Episode 40: Road tripping and torture-testing the HTC One

It's an episode in a day! The Always On crew hit the road in a tricked-out high-tech RV, blasted down the highway from Anaheim to Las Vegas, and then flew home. Along the way, we played "are we there yet" with the Galaxy Note 8 and threw the HTC One out the window.

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Summer's here, almost officially, which means the road trip season is upon us. We set out to try to find out which gadgets could entertain you on a long drive, or at least keep the kids out of your hair, and whether the phone that's arguably the hottest of the season could handle some road trip mishaps.

But here at Always On, we road trip in style. No cramped back seats for us ... we were rolling in The Woody, a massive high-tech RV that's the custom showcase creation of OCRV Paint and Service. Thanks for the ride, guys! And with the RV industry apparently making a comeback, we couldn't have picked a better time -- or a better ride. Six high-def TVs, rolling satellite Internet, surround sound throughout, and complete control via iPad or iPhone, plus teak-cherry flooring, leather couches, a wine fridge, a pull-out gas grill, and a marble shower that made me want to move out of my house and into the RV for good. Best of all, nobody got carsick! Well, maybe the camera guy got a little bit carsick. Sorry, Celso.

But we weren't just rolling and relaxing. Let me give you a little teaser to let you know how seriously we took our torture test duties for this episode. It's two words. "Safety gear."

And let me give you another little teaser. The HTC One is one tough phone. We threw it out the window (twice), dunked it in 5-Hour Energy Drink (and there is nothing natural or safe about that) and even put it on the barbecue next to some delightful shish kebabs. Stay tuned until the very end of the road trip to find out how it fared.

We also quite literally road tested the Galaxy Note 8 , Samsung's $400 minitablet running Android Jelly Bean. Jeff and I each had one to keep us from fighting over them, and we were trying to see if it could entertain and inform us on the trip. I can say that it kept us from arguing, but an irritating Google Play DRM issue led to a highway temper tantrum on my part. Not the kind of thing you really want to happen on a hot, dusty desert road miles away from anywhere ... unless you've got plenty of other TVs to watch in your awesome RV.

Image: The Samsung Galaxy 8: can it bring peace to a long road trip?
The Samsung Galaxy 8: can it bring peace to a long road trip? CNET

Also, hilariously, even though in last week's Mailbag, we solemnly swore never to use any paper on the show ever again, we're using paper to read your mail this week. Don't judge. Like I said, it's the desert! And it turns out that shiny tablet screens are hard to read in blazing sunlight. Speaking of which, look carefully to see if you can spot the tracks of my tears from staring into the sun during our intros and the Mailbag.

Enjoy this episode, everyone; we had a great time making it, and it was one marathon of a day with three cities on the agenda. I hope it helps you make some road trip decisions! And next week, we're helping you make even more summer vacation decisions, when we travel to Hawaii to test out underwater phone cases, rugged cameras, and the poor, poor Kindle Paperwhite.

 

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