Episode 50: A high-tech music venue plus the Lumia 1020 and the Galaxy Mega 6.3In this week's episode, we get a unique peek at a world-class virtual music venue with one of the founding members of the legendary Grateful Dead. We test out the Nokia Lumia 1020 at a popular music festival. And, we unbox a mega phablet.
-This week on Always On, wow, that is a big phone. You can do it. Yes! Thanks bubble guy. Hi, I'm Molly Wood, welcome to Always On, the show where we take tech into the real world. This week's show, it's all about music. I am at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco where I'm gonna be checking out a product later on. But before that, I'm headed to Marin County where Bob Weir, the co-founder of the Grateful Dead has built a private music studio that's got some amazing tech in it. -One, two, three, four-- -Laid back in an old saloon with a peso in my hand watchin' flies and children on the street. -What we set about to do in building this place was to build the ultimate play pen for musicians. -This is how Bob Weir envisions the future of music. The Grateful Dead front man has created a state-of-the-art music and streaming studio to broadcast unbelievably high-quality sounding music over the internet to fans around the world. Welcome to TRI. Do you wanna just change the way that people consume music or experience it? Is it for the musicians or for the audience or both? -It's for everybody. Music is for everybody. So for the musicians, we come here. We have a great time. For the audience, we try to make it really easy. -Grateful Dead set the standard back in the 60s of first guy's paying attention to the PA and building it. This dream now at the highest that consumer can receive but on the internet on a regular basis both audio and video wise and we're only limited now by what the consumer can receive. -So if you're watching at home, this is something comparable to getting to see Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead or some other band like in a coffee shop, you know, the permanent dream. -It's the closest you can ever get to actually being in the band. It is a studio, but it's a live performance studio so it's not sterile like a normal recording studio. It is built for a live performance. The sound is amazing. It's a very relaxed laid back atmosphere and it's in the treacherous from Grateful Dead. -One. -One. -The studio is in every sense mind blowing. -This is the only one we're using. -At the center of it is the constellation. -I could use a little more-- -A cutting edge sound system developed by audio engineer, John Meyer to enhance the sound that musicians here on stage. -One, two-- Really call me the breeze. -All around the sides and back were-- are some 80's speakers hanging-- and then hanging down from the ceiling. You also can't see unless you look real close through a bunch of microphones for a for a couple dozen of those. -Uh huh. -and they take it up and through software and then put it back out through those speakers. -How about this? -To begin with, I could share that this is-- how this room sounds all by itself. -It just turned everything-- -A clap. This is room number 1. Clap again. Now, we're not-- Now, we're going to see it again. A smaller theater. -Small theater, yeah. -Now a cathedral. -Oh, wow! -Again, this is now a cathedral, but on and on it goes. We've anything from living rooms to ball parks and everything in between we haven't got the grand chariot. -So a band can come in here and you guys can play or they can play and they can stream it and make it sounds anywhere in the world? -Yeah. And we're-- what we're trying to do this-- right now, this is all on an iPad here, but we're trying to get it on and put switch. -The heart and soul of TRI is this audio control room known as the inner sanctum. Here, a mix comes in from the studio and then it's pushed out to the world and this is where the show all comes together. The live performance has then switched and streamed out to fans. -We have a switcher. You know, we have also different monitors to see, and behind this, we're gonna watch all the different shots and it's basically like a TV studio, but it's for the web. -The one hiccup in the system is that on the other end, a listener has to have a fat bandwidth pipe and the computer hardware capable of decoding such a high quality signal. Otherwise, the music just sounds like regular old streaming audio. Can you gig out for a minute on how you're doing that and what the limitations are for listening at home, which is bandwidth right at home? -Well, it's bandwidth at home to enjoy it, but it started with Bob he had in Grateful Dead fussing. He had an unlimited budget. He far exceeded the unlimited budget by getting every possible new toy that can push the fattest data rate out of here. -After midnight, it's all gonna be peaches and cream. -We built this place with internet broadcast in mind. What we're trying to do is make it so people will be able to gather at a friend's house and everybody will be able to watch basically a concert there without having to drive along with. -After midnight-- -It's time for us to take a quick break, but when we come back I am going to test out a smartphone here at Outside Lands that I think is gonna be the perfect companion. Welcome back everybody, now obviously a smartphone is the perfect music festival companion for texting and, of course, photos. So, let's see how the 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 handles Outside Lands. So, the big headline on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is simple, 41-megapixel camera. That's basically the camera that I wanna have with me in my pocket at a music festival like this so let's road test it. The Nokia Lumia design has just been really appealing. It's such a nice bright-colored phone, super customizable, lots of colors and the Windows phone interface is really attractive. So, you feel drawn to it right away and as a camera phone, it's the right weight. It comes with a wrist strap, which I find to be a delightfully camera-friendly touch. Overall, I always really drawn to this phone. I really like using it. I'm comparing photos. That's what's happening there. Thank you. So, the iPhone 5 is currently the best smartphone camera on the market and it's the main reason that some people keep that phone. This is taking direct aim at that. So, it's a 41-megapixel camera. Not so many megapixels that it's almost a novelty. It's way more than you're ever gonna use and it's really just a stun to get people's attention, but that's it. It's a pretty amazing when you look at your 41-megapixel image. Then, Nokia has built in a lot of cool camera features. So, you have all these Smart features where if you take a photo of a sequence, it will choose the best shot for you. You can choose a really great action shot and you can sort of like specify movement. There's filters. So, they're making it really fun to use and a really camera-oriented phone. And I have to admit, I've been really impressed with the images. Mainly though, I think everybody uses their smartphone to just take snap shots and upload them somewhere. The snapshot part is really good. The uploading part is