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Photo of Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro

The best tablets for Christmas

Thank God for Microsoft. Without it and its new Surface tablet this article would be nothing more than me running around having an Android versus iOS argument with myself. Thankfully, as with smartphones, the arrival of Windows 8, here in its RT incarnation, has saved mankind from a bipolar tablet OS nightmare. More importantly …
Alun Taylor, 07 Dec 2012
TomTom Navigation for Android

TomTom for Android with hands-free kit review

A TomTom satnav app has been available for iOS since 2009 and its success has not just been due to the software but also to the bespoke iPhone windshield mount. Android users have now been let in on the deal thanks to the launch of an Android app and a generic smartphone version of the screen mount. TomTom Navigation for …
Alun Taylor, 03 Dec 2012
Asus VivoBook S200 11.6in touchscreen Windows 8 notebook

Asus VivoBook S200 11.6in touchscreen notebook review

A few months ago I tried a preview of Windows 8 on my 11.6in HP Pavilion and frankly it made about as much sense as a vegetarian bacon sandwich. Why? Because, without a touch screen the Windows 8 Metro Modern UI lacks a crucial ingredient. Armed with only a keyboard and mouse, facing a wall of tiles just gets in the way. Asus …
Alun Taylor, 22 Nov 2012
Acer CloudMobile S500 Android smartphone

Acer CloudMobile S500 Android phone review

When I recently took a quick shufti at the alternatives on offer to anyone harbouring doubts about the iPhone 5 I stuck my neck out and awarded a Recommended badge to a phone I’d only used briefly at a trade show. After using it for a week has my enthusiasm waned? Nope. Acer CloudMobile S500 Android smartphone Bargain blower: …
Alun Taylor, 19 Nov 2012
Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle car review

Retro car designs fall into one of two categories. The Good like the Fiat 500 and the Bad like the 1998 VW Beetle and BMW’s huge Mini. The 1998 Beetle was a particularly bad example with underpinnings that represented a nadir of VW engineering and a body that betrayed its lazy California-penned origins. It was an insult to …
Alun Taylor, 09 Nov 2012
Sony Xperia Tablet S

Ten... Apple iPad Mini alternatives

Before you rush out and buy a device that the late Steve Jobs said wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t exist - well, kind of - you may care to consider some of the alternatives on offer, assuming that is you can’t quite make the nut and afford a full-size iPad. Until Windows RT fondleslabs percolate down to those of us empty of …
Alun Taylor, 06 Nov 2012
Acer Iconia Tab A110

Acer Iconia A110 8GB Android tablet review

Acer’s Iconia A110 7in Android tablet is the first real competition that Google's Nexus 7 has faced. It’s similarly sized, similarly priced and uses the same quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 underpinnings. It also runs the same Jelly Bean version of Android. Acer Iconia A110 8GB Android tablet Lucky seven? Acer's Iconia A110 The main …
Alun Taylor, 05 Nov 2012
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car review

Extended electric-only driving range has been a long time coming to hybrid cars but with the arrival of the Vauxhall Ampera and now Toyota’s Prius Plug-in the breed may finally shake off the reputation of vehicles that only exist because Americans don’t like diesels. Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car The mains attraction: Toyota' …
Alun Taylor, 29 Oct 2012
Renault Clio

Renault Clio IV and R-Link Android console hands-on preview

To say Renault needs the new Clio to be a hit is an understatement. With its non-’leccy UK range now pared back to just Twingo, Clio, Megane and Scenic, Renault needs the new Mk. IV Clio to sell in greater numbers than the MK. III, which if not a bad car was a little vin ordinaire. Even after just 48 hours of charging around the …
Alun Taylor, 25 Oct 2012
LG Vu

LG Vu 5in Android phone-tablet review

Mercedes vs BMW, Boeing vs Airbus, Asda vs Tesco: the world is full of directly competing commercial entities locked in a bitter struggle for market share. In Korea, Samsung and LG go head-to-head in much the same way, so it's no surprise that LG has cooked up a rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Note. LG Vu The LG Vu doesn't seem so …
Alun Taylor, 23 Oct 2012
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7100 Android smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

