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Alun Taylor

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HP Envy x2 Windows 8 convertible

Ten Windows tablets

Twelve months ago the idea of compiling a list of Windows tablets that you would actually want to buy would have been as impossible to do as it would have been farcical to suggest. But with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT all that has changed, and we are now faced with a bewildering array of fondleslabs all running …
Alun Taylor, 16 Apr 2013
Renault Zoe

Review: Renault Zoe electric car

To argue that the electric car has already failed is farcical. To date only one mass-market EV from an established car maker has been launched in the UK: the Nissan Leaf. Even I’m not fully convinced by the Leaf. I think it’s too big, too ugly and too expensive. A revised, cheaper, longer-range Sunderland-built model will …
Alun Taylor, 22 Mar 2013
HTC One

Review: HTC One

A year ago, I finished off my review of HTC’s One X by predicting great things for it and its maker. And then Samsung’s Galaxy S3 merrily outsold it ten to one. Thing is, that wasn’t a case of me being a colossal twit. The One X is the better phone - it’s better made, better looking and better to use. Luckily for HTC, the new …
Alun Taylor, 21 Mar 2013
Sony Xperia Z

Review: Sony Xperia Z

How it must gall Sony to find that along with the likes of HTC, ZTE and LG it is now firmly in the second division of Android phone makers, floundering in the spume and wake of the global sales monster that is Samsung. Sony Xperia Z Xperia Z: a bit of a slab Personally I blame a ludicrously complex model portfolio as much as …
Alun Taylor, 19 Mar 2013
Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Ten ten-inch tablets

Does it make sense to own both a smartphone with a 5-inch screen and a 7-inch tablet? Arguably not. I can’t think of anything that I can do on my Nexus 7 that I couldn’t do equally well on a Samsung Galaxy Note II. Granted, the Nexus 7 makes a perfect partner for my Motorola Razr i, but if I used a Note II as my ‘phone’ I’d want …
Alun Taylor, 12 Mar 2013
Sony Xperia Z

Ten smartphones with tablet ambitions...

How we all laughed when Samsung launched the Galaxy Note toward the end of 2011. Who could possibly want a phone with a 5.3-inch screen? It turned out rather a lot of people did, and the unqualified success of the 4.8-inch Galaxy S III and 5.6-inch Galaxy Note 2 proved that what many punters want is a phone with a really, really …
Alun Taylor, 27 Feb 2013
BlackBerry Z10

Review: Britain's 4G smartphones

It’s been a good few months since the first 4G LTE network fired up in the UK, and wiser men than I have already tossed their orbs about the what and the how of EE’s monopoly 4G network. Time then to consider the 4G handsets now available for use in Blighty, and in the process cast a beady eye on speeds and coverage outside the …
Alun Taylor, 25 Feb 2013
Chromebooks: Acer vs Samsung

Review: The ultimate Chromebook challenge

Too slow, too expensive, too limited. That was the verdict of most hacks and punters on the early Google Chromebook laptops. Google has kept its shoulder to the wheel, though, and recently announced that 2000 schools are now using Chromebooks. Lenovo and HP have both recently jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon too, joining …
Alun Taylor, 19 Feb 2013
Dell XPS 10

Review: Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet and dock

Windows RT: unholy fondleslab abomination or clever integration of a grown-up desktop and touch-friendly tablet UI? Opinions veer wildly and violently between one and the other extreme. The newest and first non-Nvidia Tegra 3 receptacle for Microsoft’s alleged problem child is Dell’s Asus Transformer-esque XPS 10. On paper, and …
Alun Taylor, 06 Feb 2013
Inifniti M35h

Review: Infiniti M35h hybrid sports saloon

If you’ve got a little over 40 grand lying about and fancy a four-door hybrid sports saloon then Infiniti - the posh bit of Nissan in a relationship similar to that between Lexus and Toyota - would have you know that the latest M35h is not only the fastest, but also the cheapest car of its type. Tempting words. After all who …
Alun Taylor, 22 Jan 2013
Google Nexus 4

Review: Google Nexus 4

There are two numbers you need to keep in mind as you read this review. Firstly, 239, the remarkably small number of beer tokens Google wants in return for an unlocked, Sim-free 8GB example of the latest Nexus phone. And 2, which is the number of months it has taken me to actually get hold of one for a long-term test. The second …
Alun Taylor, 14 Jan 2013
HTC 8X Windows Phone 8

Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for HTC. Eighteen months ago it was the darling of smartphone manufacturers having reinvented itself from a maker of unbranded handsets for the likes of O2 to an outfit boasting some of the best Android smartphones around. HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 Platform alteration: HTC's 8X Windows Phone 8 …
Alun Taylor, 10 Jan 2013
Vodafone Smart Tab II tablet

Review: Vodafone Smart Tab II 7 budget 3G tablet

Tablets with 3G connectivity continue to command what I think is an unreasonable premium over their Wi-Fi only siblings. Granted, the 3G Google Nexus 7 is only 40 quid more than the equivalent Wi-Fi model but you can’t have 3G at all with the cheaper, 16GB tablet. The 3G iPad Mini, meanwhile, carries a £100 mark-up. Vodafone …
Alun Taylor, 09 Jan 2013
Dell XPS 12

Review: Dell XPS 12 Windows 8 tablet-cum-Ultrabook

Making a laptop with a screen that spins within its bezel isn’t a new idea. Early in 2011, Dell tried the trick with its Inspiron Duo netbook, but sadly that proved to be a woefully poor device. Now Dell is trying again, this with Ultrabook hardware and Windows 8 as the basic ingredients. It helps that, unlike the Duo, the new …
Alun Taylor, 07 Jan 2013
Samsung Galaxy S III Android smartphone

The best smartphones for Christmas

This was the year the smartphone wars really got hot, both on the high street and in the courts. Of course the former was a driving force behind the latter: neither Apple nor Microsoft gave a toss about Android’s alleged patent infringements - real or imaginary, reasonable or ridiculous - until handsets running Google’s mobile …
Alun Taylor, 14 Dec 2012
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