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Bob Dormon

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Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook: Your new summer convertible?

Make it thin enough with a decent battery life, slap Intel’s latest Core series mobile chippery in there and it seems that just about any design can be described as an Ultrabook these days. Has the marque lost its focus? These days there is a huge range of options from HDD to SSD, slimlime or slab-like - yet all for a price …
Bob Dormon, 19 Jul 2013
Apple MacBook Air 13in 2013

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013: Windows struggles in Boot Camp

For years now, Apple’s MacBook Air has held its own as the ultimate in portability, inspiring the PC market to follow suit with the Ultrabook marque. While not all Ultrabooks attempt to ape the Air’s slimline form factor, they draw from the same line of Intel CPUs and often beat the iconic Apple on cost. Yet Apple has one trick …
Bob Dormon, 15 Jul 2013
Samsung EK-GN120 Galaxy camera

LG's curvy telly and Samsung's Galaxy camera seen in the wild

A hands on with LG's new TV and a Samsung camera that doubles up as an Android phone? Is this Christmas in July? Not really, it’s a PR thing, would you believe. It’s when all the products the hardware makers slavishly promoted earlier in the year are laid bare for the press to fondle, as a reminder of what punters may be tempted …
Bob Dormon, 12 Jul 2013
Fitbit Flex activity monitor

Fitbit Flex wristband: What to wear out when wearing yourself out

Judging by how quickly Apple is dashing around the world registering the iWatch trademark, by this time next year I could well have a micro Mac strapped to my wrist. And so might many others, if the craze for wearable devices continues on its current trajectory. You might wonder what all the fuss is about and perhaps a bit of …
Bob Dormon, 03 Jul 2013
Acer Liquid Z2 and E1 Android smartphones

Acer aims low, gets into BT's trousers

At BT Tower in London this week, Acer was all smiles having secured positions for two of its recent smartphones on the BT Business mobiles roster. The Acer Liquid E1 and Z2 are both Android handsets running Jellybean and are pitched at BT biz customers whose pockets are not so deep. The Liquid E1 features a 4.5in 540 x 960-pixel …
Bob Dormon, 28 Jun 2013
Gulfstream G280 jet

Play the Snowden flights boardgame: Avoid going directly to Jail

If Vladimir Putin is to be believed, the PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden is considering his options from the transit capsule hotel at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. A plane full of journalists, anticipating he would join them, flew from the city for Caracas via Havana yesterday, but Snowden stayed put by the …
Bob Dormon, 26 Jun 2013
Belkin Express Dock Thunderbolt adaptor

Review: Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

If the word from the Apple WWDC is to be believed, we’re just months away from hooking up all our peripherals using Thunderbolt 2 cables. Funny that, as I thought this was supposed to happen when the original Thunderbolt ports appeared on Macs back in 2011. Even though this Apple-Intel interface love-in can be found on PCs too, …
Bob Dormon, 14 Jun 2013
Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate

Acer's recent tablet bash in London not only showcased its latest A1 Iconia Android fondleslab but also on display was its forthcoming Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate. This model exists in the convertible-cum-tablet twilight zone, as it comes with a keyboard cover as standard. Yet Acer really wants you to forget it's a tablet and …
Bob Dormon, 07 Jun 2013
Toshiba Excite Android tablet

New Tosh 'droid slabs include Newton-like scrawl-pad: We try it out

Among Toshiba’s Haswell-packed laptop frenzy in London yesterday were a few new ten-inch tablets: three Android and one Windows 8 slate for business. The new Android 4.2 fondleslabs adopt the Excite brandname, as used in the US, and kick off with the Excite Pure, an Nvidia Tegra 3-powered tablet which has 1GB RAM, 16GB of on- …
Bob Dormon, 05 Jun 2013
Toshiba Qosmio X70 gaming laptop

El Reg gets its hands on Haswell fondle-gizmos at posh Tosh bash

Intel Haswell fever today had Toshiba showing off its full range of laptops, some of which featuring the new chips - plus some new tablets to boot. The new Satellite laptops and Qosmio gaming models were out in the wild in a swish London hotel, nestling up against three new Excite 10in Android tablets – more on those fondleslabs …
Bob Dormon, 04 Jun 2013
HP Slate 7 Android tablet speakers and micro USB interface

