Feeds
The Register Columnists

Dave Oliver

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Reg Hardware Mobile Week The original Motorola Defy from 2010 was aimed at a niche that no-one else knew was there – rugged cool. The thinking was that rugged phones that were hard to damage were a great idea, but that chunky rubber casings and hard-to-press buttons tended to put people off. Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android …
Dave Oliver, 01 Mar 2012
Apple's iPhone 5 (artists impression)

Tomorrow's smartphone tech today

Reg Hardware Mobile Week Technology, like time, moves on, and it doesn’t half go at a hell of a rate. Tooth and nail competition means that mobile tech moves even faster than most, and it’s extremely tricky to predict what’s just around the corner. Fortunately, the annual phone industry shindig, Mobile World Congress (MWC), …
Dave Oliver, 29 Feb 2012
Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

It sounds like a great idea: a 14in LCD monitor that connects using USB. Perfect for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones, right? Well no, because it doesn’t work with them. That’s not to say Toshiba’s Monitor is entirely without merit. It’s a neat looking device, similar in size to a slim laptop and weighing the same as a …
Dave Oliver, 08 Feb 2012
ViewSonic V350 dual Sim Android smartphone

ViewSonic V350 dual Sim Android smartphone

Every now and again, a brand new product comes along that seems to hark back to days of yore, to a time when things were different. One of those things would be the steam-powered PC, another is the ViewSonic V350 – a smartphone that can work on two networks simultaneously. ViewSonic V350 dual Sim Android smartphone Dual of the …
Dave Oliver, 07 Feb 2012
Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4 high resolution audio player

Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4

The true audiophile is likely to have many questions concerning the Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi, but chief among them is likely to be ‘How f*%&ing much??!?’ At £549 this Chinese-made high fidelity portable music player is nobody’s idea of a bargain, but if you’re one of those brave souls who still cares about sound quality, who …
Dave Oliver, 07 Feb 2012
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9790 Qwerty Smartphone

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9790

A recent rash of BlackBerry 7 handsets sees RIM's Bold 9790 sitting in the middle of the range and with a tempting feature set for BBM fans. For starters, the manufacturer's classic Qwerty keyboard is paired up with a touchscreen. RIM BlackBerry Bold 9790 Qwerty Smartphone RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9790 Compared to the Bold 9900 …
Dave Oliver, 17 Jan 2012
HTC Explorer Android smartphone

HTC Explorer budget smartphone

The latest from startlingly prolific smart phone manufacturer HTC won’t be top of the list for mobile aficionados. It’s a basic entry-level Android with middling specs though these are still probably a cut above its bog-standard price. But for smartphone newbies, what it offers may prove to be more than enough. HTC Explorer …
Dave Oliver, 16 Jan 2012
HTC Sensation XL Android smartphone

HTC Sensation XL

Following on the Sensation XE, HTC’s other Beats Audio-enabled handset is certainly bigger, but it comes out looking the weaker of the two in almost every criteria except size. HTC Sensation XL Android smartphone Beat dis: HTC's Sensation XL Android smartphone With a 4.7in display, the Sensation XL is the last stop before …
Dave Oliver, 04 Jan 2012
Motorola Pro+ Qwerty Android smartphone

Motorola Pro+ Qwerty Android smartphone

Motorola’s been keeping its hand in with an interesting variety of Android handsets of late. The Pro+ is clearly designed for business rather than fun, which is fine, but next to the top-end, revitalised Motorola Razr, it’s not in the same league. Motorola Pro+ Qwerty Android smartphone Doing the business: Motorola's Pro+ …
Dave Oliver, 22 Dec 2011
Sony Tablet P

Sony Tablet P split-screen Android fondleslab

Now here’s an odd one. Sony has created what looks like a monster Nintendo 3DS but is actually an Android Honeycomb tablet computer. So you get a sort of flattened tube that folds out to reveal two screens. Will it work? Should it work? Read on… Sony Tablet P Android fondlecrab: Sony's Tablet S This is actually one of two new …
Dave Oliver, 21 Dec 2011
RIM BlackBerry Curve 9380 smartphone

