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All posts by Roger Hislop

Roger Hislop
Roger is a tech fan that is hot, hot, hot for well designed, clever, beautiful things that make our lives a little bit more amazing. He spends a lot of time geeking out in a house littered with bits of cable and electronics. He owns his own oscilloscope ferchrissakes. He was in tech PR for twelve years, so can spot flimsy claims and weasel words from gadget manufacturers at 1,000 paces. He amuses himself writing about gadgets, bikes and cars for a couple of mags.
  • We’ll help you decide: Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Android?

    So you’re due for a contract renewal. You need a new handset. But you’re confused. Android. BlackBerry. Windows Phone. They’re all good. Right? Or not? Aargh! Decisions, decisions. After several months knocking back and forth between the major platforms as they’ve matured, we dig deep into the real world of being a smartphone owner to help the non-technut make up their mind. Gearburn brings you the what’s-it-like-in-daily-use-but-be-practical-man-just-the-stuff-that-matters guide (WILIDUBBPMJTSTM Guide 9™) for choosing between the many smartphone flavours. Option 0.5: Apple iPhone OK, we’ll go there. Apple. If you want nice hardware, classy styling and tightly integrated software and cloud services, and aren’t...

  • Sony Xperia Z: still a really great phone

    The Sony Xperia Z. It’s a really good phone. And there is no higher praise that a smartphone can get. It does what a smartphone should do, at the most basic level, well. It makes calls. It takes calls. You can clearly hear the caller. It sends messages. Browses the internet. Takes pictures. AND DOESN’T NEED TO BE RECHARGED TWICE A DAY! AND DOESN’T NEED TO BE COSTED LIKE A PRECIOUS PIECE OF SPUN GLASS! AND IT DOESN’T TRY GUESS WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO! OK, settle down, settle down. Breathe, Roger, breathe. The Xperia Z is waterproof (ish) and damn...

  • Four months on, we roast the Galaxy Note 8

    I’m a bit scientific-minded, me, so I like to do things scientific-like. So I took the Samsung Note 8 tablaphonelet and made some telephone calls on it in front of a statistically valid sample of colleagues, friends and the general public. Without exception they either laughed, pointed, or pointed and laughed. Samsung, I ask you with tears in my eyes, what the hell are you thinking? Why put a phone in tablet? Is it because your product development geeks are unable to say, “No”? Demonstrating the clear-headedness and restraint of a couple of crackheads with a couple of unsmoked rocks...

  • Shox Spin review: budget Bluetooth speakers

    You know the Shox mini speaker. A golfball-sized speaker that pops open to make sweet ball-shaped music. You’d not use it at a ball, but it lets you get a bit more volume from your mp3 player or phone when out. It’s so small you can carry it anywhere. It’s the road warrior’s best musical friend. So now there’s a new twist on the idea… the Shox Twist. It’s a foot long rectanguloid with a half twist in it. Twisted. Spin. See what they did there? Oh, it was obvious? Okay. The Spin is a lot more sophisticated than the...

  • Bowers & Wilkins C5: best in-ear phones for gym ever?

    This is the one article you can safely ignore Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. The answer in this case is, yes. Or mostly yes. But first I have to come clean. I have a shameful secret. I have a kink. It’s not just a kink, it’s an aural kink. I’m not proud of it, that’s just how I’m made. I don’t judge other’s kinks, I’d ask you’re GGG in turn. Since I was a baby I’ve had this kink, and it’s not going away. Maybe with surgery, but it doesn’t hurt anyone, so I don’t want to go there. Truth is, my...

  • Samsung Galaxy SIII: is it still real love after a month?

    Now that the excitement has worn off, and the mocking of the “designed for humans, inspired by nature” ads has commenced, Gearburn brings you the real deal. What it’s like to live with the Samsung Galaxy SIII. It’s too damn big. The Galaxy SIII is really nice, but the screen-size war is as useless and distracting as the printer-and-scanner resolution war, or the camera megapixel war, or the king-size cigarette war. Bigger is not necessarily better — particularly when your thumb strains to reach the far side of the screen (and I have really big hands). We once had big...

  • Not a Review: Verbatim Netbook USB drive so small it’s almost not even there

    Not a cricket chirped. Not a tumbleweed rustled in the chill wind. I sat contemplating the tiny little Verbatim Netbook USB solid state drive squatting on the mound of the fleshy part of my thumb. It sure is tiny — imagine you take the metal bit of a USB plug in hand, and with a sharp lightsaber cut off everything but a little plastic nubbin to grab hold of, and you would have the Netbook USB drive. I looked up, bemused. I should get moving, they would maybe come back. Around me the corn plants were rustling, their turgid yellow...

  • Hi-tech personalities: the winners and losers of 2011

    We’ve reached the end of 2011 – and it’s time to look back on the winners and losers of the year. Those who made our gadget life more awesome, and those that ruined it for everyone. Those that rock, and those that suck. So, without further ado, Gearburn’s Geared and Burned personalities of 2011. Burned Leo Apotheker of HP He was bounced out of HP in disgrace, consoled only by the $25-million payout he trousered for less than a year’s work (a healthy wedge of the US$84-million HP has paid to revolving door chief execs in the past six years), but not...

  • Do I upgrade? iPhone 4 vs 4S

    The iPhone 4S launched in October, and now here we are in December, ready for its South Africa launch (tomorrow, Fri 16th). Is it worth upgrading? Or switching from another mobile brand? Gearburn does the world’s most concise iPhone 4S upgrade guide. Power The 4S is a lot more powerful than the iPhone 4. Moves from single-core A4 to a 1 GHz dual core A5. First-for-iPhone dual core graphics co-processor. You can also now get an iPhone 4S with a thumping big 64GB of storage on board. Still no SD card slot. Boo! Siri The AI, voice-activated interface that you can ask questions...

  • Gearburn Award: Best Innovation in Hardware 2011

    As a gadget site we’re not looking at core hardware innovations that shake the world, we’re looking at the awesome innovations that knocked our socks off. Often the impact of radical innovations doesn’t become apparent for a few years. Accurate, reliable capacitive touch-screens, for example. So we’re reaching a bit, but these are the innovations we think you’ll look back on in a year and say, “Wow – that’s where our gadget...

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