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Always On: Episode 27: Torture tests in the snow
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Always On: Episode 27: Torture tests in the snow

24:41 /

The Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5, and Kindle Fire go skiing for spring break! Can they handle the snow (and snowmobiles)? Plus, we unbox the newest BlackBerry and visit Google Fiber.

-This is slippery, oops. This week on Always On, it's time for reindeer games. Can your tech handle your Spring break ski trip? We found out. Oh, it's on. Plus we unbox the new BlackBerry Z10, and Jeff Cannata visits Kansas City to check out Google's smoking fast Google Fiber. -I want it. -Always On is on. That was awesome. Welcome to Always On Season 3. I'm Molly Wood. -And I'm Jeff Cannata. -This is the show where we take a look at the techest part of your life. -And your future. -And Jeff is moving up to the big stage. -Hey, I'm here. This is exciting. I'm super excited about season 3. We've got new gadgets to unbox and some great DIY tips. -We'll have Jeff's special brand of torture, I'm gonna torture test some gadgets too. And then of course we're gonna have some great road test, real people taking the real tech into their real lives and letting us know how it went, kinda diary style. -And we get to go to Barcelona. -And we get to go to Barcelona, and need our body weight and paella and jamon. -That's the plan. -Yes, also Mobile World Congress. -Yes. -There's gonna be gadgets. -Yes. -All right, but let's kick off season 3 with my trip to Mount Shasta Ski Park where I found out whether some of your commonly used gadgets can survive your ski trip. Welcome to the Always On reindeer games. We're here at the base of Mount Shasta in beautiful Northern California. We're on our way to the Mount Shasta Ski Park where we have a bunch of gadgets and a layer of fresh snow to torture test them in. I have an iPhone 5, a Nokia Lumia 920 and a Kindle Fire just for the heck of it. We're gonna put them all through their paces in a series of ski related torture tests ranging from green circle to blue square to black diamond. Let's see how they do. I think this is a green circle drop test because I'm pretty sure that all these devices are gonna survive but we'll be dropping them one at a time from the ski left starting with our love iPhone, Nokia Lumia and finally Kindle Fire. I think it's gonna shock some people on the chair lift. iPhone 5, oops, oh. Nokia Lumia, oh man this is slippery, oops. And finally the Kindle Fire, oops. That was expensive. We'll be back. Hopefully we're gonna find those again. I dropped the Kindle in some pretty big snow. All right, how are you doing buddy? Seriously the hardest part about the torture test is picking these things up out of the snow. It kinda adds to their real torture there. Okay, how are you doing? It's on. It's freaking out a little bit; the screen is changing back and forth. However, it is responsive, generally functional; the screen is like a tiny bit slow but other than that it's all right. Kindle Fire is okay. All right, let's keep moving. What's next? I definitely want the iPhone to be okay. -Somebody dropped their phone. -It was me, on purpose. We're testing it to see if it can survive. Oh, that makes perfect sense to them. Okay, iPhone, attracting a lot of attention after falling from the lift but I gotta say despite a little bit of moisture and, you know, like a medium light fall I mean it's a soft landing so it's not like it was gonna break, but the moisture and the cold do not seem to be affecting it. The iPhone 5 is just fine. Nokia Lumia 920 had a pretty soft landing like right on a little groomed part. All right, let's see-- let's get a power going here and how the screen. No problem. We did say that this was the green circle test and so far all the gadgets having a pretty easy time with the chair lift but little do they know what's coming next. This is a ski jump, and our interpret assistant Nick is going to snowboard down, jump and ideally land on one, maybe all of these gadgets and we're gonna see how they can take the impact. Okay, Nick your gadgets are placed, are you in place? -[unk], they can come down. -All right, let me give you the go sign and just be careful buddy. Are you okay? Go Nick, it's so cool. Oh, that was awesome. Are you okay? -I'm okay. -All right. So, you hit the easy target. Kindle which is not cracked, just a little cold, see if we can turn this down, Kindle Fire is coming on. Kindle Fire takes a direct hit, appears to be A-Okay. The iPhone, looks like this actually may have just escaped, like I've got a nice carved line right next to him but I think its body definitely-- there was impact, everything got hit. Let's turn this guy on. iPhone, good to go. Okay, Nokia Lumia-- plus this is sort of like, you know, a double whammy snow test since they've all