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Showing posts from March 24, 2013

Electric Cars: Red Dwarf's Kryten Reviews The Renault Zoe

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This looks like a defining moment for electric vehicles. The Renault Zoe is both cheap enough to appeal to everybody - about half the price of previous electric cars - a level achieved by removing the price of the battery from the sale price; and manages to have the sort of range which is very usable day to day.

Renault have covered all the bases here, purchase costs, running costs, warranty, technology - even an rental car agreement for the times you need something bigger or with a longer range for those special occasions when the Zoe won't do - holidays, moving, etc.

I can see this turning out to be a real success, if the UK's drivers are prepared to approach it with an open mind.

F1: Dangerous Decisions

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Aside from all the uproar about team orders and who did what to who in Malaysia last weekend, there was a more serious issue which seems to have been missed by all of the normal F1 pundits.

When Ferrari decided to leave Fernando Alonso's Ferrari out on track at the end of the first lap they put driver safety second behind track position and that was an unacceptable decision. This should not be allowed to pass without comment.

The front wing on Alonso's car was damaged, attached to the car by only one of its supports and was breaking up as the car circulated the Malaysian track. Given the speeds attained on both the first and last straights of the lap the prospect of a chunk of that wing detaching and hitting one of the following cars doesn't bar thinking about. Who can forget Felipe Massa's serious head injuries after a similar occurrence in Hungary in 2010?

Even if that worst case scenario hadn't occurred when the wing inevitably collapsed and became wedged under the…

How Much Extra Will You Have To Pay For The Latest Device?

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Retailers have started announcing prices for the new Galaxy S4 and they make for eye watering reading. At somewhere close to £600 its a lot of cash for a phone. Its much more expensive than the equivalent iPhone 5.

That the S4 makes sense when priced against the iPhone is debatable, however when you look a little closer at the Samsung catalogue its price is impossible to justify.

The Galaxy S3 remains a fantastic phone and can now be had for well under £350. Is the S4 really worth a £250 premium over its predecessor.

There's also the HTC One, which has a number of key advantages over the S4 and can be had for around £485 - I can't see anyway that the S4 justifies that price difference.

Now it may well be that these early prices are ambitious and will fall as availability increases.

It may also be that the S3 pricing is temporary as the model is run out (unlikely though as the S2 still sells well).

Whatever the case, for the moment Galaxy S4 pricing doesn't sit well and you'…

Selling Cider By Mocking Apple

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Brilliantly done...

Why All The Holes?

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Nokia's higher end Windows Phone 8 devices both include wireless charging. Its a brilliant concept and one that should spread to all handsets as soon as possible.

But why didn't they take the opportunity to make everything else wireless too and do away with all the holes in their phones?

I single out the Lumia 920 here particularly because it doesn't offer expandable memory.

Like all top end Lumias before it the 920 is cut from a single piece of polycarbonate. It would have been very easy to leave off the headphone socket and micro-USB port and retain the integrity of the device completely.

Ultimately a smartphone needs only two openings in its case - one for a power button and another for its SIM card.

Bluetooth has all the profiles necessary to deliver wireless audio whilst syncing to a desktop is still occasionally required that can be covered using wifi.

Nokia has the ability to deliver on this more than anybody else just at the moment.

Its just a question of being adventuro…

F1: Team Orders, Crazier Than Ever

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The Malaysian Grand Prix produced yet another crazy race last Sunday, only this time the chaos was all around in-team politics. It demonstrated that teams need to understand the whole race picture before demanding that one of their drivers obediently follows the other around.

It certainly shouldn't be used as a ruse to ban team orders.

In summary, Sebastian Vettel passed team mate Mark Webber in the closing stages of the race ignoring Red Bull's instructions not to. Further back Nico Rosberg was denied the opportunity to pass Lewis Hamilton when he complied with Mercedes instructions to hold station.

Both decisions have been villified. Vettel's for being unsportsmanlike, Mercedes for favouring Hamilton.

The nature of F1 means that drivers have to run a race based on the ability to make best use of tyres that have been designed to wear badly.

Both Vettel and Rosberg had managed their machinery early in the race to ensure they had fast cars towards the end of it.

Neither was expec…

Cheaper Phones Offer Better Value

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What's the best smartphone that money can buy, today, right now?

Chances are that there are as many answers as there are top end smartphones.

The problem is that these top of the line devices set such high expectations that it's almost inevitable that they are going to disappoint you.

Take a look at some of the reviews of the iPhone 5, Nexus 4 and HTC One. You'll find nit picking that if we stepped back and thought about would have us laughing at their irrelevance.

The price that we pay for those high end devices is so high though, that we are unable to forgive even the smallest mis-step by the manufacturer.

Cheaper phones have a much easier time of it. Our expectations are so much lower.

There's an awful lot that a £125 smartphone can get away with because of its price. And in the end even those bargain basement devices accomplish all that a smartphone should.

So next time you're picking a smartphone ask yourself 'how much am I paying for all these bell…