I’ve no idea what the Korean is for “let’s stuff everything we can into a phone and ram it up Apple’s jacksie” but it’s a fair bet the phrase was used at the inception of the Galaxy Note 2. This Android handset is the feature-packed successor to the surprisingly successful Galaxy Note that I was quite taken with late last year …
Alun Taylor, 03 Oct 2012
Toshiba AT300 Android tablet

Toshiba AT300 10in Android tablet review

To date Toshiba’s Android tablets have barely made a ripple let alone a splash in the fondleslab market but the new AT300 may change that. A replacement for the AT200 – that I failed to get excited about earlier in the year – the new device is cheaper and, thanks to its Tegra 3 underpinnings, considerably more powerful. Toshiba …
Alun Taylor, 24 Sep 2012
Acer Iconia Tab A700 32GB HD Android tablet

Acer Iconia Tab A700 32GB HD Android tablet review

If you're looking for a cheap 10in Tegra 3 Android tablet, I'd say buy an Acer A510. If you want one with a 1080p screen and have deep pockets, then take a look at the Asus Transformer Infinity. Now, if you want something in between, with the Infinity’s screen resolution but the A520’s relative affordability, well, that's a …
Alun Taylor, 18 Sep 2012
Peugeot 508 RXH hybrid estate car

Peugeot 508 RXH estate car review

If there is a problem with Peugeot’s HYbrid4 tech, then it’s that being modular and compact it can end up in cars that are frankly just a bit dull. After a day spent tootling around in a HYbrid4 3008 the underlying technology left me quite impressed but the 3008 isn’t a car that gets my pulse racing. Peugeot 508 RXH hybrid …
Alun Taylor, 14 Sep 2012
LG Optimus 4X HD

Ten iPhone 5 challengers

It’s that time of year again when the Autumn leaves begin to fall and a young man’s thoughts turn to a shiny new iPhone. Or perhaps, this year, something running Windows Phone 8? Redmond's new baby is also just about to be thrust mewling and puking 'puting into the world and thus anyone shackled to a recently inked two year …
Alun Taylor, 13 Sep 2012
Archos 101XS 10.1in Android tablet

Archos 101 XS 10.1in Android tablet review

Archos has built a decent business making budget Android tablets, so I suspect the word 'merde' echoed loudly around the Igny HQ when Google pulled the rug asunder with its low Nexus 7 pricing. Archos hasn’t given up though and has now released a new device pitched as a budget alternative to the Asus Transformer Pad. Archos …
Alun Taylor, 11 Sep 2012
Mio Spirit 695 LM satnav

Mio Spirit 695 LM satnav review

These be tough times for satnav makers when, for under £100, you can pick up a good 4in smartphone like the Huawei Ascend G300 which comes with Google’s ever-evolving and improving free navigation, and even entry-level eight grand motors, like VW’s new Up!, feature low-cost optional navigation packages. To compete satnav makers …
Alun Taylor, 07 Sep 2012
Nokia Asha 311 budget smartphone

Nokia Asha 311 budget smartphone review

Nokia’s smartphone sales may be in the toilet at the moment but it still flogs a fair number of handsets under the Asha brand of feature phones. Newest to the ranks is the Asha 311 which looks and behaves a bit like a smartphone but has a far lower purchase price – around £100 unlocked and SIM-free. Nokia Asha 311 budget …
Alun Taylor, 04 Sep 2012
Samsung Galaxy Beam Android projector phone

Samsung Galaxy Beam Android projector phone review

Samsung's first Galaxy Beam, the GT-i8520, was a tremendously thick, heavy and expensive handset that very few bought. Having had a rethink, the company is now trying the whole smartphone-with-a-projector idea again with the GT-i8530. Essentially, this handset amounts to a Galaxy Advance S with a Digital Light Processing …
Alun Taylor, 23 Aug 2012
VPlayer Android app