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9380 with BBM music

Perhaps sensing that it’s on the verge of losing the smartphone battle, BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has all but swamped the market recently with a rash of handsets, each offering something a little bit different. The Curve 9380 is the midrange full-screen model, smaller and cheaper than the Torch 9860, and with no hard Qwerty …
Dave Oliver, 13 Dec 2011
HTC Sensation XE Android smartphone

HTC Sensation XE

HTC’s original Sensation hit the ground running in the spring, bringing with it a dual-core processor - the first time HTC had used one - and one of the firm's best ever cameras. This new version beefs up the processor and adds Beats Audio technology to improve the sound. All that makes for a big old slab of a phone: it's 126 x …
Dave Oliver, 01 Dec 2011
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone

The much-anticipated new Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich – or ICS if you’re being very 'now' – the latest version of Google’s mobile OS. It also includes one of Samsung’s top of the range HD screens, a dual core processor and 1080p HD video recording – not too aspirational then …
Dave Oliver, 28 Nov 2011
RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Qwerty smartphone

There’s been a rash of activity from RIM recently, with a range of subtly different BlackBerry models designed to appeal to different segments of the smart phone market. The Curve 9360 is towards the budget end but still packs in a full Qwerty hard keyboard, 5Mp camera and the latest version of BlackBerry’s OS. RIM BlackBerry …
Dave Oliver, 21 Nov 2011
Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman

Sony Ericsson is still producing standalone Walkman devices, but the natural home for the oldest portable music player brand these days is on a phone. The Live With Walkman delivers the latest version of the music player in an Android phone with a 5Mp camera and a nippy 1GHz processor. Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Android …
Dave Oliver, 11 Nov 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray Android smartphone

Smartphones seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but among the recent models from Sony Ericsson is the Xperia Ray, a slim and stylish Android 2.3 device with a sharp 3.3in widescreen. It also sports a well-featured 8Mp camera with 720p HD video recording and a host of other handy functions at a mid-range price. Sony Ericsson …
Dave Oliver, 25 Oct 2011
HTC Radar Windows Phone 7.5 'Mango' smartphone

HTC Radar WinPho 7.5 smartphone

It’s been a year since Microsoft revamped its mobile offering with Windows Mobile 7, which was greeted with cautious enthusiasm by critics and punters alike. It’s taken a while, but we’re now seeing the first major update with version 7.5 (aka Mango) appearing on the solidly built HTC Radar, which also includes a 5Mp camera. …
Dave Oliver, 24 Oct 2011
RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810 smartphone

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810

The Torch 9810 is the second of RIM’s recent hat-trick of BlackBerry devices to hit the shelves. Indeed, you might have heard there are five, but currently only three models will be made available in the UK. RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810 smartphone Shining examples? RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9810 The Bold 9900 was a straight-up …
Dave Oliver, 12 Oct 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro

Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro Qwerty Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson may not be churning out Android handsets in the bulk of HTC or Samsung, but its has produced some consistently good phones recently in its Xperia range. Building on last year’s X10 Mini Pro, this new version adds a slightly bigger screen, faster processor and Gingerbread, the latest version of Android for mobiles …
Dave Oliver, 11 Oct 2011
HTC Evo 3D Android smartphone

HTC Evo 3D Android smartphone

LG might have been first with its Optimus 3D, but HTC hasn’t wasted any time coming up with a glasses-free 3D phone of its own. From the front, the Evo 3D looks like a standard, snazzy HTC smartphone, but it’s one of the manufacturer's chunkier numbers. Its metallic casework is sturdy, but the paint on the edges where it sits …
Dave Oliver, 04 Oct 2011
HP Pre 3

