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Pimoroni/Cyntech Pibrella

Hungry for humbler Pi? Check out kid-friendly LED-laden Pibrella

Review There is no shortage of clip-on boards designed for the Raspberry Pi, almost all designed to make the tiny computer’s GPIO pins more accessible in order to ease the connection of devices to it, particularly ones that operate at voltages that are not Pi friendly. Pimoroni/Cyntech Pibrella Jump to the beep: the Pibrella from …
Tony Smith, 8 May 2014
Crucial M550 SSD form factors

It's GOOD to get RAIN on your upgrade parade: Crucial M550 1TB SSD

Review Just under a year ago Crucial sent shock waves through the SSD consumer market space with the launch of the M500 series. Not only did the family contain the first near-1TB SSD in this space, in the shape of the flagship M500 960GB drive, but the whole range had been priced at such a competitive level it had rivals scurrying …
Simon Crisp, 23 Apr 2014

Sony Xperia Z2: 4K vid, great audio, waterproof ... Oh, and you can make a phone call

Review What do you want in a smartphone? A premium build quality? A high-resolution display that looks the business whether you’re watching a movie or reading a book? Maybe it’s a decent camera so you can ditch your compact snapper. As phones become better at doing all these things, manufacturers struggle to make their products stand …
David Phelan, 23 Apr 2014
Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition

A premium smartie lump: Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition

Review While most Chinese smartphone OEMs started life making cheap tat and then slowly began moving upmarket, Oppo has taken a slightly different tack. Its devices have been fairly high-end from the get-go and the N1, initially released running Android 4.2 back in September 2013, made quite a splash. Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition Oppo …
Alun Taylor, 22 Apr 2014

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime

Quick review Hearthstone is a game that I've been a bit obsessed with lately. Hearthstone is a free game from Blizzard for PC and iPad. Free to play to be specific, but there is definitely no requirement to actually pay money – I'll get into why later. Using World of Warcraft themes and art style, it's an online turn-based card game. No, …
Adam Fowler, 17 Apr 2014
Motoral Moto G with a 64GB Kingston DataTraveler microDuo

Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast

Review The Kingston DataTraveler microDuo is a convenient flash storage device that features a full-size USB interface at one end and micro USB at the other. The thinking here is that you can upload data to it from your computer or NAS box, and then stuff it into your phone or tablet for easy file sharing and to supplement any fixed …
Bob Dormon, 16 Apr 2014
Samsung Galaxy S5

Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

Review Samsung is the world’s dominant mobile phone manufacturer – but does that mean it’s the best? Its latest release is the Galaxy S5, a mainstream phone designed to sell in huge numbers. It’s big, with a 5.1-inch screen, measuring up at 142 x 73 x 8mm, so it won’t suit smaller mitts. Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung's Galaxy S5: eye- …
David Phelan, 11 Apr 2014
Dell Wyse Cloud Connect Android dongle

Dell Wyse Cloud Connect: Pocket Android desktop

Review When somebody hands you a dongle-sized computer, you might, for a moment, be impressed. But when they then put it in a bag with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and suggest you find a monitor somewhere, you might wonder what exactly it is they are trying to sell you. Dell Wyse Cloud Connect Android dongle Mini USB – fancy seeing …
Bob Dormon, 9 Apr 2014
Samasung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Review As if Samsung's Galaxy range of tablets wasn’t broad enough with its plethora of Tab and Note machines in various screen sizes, the company has added a new subgroup: the Galaxy Pro. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 The line-up consists of both Note and Tab machines – the latter minus the S Pen …
Alun Taylor, 7 Apr 2014
StarTech S252SMTB3 2-bay Thunderbolt enclosure

Hobbyist or hardcore? StarTech dual-bay Thunderbolt enclosure

Review The last couple of Thunderbolt drive reviews we’ve undertaken at Vulture Central tempted us to crack open the enclosures to see what made them tick. In the case of the GTech GDrive, substituting the supplied hard drive with an SSD proved it could turn over some respectable figures in this configuration. StarTech S252SMTB3 2-bay …
Bob Dormon, 3 Apr 2014
HTC One M8 camera tricks

HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Review If phone companies were car manufacturers, HTC would be Alfa Romeo to Samsung's BMW. Customers look at the HTC One, see how it matches the Galaxy spec for spec, how it's that little bit more interesting and significantly nicer as a physical object... and then buy the Samsung anyway. HTC One M8 The road less travelled? HTC's One …
Simon Rockman, 1 Apr 2014
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

