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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
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
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
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
Sony Xperia Z1

Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

Review The Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short stint as the top dog of Sony’s smartphone range and has now been unceremoniously ousted by the Xperia Z1. Sony Xperia Z1 Sony’s Xperia Z1: getting it right, second time around? But the new Z1 isn’t just a cosmetic warm-over. It has a more powerful processor, a much improved screen, a …
Alun Taylor, 18 Nov 2013
LG G2

LG’s G2: The phondleslab that wants you to TOUCH ITS BEHIND

Review For all the variation in screen size and the occasional BlackBerry with a keyboard, the design of modern smartphones is remarkably similar: an oblong lump with some sort of button arrangement below the screen and the power and volume controls scattered around the edge. LG G2 LG’s G2: not large in the hand But no longer. With …
Alun Taylor, 14 Nov 2013
Nexus 5

Google's Nexus 5: Best smartphone bang for your buck. There, we said it

Review Google's successor to the Nexus 4 is out and it's the first handset to carry the Android 4.4 operating system, aka KitKat. If you want to get hold of one you'll have to wait however – the Google Play store has sold out for the next few weeks, and even if you did order one at launch it may not be shipped out until November 8. So …
Iain Thomson, 6 Nov 2013

Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Review It can't be very helpful for a manufacturer to launch a new phone amid speculation that the device could be its last. With $1bn written off on its little-loved predecessor the Z10, and the future of BlackBerry so uncertain, the new Z30 has been given a very low-key launch. And yet it turns out to be a very attractive phone …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2013
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Once, twice, three times - a Very Large Phone™

Review Laying Dell’s Streak to one side, you can blame Samsung for starting this whole VLP™ business with its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, which sold in more-than-decent numbers, as much to the surprise of its maker as anyone else, I suspect. Its successor, the Galaxy Note 2, upped the stakes by featuring a 5.5-inch screen and promptly sold …
Alun Taylor, 16 Oct 2013
Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra: The quad-core 2.2GHz MEGA SCREEN PHONDLESLAB

Review Two years after Samsung opened the Very Large Phone (VLP™) Pandora’s Box with the original Galaxy Note, Sony has thrown its hat into the ring with the Xperia Z Ultra: a device boasting a 6.4-inch screen and a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. Now I have a pretty wild imagination, especially after a few pints and an injudicious late- …
Alun Taylor, 3 Oct 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Review Nokia's marketing department is comparing its new imaging champ, the Lumia 1020 smartphone, to digital SLR cameras. That's just silly. But what the Lumia 1020 can lay claim to is that it takes the best photos of any current modern smartphone – by a clear head and shoulders. And Nokia has packaged it into a modern phone, rather …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Sep 2013

Nokia Lumia 625: Quality budget 4G phone ... but where's UK's budget 4G?

Review Nokia's latest Lumia, a budget 4G smartphone, alights on an odd perch in the marketplace, where it finds itself all alone. 4G voice contracts in the UK are currently a luxury good - with luxury price tags attached. For most Britons, LTE is only practically available at not-so-budget prices from one network, EE, with a 2GB …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Sep 2013
ZTE Open, the Firefox OS smartphone

ZTE Open: This dirt-cheap smartphone is a swing and a miss

Review Of the various open source Android challengers currently under development, the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox OS was the first to reach the market with actual, commercially available products. The ZTE Open smartphone is one such product. Unfortunately, that's about all it's got going for it. When ZTE started selling the Open via …
Neil McAllister, 13 Sep 2013
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The mobe for CHUCK NORRIS TYPES

Review The key advantage Sony’s Xperia Z has over the Samsung Galaxy S4 is its IP57-rated waterproofing. However, Samsung hasn’t got where it is today by sitting still and letting a rival get away with any sort of competitive upper hand, so now we have an S4 that carries an IP67 rating. Enter the S4 Active. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active …
Alun Taylor, 5 Sep 2013
Huawei Ascend Mate

Huawei Ascend Mate: The phondleslab for the skint

Review Whether you think VLPs (Very Large Phones™) are the ultimate evolution of the personal telecommunication device or the bastard offspring of smartphone and tablet, there’s no doubting the little – well, not so little really – buggers are racing out of the woodwork. Most are rather expensive but Huawei’s Ascend Mate, like the …
Alun Taylor, 29 Aug 2013
Huawei Ascend P6

Huawei Ascend P6: Skinny smartphone that's not just bare bones

Review Just who the heck does Huawei think it is? Surely it is the purveyor of budget Android tat and carrier-branded dreck? I’m loathe to use the word "landfill" because some of its newer cheap handsets, like the 4.5-inch Ascend GS510, aren’t actually that bad and I’d certainly take one in preference to an appless, gutless, webcam- …
Alun Taylor, 27 Aug 2013
Samsung Mega 6.3