HP Pre 3 webOS smartphone

So it’s come to this. After a potentially brand-saving buyout by HP and the launch of a well-received – at least critically, if not commercially – operating system with webOS, Palm is finally on the way out. HP Pre 3 End of the line: HP's Pre 3 Recently, HP announced that it is discontinuing webOS and besides the Touchpad, …
Dave Oliver, 05 Sep 2011
Samsung Tocco Icon S5260

Samsung Tocco Icon budget mobile

While smartphones grab the headlines and an ever-increasing slice of the market, cheap 'n' cheerful feature phones that focus on the basic job of communicating have had to raise their game. Indeed, the Tocco Icon builds on Samsung’s Tocco Lite, upgrading the touch screen from resistive to capacitive and adding Wi-Fi. Samsung …
Dave Oliver, 01 Sep 2011
Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30

Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30 hi-fi streamer

Sound quality isn’t always the first consideration in the world of digital music, where songs tend to be compressed for convenience, rather fidelity. That’s where Brit hi-fi brand Cambridge Audio hopes to make its mark with the NP30 (Network Player 30), which offers better-than-CD hi-res 24-bit audio playback for music files and …
Dave Oliver, 25 Aug 2011
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900

With Android steaming ahead of Apple in terms of sales, and Windows Phone 7 soon to launch on Nokia handsets, RIM has got its work cut out to make sure BlackBerry can stay relevant and desirable in these fast-paced times. RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 The slimmest BlackBerry yet: RIM's Bold 9900 The company has just announced …
Dave Oliver, 19 Aug 2011
Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit Android smartphone

Full marks to Samsung’s marketing folk for the Galaxy Fit’s go-getting name, but it’s actually a fairly low-end Android smart phone with an outdated OS, low resolution screen and less than speedy processor. That said, it has a few good points too, including a surprisingly good 5Mp camera. Samsung Galaxy Fit Exercise equipment? …
Dave Oliver, 11 Aug 2011
HTC Salsa

HTC Salsa Android smartphone

HTC has released two 'Facebook phones' of late – the Qwerty-packing ChaCha and the Salsa, the latter being a compact bundle of fun, which wears its dedicated Facebook button just beneath its screen. HTC Salsa HTC's Salsa: spiced with Facebook favours While the designers of the ChaCha had obviously looked over the shoulder of …
Dave Oliver, 26 Jul 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson’s top of the range Xperia Arc was a bold move, cramming a feast of the company’s very latest technology into a case seemingly not a whole lot thicker than a credit card. The Xperia Neo winds things down a notch, not least the price, and the style, but this Android mid-ranger still manages to pack a serious punch. …
Dave Oliver, 19 Jul 2011
HTC Cha Cha

HTC ChaCha Qwerty Android smartphone

If there is such a condition as telephonic incontinence then HTC is clearly a sufferer, as it churns out a handset for just about every conceivable demographic. With the ChaCha, the company is focusing on text warriors with a hard Qwerty keyboard and some social networking tweaks. HTC Cha Cha Upbeat performer: HTC's ChaCha …
Dave Oliver, 08 Jul 2011
LG Optimus Black

LG Optimus Black

LG distinguished itself recently by releasing the UK’s first smartphone with a dual-core processor. But while the Optimus 2X grabbed all the headlines, LG also delivered another high-end handset - single-core, this time - the Optimus Black. LG Optimus Black Optimus Black: are LG bosses JK Rowling wannabes? The name Black …
Dave Oliver, 29 Jun 2011
Samsung Galaxy S II

Ten... Premium Android smartphones

Android handsets have been steadily stealing Apple’s smartphone thunder for a while now, due in part to their variety – the range runs the gamut from cheap and (not very) cheerful to the heights of the very latest technology. This round-up pulls together the latter type, with the very best on offer from the major manufacturers. …
Dave Oliver, 16 Jun 2011
Motorola Atrix