Review: HP Slate 7 Android tablet

The other day Vulture Central was visited by HP with a Google chap in tow. We were treated to a couple of HP products: the new Slate 7 Android tablet and the company’s latest Chromebook, which we’d already seen as it happens. The smart-looking seven-inch, dual-processor-core tablet appeared to have little to distinguish it from …
Bob Dormon, 04 Jun 2013
Pure Jongo S3 multiroom speaker system

Review: Pure Jongo S3 multiroom speakers

I’ll admit, I didn’t think I was going to have much to say about Pure’s Jongo S3 speakers, the latest addition to its growing wireless audio gear range. It connects to mobile devices, but what else is new? Well, there are a few nice touches to this boombox, the most significant being its integration with the online streaming …
Bob Dormon, 31 May 2013
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

When it comes to handing out Windows 8 laptops to the UK reviewers, Samsung has been surprisingly glacial. Whether this is another Apple emulation strategy to become more elusive or a sign of hesitancy to have the brand tarnished by Windows 8’s underwhelming reception, is unclear. The hardware was paraded at CES 2013 five months …
Bob Dormon, 29 May 2013
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

INSIDE GCHQ: Welcome to Cheltenham's cottage industry

For staff at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, there’s an air of Fight Club about the place. The first rule about GCHQ is you don’t talk about GCHQ. It’s a well observed tradition, even though there are road signs and a bus route directing you to this highly secret establishment, the nerve centre …
Bob Dormon, 24 May 2013
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 in the shower

Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 WinPro 8 tablet

In the UK, Panasonic is not known as a high-street PC player - but the company’s Tough range of products makes quite an impression in the world of business. Out in the field you’ll spot them in the hands of BT engineers and the like where the manufacturer's rugged laptops, and now tablets, survive the rigours of white-van man …
Bob Dormon, 01 May 2013
Disgo 8400G Android tablet

Review: Disgo 8400G 7.9in Android tablet

A 7.9in Jelly Bean Android tablet with 3G connectivity for £150? There has to be a catch, right? Absolutely. The catch with the Disgo 8400G is that you’ve probably never heard of the company before... Now, this could mean you’ll be ahead of the game with the next big thing in affordable fondleslabs if you bought one. However, …
Bob Dormon, 22 Apr 2013
NetAtmo Urban Weather Station

Review: NetAtmo Urban Weather Station

Do we need a new obsession? Isn’t Facebook and Twitter enough for most folk? Some argue the British are obsessed about the weather. It’s hardly surprising we talk about it all the time, the weather here changes so much, it never fails to be topical. Well that’s how it used to be. Lately, Blighty has been blighted by a godawful …
Bob Dormon, 19 Apr 2013
TomTom Runner GPS watch

TomTom brandishes new strap-on in Amsterdam: The wristnav

Satnav maker TomTom guided the press - along with automotive and retail partners from all corners of the globe - to Amsterdam on Tuesday for the launch of its next gen satnavs and a new sporty lifestyle product range. The company has form with fitness gear, having teamed up with Nike to deliver its strap-on range of Nike+ GPS …
Bob Dormon, 18 Apr 2013
Kobo Aura HD E Ink reader

Kobo strikes new match against Kindle: The Aura HD e-reader

Kobo gathered the great and the good from publishing and distribution in London yesterday to launch its new high-res e-ink reader, the Aura HD. Michael Serbinis, Kobo CEO, said the company asked 10,000 book lovers for the features a perfect e-reader should have. While the Kobo Aura HD probably doesn't match all the survey …
Bob Dormon, 16 Apr 2013
Oblivion, the movie drone

Movie review: Oblivion

When the film Oblivion was mentioned in the office recently, my first thoughts were that it was a prequel to The Hangover series. I couldn’t have been more wrong... or was I? After all, this Tom Cruise sci-fi caper has loss of memory as one of its key themes, which, booze fueled forays aside, immediately has me thinking of some …
Bob Dormon, 13 Apr 2013
Kobo Arc 7in Android AnTuTu results and format warning

