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Obi Worldphone MV1: It's striking, it's solid. Aaaand... we've run out of nice things to say

Review Oh, Obi. With your striking Nordic vibe, and Cyanogen OS, we did so want to like you. San Francisco newcomer Obi has released its first Western phone into the UK, and it’s is an expression of what the startup is all about: making budget Androids that don’t look budget at all. Designed by Beats headphone and Apple industrial …
Huawei gold Honor 5X with fingerprint sensor

Huawei Honor 5X: Swishy fingerprint tech for the mid-range

Review Chinese phone manufacturers are offering punters a Happy Hour that lasts until closing time. That's if you're prepared for a few UI eccentricities, and keeping your fingers crossed for any customer support or OTA updates… and the value for money is fantastic. Huawei’s Honor brand took the laurels last year with the Honor 7, a …
Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL: Clear thoughts of Continuum with a snazzy camera

Review There’s only one reason you might want to buy either of the new flagship Microsoft Lumias. Straight off the bat, we can tell you it's not the party trick Continuum, where your phone doubles up as an ARM-based PC to run Microsoft Office. Nor is that reason Windows 10 – which is still buggy, bereft of significant new benefits …

Lights, power, action! Smartplugs with a twist

Review For reasons that continue to confound consumers, the two most popular areas for smart-home technologies right now are lightbulbs and plugs. There are literally dozens of companies trying to do the electronic equivalent of designing a better mousetrap. Among the also-rans, there are a few that stand out, however. We've already …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2015
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry Priv: Enterprise Android in a snazzy but functional package

Review If somebody told you six months ago that the best Android phone of 2015 would have been made by BlackBerry, you’d have thought they were a bit mad. BlackBerry didn’t really make phones any more, and what phones it made were marketed as a secure alternative to the Mad Max badlands of Android. And if anyone had dared suggest …

Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

Review There's no getting away from it: talking about a smart light bulb is liable to subject you to immediate mockery. Oh really? It's smart enough to turn itself on and off? Anything else? No? Okay, I think I'll just keep using my fingers then. The image of someone pulling out their phone to turn on a lamp is ludicrous and here's …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2015
Nexus 5X

New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

Review Google’s latest Nexus smartphones, the 5X and the 6P, were announced last month, and while there's a lot to be said for the upgrades, there's some unfortunate omissions. It has been five years since the first Nexus smartphone was unveiled, and since then the Chocolate Factory (and assorted hardware partners) has used the brand …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2015

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

Review So, um, I love the Amazon Echo. For those of you already frothing at the mouth in righteous indignation, please feel free to scroll to the bottom right away, click "Post a comment" and vent about privacy, Jeff Bezos' secret police, and whatever else is bothering. Meanwhile, for the rest of you, let's get straight to it: the …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2015

Ring Chime: Needy wireless doorbell or $30 bling t'ing?

Review We were quite taken with the Ring doorbell earlier this year. For $200, and after some very basic DIY, you get a high-tech security device. It includes an HD camera, an intercom, a motion sensor and, yes, a doorbell. The Ring links to your phone, gives you alerts, lets you watch video of people through it and lets you have a …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Oct 2015
HD8_hero

Amazon Fire HD 8: Mid-spec Nokia Lumi... er, MediaTek slab

There’s a wind of change blowing through the Amazon devices lineup, and I suspect its source is the pricey fart that was the Fire Phone. Previous Fire tablets have tended to offer high-end parts for mid-price money. The HDX 8.9, which is still being offered, is a good example. But I reckon the HDX’s days are numbered. HD8_flat …
Alun Taylor, 13 Oct 2015
Myo armband waving

Meaningful gesture: Thalmic Labs Myo motion sensing armband

Review For years, the way we interact with computers hasn't much changed. Keyboards and mice have been the mainstay of computing for decades. Of course, there have been experiments, like clunky VR gloves, and more successful gizmos like Kinect. Leap Motion, for example, tried to bring gesture control to your PC in 2013, where it …
Nigel Whitfield, 12 Oct 2015
Google Chromecast 2

Google Chromecast 2015: Puck-on-a-string fun ... why not, for £30?

