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June, 2013

Does Windows 8.1 work on an 8in tablet?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Acer Iconia W3 (1 of 1)

Microsoft has been at pains to emphasise how well suited the newly minted Windows 8.1 is for compact tablets at this week’s Build conference. Steve Ballmer himself came on stage brandishing an 8in Acer Iconia W3 running Windows 8.1 during his keynote speech – and then promptly made himself the most popular man in San Francisco by announcing he was going to give one to each of the thousands of developers here at Build. I’ve got my hands on one, too. So can Windows 8.1 really compete with iOS and Android on compact tablets?

I’ll stress I’ve only had a short while to play with the W3, and my opinion may well change over time, but my early impressions are that Windows 8.1 does scale nicely to the smaller screen.


Sony Xperia Z Ultra review: first look

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Sony Xperia Z UltraISO 800Giant smartphones have become a common sight at press launches of late, and the latest to hit the scene is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. We had the chance to try one out at an event in London today, and first impressions are that it’s a serious contender.

For starters, Sony reckons it’s the slimmest big smartphone on the market. We’re not going to disagree: the Ultra is just 6.5mm thick, yet despite the dimensions, there was no hint of weakness across its aluminium frame and glass rear. It’s a remarkably sturdy piece of kit, and Sony hasn’t just concentrated on making its latest Xperia feel solid – it’s comfortable to hold, too. The brushed aluminium borders aren’t quite as angular as the original Xperia Z, and don’t dig into your palm in quite the same way. Its 212g weight is high for a smartphone, but then we’d expect a little bit of extra heft for a device this big.


Samsung Galaxy NX review: first look

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Samsung Galaxy NXSamsung made quite a stir when it launched its 3G-enabled Android-based Samsung Galaxy Camera earlier this year. Now the Samsung Galaxy NX is here to take the concept upmarket.

From the front it’s nothing special, bearing more than a passing resemblance to the company’s existing range of NX cameras. It looks like a shrunken DSLR, with a small hump on the top for an EVF (electronic viewfinder), a large grip to one side and a number of knobs and buttons on the top plate.


Samsung Ativ Tab 3 review: first look

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Samsung Ativ Tab 3 ISO 800-3Along with a raft of new Windows 8 hybrid and laptops, Samsung has also unleashed the Samsung Ativ Tab 3 Windows 8 tablet.

This doesn’t quite have the glamorous appeal of its larger siblings. There are no fancy hinges to play with, nor an ultra-high resolution display to gawp at, but there’s plenty else to like about this slimmed-down, full-blown Windows 8 tablet.


Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus review: first look

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Samsung Ativ 9 Book Plus

With the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, Samsung looks to be taking the Ultrabook form factor to the next level.

It’s essentially a slight redesign of the handsome Samsung Series 9 900X3D laptop we recently reviewed. The chassis is a combination of brushed, dark silver aluminium,  measuring a mere 13.6mm thick when the sturdy lid is closed, and weighing a reasonable 1.39kg. Samsung has added a Kensington lock slot on the rear right hand side, but that’s the only noticeable physical difference.


Samsung ATIV Q review: first look

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Samsung Ativ Q

Some companies are into their second generation of Windows 8 hybrid laptops, but the Samsung Ativ Q is the first we’ve seen from the Korean consumer electronics giant. It’s quite the debut, however, introducing the first better-than-Retina 3,200 x 1,800 resolution display we’ve seen on any mobile device, and dual-Windows 8/Android compatibility.

Physically, the Ativ Q cuts a familiar dash: its touchscreen display measures 13.3in across, so it’s quite a large device, and it has a mid-mounted screen hinge that allows the Ativ to be used in a number of different configurations.


Adobe Dreamweaver CC review: first look

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013


Adobe has launched its new suite of applications for subscribers to its Creative Cloud programme. We’ve already taken a first look at Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. Now it’s time to see what’s new in Adobe’s best-established web creation tool, Dreamweaver.


Huawei Ascend P6 review: first look

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Huawei Ascend P6The Huawei Ascend P6 might not have the brand-name cachet of Samsung or Apple, but it could be a smartphone force to be reckoned with. The just-announced handset  joins the Ascend P2 as Huawei’s second flagship phone to be launched this year.

The Ascend P6 is a 4.7in phone running the latest version of Android Jelly Bean (4.2.2) and it’s a very handsome piece of kit. Visually, its design is reminiscent of the iPhone 4/4S with its starkly rectangular profile and metal band running around the perimeter.


Adobe Illustrator CC review: first look

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013


Adobe has this morning launched its new suite of applications for subscribers to its Creative Cloud programme. We’ve already taken a first look at Photoshop CC: now we’ve turned our attention to the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, available only to customers who’ve subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud programme. It’s an incremental change over Illustrator CS6, but depending on the sorts of design you create, some of the new features could be very useful.


Posted in: Random


Let MPs tell us what they really want ISPs to block

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013


I appeared on Newsnight last night to discuss internet filtering, and was quickly thrust into the role of defending ISPs for failing to protect children from pornography.

“Why are ISPs so pathetic at dealing with all of this?” asked Jeremy Paxman. In my view, they’re not. Certainly, the TalkTalk HomeSafe filter we tested last year exhibited appalling, basic failings. Likewise, some of the parental control software we asked teenagers to test a couple of years back. But, as I told Jeremy Paxman last night, I don’t think ISPs should be thrust into the role of internet censors.

It seems the government disagrees. Today, culture secretary Maria Miller is meeting with all of Britain’s leading internet providers, demanding to know why they haven’t done more to tackle child abuse. The truth is they’ve done a lot more than the government, which last year cut funding to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) by 10%. Even the industry-funded Internet Watch Foundation admits on its About Us page that the “content we deal with [which is primarily child abuse images] has been virtually eradicated from UK networks”.







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