? Bargain basement devices compromises won't do and neither will coughing up the sort of money required for a Nexus 6, Galaxy S5, …
Alun Taylor, 26 Nov 2014
 Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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

Review 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

Review 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

Vulture at the Wheel 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

Review 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

Review 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

Vulture at the Wheel 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

Review 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?

Review 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

Review 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?

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Product round-up 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

Review 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

Review 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

Product Round-up 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

Product round-up 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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

First Drive 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™

Review 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