Review OK, so we all know what Google’s Chromecast is, yes? Someone at the back – why are they always at the back – seems unsure. In a sentence, then, Chromecast is a small Wi-Fi-connected slug that you slip into a spare HDMI port on your TV, and which plays video and audio under the direction of a remote control app. Google …
Tony Smith, 6 Oct 2015
i30_hero

Hyundai i30 Turbo: Softly, softly, catchee Audi

Vulture at the Wheel When The Reg went for a spin in the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, one of the most common reactions we got was “who knew the Koreans would be leading the field in this sort of tech!” i30_side_moors Surprisingly nice to drive, surprisingly nice to look at. The Hyundai i30 Turbo is just surprisingly nice Indeed. A decade and a half …
Alun Taylor, 4 Oct 2015
ZenPad_stock

Asus ZenPad 10 Z300C: Cheap tab, dock combo you can turn up to 11

Review If you want a top-notch Android tablet and keyboard package, buy the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's very good. But at £499 it's also very expensive. If money is tight, Asus can now offer you a superficially not dissimilar package for two hundred quid. That £300 saving suggests some major compromises, so is the Asus a bargain …
Alun Taylor, 2 Oct 2015
Apple iPhone 6s

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Harder, faster and they'll give you a buzz

Review The latest iThing is the tock in Apple’s two-year hardware cycle, last year’s iPhone 6 and its oversized "Plus" companion having been the tick. Apple iPhone 6s Unspoilt by progress, Apple's iPhone 6s Again, the phone with an "i" on the front gets an "s" on the end, lower-cased in a sub-editor-baiting pseudo-plural. And, as …
Tom Salinger, 29 Sep 2015
Elephone P8000

The pachyderm punch: El Reg takes just-over-a-ton Elephone P8000 to tusk

Review Every time The Register reviews a high-end, large-screen smartphone we get a comment or two about how for a quarter of the price you can get something similar from a no-name Chinese manufacturer. Elephone P8000 No-name, low price, big screen: Elephone's P8000 5.5-incher No doubt we’ll see the same when we review the new …
Alun Taylor, 28 Sep 2015
The quarter of a million pound Rolls Royce Wraith outside Villa Mirador in St Jean Cap Ferrat

Spirit of the Ghost: Taking a Rolls-Royce Wraith around France

Vulture at the Wheel There used to be a tradition on Personal Computer World magazine of writing reviews on the computer you were reviewing. This is being written from the passenger seat of a Rolls-Royce Wraith travelling between Dijon and Reims. The two-door, four seat Wraith has just become the Rolls-Royce of interest because the company …
Simon Rockman, 27 Sep 2015
idol3_hero

Alcatel Idol 3: Holding its own with a pretty decent 5.5 inches

Review The phrase “this now the best smartphone below so-and-so quid” is going to get worn out at this rate. idol3_phones Idol 3 has JBL speakers, music app and earphones. All three are rather good The Mk 3 Motorola Moto G, the Wileyfox Swift and the Huawei Honor 7 have each recently been hailed on these very pages as a best buy …
Alun Taylor, 22 Sep 2015
Qnap TS-453mini NAS box

Brimming with VM goodness: Qnap TS-453mini 4-bay NAS

Review Qnap’s TS-453mini is the latest addition to the company’s TS-x53 Pro mid-range series of NAS units for SMBs.It is available in two basic models, the TS-453mini-2G (2GB DD3L) and the TS-453mini-8G, the flagship model of the range. The one I have to review has the maximum amount of memory the unit supports: 8GB of DDR3L running at …
Simon Crisp, 18 Sep 2015
UX305_hero

Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense

What a difference a new operating system makes. Being a laptop without a touchscreen, the UX305 felt a little out of sorts when it was launched running touchy-feely Windows 8 earlier in the year. UX305_sideopen One of the best looking things it's made, according to Asus. Hard to argue. UX305 is a real beauty But now the …
Alun Taylor, 16 Sep 2015
Wileyfox Swift Android Smartphone

Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Review If someone asked me what my ideal smartphone would be I’d say one that costs no more than £120, has 16GB of storage, at least 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch IPS screen, a removable battery, two SIM slots, space for a microSD card, the best iteration of Android available (that’s the Cyanogen OS Android fork, in my opinion) and is …
Alun Taylor, 8 Sep 2015
The Volvo S60 is a mile muncher