Review: Kobo Arc Android tablet

As pocketable Android tablets gather momentum and e-reader manufacturers look to offer a more flexible platform, the twilight zone where both meet is certainly looking lively. A criticism of Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-book-meets-Android offerings is the company’s imposition of a walled garden for installing apps: you have to …
Bob Dormon, 10 Apr 2013
HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Pro tablet

Review: HP ElitePad 900 Atom tablet

If HP’s ElitePad 900 is anything to go by, not everybody expects a business Windows 8 Pro Atom tablet to be a pocketable wafer. You only have to hold it in your hand to get the impression that this model has been built for endurance rather than designed as a fashion accessory. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look good, quite …
Bob Dormon, 08 Apr 2013
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Modern UI

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

I’ve tried out quite a few variations on the Windows 8 theme just lately – touchscreen notebooks mainly – but I’ve been dabbling with Boot Camp and virtual machine incarnations on the desktop too but without the finger friendliness. So trying out Lenovo’s business-centric ThinkPad Tablet 2 seemed like it would be an easy …
Bob Dormon, 28 Mar 2013
Cisco El Reg TelePresence

Whatever happened to telepresence? From $2.5m deals to free iPad apps

Cast your mind back nearly 10 years and high-end videoconferencing with its eye-watering price was being touted as the substitute for the corporate jet. At the time, having remote video streams to view your conference room was a big deal that involved an awful lot of looking after and a continuous investment each month for the …
Bob Dormon, 20 Mar 2013
Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Whatever you might think about Windows 8, when it comes to taking the top down on the new ranges of convertible laptops, it’s certainly not boring. Every single one I’ve encountered so far has a different take on how to make the laptop-tablet duo dance work and Toshiba’s Satellite U920T Ultrabook offers yet another approach. …
Bob Dormon, 05 Mar 2013
Sony Vaio Duo 11

Review: Sony Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook

The other day, a friend sent me a Picasa link to photos he'd taken at a recent vintage motorcycle show. It was a wide ranging display of classic engineering imagination put to work to power a rider on two wheels. Similarly, it’s those variations on a theme that Windows 8 has spurred among mainstream computer makers, as they all …
Bob Dormon, 26 Feb 2013
BRIT Awards 2013 pass

From stage to stream: The unseen tech at the BRIT Awards 2013

If you think you know all about the O2 Arena having visited it when it was called the Millennium Dome, then think again. When the site was sold to entertainment biz AEG in 2004, it was gutted and turned into a concert venue; all that remains of the original structure is the tent. Today, its owners claim it’s the busiest live …
Bob Dormon, 20 Feb 2013
BT Openreach van

So: 6,500 Win 8 laptops later, how are BT's field engineers coping?

An unheard-of decline in PC sales figures since launch, a grumbling press and a user base that struggles without a touchscreen: Windows 8 is easy to take a swipe at. Yet BT announced in November last year it was deploying 5,900 Win 8 Panasonic Toughbooks for its "last mile" Openreach division – the engineers who walk the line …
Bob Dormon, 30 Jan 2013
Steve Jobs and the Apple Lisa

Happy birthday, Lisa: Apple's slow but heavy workhorse turns 30

Read a press release from Apple in the 1990s and it'll end with something along the lines of: “Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.” All of which is true up to a point, but the statement does overlook the product that …
Bob Dormon, 18 Jan 2013
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook

To be fair to Lenovo, reviewing the IdeaPad Yoga shouldn't really be all about Windows 8. After all, this touchscreen Ultrabook – that bends over backwards to become a fully fledged tablet – is a well crafted piece of hardware with engineering merits of its own. So what, if it runs Windows 8? So do a lot of PCs these days. The …
Bob Dormon, 11 Jan 2013
Landmice Aston Martin wireless mouse

