Wileyfox Swift Android Phone

The Google guy who showed me my first Android phone some six years ago was very keen on the flexibility of the new operating system. “Look,” he said, “see how screen rotates from portrait to landscape when you turn the phone round!” I said that seemed like an intelligent feature, but then Google was clearly an intelligent company. “What happens,” I asked, “if you rotate it now through 180 degrees to the upside-down landscape mode?… Now read on…

BenQ W1070+ Projector

I still think the future of projectors lies with the cooler illumination technologies, LED and laser. But the hot lamp isn’t going anywhere any time soon: at the low end, prices for this class of DLP projector are coming down, while picture quality is quite visibly improving. BenQ, an old hand in this sector of the market, is currently offering a model that’s a notch or two up on the now discontinued W1070, which was very… Now read on…

Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 3)

In the previous episode we connected the speakers, confirmed they’re working by feeding them FM radio and then aligned them using Yamaha’s Parametric Audio Optimisation set up. We’re now ready to tackle the RX-V679 face-to-face. The Front Panel THE CONFIDENT, HANDSOME BLACK finish of the facade (a “Titanium” version is also available) manages to be at the same time living room friendly and unobtrusively technical. Yamaha’s own illustration here depicts a slightly optimistic picture, though.… Now read on…

QNAP TS-451 NAS Server Part 2

In the first part of this series I said something about the general use of network attached storage (NAS) devices and whinged a good deal about the problems of explaining the capabilities of one with as many tricks up its sleeve as the QNAP TS-451. But enough theorising: now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. Installation THE TS-451 ARRIVES as a bookshelf-sized white box with (most immediately noticeable) four drive… Now read on…

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6

“…defiantly recommended!” I BORROW THE PHRASE from a user’s enthusiastic review on the Vodafone Web site. It may not be exactly what she meant, but it seems to sum up the mood. You’d be hard-pressed, I think, to find a cheaper equivalent. In fact you might reasonably expect to pay twice the price Vodafone is asking for its latest Smart Ultra 6. It’s a very good if unexciting large-screen Android phone that seems to be… Now read on…

Ulla, the Smart Water Reminder

I’VE TAKEN THE TITLE from Ulla’s own Website. This gadget is actually nothing to do with “SmartWater”,  which is a cunning proprietary liquid you spray on criminals at a crime scene so you can identify them later. The Ulla is probably better described as a smart reminder to drink water. Why would you need it? The truth is, you shouldn’t. Eons of evolution have tuned our bodies towards a thirst mechanism that should kick in… Now read on…

Motorola Moto G 3rd Generation

WHEN THE FIRST MOTO G arrived at the end of 2013 it was a true market disrupter as a low cost, fully equipped smartphone. Although primarily aimed at emerging markets — it was Motorola’s all-time best-selling phone and became the top selling phone in Mexico and Brazil — the Moto G was also made available here in the UK, where its ground-breaking price of just £135 unlocked found it a lot of fans. The Moto G… Now read on…

Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 2)

RATHER THAN JUMPING RIGHT IN I used episode 1 of this Yamaha RX-V679 review/adventure to set the scene.  Now let’s get physical. Any neophyte unboxing the machine might at this point be forgiven to taking a long pause. A coffee break at the minimum. Because the moment you turn these AVRs around to look at the back you’re presented with something of a challenge. Speakers and the Back Panel It seems logical to start at… Now read on…

QNAP TS-451 NAS Server Part 1

Introduction I’VE SPENT THE PAST thirty-plus years trying to make sense of IT in a way that folks without specialist knowledge can understand. When the PC arrived at the beginning of the ’80s it was already the most complex device ever put before the public, and in the decades following serious IT consumer kit may have got easier to use, but – because much more complex and capable – has become even more difficult to… Now read on…

Amazon Fire TV Box

A couple of months ago I reviewed the Amazon Fire TV Stick, an HDMI plug-in device with 1GB of memory and a dual core processor designed to connect wirelessly to the Internet to turn your dumb TV into a smart one for £35. Paying a little over twice that price gets you the Amazon Fire TV, a larger set top box with a more powerful quad core processor, twice the memory and the option of… Now read on…