Motorola Atrix dual-core Android smartphone

The Atrix is Motorola’s first dual-core handset and has big ambitions to be your one and only connected device. It’s available with a set of accessories that can turn it into both your laptop and media centre – a PC in your pocket. Motorola Atrix Unplugged: Motorola's Atrix Before we get to the accessories though, the basic …
Dave Oliver, 13 Jun 2011
Panasonic SC-BTT775

Panasonic SC-BTT775 Blu-ray 5.1 home theatre

A Blu-ray-in-a-box surround sound system is always going to be a bit of a compromise – you shouldn't expect the ultimate in audio quality, but you do get the convenience of having the whole kit and caboodle configuration. In the case of Panasonic’s SC-BTT775, you get a good range of features too, with 5.1 sound backed by a built …
Dave Oliver, 03 Jun 2011
HTC Sensation

HTC Sensation dual core Android smartphone

HTC’s latest high-ender is the first dual core device from the Taiwanese company and offers a huge screen, improved 8Mp camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the latest HTC Sense user interface. The HTC Sensation is available from Vodafone only to begin with though, and the big red one isn’t saying for how long… HTC Sensation Big …
Dave Oliver, 02 Jun 2011
Samsung Solid Immerse GT-B2710

Samsung Solid Immerse rugged phone

Phone manufacturers today are all too keen to tell us their phones aren’t really phones at all, they’re handheld computers with oodles of processing power and capability. Sometimes, however, a basic communications device is just what you need, especially if your life might depend on it. Samsung Solid Immerse GT-B2710 Hard talk …
Dave Oliver, 31 May 2011
HTC Wildfire S

HTC Wildfire S Android smartphone

With HTC churning out a different handset for seemingly every demographic, the original Wildfire was ‘the weeny one’. The recent Wildfire S updates the concept with improved screen and processor, the latest (almost) Android 2.3 Gingerbread, plus GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G, at half the price of a high-end handset. HTC Wildfire S HTC's …
Dave Oliver, 26 May 2011
Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S II dual core Android smartphone

Sometimes the Mark II versions of phones feel like they’ve had little more than a light skim with the update brush. Yet with the Samsung Galaxy S II, this is certainly not the case. While, the original Galaxy S was a fine handset, this latest refit includes dual core processor, stunning AMOLED screen, a fine 8Mp camera, over-air …
Dave Oliver, 18 May 2011
LG Optimus 2X

LG Optimus 2X dual core Android smartphone

There was much talk of dual core handsets at this year’s Mobile World Congress – devices which effectively double the processing power available on smart phones. Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Atrix are coming soon, but the LG Optimus 2X is first out of the traps, and also includes Android 2.2, an 8Mp camera and an HDMI …
Dave Oliver, 13 Apr 2011
HTC Desire S

HTC Desire S Android smartphone

The revised version of HTC’s more than capable Desire offers an updated look and runs Gingerbread, the latest Android 2.3 OS. What the Desire S brings to the mix is a faster, more responsive handset with improved keyboards and video calling options, all for a reasonable price. HTC Desire S Android appeal: HTC's Desire S The …
Dave Oliver, 06 Apr 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia series got off to a rocky start back in 2008 but improved greatly with last year’s X10. The Xperia Arc is the company’s latest flagship offering that runs the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and features an 8.1Mp camera with a low noise CMOS sensor and a high-end screen with a Bravia engine. Evidently, …
Dave Oliver, 05 Apr 2011
Marantz Melody Media

Marantz Melody Media music combo

Apple’s AirPlay audio streaming facility is beginning to trickle out to an increasing range of devices, but Marantz took it to market first with the Melody Media – an enticing box of audio tricks, which includes a CD player, FM/AM/DAB+ tuner and Internet radio plus a 2 x 60W amplifier. Marantz Melody Media The Marantz Melody …
Dave Oliver, 05 Apr 2011
Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air speakers