Ten... tech stocking stuffers

Stuck for ideas for someone who has everything or just in need of inspiration to top up a stack of gifts you already have? It's certainly tricky sorting out gifts that are going to please over those that will be destined for eBay come the New Year. So here we have a bit of mixed bag – or should that be Santa's sack? – ranging …
Bob Dormon, 19 Dec 2012
Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

Review: Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

I'm a sitting behind a 2010 iMac. You know, it's one with the dodgy Seagate hard drives that Apple is replacing en masse. I must get this sorted soon, but it hasn't died ye—. Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012 Long time no see: Apple's late 2012 21.5in iMac Now I'm sitting behind a very late 2012 iMac. It's the super slim one that's …
Bob Dormon, 12 Dec 2012
Licence graphic

Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

I'm not a very good liar, I haven't got the memory for it, which is why it always pricks my conscience whenever I tick the yes box to the prompt "I have read and understood…" when installing software. I am, of course, fibbing. I never read a word. In fact, even though we all tick yes to these agreements every day, unless you're …
Bob Dormon, 04 Dec 2012
iConnectMIDI

MIDI: 30 years old... almost

Despite rumours to the contrary, MIDI is not 30 years old today. The concept is older and its actual adoption as an industry standard gets its birthday next summer. Yet as industry standards go, it’s certainly been a robust one. As with a lot of technology standards – remember draft-n Wi-Fi? – manufacturers don't want to hang …
Bob Dormon, 28 Nov 2012
Griffin Technology StompBox guitar pedalboard for iOS

Griffin StompBox iOS pedalboard review

Music making on Apple's iOS devices has long since migrated from mere display driven ditties to a range of additional hardware better suited to musicians. Alesis, Digitech and IK Multimedia, to name a few, are known music technology brands working the iOS instrument dock market. Nowadays, mainstream iDevice accessory vendors, …
Bob Dormon, 04 Oct 2012
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk's YouView box gets Ab Fab reception

UK telecoms provider TalkTalk added YouView IPTV to its product portfolio in London today with the release of its own set top box. Although made by Huawei, the telco had a hand in its interface design and offers it free to all its Plus package customers. TalkTalk YouView set top box launch TalkTalk's STB is Huawei built but the …
Bob Dormon, 27 Sep 2012
Viewsonic

Viewsonic 22in Android 'tablet' hands-on review

There was birthday cake aplenty at Viewsonic’s 25th anniversary event in London today that also saw the introduction of three new products covering an innovative range of display options. Viewsonic VSD220 Smart Display Viewsonic's VSD220 Smart Display: 22in fondleslab, anyone? The main attraction was the VSD220 Smart Display …
Bob Dormon, 11 Sep 2012
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android smartphone hands-on review

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 hands-on review

Samsung’s big idea, well, big phone actually, has not only spawned the 10in Galaxy Note but, at IFA, the company announced the Galaxy Note II successor to its original 5in stylophone stylus phone. It seems that if you add a pen to a touchscreen device these days, then it acts as insurance that you haven’t copied from Apple. Note …
Bob Dormon, 04 Sep 2012
Sony Vaio 11 Duo hybrid PC Ultrabook

Sony Vaio 11 Duo hybrid PC hands on review

Examples of Windows 8 tablet plus detachable keyboard combo devices were all over IFA like a rash. However, Sony’s Vaio Duo 11 has a different approach that keeps the two components together. There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement, whichever way you look at it. Great, I’ll never lose that keyboard... mmmh, …
Bob Dormon, 03 Sep 2012
LG EA93 21:9 monitor

Hands on with LG's 21:9 monitors

With so many telly boxes out there, it seems likely an on-board tuner on the TV itself will become a thing of the past in the not too distant. Perhaps LG’s EA93 21:9 aspect monitor, announced at IFA, offers a clue to the shape of things to come. LG EA93 21:9 monitor A 29in monitor touting a 2560 x 1080-pixel resolution it may …
Bob Dormon, 31 Aug 2012
HP Envy X2

Hands on with the HP Envy X2

The tablet plus keyboard combo looks set to be a prominent vehicle in getting Windows 8 into the hands of punters. Along with the new OS comes a slightly different form factor too with 11.6in keyblets from Samsung – its Ativ Smart PCs play this game with Core i5 and Atom CPU options – and HP has its own Atom-powered Envy X2 …
Bob Dormon, 31 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