No boxy Volvo: Chilling in the S60 D3 Manual R-Design Lux Nav

Vulture at the Wheel Volvo has always been the marque you bought if you didn’t want to buy German. That didn’t change when Ford bought the brand and hasn’t now that it’s owned by the Chinese company Geely. This little number is a rival to a BMW 3 series or Mercedes C Class. Volvo puts as much emphasis on the trim level as on the engines and this …
Simon Rockman, 6 Sep 2015
Asus Chromebook Flip

Small wonder, little competition: Asus Chromebook Flip

Review Asus’s new Chromebook Flip isn’t the first touchscreen Chromebook we’ve fondled here at The Register. That accolade belongs to the Lenovo N20p. But since the N20p has been discontinued in the UK, Asus needn't worry about its new convertible being overshadowed by it. Asus Chromebook Flip Asus' new Netb – sorry, Chromebook …
Alun Taylor, 2 Sep 2015

Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

Vulture at the wheel Ever since Fiat became FCA – Fiat Chrysler Automotive – there has been something a bit incongruous about the mix of brands. An Italian Jeep takes a bit of getting used to. Refined ride, exceptionally nice leather, a responsive automatic gearbox, multi-link rear suspension. It’s all a bit, well, not-Jeep. And the good things …
Simon Rockman, 29 Aug 2015
Honor 7 Android smartphone

Honor 7 – heir apparent to the mid-range Android crown

Review With a starting price of £249, the Honor 7 is a quality phone that offers astonishing value for money: and it could be a genuine game-changer for how people buy phones. Not only is it (comfortably) the standout product in its price range, it also has the kind of features associated with much more expensive models, and a few …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Aug 2015
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G Android Smartphone

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G: The Android smartie that can take its drink

Review Read any technology site and the advice is pretty unequivocal: if you want an Android smartphone for less than £200 that’s not an import, then buy the Mk 3 Motorola Moto G. Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G Android Smartphone Drinking buddy: Sony's Xperia M4 Aqua I'm not about to deny that the new Moto G is a nice bit of kit, or that …
Alun Taylor, 24 Aug 2015
ix35_filling_station

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: El Reg on the hydrogen highway

Vulture at the Wheel Ask me what my ideal electric car would be and I’ll probably tell you one with a range of 400 miles and a three-minute charge time. Shame no such car exists, I hear you say. Not so. I drove just such a vehicle last week. ix35_hero The ix35 at the hydrogen filling station near Heathrow. One of three in the UK at the time of …
Alun Taylor, 22 Aug 2015
Intel Skylake unlocked Core i5 and i7 CPUs

All aboard the Skylake: How Intel stopped worrying and learned to love overclocking

Review Nope, it’s not the next instalment of the James Bond franchise, but Intel’s eagerly awaited successor to the Broadwell platform. Skylake, like Broadwell, is built on a 14nm process but this time we get yet another new socket, as the new CPUs use the LGA1151 Socket. Intel Skylake unlocked Core i5 and i7 CPUs Ready for a CPU …
Simon Crisp, 21 Aug 2015
Intel compute stick

Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

Quick review "Little Stick. Big Surprise." That's what Intel says about its Compute Sticks, the new 'smaller than an iPhone' mini-PCs designed for portability and ease of use The Intel Compute Stick (ICS) is perhaps best thought of as the mutant offspring of a Raspberry Pi on steroids and Google Chromecast. The offspring emerges as a tiny …
Adam Fowler, 20 Aug 2015
ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini Android smartphone

ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini: The able Android smartie the company won't sell you

Review The Nubia brand is largely unknown in the UK, because ZTE chooses not to flog its so-named wares here in Blighty. Nevertheless, international-spec Nubia Z9s are reasonably easy to acquire and when Chinese wholesaler GearBest offered to lend us one to poke with the El Reg reviewing stick, we thought: why not? ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini …
Alun Taylor, 18 Aug 2015
Asus VivoMini UN42-M054Y

Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Review You only have to own a mini PC for a short while to understand the attraction. Minimal footprint, easy to handle and with any luck, a useful selection of interfacing options. Go for the latest fifth generation Intel chips and you can have sufficient grunt to tackle even the most arduous of desktops tasks. Asus VivoMini UN42- …
Bob Dormon, 10 Aug 2015
The RS3 takes on Shelsley Walsh