Review For the last 18 or so months, if you'd wanted a high-end Android smartphone you’ve had to make do with something a bit on the large size. The HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G Flex, Nokia 925, Sony Xperia Z1 all have one thing in common: they are big old Hectors compared to Apple’s iPhone 5S. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sony Xperia …
Alun Taylor, 28 Mar 2014
 GTech GDrive Mobile with Thunderbolt

We dig into the GTech GDrive Mobile ... and watch WORST tear-down vid OF ALL TIME

Review Not so long ago, El Reg was pulling apart, in every sense of the phrase, Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drive+ SSD. A portable 512GB storage device with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfacing. It put in a nifty performance, for sure, but man, it was pricey. GTech GDrive Mobile with Thunderbolt GTech's GDrive Mobile with Thunderbolt: 1TB of …
Bob Dormon, 25 Mar 2014
Google Chromecast

Reg tries out Google's Chromecast: Yep, we even tested smut sites

Review Google’s Chromecast has finally gone on sale in the UK after an age of waiting following its initial US release in July last year. This digital media player in the form of an HDMI dongle delivers streaming content to a telly including support for the BBC’s iPlayer. It’s only 30 quid too – so you might as well buy one even if it …
Bob Dormon, 21 Mar 2014
Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+

Vulture wraps claws around Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ portable SSD

Review It took a bit of persuading to be convinced that Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drive+ drive should end up on the test bench for review. The company had released the, er, "non-plussed" version a couple of years ago and it didn’t quite set the world on fire. Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ now has the addition of USB 3 …
Bob Dormon, 6 Mar 2014
Motorola Moto X

X-rated Android antics: Motorola's Moto X puts boot in chunky brother

Review When the Moto X was launched in the US back in August, it was a pretty big deal. Why? Because it was the first handset wholly conceived by Motorola under Google's stewardship, it was assembled in the States itself rather than the Far East, it was available with a dizzying number of personalisation options thanks to the Moto …
Alun Taylor, 4 Mar 2014
Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet

Toshiba Encore: The Windows 8.1 tablet that might catch on

Review Windows tablets have hardly set the world on fire. Limp processors, confusion in the mind of Joe Public over the difference between Windows proper and Windows RT, plus a lack of apps for the user-interface-once-known-as-Metro have all combined to dampen enthusiasm. Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet Mighty Atom: Toshiba's Encore …
Alun Taylor, 21 Feb 2014
Apple Mac Pro

Apple Mac Pro: It's a death star, not a nappy bin, OK?

Review We all got a sneak preview last summer and many were miffed when the scheduled arrival time at the close of 2013 came and went. However, it appears that the new Mac Pro did ship in small numbers in January of this year. But the dispatch of new orders quickly slipped to March, and Apple’s UK and US websites are currently listing …
Stephen Dean, 14 Feb 2014
WD My Cloud EX4 NAS box

WD My Cloud EX4 four-bay NAS

Review WD is on a mission to make using NAS as easy as possible for consumers to use, from setting a unit up to accessing it remotely via a personal cloud. It’s not exactly a new mission, yet it has gained momentum since the company introduced its popular single bay My Cloud range. Now to get over the limitations of using just a single …
Simon Crisp, 13 Feb 2014
LG G2

Baby's got the bends: LG's D958 G Flex Android smartie

Review Ask any consumer technology pundit and they will tell you the future of communications gadgets is all about physical flexibility and wearability. With its new G Flex tablette, LG has embraced the former and produced a device with a flexible screen and a flexible battery. It's a handset that trumpets its form just as loudly as …
Alun Taylor, 7 Feb 2014
Asus Transformer Book Trio

This THREESOME is a HANDFUL: It’s the Asus Transformer Book Trio

Review No matter what sort of tablet you prefer, be it an iPad or an Android slate, there will be times when you will also need a good old-fashioned Windows laptop too. Asus, which has form when it comes to cooking up strange combo designs - witness the PadFone - obviously thinks that’s the case as the new Transformer Book Trio is both …
Alun Taylor, 3 Feb 2014
Sonos Sub

It's big, it's expensive and it's an audiophile's dream: The Sonos Sub

The big dog in the streaming Wi-Fi speaker business has barked and delivered a sub-woofer - called the Sub. In fact it launched it a year and a half ago, but we can only now write about this heavy boom-box, so to speak, because the damn thing costs the best part of six hundred quid and we've had to save up our pennies. It's the …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jan 2014
Intel Galileo