been hanging out here. Nokia Lumia, this is coming on, Nokia Lumia 920 okay, check. I thought Nick was so impressive and here everything is working fine. So far things are going pretty well for the gadgets in the snow. -Yes, and you know what that could really happen; dropping your phone off the ski lift. -Oh, totally. -I'd like to take pictures while on the lift and who knows what could happen. -You should have heard people behind us, actually every time we drop something they would go, "Is that a phone? Is that another phone? She has dropped two phones, oh my gosh." -She's the clumsiest person I've ever seen. -It gets awesome later on because not only do I get to drive a snow mobile, I get to drive the snow mobile over the gadgets. -Oh, boy. -Yes. It's gonna get a little more difficult; black diamond, if you will. All right, but next up it is time for an unboxing. Okay, it's been a long time since BlackBerry fans had anything to get excited about. -But there is some big buzz now. -There is, in fact people were super interested in the recent BlackBerry 10 announcement, and the introduction of two new phones. -This is really meant to resurrect the company and make them a player again. -Yes. And we'll see, inside this box we have their first touch screen phone running BlackBerry 10 OS, so this is the Z10. -I'm excited. -Let's see how it is. -Let's check it out. Yes. -I know we have some other phones to compare it to-- -All right. -The iPhone 5 and the Nexus 4. Oh. -There it is. -Oh. -This is pretty. -That's a high style box. -Pretty attractive little box. -I'll take that. -Oh. -Oh, yeah. We got the white one. -Look at that. -That's got some pop to it. -It does. -Not bad. Let's get this guy out in here. -Oh. It's thicker than I would have thought. -Oh, okay. So, in the box we have an Apple charge and it has the little BlackBerry style thing right there. -Yes. -Okay. What else? Presumably the battery, oh yes. -Yes. There's no way it could be that light. This thing is, not-- weighs nothing. -I know. Here pop [unk]. -Yes. -It has the Snapdragon chipset so we have a little add for that with a cool dragon eye. We got our little BlackBerry talking headset because everyone does that who has BlackBerrys, right, they all walk around with the headset and then they hold the mic up to their mouth. I don't know why that's such a pet peeve for me but it kinda is. -[unk], I've never done this before. -Our little charging cable, Mini USB which I do like to see. -Here we go. -Pretty big collection of manuals here. -I mean now it feels like a cellphone. -Like a normal phone? -Yes. -Oh, yes. Okay, that makes a lot more sense. Oh, it's coming on now. So you can see it's a pretty similar size to something like the Nexus 4. -It gives the iPhone 5 as a comparison. -iPhone 5 are looking so hilariously small, I think. -Yes. -Every time I see a new phone I'm just like why is that thing so dinky. It's a good looking phone. -Yes. -Okay, while we wait for this guy to turn on, let's do some of the specs. The BlackBerry Z10 comes in two colors: black and white. It has a 1.5 Gigahertz Dual-core Snapdragon processor, it's 4G LTE ready depending on your carrier and of course it runs the new BlackBerry 10 Operating System. The display is a 4.2 inch LCD display so not the biggest we've seen but pretty good resolution; 1280x768. The camera on the back is 8 megapixels and the front facing camera is 2 megapixels, the rear camera is capable of 1080p HD video recording. There are 2 gigs of RAM on board and 16 gigs of storage but it does have expandable memory up to 64 gigs. In terms of ports you have Micro HDMI and Micro USB plus of course a headset jack. It has an 1800 mAh battery, now that's a huge battery so I wouldn't expect great battery life. BlackBerry says you'll get up to 10 hours of talk time and 13 days on standby. This is touch-screen phone with a virtual keyboard, somewhat of a departure for BlackBerry. The cost $199 on contract or $599 unlocked. I gotta say, coming out of the box we [unk], it's almost a letdown that it looked so much like every other phone. -It really doesn't have that differentiator that you're accustomed to from BlackBerry-- -Yes. -anymore. It just looks like any other phone on the market. -So, we'll just have to see kinda how that OS works out and how well they have managed to button it all up. In fact you and I are gonna get a chance to find that out in potentially painful detail. -Yes. We are going to a foreign country and armed only with these phones, we will try to make our way through Spain. -Yes. -And I'm curious to see which one of us will survive. -It's gonna be kind of a competitive road test because we both have to use the phone and figure out how it, you know, stands up to the travel but also a series of challenges. -Yes. -This should be something to behold. I pretty do a lot of cursing. -Yes. I gotta learn my Spanish curse