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* Posts by Al Taylor

306 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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Review: Sony Xperia SP

Al Taylor
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Re: Cloudmobile

For the price I'd take the Acer because at the end of the day £130 is £130. But the Sony has a larger screen, is more powerful, has a bigger battery, a physical camera key and those excellent media apps. If I was buying on contract I'd certainly go for the Sony.

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

Al Taylor

Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

Fair comments all but Nokia moved the game on in regards to photography with the Lumia 920's mechanically stabilized camera and HTC has done similar for sound quality with the One's forward facing loudspeakers. Granted the S4 is better than the S3 in all ways but there's no single feature that tries to redefine the genre. I don't blame Samsung for playing it safe but a wee bit more adventurousness wouldn't have gone amiss.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Windowed apps

Granted those apps you listed are supported by the Samsung multiple window system but many others including iMDb, BBC News, the official Wikipedia app, Currents, Google Drive, Glympse. K9 Mail, Skype and TuneIn Radio are not.

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Review: Asus PadFone 2 phone-tablet combo

Al Taylor
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Re: Shame UK getting an already obsolete device as 'new'

Not strictly true.

I understand from Asus that the 1080p Infinity model will be sold alongside the model reviewed here. Apparently the Infinity will cost £799 when it goes on sale. If that is true I'd still go for the standard version if it were my money. Screen resolution aide the two devices are technically very similar.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Camera will shoot 13MP in tablet mode

Well spotted that man!

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Ten Windows tablets

Al Taylor
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Re: Asus VivoTab Smart

The Smart was covered in the Top Ten 10" Tablet round-up

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/12/review_roundup_ten_ten_inch_tablets/page3.html

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Al Taylor
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Re: Iconia

For what it's worth a friend bought one last week on my recommendation (he got it for £529 from ebuyer) and he's as happy as a dog with two tails with it. He wanted something to replace his very old 13-inch Dell laptop but that would also work as a tablet for casual on-the-sofa use. Reckons the W700 does both jobs perfectly.

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Al Taylor

Re: Who is Asus? Who is HP? Who is Dell? Who is Acer?

Not covering kit from Acer, Asus, Dell and HP would have made for a rather short and incomplete product round-up.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Reg: Where did you find this writer?

Microsoft certainly had the power the price the RT Surface more aggressively and I have great difficulty in believing that it couldn't also have arranged a more aggressive price point with the various OEMs for entry level RT tablets in much the same way that Google has with it's Nexus range.

I doubt the Nexus 4, 7 or 10 would retail for what they do had it been left to LG, Asus and Samsung.

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Review: HTC One

Al Taylor

Re: Vote with your wallet... I did!

"that attempts to justify missing desirable functionality."

I wouldn't say I attempted to justify the absence of a micro SD card slot or a removable battery. I simply stated that to be the case and didn't mark the One down because of it. No review can be wholly objective and removable batteries and SD card slots are simply not deal breakers to me though the latter would be if a device only had 4 or 8MB of storage space.)

If they are to you, there are plenty of phones on the market that offer both.

There are all too obvious reasons why HTC decided to follow the route it has, none of which I suspect has anything to do with saving money. I'd be most surprised if the One's aluminium unibody is cheaper to fabricate than the S3's plastic case with its removable battery cover.

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Al Taylor
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Re: No mention in the review about 4G, LTE higher speed internet - the phone supports multi-band LTE

Hi Rob

The review device HTC supplied me with was a 3G model but below are the supported bands for 3G and 4G...

HSPA+ 850/900/1900/2100 MHz

GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

LTE: 800/1800/2600 MHz 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL

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Al Taylor
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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

"El Reg needs to start obsessing less about the techno-gloss of devices such as this and think a darn sight harder about value-for-money and all-round quality of offering. On which basis, the HTC One isn't any kind of 'killer' at all -- and definitely not worthy of the rave review given here."

Vulcan, value is a slippery concept in the UK when it comes to mobile phones because the majority are bought on contract. I'll grant you that compared to an 8GB Nexus 4 the One is expensive as an outright purchased. But compared to the direct competition (iP5, Lumia 920, Galaxy S3, LG 4X HD etc) it's par for the course.

As for "techno-gloss", well, the excellent screen, state of the art speakers, respectable battery life, impressively powerful yet cool-running chipset, quality camera and very good Wi-Fi reception are all core features from my point of view and not "gloss" at all.

