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* Posts by Al Taylor

319 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?

Al Taylor

Re: car

Yup, spot on,.

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Al Taylor

Re: Couple of questions

Not as you'd notice despite the way it looks. You are aware that there is "something" lurking above your right eyebrow but you soon forget it's there as you would a thick pair of spectacle frames.

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Al Taylor

Re: Couple of questions

Re. getting a headache, surprisingly not. I longest I had them on continuously was just over two hours (while driving) and though I expected a headache, none arrived.

In regard to the vignette with the satnav showing, the navigation box actually appears a little larger than that by a factor of about x 1.5. Also, as you move your head to the left and/or down the box appears to move more into the centre of your line of sight.

Incidentally I wear contacts (+2.25 left, +2.5 right) but found that this caused no issues with Glass.

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Al Taylor

Re: Non-optional spannerisation...

You may be right, and sadly it's nothing to do with Glass.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

Al Taylor

Re: Confused

When I ran a few dedicated graphics benchmarks like GFXBench 2.7 the Tab S 8.4 didn't perform as well as the Snapdragon 801 Galaxy S5. I didn't go into greater detail in the review because frankly it's a bit irrelevant. Sorry for any confusion.

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Al Taylor

Re: Elephant in the room

No it's not. I took that as read but in retrospect should have clarified the point.

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You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad

Al Taylor

App compatability

For what it's worth I loaded up the same sixty-odd apps that I have on my Moto G onto the MeMO Pad 7 and they all ran perfectly.

Of course the 61st or 62nd app may have decided to play silly buggers...

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Al Taylor

Re: Er messing with hybrids for how long?

Well spotted.

Note to self, musty stop obsessing over exotic German armoured vehicles of WW2.

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

Al Taylor

Re: 49g/km

You'll get no arguments from me - the EU's consumption and emission test for plug-in hybrids makes little sense as the real world figures are entirely dependent on how much plug-in charge you use every time you drive. On our test run we close to drained the battery at the start of the day so we'd get a better idea of average economy without the aid of further external charge. I maintain that 33mpg is very good for a car of this type driven the way it was driven. But if we'd plugged our i8 in for two hours at lunch we could have probably doubled the mpg figure. As I said in the article, it's an entirely movable feast.

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Al Taylor

Scotch...

That term just scanned more agreeably than "Scottish plod". And being half Scot myself I'll call my compatriots anything I like. Besides, if it's good enough for Siegfried Sassoon, it's good enough for me...

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/feb/03/siegfried-sassoon-poem-atrocities

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Sony Xperia Z2: What we REALLY thought of this Android fondleslab

Al Taylor

Re: design flaw?

"If the dock also has an audio jack then this is forgivable."

It doesn't.

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Al Taylor

Re: Meh

"Is thinner than an iPad Air really necessary?"

after you've held both in one hand for any period of time the answer is, I can assure you, yes.

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Motorola Moto E: Brill budget blower with one bothersome blunder

Al Taylor

Bar code scanner

Quite right, the fixed focus camera does indeed put the kibosh on scanning bar codes. I should have mentioned that in my review.

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Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

Al Taylor

Re: Unit police

I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference between the pixel density of the Z1 Compact and iP5 when they have both devices side-by-side WITH a microscope! But since the main gist of my review was to look at the Z1 Compact as a potential alternative to the iP5 for people who think the current crop of Android flagships too large a brief comparison of the technical details - size, weight, screen dimensions and dot density - seemed not just appropriate but essential. Whether or not any of the differences matter a rat's ass is up to the reader. Comment - intelligent or otherwise - is in paras 4, 5, 6 & 7 after the basic facts in para 3.

As for using 'mAh' in regards to battery capacity, yup, it is far from ideal, I agree, but the full technical specifications of phone batteries are nigh on impossible to get hold of in these days of sealed devices so it's really the least worst option.

Al

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Al Taylor

Re: a high-end Android smartphone ... Nokia 925

Doh,

I mean't to remove the word "Android" when I added the Nokia to the list.

But you get the gist.

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

Al Taylor

Compared directly in sunlight in a garden in Salford in February, yes. The X and G were compared with screen brightness on 'auto' and also when set to maximum. The X was easier to read than the G in both cases. As has been said, mileage may vary if you try the same comparison some place where the sun is turned all the way up to 11. If it's an S3 in question it may worth having a fiddle with the various Samsung-added contrast settings as they can make quite a big difference.

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Al Taylor

Good point, it didn't occur to me at the time of writing that the shake-to-launch sensor for the camera was working off the same core as the voice command system. Makes perfect sense.

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Al Taylor

Re: 299? Feck that!

