* Posts by Al Taylor

326 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Archos 101 XS 10.1in Android tablet review

Al Taylor
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Re: Quick question

Very good question. No you can't is the answer. The coverboard and keyboard only mate keyboard-to-screen so you can't stick the coverboard to the back of the tablet.

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Ten apps to install on your Nexus 7 first

Al Taylor
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Taptu

My default news client and an excellent app all around.

It was a toss up between Go EX and Apex for a launcher. I use Go on my phone but picked Apex for the N7 because it gives more of a stock feel.

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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 64GB Android tablet review

Al Taylor
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Re: Dock

Mea culpa. You can indeed attach the Prime to the Infinity dock, but not the other way around. Or rather I should say apparently you can. I've certainly not tried it.

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Al Taylor
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MKV

Hi Len, if you use a 3rd party video player like VPlayer then yes. It even supports subtitles within the MKV container.

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Sony Xperia Go waterproof Android phone review

Al Taylor
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Re: All very well but ...

Oh yes.

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Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review

Al Taylor
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Video

Hi illiad, sorry for the late reply.

JB ships with Chrome as the default browser so playing Flash video in the browser a non starter. Also the Flash player won't download onto the Nexus 7 from the Play Store. I have heard tell that if you root your Nexus 7, side load Flash player and use a third party browser you can play Flash video in-browser. I've not tried this so can't comment.

The YouTube app works as it does in previous versions of Android and HTML video plays in Chrome. All the video links you posted either played in Chrome or launched the YouTube app.

I didn't cover this in the article as I didn't consider it part of the story of what's changed from ICS to JB though I should perhaps have mentioned that Chrome has now replaced the old webkit browser as the default.

Hope this clarifies matters.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Widgets

The battery meter is this...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.hubalek.android.reborn.beta&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsIm5ldC5odWJhbGVrLmFuZHJvaWQucmVib3JuLmJldGEiXQ..

and the WiFi widget is this....

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.WifiManager&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsIm9yZy5rbWFuLldpZmlNYW5hZ2VyIl0.

I heartily recommend both.

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Al Taylor
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Hi Thomas, that was a general opinion based on my experience of other ICS / Tegra 3 machines like the Asus Transformer Pad compared to the JB Nexus 7.

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LG Optimus 4X HD quad-core Android phone review

Al Taylor
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Re: Dumb question

Not a dumb question at all. The phones in question are the same. I'm not sure why the one page lacks the "HD". The P880 is the P880. Incidentally when I wrote the review the price was £424.99...at £25 less it's now that much more of a bargain.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Al Taylor
Happy

Re: Now playing 2012 mkv

It's only the 3 minute trailer.

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Google Nexus 7 Android tablet

Al Taylor
Thumb Up

Already ordered mine

See title.

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Panasonic Eluga DL1 waterproof Android

Al Taylor
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Re: Just popping out to perform some field tests for the review.

Late breakfast.

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Orange San Diego Intel-based Android phone

Al Taylor
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Re: Epic fails on 3 fronts gets 85%?!

"Epic fail #2: Can shoot video in 1080p and the reviewer benchmarked with a 720p looping video and yet the screen only has 600 pixels vertically and cannot view 720p+ videos without dropping whole chunks of lines. Scooby says huh?"

The reviews says...

I tested the battery life looping a 720p video as I do with all smartphones that land on my desk. As a "benchmark" it was purely to demonstrate battery life, nothing more.

Why 720p? Simple. My entire video collection is encoded 720p MP4 because they play on most Android phones, don't take up too much space and look OK on a HD telly when played back over HDMI.

As for "whole chunks of lines" missing, that simply was not the case. Yes the image was down-scaled from true 720p but it was still pin sharp and to the naked eye near indistinguishable from the image you see on a handset with a 1280 x 720 display. Even down-scaled 1080p looked good.

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Al Taylor
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Re: Curious...

I'm taking Orange at its word that an ICS update in imminent.

As for the games, not everyone plays games on their phone. If you are desperate to play Shadowgun on your blower then the SD is clearly not for you at the moment which is why I emphasized this failing, drawback, call it what you will, in the review. That caveat aside it's a very fine device for the asking price.

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Sony SmartWatch Android remote

Al Taylor
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Re: BBlluueettooootthh

Yes you can.

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Samsung Galaxy S Advance mid-range Android

Al Taylor
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Re: One S

I thought it made more sense to draw a comparison with the V based on the similar contract price from the main high street vendors rather than with the S which shares the same number of CPU cores.

If you can find the One S on a similar price/allowance tariff I'd suggest you buy it.

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Volkswagen Up!

Al Taylor
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Fuel economy

I should come clean here and admit I spent most of my week driving the Up with my right foot buried in the carpet - it being someone else's car and petrol. Had it been my car and fuel I'm pretty sure I could have got 60+mpg from it. My actual figure of 52mpg is probably the very worst you would get.

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Pocket

Al Taylor
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Re: Capturing buzzards?

Sadly yes and at the cost of £325,000 to the taxpayer,

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