Ten apps to install on your Nexus 7 first

Once you’ve prised your Nexus 7 out of the box, watched your free copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (surely "binned it immediately" - Ed) and spent a few hours playing Dead Trigger the time is ripe to start thinking about the first third-party apps that will help you really get the most from your shiny new piece of Google …
Alun Taylor, 15 Aug 2012
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 64GB Android Tablet

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 64GB Android tablet review

When it comes to tablets, it seems Asus is on a bit of a roll. In my estimation, its Transformer Pad is the best value 10-incher on the market and, lest we forget the company makes the altogether excellent Nexus 7 for Google. There is no sign of Asus resting on its laurels either, if its latest Transformer device is anything to …
Alun Taylor, 14 Aug 2012
Dead Trigger Android game

Ten Android games

Not everyone will agree with me that the Nexus 7 tablet is nigh on perfect but I can't imagine anyone seriously questioning its ability as a gaming machine. With a quad-core CPU and a 720p IPS screen, we're off to a good start. It's also the perfect size and weight to hold in both hands but still give your thumbs free range to …
Alun Taylor, 11 Aug 2012
Huawei Ascend P1 Android smartphone

Huawei Ascend P1 Android review

Huawei’s entry level Ascend G300 smartphone has already been favourably reviewed in these pages and the eagerly awaited Ascend D quad is only a few months away. Between those two devices sits the new Ascend P1 – a handset aimed not at the impecunious or the power-mad but at Joe Average. Evidently, it’s a phone designed to steal …
Alun Taylor, 10 Aug 2012
Acer Iconia Tab A510 10in Android tablet

Acer Iconia Tab A510 10in Android review

In my view, the 16GB Google Nexus 7 is pretty much the ideal Android tablet, but if that form factor is too small for you, then you might be interested in what Acer has cooked up lately. Say hello then to the Iconia Tab A510. Targeted at those who want a quad-core machine, it offers a 10.1in screen, 32GB of storage and for a …
Alun Taylor, 06 Aug 2012
Sony Xperia Go rugged Android smartphone

Sony Xperia Go waterproof Android phone review

The arrival of the Nexus 7 has given me cause to reconsider my next phone purchase. Do I need a 4.6in superphone now I have a 7in Tegra 3 tablet? Surely a small, rugged handset with good battery life, a decent dual-core CPU and plenty of storage for apps would make more sense. An outright purchase price of around £200 would be …
Alun Taylor, 30 Jul 2012
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review

Only eight months have passed since I took a shufti at Ice Cream Sandwich, back then it was the new version 4.0 of the Android operating system for mobile devices. A few days ago, my Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet landed on the doormat. It's preinstalled with Jelly Bean, the ICS replacement and lends itself to poking with the …
Alun Taylor, 24 Jul 2012
LG Optimus 4X HD quad-core Android smartphone

LG Optimus 4X HD quad-core Android phone review

I was never much of a fan of LG’s Android phones, they struck me as rather ordinary and frequently hampered by an unhealthy obsession with 3D. But suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere South Korea’s other phone maker has delivered an absolute blinder. Between you and me, this may prove to be the best Android handset of 2012. LG …
Alun Taylor, 19 Jul 2012
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Judging by the lawsuits flying around, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been the only Android tablet to seriously worry Apple. Quite why is a mystery, because it has sold in nothing like the numbers of the iPad. Will the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 prove more of a threat by being cheaper rather than better? Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Take …
Alun Taylor, 16 Jul 2012
Panasonic Eluga DL1 waterproof Android smartphone

Panasonic Eluga DL1 waterproof Android

Over the course of the last decade Panasonic all but vanished from the European consumer mobile phone market but it’s back with a bang with the Eluga - an acronym of ‘elegant user-oriented gateway’. Or at least back with a loud thump - the bang is really the Eluga Power, a 5in 720p Qualcomm Krait-powered beast due later this …
Alun Taylor, 06 Jul 2012
Orange San Diego Intel CPU Android smartphone

