* Posts by Al Taylor

344 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

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: HTC One

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: 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
Thumb Up

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
Thumb Down

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
Happy

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
Happy

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
Happy

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
Alert

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
Thumb Down

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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Al Taylor
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Top heavy?

Not at all. The very solid not to say stiff screen hinge and the sensitivity of the panel both help on this front. I was genuinely surprised how secure and stable using the touch screen felt.

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Acer CloudMobile S500 Android phone review

Al Taylor
Alert

Re: Display

Fair comment but the Acer's screen still has the more natural hue to it when you place the two side by side.

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Al Taylor
Facepalm

Re: Another alternative

Well spotted. I've been badgering Sony for some sort of news on an official UK release for the Acro S but with no luck so far. No joy either via the usual third party channels like Expansys and Clove.

And I was wrong about the the CloudMobile being the only 720p 4.3 inch smartphone. Like the Acro the HTC 8X has one as well.

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Al Taylor
Alert

acercloud apps

No, you can't install them without rooting the handset. They only take up a few MB of space though so it's not the end of the world.

Al

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Brits swallow Google Nexus 4 supply 'in 30 minutes'

Al Taylor
Happy

After a few false starts and about 20 minutes

I managed to order an 8GB handset at 08.30 this morning. Only a few glitches between between choosing device and successfully exiting checkout. With luck it will arrive in the not too distant future as it's the Reg's review unit!

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Ten... Apple iPad Mini alternatives

Al Taylor
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Re: Operating system

Festimo,

All ten devices have Wi-Fi

Two lack GPS - the Kindle and Nook, but these are really tied-down media access devices from retailers not Android tablets proper and since the Wi-Fi iPad mini lacks GPS too I didn't use this is a stick to beat them with.

Two have (as standard) cellular radios and work as phones (Galaxy Note 2 and Vu).

If you want Android updates direct from Google buy the Nexus 7.

Hope that clarifies matters to your satisfaction.

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Renault Clio IV and R-Link Android console hands-on preview

Al Taylor
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Engine

It's not the Nissan engine. The 3-cyl turbo in the Clio is a new and entirely different motor.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Al Taylor
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SIII

"It's basically a bigger S3 with a better quality screen."

Indeed, that's a fair description of the Note 2. And since in my opinion the Galaxy S3 is a better device than the iPhone 5 that makes the Note 2 better than something that's already better than the iP5.

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Al Taylor
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Re: unsatisfying review :(

" does the thin phone etches into the skin if holding it at the ear for more than 5 minutes?"

Not at all. At 9.4mm it's not actually all that thin by modern standards.

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Al Taylor
Thumb Up

Re: Build quality

Build quality is very much akin to the Galaxy S3 so while it is all plastic, and the battery cover is a bit bendy when not fixed in place it still felt solid enough as a unit. I'd have no qualms about taking one on a two year contract from this perspective. And at least being plastic it won't start showing up minor scuffs and scratches.

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Al Taylor
Thumb Up

Re: Voice and Handwriting - again

The handwriting recognition does actually work now, even with my left-handed scrawl. As you say, the original was pretty wretched but Note 2 interpreted my cursive scribble correctly more often than not. It's a big, big improvement.

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Peugeot 508 RXH estate car review

Al Taylor
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Re: Here's a question...

Good question. Yes, loads up to 1,100Kg

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