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Apple MacBook Pro 13-in WRD early 2015

Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Review Last year’s update to the MacBook Pro was more notable for its £100 price cut than the modest speed bump that accompanied it. However, this year’s model is a more interesting kettle of fish, as it introduces Intel’s latest Broadwell processors to the Mac range, along with Apple’s new Force Touch trackpad doohickey. Apple …
Stephen Dean, 26 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
FiveNinjas Slice Media Player

Hackable media box based on the Raspberry Pi compute module: Five Ninjas Slice

Review My original idea was to review the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. But the thing about the Compute Module is that it’s not an end-user product: it was designed for manufacturers looking for an ARM-based platform on which they can build devices they can sell. FiveNinjas Slice Media Player FiveNinjas Slice Media Player Unlike the …
Tony Smith, 16 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
Buffalo LinkStation 441D 4-bay NAS box

An uncomplicated Buffalo in SOHO: The LinkStation 441D 4-bay NAS box

Review Buffalo’s latest addition to the LinkStation family of consumer NAS boxes is the 4-bay LS441D. It’s available off-the-shelf in a number of capacities starting at 4TB and increasing in 4TB increments to 16TB. The unit I’m looking at here is the bare enclosure – the LS441DE. Out of the box all the units are set to a default RAID 5 …
Simon Crisp, 10 Mar 2015
MIPS Creator CI20 development board

Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

Review Time was when chip-makers’ processor evaluation boards were well beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. That didn't matter, of course: ordinary mortals weren't interested in small, nude motherboards designed to help designers of embedded systems judge a microprocessor's suitability for the application they were working on. MIPS …
Tony Smith, 9 Mar 2015
Ford Focus 1.5 Zetec. Pic: Simon Rockman

Filthy – but sadly frothy – five door fun: Ford Focus 1.5 Zetec

Vulture at the Wheel The original Ford Focus was an incredible car. The latest generation has a lot to live up to. The man behind the Focus was Richard Parry-Jones, who, with incredible attention to detail, produced a reasonably priced car that handled well. He also got the designers, who were bright young things, to wear ageing suits, gloves and …
Simon Rockman, 8 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, 3 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
GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Review When it comes to hacking hardware, there’s an easy way and there‘s a hard way. The hard way involves connecting peripherals direct to one of the standard buses supported by your Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone or whatever. Buses like I²C, SPI, UART and 1-Wire. You’ll need to take care with your wiring: have you got the right …
Tony Smith, 24 Feb 2015
Megane Renaultsport 275. Pic: Simon Rockman

Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy: Hands-on gizmo-packed motoring

Vulture at the Wheel There used to be a fashion for wearing Nike trainers with smart business suits. It’s a vibe which fits the Renault Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy to a tee. This is a car which will happily do the supermarket run and which won’t shame itself on a track day around Croft. More importantly it won’t shame you, because despite the …
Simon Rockman, 22 Feb 2015
Thecus N4310 4-bay NAS box

Thecus N4310 4-bay: A NAS-ty beast for the budget-conscious

Review When The Reg did a roundup of four bay NAS units a few months back, it was mentioned that it was intended to put the latest Thecus model, the N4310, up against some of its competitors. The company was finalising some firmware tweaks before launch, though, so it wasn’t available in time. But now I’ve got my hands on one to see …
Simon Crisp, 16 Feb 2015
F-Type photography by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swarbrick.photography/">Guy Swarbrick</a>

Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Vulture at the Wheel The Jaguar F-Type Coupe is beautiful. It looks good in our pictures here but in the aluminium it’s even more wonderful. Before I got the car for review I saw one in traffic and my heart just sang. Designer Ian Callum is a genius and there are no bad angles, but front on and particularly three quarter rear it’s exceptional. There …
Simon Rockman, 14 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
Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock

Port authority: Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock

Review Intel's Thunderbolt interface is the most impressive external I/O you can get on a consumer PC. But as befits a luxury interface, it comes at luxury price. There's a computer in the cable, for a start. All of this means that Thunderbolt's great promise – one cable to carry all your I/O, for easy docking – has been kept out of …
Think golf buggy meets milk float

Living with a Renault Twizy: Pah! Bring out the HOVERCRAFT

VULTURE AT THE WHEEL If you saw the Top Gear where James May drove a Renault Twizy to win a city commuting challenge, you might get the impression that it’s a fun little car. Renault Twizy by Simon Rockman Sensible is NOT the first word that comes to mind when you see this dorky 'leccy little 'un. If you’ve read our review of the Tesla S, you …
Simon Rockman, 31 Jan 2015
Withings Activité Pop watch and fitness tracker

Strap on fitness finesse: Withings Activité Pop

Review One problem with wearable fitness trackers: you may not want to wear one when you’ve also got a watch on. This may be especially the case if, like me, you have a tracker not to monitor an aggressive fitness regime, but simply to ensure you don’t spend the entire working day parked on your arse. And you’d like it to be discreet …
Tony Smith, 29 Jan 2015
Tek Gear Twiddler III remote handheld keyboard

Come and Twiddle Tek Gear's one handed keyboard

Review Over the years a plethora of keyboard alternatives have crossed the El Reg hardware desk, but none has had the utility, or longevity, of the Handykey Twiddler. This third incarnation has been a decade in the making, and arrived a year late, but with small hands and a willingness to learn it could make wearable computing …
Bill Ray, 21 Jan 2015
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD

