* Posts by Al Taylor

363 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Mar 2007


Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

Al Taylor

Re: Why a duck?

Granted aqueducts are the more direct architectural comparison but I was also thinking about the likes of the Puente Romano in Mérida and Trajan's Bridge at Alcantara. I reckon Caius Julius Lacer you designed the latter could have put up a decent stone railway viaduct if he'd been asked.

Al Taylor

Re: Nitpick..

It came down to the pies. It's my only excuse.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Mid-spec Nokia Lumi... er, MediaTek slab

Al Taylor

Re: That's weird...

That's a typo and my mistake, the resolution is 800 x 1280 rather than x 1200.

The pachyderm punch: El Reg takes just-over-a-ton Elephone P8000 to tusk

Al Taylor

Re: Pocket Computers

In a word, yes. I managed to misplace all my spare SIMs recently so ran the P8000 on Wi-Fi only for a few days until replacements arrived. Everything worked perfectly. Just couldn't make cellular calls.

Al Taylor

Re: It’s easier to list what you do get rather than what’s missing.

Yes, it has GPS.

Alcatel Idol 3: Holding its own with a pretty decent 5.5 inches

Al Taylor

Re: 5.5" is a phablet?

Granted but the general consensus seems to be < 5.4 inches = phone, > 5.5 inches = phablet. But with so many 5.5-inchers on the market now you could argue that the term phablet should be restricted for 5.7 inches and up.

Al Taylor

Re: Talking into the earpiece?

Yes, The caller comes through on whichever speaker is at the "top" and the microphone/noise cancellation microphone swap functions too. It even works if you flip the phone during a call.

Al Taylor

Re: Bloatware

I define bloatware as something preloaded that you don't need. Good luck using a smartphone without a keyboard.

Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense

Al Taylor

Re: I do not think that means what you think it means

It's not the weight that makes it a little awkward the open, just the closeness with which the body and lid fit together when fully closed. The Asus' lid does take a little more effort to open/close/reposition than a MacBook Air granted, a product of the hinge action rather than the weight of the lid, but I prefer more resistance in that department than Apple offers with the Air.

Al Taylor

Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

Fair point. I always use a USB adaptor for my camera SD card and sometimes forget not everyone else does the same! My main issue with the UX305 on this front is that you can't leave a memory card in it for extra storage. A full depth, spring-loaded SD card slot would be my preference but in the absence of that I'd still prefer a microSD slot to the half-depth SD slot Asus has opted for.

Al Taylor

Re: RAM?

Review machine had 8GB.

Al Taylor

Re: Removing the back plate

I did. Drat.

Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Al Taylor


"CyanogenOs is the same as Touchwiz, or Sense, or any other OEM Overlay - they've been through google certification, and no separate install of gapps is needed"

Exactly. I should have made that point more overtly in my review rather than taking it as read.

Al Taylor

Re: Wileyfox’s handsets were designed and developed here in the UK

Bloody hard to prove that any consumer item was designed and developed where the maker says it was.

Al Taylor

Re: I did wonder

It's not on sale until Sept 22. See last line of review.

Al Taylor

Google Apps

Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Maps, Google App, Hangouts, Photos, these all come pre-installed on the Swift.

Al Taylor

Re: Question about Cyanogen

The Swift is not rooted and all banking apps work just fine.

Al Taylor


That's the Storm spec sheet. I've just reviewed the Swift. The Swift supports two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

Small wonder, little competition: Asus Chromebook Flip

Al Taylor

Do I agree?


I've used many a cheap machine over the years: netbooks, Chromebooks, tablet transformers of various sorts etc. The Flip's keyboard is one of the best. Granted it's not full size and there's no backlight but other than that I can't fault it.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G: The Android smartie that can take its drink

Al Taylor

M4 for £125 PAYG


Natural order up creek again.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: El Reg on the hydrogen highway

Al Taylor

Re: So...

Don't recall saying any of those things in the review. On the contrary re. handling and performance.

As for being unsuitable for British roads, the world doesn't actually stop at Dover.


Sony Xperia Z4 4G Android tablet – gift of sound and vision

Al Taylor

Audio jack

The 3.5mm jack is uncovered. A quick dunk in the kitchen sink didn't show up any issues with water ingress but then again nor did it when I did the same thing to a Z2 Tablet last year.

If Microsoft made laptops, it'd make this: HP Spectre x360

Al Taylor

Re: Shitware

It has McAfee and Skype and the usual HP programmes (HP Connected Music, HP Connected Photo

HP Games by WildTangent, HP SimplePass, HP Connected Drive) all pre-installed so it's no more a virgin Windows install and any other HP laptop I've encountered.

Bill Hicks: 25 years on from the cult comedian's big break

Al Taylor
Thumb Up

London gig

Saw Hicks in London back in the day, the Goat Boy part of the set had me on my knees I was laughing so hard.