Orange San Diego Intel-based Android phone

If you own a smartphone then you are almost certainly using an ARM CPU. That’s good for ARM and its licensees but bad for Intel, as it wants a piece of the vast mobile chip market. Cue the San Diego, a retail version of Intel’s own Gigabyte-built smartphone reference platform built around a hyper-threading 1.6GHz Z2460 Atom …
Alun Taylor, 04 Jul 2012
Sony SmartWatch Xperia Android phone accessory

Sony SmartWatch Android remote

Sony has tried this remote phone manager and viewer malarkey before with its LiveView that first appeared almost two years ago. The idea was sound but the execution was somewhat undermined by the fact it just didn’t work. Evidently, Sony thinks it’s time for another crack at this concept with the SmartWatch Sony SmartWatch …
Alun Taylor, 27 Jun 2012
FolderSync Android app icon

FolderSync

When Microsoft recently offered users 25GB of free SkyDrive storage it highlighted the lack of a good Android app to take advantage of it. Enter FolderSync, which lets you synchronise your Android folders with SkyDrive and just about every other cloud storage supplier. FolderSync supports most of the popular commercial cloud …
Alun Taylor, 26 Jun 2012
Huawei Ascend G300 Android smartphone

Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

As an example of how much the budget smartphone has come on over the last 12 months you need look no further than Huawei's G300, which at £100 pre-paid is Vodafone’s latest entry-level Android smartphone. Huawei Ascend G300 Android smartphone Cost conscious: Huawei's Ascend G300 What do you get for your 100 spondulicks? A 480 …
Alun Taylor, 25 Jun 2012
Sony Xperia P Android smartphone

Sony Xperia P mid-range Android

Little brother to the Xperia S, the Xperia P is the second Sony Ericsson handset to arrive in the UK. The company's flagship S model prompted a slightly lukewarm response when launched but the Xperia S sets its sights lower as a mid-range handset on a par with the Samsung Galaxy S Advance and HTC One V. Sony Xperia P Android …
Alun Taylor, 20 Jun 2012
Songkick Concerts Android app icon

Songkick Concerts

I’ve been waiting for Songkick to land on the deck of the USS Android ever since it was released for iOS a year ago. Now it has and it’s every bit as good as I was hoping for. Simplicity itself to use, once installed Songkick scans your music library as well as your Last.fm, Pandora and Spotify feeds and then creates a …
Alun Taylor, 19 Jun 2012
Samsung Galaxy S Advance

Samsung Galaxy S Advance mid-range Android

Things sometimes change fast. Take the HMS Lord Nelson, a fine battleship when laid down in 1905 but almost instantly rendered obsolete by HMS Dreadnought, laid down just a few months later. Or take HTC’s One V. A 3.7in single-core LCD Android phone now up against a dual-core 4in OLED-screen device for the same contract price of …
Alun Taylor, 14 Jun 2012
Asus Transformer Pad

Asus Transformer Pad TF300

It’s no secret that I like the Asus Transformer Prime a lot. Still, £500 is a lot for a tablet even if it does go like the clappers, is made of aluminium and has a cracking keyboard dock with a built-in extra battery. Asus Transformer Pad Can you tell Pad from Prime at a glance? No Asus has now addressed that issue by …
Alun Taylor, 13 Jun 2012
Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up!

They say good things come in small packages, and at only 3.5m long Volkswagen’s new city car is certainly small. To put that into context it is 28.5cm shorter than the unloved Fox it replaces and only 53.5cm longer than the original Mini. Volkswagen Up VW's done a good job with the styling There’s no denying VW has done a …
Alun Taylor, 12 Jun 2012
Eufa Euro 2012 app icon

UEFA Euro 2012

Assuming you haven’t been on another planet for the last few months you'll be aware that soccer's 2012 European Championships kicked off in Warsaw on Friday. Sixteen teams, 31 matches and, I predict, the usual post-mortem in regards to England’s woeful performance. Not that I can gloat if England does crash out at the first …
Alun Taylor, 12 Jun 2012
Pocket Android app icon