words. -Oh, yes. -Yes. -We don't have to bleep those. It is time for us to take a quick break. When we come back, Jeff goes to Kansas City to check out Google Fiber, and we have Part II of our snowy snowy reindeer games. -Stick around. -So, while I was on my little work sponsored ski vacation, you went to Kansas City. -I was eating all of the barbecue that they have there, that's what I was doing. -All right, so your way to sell it, Kansas City. -And also checking out Google Fiber which only exists in Kansas City right now. And I've been excited about trying to get Verizon FiOS in my house to get 300 megabits per second, but people in Kansas City have the opportunity to get gigabit per second. -They are living large. Check out his report. -I'm in Kansas City, Missouri; the home of the Kansas City cheese, delicious barbecue and the beginning of Google Fiber, Google's promise of internet speeds a hundred times what the rest of the country gets. Let's check out to see if it's really the case. Pitch me on Google Fiber as a concept. What is it and why do I want it? -Sure. So, the average American internet connection today is 6.7 megabits per second so with Google Fiber we're offering 1,000 megabits per second. And we think that not only will this let people do everything they do today faster and easier online but it also has implications for the future to let, you know, people develop the new applications that will make the web better and faster going forward. -And this is important; faster broadband is good for everything from mapping to streaming video, to video conferencing. -Hi. -I'm see-- I'm definitely seeing some blurriness when, you know, when you move a lot but you're super smooth and clear. -And there's no latency in this conversation. -Exactly. -No, this is like better than a cellphone conversation. -It is, right. This has huge implications for emerging fields like telemedicine, if you can video conference without latency and share huge files at the same time you could have virtual meetings with doctors who could send you x-rays while you talk. Or any student could take class anywhere. And then of course there's things like Smart Energy Grids, connected devices and all the things we haven't even thought of. Google Fiber and Gigabit Ethernet is great for consumers but it's also transforming Kansas City from a business perspective. And at the center of that is the Kansas City start-up village which is a series of three houses like this one behind me where all kinds of entrepreneurs are gathering and creating a real community. Let's check it out. You really see the next big company coming out of Kansas City? I mean are we gonna get a Google size company coming out of here? -I think that's completely possible. Yes. The biggest benefit is probably we get a glimpse in the future for what everyone is going to have, right. So, if we get to gear technology towards what people are going to have, is an advantage. -Just a little time in the Google Fiber space made me a believer. I'm wandering up against Sunset Boulevard on street view in Google Maps, this is basically my neighborhood in LA, and this is something I would never do at home on my PC because it takes so long to load all the images. And you look at someone else that's a high-image content on the web, something like the Google Art project, now Pointillism is something that you can only really appreciate when you could zoom up close and really see the detail of the brush strokes. I'm sold on this. So my visit was almost over, but I had to know when can I get it. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I asked, Google wouldn't say. Do you guys have plans to expand beyond Kansas City? Or even in the city? So when can I have this in Los Angeles? I wanna know how it's gonna happen. When, give me a date. -We're really focused on Kansas City. -I mean is there a time table for trying to get this into other cities? Or-- I mean is there-- is this something that I can cross my fingers for? Do I have-- is it gonna be my kids that are having this or am I gonna be able to get it in, you know, the next few years? -Sure. I mean from Google, like I said we've got a lot of work to do here. We don't have anything to announce, I mean I think we would be interested in talking to other communities in the future perhaps. -Bottom line, if you want Google Fiber you're gonna have to move to Kansas City to get it. I want it. Now, another cool thing about Google Fiber is that the high-speed internet is allowing them to actually offer TV service as well, and it's not just your everyday TV service, we're talking free 2 terabytes of DVR space. -What, terabytes? -Full 1080p resolution on the channels that offer it. -Uh-huh. -And a free Nexus 7 as your remote control. -Okay. Kansas City, looking better and better. -Right. -All right, while you dream about barbecue and 2 terabytes in DVR storage, let's get to