Samsung's 850 EVO 1TB SSD appears live ... in 3D

Review It was only a matter of time before Samsung dropped its 32-layer 3D V-NAND (3D Vertical NAND) technology further down the food chain, following its début in the high-end 850 PRO. The result is now with us in the shape of the 850 EVO, which, just like its 840 EVO predecessor, differs from the standard 850 PRO in the type of NAND …
Simon Crisp, 19 Jan 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

Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Vulture at the Wheel The Tesla S is astonishing. I’d driven one around the London Docklands at a launch, but a week with one has me converted to merits of auto electricity. I have to admit I was sceptical. Electric car owners as a tribe can be quite hard work. They are always convinced that their cars are wonderful, even the ones with G-Wizzes. So …
Simon Rockman, 11 Jan 2015
Bookeen Cybook Ocean

An e-reader you HAVEN'T heard of: Cybook Ocean 8"

Review The e-reader market has not yet been conquered by the likes of Amazon and Kobo. There are still a number of less well known players out there making affordable or niche devices for the discerning shopper. French company Bookeen is focused on European territories with its book store, but that doesn’t mean the English-speaking …
Mark Diston, 10 Jan 2015
BlackBerry Classic QWERTY key smartphone

QWERTY-tastic BlackBerry Classic actually a classic

Review BlackBerry has looked into the abyss and seen ... a vintage BlackBerry staring back. Two years on from a catastrophic “modernisation”, BlackBerry has finally made a modern BlackBerry that people who used and liked a classic QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry will feel right at home with. Which accounts for the name. Natch. BlackBerry …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2014
Robox 3D printer

Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Review It seems like the Robox has been talked about for such a long time, with a subsequent build-up in hype and publicity. So, is it all justified? Originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign and slated for release earlier in 2014, it has now finally appeared, and is drawing attention. Being placed in all the right sales …
Anthony Smith, 30 Dec 2014
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
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Review This has been a year of pain for Android phone makers, and Sony has suffered as much in this over-saturated market as anyone. But manufacturers' pain is your gain. Sony's overlooked Z3 Compact is, for you if not Sony, the happy result. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Sony's Xperia Z3 Compact: the flagship for smaller pockets It’s a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 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
EE TV Freeview PVR

Four tuner frenzy: The all-you-can-EEat TV Freeview PVR

Review Television's a lot smarter than it used to be, and there's an ever-increasing number of ways that the basic experience can be enhanced, whether it's by providing extra Over-The-Top (OTT) content with services such as Netflix, or convenient features, such as the ability to set recordings when you're out and about, using text …
Nigel Whitfield, 15 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
OCZ ARC 100 SSD

Sink your teeth into OCZ's ARC 100 SSD sizzler with tasty home-grown chips

Review After Toshiba’s acquisition of the company, OCZ has in one fell swoop joined the elite band of SSD manufacturers who are in the extremely fortunate position of being able to source “in-house” all the internal chips that matter in a drive: namely, the NAND and the controller. OCZ ARC 100 SSD Teaming up with Tosh: OCZ's ARC 100 …
Simon Crisp, 8 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
 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
Nexus 6

LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

Review We've been running the new Google-mungous big Nexus 6 smartphone and Android 5.0 through our hands-on real-world testing – and here are the results. Nexus 6 The Nexus range is Google's attempt to show the world exactly what an Android phone should be. As we've seen with past models, that usually means a stripped-down handset …
Iain Thomson, 12 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
Amazon Fire TV

Boxing clever? Amazon Fire TV is SO CLOSE to being excellent

Review Amazon has made its Fire TV video streaming device available in the UK; an inexpensive set-top box that runs the company’s de-Googled version of Android, as also found in the Fire Phone. Confusing matters, Amazon also offers the Fire TV Stick. This will be available on November 19, but only in the US. Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire …
Tim Anderson, 7 Nov 2014
Apple Mac Mini late 2014

The late 2014 Apple Mac Mini: The best (and worst) of both worlds

Review The Mac Mini is a machine I half expected Apple to quietly drop. The decline of the desktop personal computer business in general, and the fact that you’ll never see a Mac Mini as a prominent piece of product placement, means this miniature micro is unlikely to ever to hold a place in Apple's heart like the iMac. Apple Mac Mini …
Tony Smith, 5 Nov 2014
HTC Nexus 9

Nexus 9: Google and HTC deliver Android 5.0 'Lollipop' at iPad prices

Review Google and HTC's new Nexus 9 tablet is most notable for being the first device to ship with Android 5.0 "Lollipop," making it attractive to Android fans. But it also delivers a bright hi-res screen and impressive performance that could win more than a few converts to the Nexus camp, provided they can stomach the mid-tier price …
LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2

LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 – dual SSD sizzler

Review It’s not exactly uncommon to find manufacturers making claims for product performance that few of us would actually be able replicate. Often the testing methods are not typical or are adorned with an asterisk or two – involving a bit of effort to find the relevant footnote. Battery life and data rates are among the worst …
Bob Dormon, 3 Nov 2014
Apple iMac 27-inch with Retina Display

Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Review It’s kind of ironic really, that the most expensive, over-the-top version of the iMac ever released should actually turn out to be pretty good value for money. Apple iMac 27-inch with Retina Display Costs on a par with a 5K monitor: Apple's iMac with 5K Retina display The so-called "entry level" iMac launched a few months ago …
Stephen Dean, 31 Oct 2014