The other end of the telescope: Intel’s Galileo developer board

Review Any notions that the Arduino platform is completely wedded to the Atmel ATmega family of microcontrollers have been shattered. The ARM-equipped Arduino Tre, which is based on Texas Instruments’ Sitara chip, is coming in the spring. And here, now is Intel’s Galileo, an Arduino board based on one of Chipzilla’s x86 processors, the …
Tony Smith, 29 Jan 2014
Lumo Body Tech Lumoback

Quivering, spine-tingling wearable tech: Strap it on and don't look back

Review If you’ve never had back pain, then thank your lucky stars. It can make a 20-year-old feel like they’re 100 and it’s a sore point that I know this to be true. If you’ll excuse the pun, you’re not necessarily lumbered with back pain as a life sentence, some problems can go away over time but they can just as easily return if you’ …
Bob Dormon, 27 Jan 2014
Ouya

We see ya, Ouya, you tasty Android games console gear

Review The Powers That Be at El Reg originally asked me to take a shufty at the Ouya gaming box when it first launched in the middle of 2013. I demurred. It seemed obvious to me at the time that the success or failure of this Kickstarter poster child would depend entirely on the enthusiasm with which game makers and the wider developer …
Alun Taylor, 22 Jan 2014
Lenovo Yoga 10

Lenovo Yoga 10: Mediocre tech, yes, but beautifully fondleable

Review Do tablets have to be dull, flat slabs? If you are Asus, Apple, Samsung or Nokia, the answer to that question is clearly ‘yes’. Sure, each may boast a decorative lip here, an extra button there, or an unusual profile curve someplace else, but essentially they all look much the same. Sony once tried something different with its …
Alun Taylor, 21 Jan 2014
HP EliteBook 840 G1

HP EliteBook 840G1: Sometimes it's an Ultrabook, sometimes it's not

Review At a recent event when HP was handing out Elitebooks and other gadgetry to the great and the good of the UK’s tech press, a thought crossed my mind as the options presented themselves. Shall I go for the eminently portable Elitebook 820 G1 12.5in model or the somewhat chunkier 14in 840 G1? With you, dear reader, in mind, I had a …
Bob Dormon, 17 Jan 2014
Toshiba Portégé Z30-A-10Z

Light, fast ... and pricey: Toshiba's Portégé Z30 – now THIS is an Ultrabook

Review When Toshiba Portégé turned up and I lifted the out of the box, I started laughing. Now, I’m not suggesting that the arrival of Toshiba Ultrabook is a joke, quite the opposite in fact. What amused me was just how light it was – a mere 1.2kg for this 13.3-inch machine. I’d prepared myself to haul something heavier, only to find I …
Bob Dormon, 13 Jan 2014
Intel NUC D54250WYK

Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

Review Never let it be said that Intel doesn’t respond to criticism. Its first Next Unit of Computing (NUC) micro-desktop, which appeared in the first few months of 2013, wasn’t a bad machine, but it prompted grumbles from reviewers (myself included), about some odd design and packaging decisions. Intel NUC D54250WYK New NUC: all the …
Tony Smith, 2 Jan 2014
Acer C720 Chromebook

Acer C720 Chromebook with Haswell battery boosting goodness

Review You know, sometimes you’ve got to wonder what enables a design to go into production. I’m looking at the Acer C720 Chromebook and appreciating its dinkiness, the non-reflective 11.6in TFT screen and the fact that it was more than happy to take a bog-standard USB Ethernet adapter and run with it. Acer C720 Chromebook Acer's C720 …
Bob Dormon, 1 Jan 2014
TomTom GO 6000 satnav

TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

Review During the launch of the revamped TomTom Go series of satnavs earlier this year, the company reeled off some interesting statistics that revealed a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact. And of those 39 per cent, only 4 per cent were considering buying into the technology in the next 12 …
Bob Dormon, 20 Dec 2013
Misfit Wearables Shine

Heart part more art than state-of-the-art: Shine wearable activity sensor

Review I’m not a fitness fan. I don’t jog and I’m more likely to be seen at the swimming baths picking up my kids after lessons than doing lanes myself. But with the big 5-0 coming close, and working as I do in a trade that has me sitting on my bum all day, I find I have a keener interest in my personal well-being than I did when I was …
Tony Smith, 12 Dec 2013
Dell Inspiron 15-7537

Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Review The appeal of replacing your desktop is not exactly hard to appreciate. For me, a big screen, decent sized keyboard and a measure of portability, all add up to deliver one thing: convenience. So here I am with Dell’s latest Inspiron 15 7000 series laptop and, curiously enough, it is on my lap, all 2.6kg of it. Dell Inspiron 15- …
Bob Dormon, 6 Dec 2013
WD Black2 Dual Drive

Bigger on the inside: WD’s Tardis-like Black² Dual Drive laptop disk

Review The phone call from Western Digital's people promised me “a completely new category of hard drive”. Naturally I was sceptical. After all, what could possibly be new in the world of rotating magnetic media – and don’t we all just want fast SSDs anyway? In fact, there’s no denying that WD has indeed delivered something new and, …
Leo Waldock, 6 Dec 2013
Quirky.com Spotter

Sensors and sensibility: Quirky’s Spotter multi-purpose monitor module

Review It sounds such a good idea: a compact, battery powered general-purpose sensor pod you can stick pretty much anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network you have access to, and which will ping you temperature, humidity, sound, light and movement info over the internet to your smartphone. Quirky.com Spotter Quirky’s Spotter: internet- …
Tony Smith, 4 Dec 2013
Synology DS214

Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

Review The Bring-Your-Own-Disks home server market might not be mainstream but it's pretty lively place, with giants like Cisco mixing with obscure Taiwanese box-shifters. And although these quiet, sub-£400 servers make a useful bit of small office kit, the abundance of media awash in family homes and shared digs give them another role …
Motorola Moto G

Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Review Regular readers of my phone reviews for El Reg will be well aware that I like cheap devices. On these very pages I have sung the praises of handsets such as Huawei’s Ascend G310 and ZTE’s Skate – aka the Orange Monte Carlo – after being impressed by the quality they offered for the money demanded. Motorola Moto G Moto G: …
Alun Taylor, 2 Dec 2013
Asus Transformer Book T100 separated tablet from keyboard

Asus Transformer Book T100: Xbox One? PS4? Nah, get a cute convertible for Christmas

Review The Asus Transformer Book T100 looks like it’s going to be surefire hit, but not because it runs a quad-core Intel "Bay Trail" Atom processor. And not because it’s a convertible taking on tablet form or becoming and touchscreen notebook in a snap. And not because it runs Windows 8.1 and not one of the original wishy-washy …
Bob Dormon, 29 Nov 2013
Sony PS4

PS-PHWOARRR: We review Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 4

Review Taking the PlayStation 4 out of its box, my first thought was that it’s monolithic: the kind of object that 2001: A Space Odyssey’s hairy, belly scratching apemen would have danced around in worship. Sony PS4 Black monolith: Sony’s PlayStation 4 The console’s perpetual forward slant lends it an overtone of kinetic energy like …
Mike Plant, 27 Nov 2013
Kobo Arc 10HD Android tablet

Kobo Arc 10HD: The bookworm's fondleslab?

Review If you’re in the tablets game, then delivering hi-res models in various form factors seems to have been this year’s preoccupation. Among the myriad hordes pushing out Android fondleslabs are those in the ebook sector – and Canadian e-ink vendor Kobo has done just that, with a screen that's even sharper than the new iPad Air. …
Bob Dormon, 27 Nov 2013
HP Slate 21

HP’s ENORMO-SLAB: The Slate 21 MONSTER tablet

Review Hewlett-Packard’s first attempt at an Android tablet, the Slate 7, was a cheap, wretched and irredeemably awful device. So when I heard that the Palm killer’s follow-up fondleslab was to be a 21-inch affair, my reaction was one of incredulity mixed with foreboding. HP Slate 21 Your new desktop? HP’s Android-based Slate 21 In …
Alun Taylor, 26 Nov 2013
Electric Imp

Little devil: Electric Imp is an Internet of Things Wi-Fi PC-ON-AN-SD-CARD

Review Most products’ origins are prosaic: an inventor or a suit spots a gap in the market and attempts to fill it. Other products, however, have rather more bizarre beginnings. A case in point: Electric Imp came about because co-founder Hugo Fiennes wanted to connect the lights in his new bathroom to the internet. That’s just the kind …
Tony Smith, 25 Nov 2013