Audi RS3: Keep running up that hill, with no problems

Vulture at the Wheel On the June 6 1936, Audi – or Auto Union, as it was known at the time – first visited the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb course with its 550hp Grand Prix car. Rain spoiled Hans Stuck’s runs on the day, but in practice he had equalled Raymond Mays’ course record of 39.6 seconds up the 1.5km hill in rural Gloucestershire. Just over 50 …
Guy Swarbrick, 8 Aug 2015
Motorola Moto G 3rd generation

Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Review It's been relatively easy recommending a SIM-free phone for under £200 for the past couple of years. The decision tree looked like this: If you wanted those specific apps, you’d want to consider the Moto G. But if you didn’t, then the Lumia range gave you a better phone at any sub-£200 price point. Windows Phone was intended …

Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Review It's not often these days that you are disappointed by a product. Websites with online ratings and amateur reviews have made it so easy and fast for people to share experiences of new gizmos that you can instantly tell a hit from a dud – and avoid the duds. What makes the Sengled lightbulbs all the more disappointing is that I …
Sony Xperia Z4 4G Android tablet

Sony Xperia Z4 4G Android tablet – gift of sound and vision

Review Time to recap the history of Sony’s Xperia tablet range to put this new model into context. In the beginning was the Xperia Tablet, the first Sony 10-inch slab. Then came the Z2 Tablet, launched just over a year ago and reviewed here. The Z3 Tablet never existed, only the clumsily named Z3 Tablet Compact, an 8-inch affair. …
Alun Taylor, 4 Aug 2015
Intel SSD750 NVMe 1.2TB PCIe SSD

Assessing the power of Intel’s SSD 750 … but check your motherboard before buying

Review Although SSDs have a huge performance advantage over the good, old-fashioned clattering mechanical drive, they have (up till now) been held back because of their reliance on AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) architecture, developed in 2004 for standard disks and, in particular, SATA interfaced disks. Intel SSD750 NVMe …
Simon Crisp, 3 Aug 2015
Q7_front_hero

The Q7: Audi’s big SUV goes from tosspot to tip-top

Vulture at the Wheel Too large, too ugly, too late. Luckily (for El Reg’s relationship with Audi) that’s my opinion of the outgoing Q7. Why anyone coughed up good money for a Q7 when for less you could have pretty much the same thing with a VW Touareg badge on the back was beyond me. Q7_side New Q7, looks less leaden than old model. In fact, it' …
Alun Taylor, 1 Aug 2015
Speed

Speed freak: Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe SSD

Review If evidence from last/early this year’s large technology shows is anything to go by, then 2015 might just be the year that consumer PCIe SSD market begins stirring – something that's long overdue. Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB HHHL PCIe SSD Kingston's HyperX Predator, the company's fastest SSD to date PCIe-based drives, …
Simon Crisp, 28 Jul 2015
HP Spectre x360

If Microsoft made laptops, it'd make this: HP Spectre x360

Review What happens when you lock a group of product engineers from a major PC manufacturer and a team software developers from a separate company together in a room? HP's Spectre x360 does. It's the result of some serious conversations between the lads and lasses at Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft; put simply, if Microsoft made a …
Alun Taylor, 27 Jul 2015
Acer Revo One RL85 System

Acer Revo One RL85: A pint-sized PC for the snug

Review Acer has produced a number of small form factor systems over recent years, and the Revo One RL85 is the latest incarnation. It's designed very much as a home PC, and comes in an upright enclosure that's about two thirds the size of a shoebox – 106.6mm square and 155mm tall – but still manages to pack a fair bit inside. Not the …
Nigel Whitfield, 24 Jul 2015
Pebble Time

Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Review I love what Eric Migovsky has done with the Pebble by creating an antidote to modern smartwatches. The two generations of Pebble so far have been useful, durable and practical – qualities which elude the over-specced and costly Apple and Android kit. Pebble Time Pebble Time: Fit for purpose With its early mover advantage, …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2015
Apple iPod touch

Dead device walking: Apple iPod Touch 6th generation

Review The iPod is dead. The sales figures say so. The absence of updates to the range says so. The lack of concern about the absence of updates to the range says so. There are neither ‘Shock – new iPod!’ stories, nor are there “shock – no new iPod!” stories. It’s inert. It has ceased to be. The only thing it’s shuffling is off this …
Adam Banks, 21 Jul 2015