Chinese takeaway, hold the Google: Xiaomi Mi4 LTE Android

Al Taylor

Mi4 ROMs

Have to put my hands up here, I flat overlooked Xiaomi's MIUI ROM pages when writing this review. If you head over to the MIUI site at http://en.miui.com/download-263.html you'll find a Global version of the Mi4's Android ROM that includes the full Google framework and English versions of most (but not all) the stock apps. Just download the ROM, copy it onto the Mi4 and then launch it using the Update app. That didn't actually work for me, I had to boot the phone intro recovery mode (power/vol up for 5-10 seconds), wipe everything it and then reboot into the new ROM. Once done the new ROM fired up perfectly.



Al Taylor

Re: No security issues? Really?

Hence my use of the word "seem". Am I recommending you do this? No.

As for APK permissions, yes I did go through them. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. If I was planning on using this device as my own, I'd flash a new ROM to be 100% sure.

Al Taylor

Re: Fixed battery, no SD slot,

Those screen grabs are of the "installer APK" that I found on-line. It installed the Google Services Framework and then offered me the option to install the various Google apps. Or you an download them from the Play Store.

The "Google installer" app that appears in the third screen grab was not pre-installed on our review device.

Subaru Outback Lineartronic: The thinking person’s 4x4

Al Taylor

Re: Questions

What is the ground clearance?

200mm. That's in the review.

Can it drive through 30cm deep mud?

Wading depth is 500mm (also in review) so 300mm of mud shouldn't be an issue.

What is it like negotiating dirt road washouts?

Assuming you have the right tyres it should manage what I take to mean a rough and muddy unmetalled lane.

Renault Kadjar: La Regie's new full-sized, inexplicably named SUV

Al Taylor


think ajar with an added k

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid

Al Taylor


That's my daily commute and then some. I only go looking for extra miles when I'm road testing for El Reg. Obvs.

Al Taylor

Re: Curious about break lights

I may have over egged the pudding with the "anchors" comment. Even with the recuperation set to maximum there'd be little chance of getting rear-ended unless the following car was much, much too close. No matter what the setting the brake lights don't come on you you take your foot off the gas.

Al Taylor

Re: "Charge it" button

You're probably right, though I have trouble convincing myself that that anyone who actually bought a PHEV would forget to hold enough charge if they planned on heading into a ZEV zone.

Split decision: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi convertible

Al Taylor

Re: Proper review for once!

That's the highest resolution Crysis will output. Don't think screens like this were all that common back in 2007.

Al Taylor


That should have read microSD card slot. Apols


Gaze upon the desirable Son of Alpha: Samsung Galaxy A5

Al Taylor

"There is nothing to catch up to"

In terms of build quality and design there most certainly was.

Al Taylor

Re: the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant

You are more than likely quite right about muppets and lemmings, but it doesn't alter the fact that the average punter British seems to think in terms of Apple, Samsung and Other Stuff.

Kia Soul EV: Nifty Korean 'leccy hatchback has heart and Seoul

Al Taylor

Re: Energy Density maths

Probably, but using the given weight for the battery pack the arithmetic doesn't work out. I'm guessing the calculation is based on the battery weight minus the control hardware but since I couldn't lay hands on that info for the Soul or the Leaf or the Zoe I can't make any comment as to the accuracy of the statement.

We're not sure what it is, but we like it: Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV

Al Taylor

Re: re. braking

That's exactly right. I should have said "rather than purely with good old discs".

Al Taylor

Re: Not a CVT

Fair point but as Toyota/Lexus refer to the transmission in the NX300h as a CVT system I thought it best to stick with their nomenclature but include a short para about how the system actually works. As you say, it is extremely complicated.

Complexity aside it feels very much like a belt CVT system from the driving seat.

Acer Chromebook 13: The best Googletop on the market?

Al Taylor

Re: Chrome and screen resolutions

You can change the overall screen rez but the result looks pretty dire. You can change the size of content text in the browser panel but not in the menu, tab and bookmarks bar. That's the stuff that looks too small to my eyes.

PHONDLESLAB-ULOUS: Motorola Moto X Android phablet

Al Taylor

Re: So I have to ask

"for such a pricey phone"

I'd not call £420 pricey for a mobe with this spec.

Bendy, but hangs loose too: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch Android tab

Al Taylor

The reflections look much, much worse in the pics than in real life. More a testament to my lack of photographic expertise than anything else.

This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Al Taylor

Re: Megapixel myth

No space for a multi-paragraph analysis of the respective qualities of the webcams in the iP6 and the Alpha but a quick comparison demonstrated to my personal satisfaction that the Alpha's camera has the iP6's beaten in terms of both colour accuracy and image brightness. The extra pixels are the least of it.

Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?

Al Taylor

Re: Rear Glass

This feels more like glass than whatever was on the back of the Z2 so yes, I'm (pretty) sure it is toughened glass rather than some sort of plastic.

Son of Hudl: Tesco flogs new Atom-powered 8.3-inch Android tablet

Al Taylor

Re: There’s no official word from Tesco on the weight of the Hudl 2

Hmm...that drop down spec list wasn't there when I wrote the review.

Al Taylor

Re: Tin foil? That'll be the third aisle

Probably all the same data they glean from your Clubcard?

Al Taylor

Re: cheap, but...

Yes, Ingress runs just fine

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

Al Taylor

Re: car

Yup, spot on,.

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.

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.