Combine that with - in my eyes - a stylish design and very well made body and the One is worth every part of the praise I've leveled at it.

It's clear from many of the comments that a user replaceable battery and a memory card slot are desirable features for some but I have to say that I find a portable power pack and USB OTG are more satisfactory answers to the problems of extended run times and access to large media libraries.

In my opinion when it comes to value the HTC One is acceptable if not outstanding while the all-round quality of design, manufacture and presentation is very high.

Al

(another onetime Desire HD owner)

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Al Taylor
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Re: Terminaly dim...

Sorry Michael, I have to disagree

The curved back, the ridged sides, the colour scheme, the detailing, the size difference, the physical positioning of the speakers and their visual impact, the trade marking (the HTC logo below the screen). All are clear distinguishable features.

The similarities are that it's oblong and the corners are curved but I regard those as fundamental and inherent design features of the product type. Just as all five-door hatchbacks have a bonnet at the front, a hatch at the back, some doors on either side and a tyre at each corner.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Best camera on a phone?

Not the 808 but I did do some direct comparisons between shots taken with the One and the Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5 I had on loan for the 4G feature last month.

As for BlinkFeed, you can change the period between refreshing or disable the automatic refreshing altogether.

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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

Al Taylor
WTF?

Defensive?

Greg - Limited range inherent in the technology aside (which I think I devoted as much copy to as was reasonable), what failings would you have liked me to point out? If the Zoe had demonstrated any significant failings - bad handling, bad packaging, lack of refinement, shoddy build quality, a poor infotainment system - I'd have noted them with relish.

Of course the two day press event in Lisbon included suggested routes and satnav directions to charging facilities. Exactly how else would you suggest Renault ran it?

Perhaps Renault should have simply handed over the keys to a half-charged car at Lisbon airport and walked away letting me try to find my own charge point in an unfamiliar city?

A more detailed review will have to wait until UK-spec press cars become available for long term tests but I doubt that will cause me to radically change my opinion unless there is some unforeseen difference between left and right-hand drive models.

As for domestic charging times, the free British Gas 32amp/7Kw domestic charge box will juice a Zoe up in about three and a quarter hours.

Neither Nissan not Renault suggest you plug a Leaf/Zoe into a domestic 13amp mains socket though if you did I'd estimate the charge time to be between seven and eight hours.

Ben - throughout the two days the traffic (and the weather) was pretty awful though the more mountainous roads north of Lisbon and Cascais towards Sintra did allow for some spirited driving away from the urban roads and dual carriage ways in and around Lisbon itself.

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Al Taylor
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Do the charger leads on this (and others) lock when connected?

Yes.

I should have made that clear in the review.

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Al Taylor
WTF?

Confrontational?

Au contraire. I was just getting my rhetoric in first.

And I refuse to get into a debate about who is, or is not, a bell end with anyone who considers a 0-62 time of 13.5 seconds to be insufficient.

Insufficient for what exactly? Drag racing between traffic lights? Carving other drivers up? Driving like a oaf?

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Al Taylor
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Re: Charging in public areas

Two quick points on this..

You use a smart card to activate the public chargers and once activated the cable locks itself onto the socket on the car. You can only remove it when you swipe the your card to finish the charge. I'm sure you could wrench the cable off but it'd take some very serious effort - I gave it a good yank and it didn't so much as budge.

The graffiti is part of a city wide program to brighten up the interior walls of car parks etc by letting local graffiti artists paint them (Lisbon may look a bit down at heels but it is one of the most highly decorated cities I've spent time in). The examples behind the Zoes in the pic are pretty poor - the artwork on the wall opposite was more impressive.

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Review: Sony Xperia Z

Al Taylor
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Re: Get back to basics

Page 2 second para from bottom.

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Ten smartphones with tablet ambitions...

Al Taylor
Facepalm

Re: Please do you research

Quite right. I stand thoroughly corrected. TCL bought Alcatel's stake in the handset JV all the way back in 2005. Apologies for the error.

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Al Taylor

Re: Let's not forget that DELL were the first into this market

Fair enough, but the Note was the first device of this type that actually sold in significant numbers so I'd argue that it is phablet Genesis from a commercial and user angle even if the Streak was the first with the hardware specs.