problematic. So, you can upload a photo directly to Twitter. It doesn't in a great that way with Facebook and then the most crashing drawback of all is that you're taking beautiful snap shots and you cannot Instagram them. There's no Instagram available for Windows phone and Instagram has said that they're not gonna build it. Instagram your photo. I wish I could. So for kind of the point in social sharing, you are super crippled and it's such a bomber. So the negatives that I have found are mainly the shutter speed. All the bubbles like totally disappeared by the time the shutter got it. You can do it. Yes! Thanks bubble guy. The shutter speed is so slow on this phone. It takes a long time to load up the camera. You kind of press this button, then the image appears and then it's another second or so before the actual camera controls pop up. So, you probably already missed your shot, but even assuming that you haven't then when you press the camera button, the actual shutter and click is super slow. You know what? That's why I have to compare with iPhone because frankly I think this is shameful. Give me other phone. Watch this. Boom. And there's bubble. Ready, bubble. No problem. No problem. So, I actually think that the Lumia 1020 is a great phone for festivals because the stage isn't going anywhere so you don't have to worry about the slow shutter speed and you're gonna get great shots that you can zoom in later so that you can pretend that you were closer than you are. That's it at the end of the day. I don't think I would buy it. I'd rather have a phone with a great camera that can do everything like the iPhone instead of a phone with a really great camera that can't do very much else. The best thing also about a bright yellow phone at a music festival, I'm easy to spot. Coming up next, the nice big screen to look at all your pictures and music videos on. I am unboxing the massive Samsung Galaxy Mega. Inside this box, I have the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and since I'm such a phablet fan, you know I've been waiting it I might have one of these days. 6.3 does refer to the screen size. All right, let's see here. Let's get this guy out of here. Wow. That is a big phone. They're using millimeters as their primary measurement. Just as a trivia note, 6.3 inches is 159.7 mm. Good to know. All right. See what else is in the box; the instruction booklet, headphones, kind of a nice touch since it's media friendly, charging cable, international power brick. Oh, hey, oh, it's an adapter. I actually thought that it might come with an SD. Can you imagine how useful that would be? Just a micro SD adapter and then a little 4-gig micro SD card. All right, and our big, big battery. Let's get in here. It already-- I will say even though it is obviously ginormous, it feels really light weight and the battery isn't that much heavier, so I think it's gonna pretty nice in the hands. The sim card slot is right on top of the micro SD card slot. That's kind of an awkward stocking, but I guess if you did this all at once when you very first got the phone maybe you won't have to mess with that again, but it would be kind of annoying if you wanted to swap out your sim card or your SD card for something bigger 'cause 4 gigs is not very much. Let's get our battery in. May be because it's so big, this plastic case feels even flimsier than usual. It feels like a paper and how-- It does a big display-- big display. The now familiar Samsung startup screen and while I go through some of the setup, let's do the specs. The Mega has a full HD 6.3-inch TFT display. The resolution is 1280 x 720. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It has a dual-core 1.7-gigahertz processor. The battery is good size, 3200 milliamp hours. Samsung says that should run up to 17 hours. Obviously, we'll have to test that because that screen is gonna eat some battery. Memory is 16 gigabytes. Ports include micro SD expandable up to 64 gigabytes, USB 2.0 and a micro sim swap. The micro SD card slot is on top of the micro sim port and the way they're stock is a little bit awkward. Connectivity wise, the Mega comes packed with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and A-GPS. The 6.3 version comes with LTE, but the 5.8-inch Mega does not have LTE support. The camera on the Galaxy Mega is a slightly disappointing 8 megapixels, but there are ton of built-in photo modes that are really fun. There are filters and you can even apply them when you're taking video and then there are various camera modes like the ability to automatically choose the best photo from a bunch continuous shooting, the best face and something called "beauty face." And the front-facing camera is 2 megapixels. The unlocked price is pretty high $798. Most of that cost of course goes to the screen. Now a couple key differences between the plain old Galaxy line or in this case the Galaxy Mega line and the S4 line, even though it has some of those Samsung only features like Smart Stay, Air View, S Beam, and of course, the somewhat annoying Touchwiz interface. It doesn't have some of those premium S4 features like the Eye Scrolling and the Gesture Controls. Personally, I have noticed to be a little bit of a novelty anyway so I don't think you'll miss them. This phone is really all about this huge display. So, if you're really into watching a lot of media on your phone and you don't mind carrying something around this size, it's a pretty, nice phone. I mean, you know me. I like a huge phone. What I don't understand is what Samsung is going to do with the Note III. We're still expecting not to be announced. So if 6.3 or 5.8 inches seems to be a little too much for you, I might wanna hold out and see what they announce there. 5.5 could be the perfect size. At least you have options. All right for our full review, check out Cnet.com and don't go anywhere because now we're gonna read your mail. Okay, time to read some of your mail. Today's email comes from Mark who says, "Hi, Molly, how about testing a phone real battery life? My Nexus S cannot support phone at 3G, Bluetooth and GPS all running at the same time even with a 1 amp charger attached. In my car, I have all those services running and the charger can't keep the battery from draining. Imagine adding Wi-Fi to the drain. I'd like to who's phones can stay alive with every come feature running. That is the real world test for me. Okay, Mark, I agree with you that real world battery is never the same as the lab and I got to admit I push it to the limit here at Outside Lands, but may I make one simple suggestion. You probably wanna upgrade that Nexus S. I think the real world is gonna be a whole different place for you buddy. All right, keep the feedback coming. Yo can email me email@example.com, and of course, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. That's it for this week everybody. Tune in next week and as always thank you for watching Always On. Don't try me to do duck face 'cause I'm not doing it. -You don't know a duck face? -There are pictures of all the girls who every time they get their photo taking they go like this. And then it just gets more and more insanely [unk] lip injections and then they're like-- Oh.