Part II of our reindeer games. The exciting conclusion-- -Snow mobiles. -of the snow mobile torture test. All right, I think it's time to take things up a notch. We've been pretty easy on our gadgets so far, it's time to go black diamond on the Bearcat. We're gonna snow mobile over the Nokia Lumia 920, the Kindle Fire and the iPhone. Now, the Nokia and the Kindle, they're going unprotected. The iPhone though is encased in this Seidio OBEX hard-core ballistic style case, and we're gonna see if somehow this helps it survive the pressure of my little arctic cat right here. Oh, the Kindle. All right, I'm going for the middle this time. You guys see the Kindle? -The Kindle is right there. -Is it stuck on me? -Yes. -The Kindle stuck on my snow mobile. Let's do one more run, see if how it's doing. Okay, here we go. All right. I think it's probably time to see how these guys are doing. Poor Kindle got dragged twice around. Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. We have done significant damage to the Lumia 920, we pretty much shattered the screen although it looks like the screen is kinda blacked out right here on the left side, but it's still on, on the right side despite some pretty major damage to the glass. Now, the back though, the back is in perfect condition. I bet the camera even works; maybe we'll take it inside and see. However, I think we're gonna have to say that this one generally speaking did not survive the snow mobile attack. Next, all right, iPhone 5 in the Seidio OBEX case. I'm not seeing any signs of damage right off the bat. In fact kinda remarkably, even this little clip deal is still intact. I see no cracks, maybe a little scratch there, a lot of snow, and it comes on. The iPhone seems to have been well protected so compared to the Nokia this one got off pretty easy. All right, let's come find that poor Kindle. Anybody who wanna take bets on this one? It went around twice, stuck underneath the snow mobile. Let's see here. We still have these cracks; see the cracks on the back. Oh, yeah. And we have a shattered screen, not too surprising really, kinda of a nice spider web pattern in the center. Let's see if we can get it to come on. Nothing so far. Oh, yeah, well. Okay, unlike the 920, Kindly Fire doesn't even come on. This one is a straight up fail. Now, our ski patrol escort that day actually did not think that the snow mobile would kill these phones. He thought the snow would be soft enough. -He underestimated you. -He did. He didn't know I was gonna drive over them three times and then drag that poor Kindle Fire around. -Well, I guess ice is the enemy of fire. -Oh. Yes. It is. Good one. -Thank you. -That's what I'm here for. Get ready for season 3. -Made a terrible mistake. All right, we also tested two iPads in the snow, you'll find out how those did in 2 weeks. Next week though we have a very cool action camera shootout. -Yes. -Exciting stuff. Now though, it is time to read some of your mail. This week in the mailbag I got a present and it came with this gift note from Nathan. Hey, Molly, you need a better box knife. In the immortal words of Croc Dundee this is a knife. Actually I think I can do better than that. We have a new producer and he is Australian. Anthony. -This is a knife. -Thanks. It goes on. I present to you this for your safety and ergonomic unboxing pleasure. Not to mention your bad-ass street creed. From, @fullmiddleaviator. That is awesome and I cannot wait to use this in our next unboxing. Thank you Nathan. Keep the feedback, not necessarily the presents, coming. You can e-mail me at alwayson@cnet.com, or find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Coming up next week on Always On; digital cameras galore. I unboxed the Samsung Galaxy Wi-Fi camera and then I get to take it on a road test to Paris. -Speaking of cameras, you got those action cameras that go, profoundly has some competition, and you take them to the snow-- -Yes. -to see which one holds up better. -It was an exciting time. All right, that is all coming up next week everyone. Thank you for watching Always On. Okay, under rolling. -Rolling, but how clear sound gets. -All right. Test, test, test. Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello. No sound? Still no sound? -Your sounds were good. -All right, great. We're about 30 seconds from that pole. -Uh-huh. -[unk] we're not even up yet. -You're not up yet? Oh, I see you. All right, we're probably not gonna make it. All right. Nokia Lumia 920, I think that was not on purpose. All right. See, now I know you're okay. You are okay, right? -I think I might pass out. -All right, you just take like a little nap there. Elegant as always. You're on the move, whether you wanna be or not. Let's skip that and you gotta get. My only-- also that was the most fun I have ever had. Okay. That is all. That was awesome.
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