Samsung Mega 6.3: Enter the PHONDLESLAB

Review Some made-up words deserve a place in the popular lexicon. I’m thinking about “friscalating” or “omnishambles”. Others, like the wholly wretched term “phablet”, most certainly do not. So from now on I’ll be calling smartphones with screens between 5 and 7 inches VLPs, or Very Large Phones. Anyone using the word phablet in my …
Alun Taylor, 14 Aug 2013
Cat B15

Caterpillar B15: The Android smartphone for the building site

Review There’s no doubt that smartphones are getting more robust. Both the Sony Xperia Z and the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 Active boast IP57-rated resistance to dust and water intrusion which is handy if you take your phone to the beach or the pool and come over all clumsy. Drop either of them out of a third-floor window on a …
Alun Taylor, 11 Jul 2013

BlackBerry's retro-look QWERTY Q5 mobe: Resentment by design

Review BlackBerry’s second QWERTY-sporting BB10 device is a real puzzler. BlackBerry has packed most of the horsepower of the first BB10 QWERTYphone, the Q10, in a cheaper package. And it performs almost as well, giving a slick experience with no judder or lag. It also offers enterprises that scoop up BlackBerrys by the thousands a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2013

Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet

Review According to Nokia, the new Lumia 925 is its "third flagship" phone at the moment. It hasn’t retired the other two Lumias (the 920 and the 928) which continue to sail proudly alongside the 925, with all their flags fluttering. However there are times when one must wave a pedantic arm from the back of the class where the naughty …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jun 2013
Asus FonePad

Asus FonePad: You may feel a bit of a spanner

Review Do you really need a smartphone and a tablet? One overly expensive device with a screen and a battery that are both just a bit too small for comfort in this day and age to use for voice calls and cellular data, and a larger, Wi-Fi-connected gadget with a 7- or 8-inch screen for browsing the web, reading ebooks and watching …
Alun Taylor, 12 Jun 2013
Sony Xperia SP

Review: Sony Xperia SP

Sony’s flagship Android smartphones have been a bit of a disappointment to me. But if the Xperia S and Xperia T didn’t quite cut the Colman’s, the cheaper follow-ups, the Xperias P and V, were more convincing. Sony, it seems, is better in the middle than at the top. Now the new Xperia Z - another high-end Sony that didn't really …
Alun Taylor, 21 May 2013
Samsung Galaxy S4

Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

In purely commercial terms, the Samsung Galaxy S III was always going to be a tough act to follow. After all, it established and then cemented Samsung’s position as the number one smartphone maker by volume - and the only one to give Apple the collywobbles. I suspect that’s why Samsung has played it safe and opted for evolution …
Alun Taylor, 13 May 2013

Review: BlackBerry Q10

One of my four-year-olds pointed to a BlackBerry Bold recently and exclaimed "It's HALF A PHONE!".  She was pointing at the screen. And the other half? The answer, I elicited later, was that it was some kind of letters game. Just think about that for a moment. Every day of your life you've seen adults pawing at a phone, but only …
Nokia Lumia 520

Review: Nokia Lumia 520

A few years ago the late music magazine The Word coined the phrase "landfill indie" to describe the thousands of generic groups it encountered. Today the shops are full of "landfill Android": utterly generic, non-too-inspiring handsets. It’s into this Valley of Death that Nokia tosses its new Lumia 520. In the UK, the average …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2013
Nokia Lumia 720 Windows Phone 8

Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Nokia completed its Windows 8 range with two new models recently, including this midrange offering the 720. With a choice of five Lumias it's now clearer to see what Nokia hopes to achieve. The 720 strikes me as the Ford Cortina of the Lumias, a well made mass market compact. The 720 has everything going for it except, perhaps, …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Apr 2013
Asus PadFone 2

Review: Asus PadFone 2 phone-tablet combo

I thought the first Asus PadFone was a jolly good idea the moment I clapped eyes on it. Sadly it never made it to these shores but the PadFone 2 has. In a nutshell, what we have here is an Android smartphone that can be docked into a dumb tablet giving you not only a choice of two screen sizes but also the convenience of one …
Alun Taylor, 18 Apr 2013
Jabra Revo

Review: Jabra Revo Wireless headphones

I’ve tried a fair few wireless headphones over the past ten years, almost all of them unsatisfactory in one way or another. Many of the early ones were over-the-ear jobs with those round-the-back-of-your-head bands, but all suffered from either excessive weight - thanks to the on-board battery - or simply didn’t play for long. …
Tony Smith, 2 Apr 2013
HTC One

Review: HTC One

A year ago, I finished off my review of HTC’s One X by predicting great things for it and its maker. And then Samsung’s Galaxy S3 merrily outsold it ten to one. Thing is, that wasn’t a case of me being a colossal twit. The One X is the better phone - it’s better made, better looking and better to use. Luckily for HTC, the new …
Alun Taylor, 21 Mar 2013
Sony Xperia Z

