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February, 2013

Your package is in the bin: worst courier ever?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Royal Mail delivery card

I arrived home last night to find this card on my doormat. For those of you unable to read the handwriting, it says “PTK in blue bin”. What PTK stands for, I have no idea, but it was the three words that followed that caused me to utter naughty words. “In blue bin” refers to the recycling wheelie bin that sits on my front drive.

Yes, that’s right. The Royal Mail decided the safest place to leave my expensive box of electronics was in the recycling bin.

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Posted in: Rant

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Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review: first look

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra might be a bit of a mouthful, but it’s one of the most surprising phones we’ve seen this week at MWC.

It’s set to arrive across Europe in April or May at a price of €359, and there’s one thing about it that stands out above all else: at 6.45mm from front to back, it’s comfortably the slimmest smartphone in the world – thinner than both the iPhone 5 and the Sony Xperia Z.

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Geek 2013: a great celebration of British gaming

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Geek show

At the weekend I drove down to Margate, not to buy a ‘kiss me quick’ hat nor bask in the winter sunshine riding on the back of the famous beach donkeys. No, I was there to visit the Winter Gardens where Geek 2013 was being held for its second year.

The Winter Gardens are, for those of you who don’t know, a series of halls where various shows and performances are held. I was visiting Geek 2013 with my 25-year-old game-loving son, Oliver.  There were several people dressed as gaming characters and a large stage with a presentation about what to look for when choosing a wig for your Cosplay character.

A more magnificent sight greeted us when we entered one of the side halls. This was a huge, dark, noisy room full of screens connected to every gaming machine you could imagine. Everything was hands-on and so you could play the original version of a particular game on the original console or machine it was written on.

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HP Slate 7 review: first look

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

HP Slate 7

The HP Slate 7 and the recently released HP Envy x2 hybrid are HP’s attempts to put the TouchPad disaster behind it.

In contrast to the £800 Windows 8-based Envy x2, this is a 7in tablet aimed squarely at the low-end of the Android tablet market. When it’s released in the US later this year, it will cost $169, and a UK release will follow shortly after. We were told by an HP representative to expect a price of around £129, which is similar to the basic Amazon Kindle Fire.

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ZTE Grand Memo review: first look

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

ZTE Grand Memo

This year at MWC in Barcelona, big phones and “phablets” have stolen all the headlines, and Chinese manufacturer ZTE is hoping to grab some of the limelight, too. Its Grand Memo is a rival to the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Huawei Ascend Mate (announced at CES earlier this year), and in terms of size it sits right between the two, with a 5.7in screen diagonal.

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Nokia Lumia 520 review: first look

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Nokia Lumia 520

The Nokia Lumia 520 is one of two low-cost Windows Phone 8 smartphones Nokia unveiled at its MWC press conference, and it really is cheap.

It’s set to cost around £120, and yet when we took our turn with it on the Nokia stand after the news conference, we found little evidence of cost-cutting.

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The ridiculous splintering of Internet Explorer

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Internet Explorer 8

Today, Microsoft has got around to releasing Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7, finally bringing the browser it released in October on Windows 8 to its most popular OS.

Just so as we’re clear which browsers work with which operating systems, I’ve produced this handy chart.

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Huawei Ascend W1 review: first look

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Huawei Ascend W1

We expected to see our fair share of high-end mobile hardware at MWC, but this year’s show has been notable for the rise of another type of smartphone: the low-cost Windows Phone 8 handset. First came Nokia with the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720, and it’s now Huawei’s turn with the Ascend W1.

First unveiled at CES earlier in the year, Huawei announced this morning that the Ascend W1  is set to arrive in the UK at same price as the Lumia 520. It will cost only £120 on pay-as-you-go and will be free on a £13.50 per month contract. Both deals are exclusive to O2, and the phone will be available from 7 March.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z review: first look

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Sony Tablet Z

After unveiling its flagship smartphone at CES earlier in the year, Sony is using MWC as the platform to promote a new Android tablet — the Sony Xperia Tablet Z — and it’s not only a name that this new product shares with its smartphone sibling.

We’ve just been down to the Sony stand here in Barcelona, and were struck by how similar the styling is between the two devices. Just like the phone, the Xperia Tablet Z is completely flat on the front and back, and just like the phone it’s very, very slim. At a mere 6.9mm, the Tablet Z makes the iPad 4 look positively porky. It’s even slimmer than an iPhone 5.

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Asus PadFone Infinity review: first look

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Asus Padfone Infinity

There was a sharp collective intake of breath at the Asus launch event for the PadFone Infinity at MWC. Not out of wonder or excitement – but at the price.

At €999 (around £799), this is a seriously expensive piece of tech – right up there with the priciest iPads Apple has to offer. As such you’d expect the PadFone to exude a little bit of luxury, to be beautifully built, to feel exclusive; we’re happy to report that it does exactly that.

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Posted in: Hardware

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