Pocket

Read It Later was one of the better Android apps for archiving web content to read at a later date and it has just been given a full makeover, a new name and a welcome price reduction. It'll now cost you absolutely nothing. The principle behind Pocket couldn’t be simpler: if you find something you like on the web just open the …
Alun Taylor, 29 May 2012
Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

Only the most ardent electric-vehicle advocate would argue that the current state of battery technology and absence of recharging infrastructure isn’t an impediment to the widespread adoption of the e-car. On paper, the new Vauxhall Ampera – the European version of the Chevrolet Volt – has the perfect answer to this problem: it …
Alun Taylor, 29 May 2012
HTC One V Android smartphone

HTC One V Android smartphone

In the beginning was the Hero and then came the Legend, and now the Legend has sired the One V. Yes, the V is the runt of the One litter but its forebears had a solid following and, as a one-time Hero owner, I’m hoping the bloodline is in good health. HTC One V Android smartphone Another one: HTC's One V With the One V, HTC’s …
Alun Taylor, 25 May 2012
Novatel MiFi 2352

Ten... Mi-Fi HSPA 3G wireless mini-routers

Reg Hardware Mobile Broadband Week If you want cellular data connectivity when you're out and about you can cough up for a laptop or tablet with a Sim card slot, but they are hardly cheap. Or you can tether your phone if your telco lets you. Another alternative is a portable router. These can be bought with data contracts …
Alun Taylor, 23 May 2012
Evernote Android app icon

Evernote

As a long-time user of Catch Notes it was going to take something quite impressive to get me to jump ship to arch-rival Evernote but a recent update and integration with the latest versions of HTC's Sense have persuaded me to do so. The upgrade has brought a new Ice Cream Sandwich-esque design to the app. There’s still an awful …
Alun Taylor, 22 May 2012
White Space networking

UK mobile broadband carriers compared

Reg Hardware Mobile Broadband Week Two years ago, I plugged a selection of 3G dongles into my laptop at various locations to see what the coverage and speed offered by the major mobile networks was like. You can see the results here, but with HSPA being introduced at ever higher upload and download speeds, it's time to …
Alun Taylor, 21 May 2012
IMDb Android app icon

IMDb

If you're a fan of the movies then this app should be right up your aisle. Not only can IMDb tell you just about everything you could ever wish to know about just about every film ever made, but it has all the information you need to plan your movie-going night out too. Film opening dates, show times, the location and contact …
Alun Taylor, 15 May 2012
Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai Veloster coupé

Tradition dictates that cars look the same from the left as the right. Not Hyundai’s new hatchback coupé, though. It has a rear door on the passenger's side but not on the driver’s. Clever idea or gimmick? More to the point, will it lure buyers away from the the obvious alternatives, the VW Scirocco and Vauxhall Astra GTC? From …
Alun Taylor, 14 May 2012
National Rail Enquiries Android app icon

National Rail Enquiries

I should use local trains more often, but there are several reasons why I don’t. One is I’ve no idea where most of my local stations are, let alone the ones dotted further afield around Manchester. Secondly, I can’t be bothered picking up timetables. The new National Rail Enquiries app solves both these problems and could herald …
Alun Taylor, 08 May 2012
Android app Textagram icon

Textgram

Textgram is another app designed to differentiate your digital self from the masses, in this case by letting you send graphically enhanced missives as MMS messages, or as pictures to your social network. Maybe it’s the use of 'gram' in the name, but Textgram has already racked up between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads since its …
Alun Taylor, 01 May 2012
Google Currents Android app icon

Google Currents

When Google’s Currents news and magazine reader was released late last year, I thought it one of the most visually attractive apps ever to come out of Mountain View. Looks aside, though, there was a lot wrong with it, not least the time it took to sync. A recent update claims to have fixed that and added a host of new features …
Alun Taylor, 24 Apr 2012