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Al Taylor

Re: Where is the HTC ONE ???

Wholly arbitrary but in my book screen < 5.0" = phone, 5.0 - 6,.5" = phablet, 6.5"+ = tablet

so the HTC One and recently announced Asus FonePad didn't make the cut by dint of being too small and too big respectively.

of course that doesn't explain what the PadFone is doing here, but I make no claim top consistency.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Kogan Agora 5.0

If the quick fiddle I had with the Agora is anything to go by it's not that bad - certainly felt no slower than my old HTC Desire HD or the Samsung Android pmp I referenced. Of course I wouldn't want to try NOVA 3 on it...

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Review: Britain's 4G smartphones

Al Taylor
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Re: Random

There was no 4G at all in central Walkden (around the big new Tesco store). Picked up a signal once I got down to the East Lancs but still only talking one or two bars.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Of course the biggest issue if you have a Windows phone is that you can't receive calls....

"Windows Phone doesn't hand over from 4G to 3G properly, so the other party can't actually call you"

I didn't experience any such problems with the Lumia 920 that Nokia provided though of course I can't speak for other 4G WP8 devices.

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Al Taylor
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Re: On the same page...

what's a tenth of an inch between friends?

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Review: The ultimate Chromebook challenge

Al Taylor
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Re: OK, now how easy is it to wipe the Google cr@pola off?

Page 3, last couple of paras.

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Al Taylor
Mushroom

Re: I cannot believe....

I struggle to see what the difference is between letting Google look down your dress by using a Chromebook or letting Apple or Microsoft or Amazon do the same by using an iPad/iPhone or WP8/Windows RT device or Kindle Fire. Or Google again through your Android phone or tablet.

Anyone who buys a Chromebook is more than likely already using Google's cloud services or they wouldn't have bought one. If privacy from sneaky corporate types is a priority I'd suggest using pen and paper over any sort of connected gadget.

I'm not going to dignify the argument that Apple or Microsoft or Amazon are somehow more trustworthy than Google.

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Al Taylor
Pint

iPad?

I'm duty bound to point out that the Samsung Chromebook is £170 cheaper than an iPad.

If it was my money I'd buy a Samsung Chromebook and a 16GB Nexus 7 and spend the remaining tenner on beer.

But that's just me.

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Al Taylor
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Re: A couple of things

Re. Series 3

Well, that's what Samsung is calling the thing...

http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/pc-peripherals/chrome-devices/chrome-devices/XE303C12-A01UK

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Review: Google Nexus 4

Al Taylor
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Re: Wot, no score?

@ bigphil9009

"Strange review this one - comes across that the review has made up his mind that he wasn't going to like it, then filtered the review through that decision."

au contraire, but I can hardly overlook poor battery life, a potentially fragile and slippery design (I've dropped my review handset several times already and had it slip off sofa armrests etc), the absence of a camera button and very limited storage options. Apart from those failings it's a cracking little device but it does have failings.

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Al Taylor
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It's always a problem with battery testing. What constitutes "average" use. To get around that I load up the same apps that I have on my own phone (the Razr i) and use the review handset for a few days in its place. With something like the Nexus 4 I also spend at least 30 mins per day gaming and the same watching video. I think the last two are reasonable, after all, why buy a large screen HD phone if you avoid doing the things many people buy a large screen HD phone to do?

As a matter of course I'm inclined to be more negative about battery life in a handset with a fixed battery simply because investing in a new battery after 12 months of run-of-the-mill degradation is not an option.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Liking some of the "features"

I seem to recall I nabbed it from http://www.desktopnexus.com/ originally.

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Al Taylor
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Re: No mention of call quality

I found the call quality to be absolutely fine and every bit as clear/loud/composed as the Motorola Razr i that I use on a daily basis. And I should say that I found the call quality of the Razr very impressive from day one. It's one of the reasons I bought it after spending time with a review handset I had in for the Best Smartphones for Xmas feature.

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Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

Al Taylor
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It's made from Corning Gorilla Glass 2. I should have mentioned that.

Apologies

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Al Taylor
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Re: Strictly off topic

Outside the Salford City Council offices in Swinton, Salford on the Chorley Road.