If you can't take the Samsung, get out of the kitchen

Samsung’s IFA keynote was true to form, some might say. Although the company had "a different script" with its presentation style, it did seem to have copied been influenced by the recent UK Olympic opening ceremony, given its theatricalities. Samsung's head honcho and chief wizard of the day, Boo-Keun Yoon, consumer electronics …
Bob Dormon, 30 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

Samsung readies handheld releases for Windows 8

At the Mobile Unpacked event in Berlin last night, Samsung showed off its Windows 8 handheld devices that appear in its new Ativ range of computing products that all feature touchscreen functionality. Samsung Ativ tablet The Windows RT Ativ Tab is a 10.1in fondleslab with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor with 2GB …
Bob Dormon, 30 Aug 2012
Amazon Kindle Touch e-book reader

Amazon Kindle Touch Wi-Fi eBook reader review

Having so many unread books at home, the Amazon Kindle and its numerous variants never really captured my imagination. I just wasn’t that fussed about e-Books and using them was a slow burn, starting with iBooks on my iPhone – I’m blessed with good eyesight – followed by musing over tomes on an iPad 2. Amazon Kindle Touch e- …
Bob Dormon, 09 Aug 2012
Pure Sensia 200D Connect

Pure Stream takes on AirPlay

Pure’s Sensia 200D Connect has been on its web site for a while, but now you can actually buy one. This latest incarnation of the company’s touchscreen Wi-Fi radio is a significant revamp on the original Sensia and showcases Pure Stream, which enables content to play wirelessly from Android and iOS devices. It’s an obvious take …
Bob Dormon, 19 Jul 2012
Pure Contour 200i Air AirPlay wireless music system

Pure Contour 200i Air wireless music system

Sometimes, the only way to appreciate what a new technology or product can do for you is to actually try it. So when Pure dropped by the office and left a Contour 200i Air – its latest AirPlay savvy wireless music system – I felt dutybound to use it. Pure Contour 200i Air AirPlay wireless music system Pure Contour 200i Air …
Bob Dormon, 12 Jul 2012
Samsung Chromebox Series 3 XE300M22 Chrome OS cloud computer

Review: Samsung Chromebox

Moan, moan, moan: that’s how I suspected this review would come across as I pondered on my initial impressions of Samsung’s Chromebox – its Mac Mini-styled desktop computer that runs Google’s Chrome OS. You know, the online operating system that turns your computer into paperweight when there’s no internet connection. And then I …
Bob Dormon, 05 Jul 2012
Nokia 808 Symbian 3 camera phone

Hands on with Nokia's 808 41Mp camphone

If a company needed some luck right now, then Nokia would certainly fit the bill. Having partnered with Microsoft to deliver a new range of smartphones based on Windows Phone 7, it consequently shares a platform with the likes of HTC and Samsung. Still, Nokia is thinking lucky because it reckons it can deliver services on …
Bob Dormon, 28 May 2012
Nikon D3200 DSLR camera

Hands on with the Nikon D3200 DSLR

The great and the good were out in force at Nikon’s London press launch this week of its latest entry-level DSLR, the D3200. Boasting a new 24.2Mp DX format CMOS sensor, the camera also bags an Expeed 3 processor – the same imaging engine featured on the Nikon D4, the company’s flagship shooter. Nikon D3200 DSLR camera Indeed …
Bob Dormon, 19 Apr 2012
Digitech iPB-10 guitar effects pedalboard for iPad

Digitech iPB-10 guitar effects pedalboard for iPad

When the Digitech iPB-10 arrived, I duly dispatched an e-mail to a muso mate with a link to this ultimate iPad guitar pedalboard. The wag replied: Nice machine you're reviewing, but I don't know whether 87 pedals, 54 amps and 26 cabinets is quite enough for me... Digitech iPB-10 guitar effects pedalboard for iPad Heavy metal: …
Bob Dormon, 29 Mar 2012