Prestigio phones are indeed cheap but the MediaTek 1.2GHz dual-core chips they use are gutless (no thanks to the 512MB of RAM they are lumbered with), the cameras poor and the displays utterly dismal . That fact they have two SIM card slots is handy but otherwise you get exactly what you pay for and not one Euro more.

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Toshiba Encore: The Windows 8.1 tablet that might catch on

Al Taylor

Re: "to use the Encore as PC you really need a good Bluetooth keyboard "

Yes, cabled keyboards and mice work just fine but you need a USB/micro USB adapter or a hub if you want to connect anything else at the same time. Given the absence of a full sized USB port I'd suggest Bluetooth is the best option.

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Al Taylor

Re: Why are we talking about this .....?

....speaking personally, because I can't review something that doesn't exist.

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Al Taylor

Fair comment, but the point I was making was that on a purely aesthetic basis the Toshiba doesn't match the likes of the Nexus 7 Mk. 2 or the iPad mini. Feel free to argue that aesthetics are irrelevant or that the different OSs predicate a different consumer expectation but in my opinion for £300 the Encore could and should be a thinner, lighter and generally smarter looking bit of kit.

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

Al Taylor

Re: "strange text on the back"

Doh! Of course it is. I've been looking at it for over a week and the coin still hadn't dropped.

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

Al Taylor

Re: Just wish

With a linux distro running on the dock the OS swap function would vanish thus negating the entire point of this device.

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

Al Taylor

Re: I like an analogy as much as the next man, but...

Remove "Catholic takes to guilt" and replace with "duck takes to water".

Better?

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

Al Taylor

Re: Enjoyed the review, BUT....

Fair comment about LTE. Personally I fail to see the point of 4G at the moment, and if I did take the plunge I'd go for a 4G wireless router and a stand-alone. But each to his/her own. And again, something has to give to keep the price down. You just don't 100% of a £400 device for £135. As for build quality, the body of the G doesn't appear to be made out of anything fancy, but it feels every bit as robust and sturdy as the iPhone 5C I've got at the moment,

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Al Taylor

Re: Volume button NOT in the right place!

"This leaves Moto G's volume buttons on the crotch side of the device."

That works for me.

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Al Taylor

Re: Has it got USB TV-out, or at least Miracast ?

In a word no, the microUSB port does not output AV. And yes, I should have mentioned that in my write up.

The Skifta app should do the trick if you want to throw audio and video to a DLNA/UPnP network-attached stereo or telly.. And there is always Chromecast (when it gets an official UK release).

As for ring and speech volume, they are no worse, or better, than any of the other handsets that have landed on my desk of late. Can't say that I recall the Nexus 4 being unusually loud..

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Al Taylor

Nope, you'll need to find your own microUSB - USB cable.

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

Al Taylor

Price

As the eagle-eyed have already noticed, between me writing this review and it going up (about 36 hours) HP has dropped the UK price by £20.

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Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

Al Taylor

Re: Are you sure you reviewed the right phone?

This is Sony's exact wording in regards to the Z1's dust and waterproofing

"Water and dust resistant (IP55 & IP58), durable tempered glass with a solid one-piece aluminium frame"

As for the infra red transmitter I have to put my hands up and say I was wrong, the Z1 does not have one. I can only assume I was reading from my LG G2 notes when I wrote that. Apologies to one and all for the error which was wholly mine.

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Al Taylor

Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

Like all (the latest) Xperias - Z, Z Ultra, SP etc - the Z1's battery is most definitely fixed in place.

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Al Taylor

Re: Physical buttons

Nope, the control layout, three capacitive buttons on the front, is the same as the Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra.

As for viewing angles, OK, they are not as robust as the very best - the HTC One in my opinion - but they are far from "terrible" and certainly not a reason to avoid buying a Z1.

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ULTIMATE ELECTRIC driving machine? Yes, it’s the BMW i3 e-car

Al Taylor

Re: propeller logo - NOT

You may we right about that. I asked the curator of BMW's museum in Munich about the design a few years ago, and he said it was indeed based on an aircraft propeller but I suspect the actual truth is lost in the mists of time.

BTW, I notice I forgot to mention the power output of the two cylinder petrol engine in the REX version, it's 25kW or 33.5bhp. The electric motor which is the same in both vehicles is officially rated at 125kW peak, 75kW nominal.

With luck I'll be giving the REX version a week long test in December.

Al

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

Al Taylor

Re: Note3 & SIM region lock...

As other posters have mentioned, the site has devoted a fair bit of space to this topic.

The only way I could think of making a substantive contribution to the argument would have been to ask Samsung to send me an unopened region locked handset, run a UK SIM in it for a few days then fly to another continent and try it with a local SIM. (using an overseas SIM in the UK wouldn't have given a reliable answer. I've had several handset/SIM combos over the years that refused to work while in the UK but worked fine when in the SIM card's home territory). Clearly that would have been impractical.