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=manchester&ll=53.511509,-2.338962&spn=0.003669,0.009645&hnear=Manchester,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=53.511509,-2.338962&panoid=vyDNNiSdwG7uiL1vPr00Fg&cbp=12,194.03,,0,-0.7

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Al Taylor
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Re: Photo's query for El Reg

It's all down to the hardware. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm no photographer. I just point-and-press.

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Al Taylor
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It surprised me too - I fully expected Nokia Drive to just be there. I reached out to HTC for clarification but got nothing back beyond that it may arrive down the line.

Al

PS...Just to clarify I wrote this review before Google broke the news about Exchange ActiveSync.

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Al Taylor
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I take your point re SkyDrive but I access my DropBox account from a Linux machine as well as my Android and Windows devices - it's the platform agnostic side of DB that appeals to me. More to the point, I already have all my cloudy stuff in DB and 75GB of space. On the plus side a DB app for Windows 8 landed last week so maybe a WP8 app isn't too far away.

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Review: Vodafone Smart Tab II 7 budget 3G tablet

Al Taylor
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Re: rotf

The Lenovo thingy comes with fully functioning aGPS.

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The best smartphones for Christmas

Al Taylor
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Re: poor iPhone 5 = 90%?

"they're massively conflicted"

Not at all, I just refuse to let brands, badges or logos influence my opinion.

Of course the iP5 is fine device, only an idiot would claim otherwise. But it's expensive, the screen is still too small, the body while attractive starts to look tatty and worn far too easily, the user interface is inflexible and there's no storage expansion.

What extreme fans of Apple kit seem unable to do is accept that not everyone thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread though why anyone thinks the brand of mobile phone or tablet or computer they use says anything about them as a person is beyond me - it's more tragic than having a personalized number plate on your car.

The day I find myself running about saying Gadget A or B or C is great simple because of some idiotic and wholly imaginary affinity with the company that designed it I'll jump in the Ship Canal.

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Al Taylor
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Re: some disturbingly wobbly Wi-Fi connectivity

A recent firmware update - only available by hooking up your Razr to a PC, not OTA - seems to have largely fixed this.

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Al Taylor

"...it's too big for a phone"

No it's not.

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Al Taylor
WTF?

Re: This article...

The author takes no responsibility for the fact that far more models of Android phone were released in 2012 than iOS or WP8 devices and that those devices demonstrated a far grater degree of design flair and diversity.

If there had been a 5inch iOS or WP8 phone I''d have mentioned it. If there had been an Intel-based iOS or WP8 device I'd have mentioned that too.

@Atonnis. It was precisely to avoid the article becoming "all Android" I didn't include the Acer CloudMobile, Xperia T or Huawei G300. All good handsets to be sure.

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The best tablets for Christmas

Al Taylor
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Re: MIT Professor gives Win 8 on tablets thumbs down

One thing I've found in common between Windows 8, Gnome 3 and Unity: none of them have been anything like as bad as "expert" opinion had made out and led me to expect.

Granted there are things I don't like about each, but there are things I dislike about every single OS and UI under the sun and different users have different needs and expectations but the awfulness of all three has been much exaggerated. Once I'd got passed the initial "this is not as it was before and therefore shit" part of the experience things started to make more sense.

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Al Taylor
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Re: more than apps

" You buy an iOS device, and check the relevant box during setup and the photo syncing just happens."

You buy an Android device, sign in with a Google account and all your photos, books, documents, starred map locations, YouTube preferences, Google+ stuff and music all appear on your new device. No need to check a box, download an app or do anything else.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Sometimes...

Let's get one thing clear, anyone who says they "love" a gadget not matter what OS it runs should be taken outside and shot. Or at least prevented from breeding.

I make no bones about the fact I use Android day-in-day-out but that's more to do with the fact all my "stuff" is in the Google cloud than any fundamental advantage it has over iOS or WinRT.

I don't know what half-arsed sites you usually read, but around here we only write about kit after we have used it.

(Posted from my iPad)

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Asus VivoBook S200 11.6in touchscreen notebook review

Al Taylor
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Re: Prints harming

I didn't find this to be a problem not least because I tended to touch the screen far less often than I would with a dedicated touchscreen device. After a week I gave the screen a good polish before sending it back to Asus but never felt the need to whip out the old lint-free cloth before that.

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Al Taylor
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Re: It looks like a MacBook Air

No it doesn't and no it's not.

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