* Posts by Al Taylor

344 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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

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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Insufficient Storage Available - El Reg should investigate!

Al Taylor

Had the same problem with my HTC Desire HD (1.5GB of system/app storage) - problems arose when the free space was barely larger than the size of the download packages for updating apps. Did a factory re-set to clear out the system storage partition and the kept a closer eye on the amount of data/cache files my apps were storing and the problem vanished. Not the ideal solution I grant you, but it seemed to work.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z: Our new top Android ten-incher

Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Specifications, please #2

Hmm...I did indeed manage to not explicitly state the screen resolution. It's 1920 x 1200.

Sorry about that!

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Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Specifications, please

£449 for the 32GB version.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Proof the pen is mightier?

Al Taylor
Alert

GLONASS?

Yes it does.

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Asus FonePad: You may feel a bit of a spanner

Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Compatibility?

I've owned a Motorola Razr i for six months and have not encountered a single compatibility issue. If there are any software / app incompatibility problems with major OEM Intel Android products I've not been able to find them despite spending quite some time - in a professional capacity - looking.

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Al Taylor
Meh

Re: See?

"Seriously, that is asinine. Who would not feel like a complete prat holing that to the side of their head?"

As I said in the review, you do look a wee bit of a spanner if you use it to make a call without an earpiece or headphone, but a fully-functional smartphone and tablet combined for £180? For that level of convenience and saving I'd be prepared to look a slight prat in front of people whose opinion I count for naught and who should have better things to do with their time than watch me make a phone call.

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Al Taylor
Happy

True, but...

the next chip or SoC or GPU is always just around the corner. No matter what you buy today you'll get better for less in 12 months time.

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Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Not Gorilla Glassed

Fair cop.

Looking back at my notes for the review I see "GG IPS LCD" written down, but I'll be stuffed if I can recall were I got that info from and I can find no confirmation for it now that I re-check. It's certainly a toughened glass of some sort, but as you say, not Gorilla Glass proper. I'll see if I can get any more details from Asus.

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Review: Sony Xperia SP

Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Shit port placements

Headphone jack is on the top.You can just see it in the picture on page 3.

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Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Also £300 sim free

Clove.

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Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Looks good but why compare it against a Lumia 720?

The cheapest I've found the Nokia 720 unlocked for is £300. As for PAYG the best high street price I can find is £299 from O2 making it £50 more expensive than the SP on Orange PAYG.

I'm not sure the 820 would do that much better in comparison - it's more powerful than the 720 granted but it's more expensive than the SP (£325 unlocked) and it only has a 480 x 800 pixel, 4.3 inch screen.

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Al Taylor
Alert

Re: But for £19.99 .....

The SP did have some bloat (WisePilot, TrackID, OfficeSuite to name but three) on it, but all could be uninstalled. I suspect a factory reset will re-install them and that the apks are probably still buried in there somewhere. Facebook you are stuck with though, the only option is to uninstall updates. It's not as bad as Xperias of years gone by which where were swamped with the stuff.

As for the app drawer, you can now order apps by name, most used, most recently installed or in a custom order

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Al Taylor
Boffin

Galaxy S4, HTC One and iPhone 5 prices start well north of £500. For smartphones I reckon £100 - £200 = low, £200 - £400 = medium and £400+ = high.That makes the SP the epitome of mid price in my book.

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Al Taylor
Alert

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
Alert

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
Alert

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
Thumb Up

Re: Camera will shoot 13MP in tablet mode

Well spotted that man!

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Ten Windows tablets

Al Taylor
Alert

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
Thumb Up

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
Alert

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
Alert

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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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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