Review: Sony Xperia Z

How it must gall Sony to find that along with the likes of HTC, ZTE and LG it is now firmly in the second division of Android phone makers, floundering in the spume and wake of the global sales monster that is Samsung. Sony Xperia Z Xperia Z: a bit of a slab Personally I blame a ludicrously complex model portfolio as much as …
Alun Taylor, 19 Mar 2013
Seagate Wireless Plus

Review: Seagate Wireless Plus Wi-Fi hard drive

In the week Apple finally released an iPad with a storage capacity greater than 64GB - double that; 128GB to be precise - Seagate made its Wireless Plus available. Of course, if Apple’s Flash mark-up wasn’t so colossal, or it had had the wit to either built a Micro SD port into its tablets or allow USB mass storage devices to …
Tony Smith, 7 Feb 2013
HTC 8X Windows Phone 8

Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for HTC. Eighteen months ago it was the darling of smartphone manufacturers having reinvented itself from a maker of unbranded handsets for the likes of O2 to an outfit boasting some of the best Android smartphones around. HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 Platform alteration: HTC's 8X Windows Phone 8 …
Alun Taylor, 10 Jan 2013
Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8

Nokia Lumia 820 WinPho 8 review

The Nokia Lumia 820 is the second of Nokia's two new Windows phones. It's the neglected sibling of the flagship Lumia 920, and is barely mentioned in Nokia's presentations.  But I found it a very capable handset, with plenty to commend it. Why does this sound a bit familiar? Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 Nokia's Lumia 820: It …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2012
Nokia HERE iOS maps app

Nokia HERE iOS maps app review

There’s never been a better time to publish a mapping app for iOS. Apple’s own Maps app is a laughing stock and Google is apparently dithering over whether to bother submitting an app version of its mapping solution for Apple’s approval, or lack thereof. So Nokia has stepped into the breach with HERE, a re-branded version of its …
Kenny Hemphill, 21 Nov 2012
Acer CloudMobile S500 Android smartphone

Acer CloudMobile S500 Android phone review

When I recently took a quick shufti at the alternatives on offer to anyone harbouring doubts about the iPhone 5 I stuck my neck out and awarded a Recommended badge to a phone I’d only used briefly at a trade show. After using it for a week has my enthusiasm waned? Nope. Acer CloudMobile S500 Android smartphone Bargain blower: …
Alun Taylor, 19 Nov 2012
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset review

If you ever go down the pub and let slip you’re a tech writer, you’re invariably asked for recommendations. With smartphones, this is pretty difficult these days because they’re all pretty good. No, scrap that, today’s devices are just amazing compared to what you could get a few years ago. They all do a job; you can’t really …
Sony Xperia T

Sony Xperia T Android smartphone review

Featuring in that new James Bond film, the Sony Xperia T may not be 007’s most advanced piece of kit, but it is one piece of Skyfall hardware that you can actually buy. Sony is clearly throwing the kitchen sink at the publicity effort, plastering bill board ads with the device and paying what must surely be an awful lot to be …
Anna Leach, 2 Nov 2012
LG Vu

LG Vu 5in Android phone-tablet review

Mercedes vs BMW, Boeing vs Airbus, Asda vs Tesco: the world is full of directly competing commercial entities locked in a bitter struggle for market share. In Korea, Samsung and LG go head-to-head in much the same way, so it's no surprise that LG has cooked up a rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Note. LG Vu The LG Vu doesn't seem so …
Alun Taylor, 23 Oct 2012
View21 VW11FVRHD50 Freeview+HD DVR

View 21 IPTV Freeview+HD DVR review

The Freeview+ HD market has suddenly sparked into life. Having spent an age coasting on the coattails of Humax’s HDR-FOXT2, there are suddenly a slew of better-specified recorders hitting the streets. The View21 VW11FVRHD50 is one such newbie, mixing Freeview+ HD with IPTV connected services. While it doesn’t offer full-on Catch …
Steve May, 10 Oct 2012
Nokia 808 PureView 41Mp camphone

Just how good is Nokia's PureView 41Mp camera tech?

When I first learnt about Nokia's 808 PureView phone featuring a 41Mp camera, I thought I'd either misread the specs or I'd somehow stepped into the future. A forty one megapixel camphone – WTF? Not even professional DSLRs showcase such a high resolution. Nokia 808 PureView 41Mp camphone Nokia's 808 PureView 41Mp camphone …
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7100 Android smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

I’ve no idea what the Korean is for “let’s stuff everything we can into a phone and ram it up Apple’s jacksie” but it’s a fair bet the phrase was used at the inception of the Galaxy Note 2. This Android handset is the feature-packed successor to the surprisingly successful Galaxy Note that I was quite taken with late last year …
Alun Taylor, 3 Oct 2012
Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5 review

Review Time was, smartphones did little that was actually smart. They had front-facing cameras and maybe a touchscreen, but operating systems geared more for a stylus than fingers. It wasn’t until the iPhone landed in 2007 that things changed. For the next few years Apple continued to deliver the brainiest of smartphones. No one else …
David Phelan, 21 Sep 2012