From a company whose flagship speakers will set you back £18k, but at least you get two of them, B&W’s first iPod dock was met with high expectations when it was released back in 2008. Indeed, the Zeppelin quickly established itself as the model to beat in terms of distinctive styling and sound quality. The latest model is …
Dave Oliver, 30 Mar 2011
HTC Incredible S

HTC Incredible S Android smartphone

The Incredible S is latest in HTC’s extensive line of Android handsets. It runs version 2.2 of the OS, includes a 1GHz processor, 8Mp camera and lots of clever tricks, but despite its distinctive rubbery look, it isn’t hugely different from its siblings. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, since it’s still got plenty going …
Dave Oliver, 29 Mar 2011
Pure Contour

Pure Contour DAB/FM and Internet radio

The Contour is an elegantly designed music hub from radio specialist Pure. It features DAB+,FM and Internet radios, as well as an iPod dock in a slide-out drawer. Pure Contour Dark side of the moon: Pure's Contour You may be forgiven for thinking the Contour bears some similarity to the company’s Twilight alarm clock radio, …
Dave Oliver, 19 Mar 2011
Nokia DC-14

Nokia DC-14 bike charger

Most of us are happy to be green so long as it doesn’t put us too far out of our way. With this in mind, Nokia has released a gizmo for turning your pedal power into battery power with a bike charger for its phones. Nokia DC-14 Charging bars with a difference: Nokia's DC-14 You might think that Nokia’s take on green power for …
Dave Oliver, 28 Feb 2011
Samsung Wave II

Samsung Wave II Bada OS smartphone

The original Samsung Wave came out last year to general approval as a cut-price smartphone running on the company’s new Bada operating system – a curious development given Samsung’s own endorsement of Android. Samsung Wave II Testing the water: Samsung's Wave II However, Bada was always intended to offer smartphone …
Dave Oliver, 24 Feb 2011
HTC 7 Pro

HTC 7 Pro WinPho 7 smartphone

Any Windows Phone 7 device will give you a virtual Qwerty keyboard on its touch screen, but the HTC 7 Pro is one of the very few to offer a proper, slide-out hard key version, and the Dell Venue Pro’s vertical slider pales in comparison to this one. HTC 7 Pro Touch or type: HTC's 7 Pro It’s not an outsize handset like HTC’s …
Dave Oliver, 22 Feb 2011
Blackberry Torch 9800

Poynt for BlackBerry

Poynt is an app that offers local info quickly and easily on your smartphone. It’s available in Android and iPhone flavours, but looks and works best on a BlackBerry running OS6. Originally, the high-end Torch 9800 was the only BlackBerry to incorporate OS6, but has been joined by a clutch of cheaper sisters in recent months. …
Dave Oliver, 22 Feb 2011
Roberts Stream 63i

Roberts Stream 63i

British radio stalwart Roberts has been releasing a steady stream of DAB and FM models and is increasingly combining its options into various categories of music system. The Stream 63i is the latest do-it-all model offering CD player, iPod dock, FM and DAB radio, Internet radio and audio streaming using your home network too. …
Dave Oliver, 10 Feb 2011
Nokia Digital Radio Headset DAB

Nokia Digital Radio Headset DAB

It’s not uncommon to find an FM radio on a smart phone these days. And while the iPhone has seen fit to do without such a thing, it’s a great way to get your music and news on the move, without the need for Wi-Fi connection or any drain on your data tariff. Nokia Digital Radio Headset DAB Tell-tale signals: Nokia's DAB headset …
Dave Oliver, 10 Feb 2011
HTC 7 Mozart

HTC Mozart WinPho 7 smartphone

Of the three models from HTC for the launch of Windows Phone 7, the Mozart is the one with the 8Mp camera – a step up from the 5Mp snappers embedded in its brethren. HTC 7 Mozart Smartphone sonata: HTC's Mozart The casing is largely aluminium, with a couple of matt plastic sections on the back for receivers/transmitters, so …
Dave Oliver, 03 Feb 2011