I should perhaps have linked to the Reg's coverage of the issue, and for that omission I apologize.

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Al Taylor

Re: Befuddled by Choice

Yes, but you can't remove the Samsung apps without rooting. Choice is great, duplication less so.

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Al Taylor

Re: Note3 & SIM region lock...

My understanding of this is that Samsung devices with a regional lock will work just like before so long as the first SIM card that is used to activate the device is from the region that the device is locked into. That means that if you get a European Galaxy Note 3, you'll have to activate it with an European SIM card first but once that is done you can use any SIM card you wish. My review unit didn't have the tell-tale region lock sticker on the box so even had I been able to try it overseas during the loan period I'd have been none the wiser.

I am assuming Samsung is doing this to avoid transshipment issues though that is just an assumption.

Al

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Al Taylor

Re: Speedy!

Strange, the gallery on my review handset renders near instantly no matter how many accounts I have it set to show.

Al

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Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Al Taylor

Re: And how about actually using WiFi and Bluetooth?

No issues to report with Wi-Fi signal reception or retention, or Bluetooth audio streaming (either to a BT speaker phone or the entertainment system in a Mercedes). I've not tried it with a Bluetooth keyboard so can't comment on that directly at the moment.

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Al Taylor

Re: @ Steve Todd

Not come across that app before, can see it coming in handy in the future, thanks for the info.

As you say it must have been a hardware fault, maybe an early batch with something amiss in the screen layers. Like your second machine my review device works perfectly with YAMTT no matter how many fingers I use.

Cheers

Al

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Al Taylor

Re: On-The-Go?

Fair comment. I should have made that more clear.

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Al Taylor

Re: @ Steve Todd

That's the same build my review device updated to as soon as I turned it on and hooked it up to my Wi-Fi. What problems are you having? I'll see if I can replicate them.

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Al Taylor

Re: No talk of the known issues on this device?

If I'd come across either of these issues (or any others) I'd have reported them.

The GPS radio has worked perfectly every time I've used it, including for a solid two hours as a satnav. The same goes for your touch-point tracking issues, it simply was not an issue I encountered on my review device. I can't criticize a device for a glitch that in my personal experience doesn't exist no matter what you or I may have read elsewhere.

As for the thoroughness of the review, other sites will be able to provide you with page after page (after page) of interminable bench test results if that is what floats your boat. That's not how El Reg's consumer tests have ever been done, I approached the new Nexus 7 in the same way, and with the same critical thoroughness, as I did the Xperia Z Tablet, Galaxy S4, Asus FonePad etc etc etc.

As a device I think it's pretty darned good, especially for the money. My review reflects that. Fell free to disagree.

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Al Taylor

On-The-Go?

Granted you can access USB sticks using the Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 N7 if rooted or with the help of an app like Nexus Media Importer. However, my definition of OTG support is that out of the box you can plug in a USB stick using an adapter cable and can then access that stick, to read or write, using any old file manager. That you can not do with the Nexus 7, old or new.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The mobe for CHUCK NORRIS TYPES

Al Taylor
Thumb Up

Re: Eagle IPA?

Well spotted. It's actually San Miguel. I've had a 4-pack in the kitchen for weeks (left by a mate, not bought, I hasten to add), and finally found a use for one.

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Ten top new games for phones ’n’ slabs

Al Taylor
Alert

Hero Of Many

Now available for iOS for £2.50. Here's hoping the Android price drops to match it soon.

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Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Al Taylor
Facepalm

Re: Volt / Ampera

Fair point, I clean overlooked the Vauxhall Ampera when I wrote that.

Apols.

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Al Taylor

Re: 57mpg?

But you can't plug the D5 SE into a mains socket every night to improve that figure, you can with the V60 Plug-In.

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Samsung Mega 6.3: Enter the PHONDLESLAB

Al Taylor
Alert

Price

At the time of writing it was available unlocked for £375 (para 3) but looking again this morning I see that Expansys now has it on sale for £340 (as A/C above notes.)

Al

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Cakes'n'Ale

Al Taylor
Thumb Up

Re: Cakes'n'Ale

Durango - I remember that.

Seem to recall the tyres on the rental car had frozen flat the following morning. I did genuinely fear they'd find us on the side of that f**king mountain the following spring.

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Caterpillar B15: The Android smartphone for the building site

Al Taylor

Performance

"That would be lucky to get acceptable performance out of Gingerbread, but Jellybean?"

I'm finding that Jelly Bean runs just fine on machines with a dual-core 1GHz chip and 512MB of RAM. Even with half a dozen apps open in the background there's little if any noticeable hesitation in the UI.

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