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CNET Tech Review
Hands off my iPhone!This week on the CNET Tech Review, we get touchy-feely with the iPhone 4; Samsung floods the smartphone market; and OnLive brings PC gaming to the Mac.
^M00:00:00 >> Molly Wood: This week on the CNET Tech Review how to hold your iPhone 4 so it actually works, On-live brings PC gaming to the Mac, Samsung takes over the galaxy, and it's the Volt versus the Leaf in this week's prize fight. It's all coming up right now. ^M00:00:14 [ Background music ] ^M00:00:23 Hey everyone I'm Molly Wood. Welcome to the CNET Tech Review; the show where we run down the hottest videos of the week and tell you which ones are good, which ones are bad and give you some tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's get started with the good. ^M00:00:36 [ Background music ] ^M00:00:38 Every once in a while we here at CNET get our hands on products that haven't been released to the public yet so that we can test and review them. Brian Colley [phonetic] takes that concept one step further in this week's prize fight as he compares two cars he's never even laid a finger on. Let's see how that goes. ^M00:00:55 [ Background music and noise ] ^M00:01:02 >> Brian Colley: Hey everyone, Brian Colley here stepping in for Brian Tong -- hope that's okay with him -- with a very special sort of prize fight. This time between two tech products you can't even buy yet; the Nissan Leaf versus the Chevy Volt. We get lots of folks asking every week which one is going to be the hot rod for the green crowd. Well, let's see what we can tell from the pre-announced specs and details and the brief looks we've had with each car. I'm going to score these two very simply. Each car will get a number between zero and ten on each of four categories. The car with the most points wins. Let's go. Round one, looks. ^M00:01:39 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:01:41 Let's face it I don't care if a car runs on perpetual motion, a nuclear reactor or unicorn dung also known as clean coal, if it's ugly, it ain't going to sell. The Leaf has sort of a quirky cuteness looking for all the world like the kind of car that Japanese designers designed to be sold only in Japan, kind of a catfish mouth and a dumpy rump, but in this era when even the Prius is considered handsome, this kind of looks as modern and progressive. The Volt is much more conventionally handsome like a modified Malibu, but it's got a more aggressive face, a rather audacious backlight and tail lamp treatment all of that keeping it from being vanilla and like the Leaf I think most folks are going to know a Volt when they see one. So, I give the Leaf a six, but I've got to give the Volt a seven on looks. So, our initial scoring is Leaf 6, Volt 7 as we go into round 2, range and strandability [phonetic]. ^M00:02:37 [ Background music ] ^M00:02:40 The Leaf is promised to go 100 miles on a charge. After that you've got to plug it in or it won't move. This is a pure electric vehicle; not a plug-in hybrid or a range extender. Charging from flat out on a 110 outlet is about a 20-hour experience; on a 220 outlet about 8 hours, and if you can find a rare, but available 500 volt charger, 80% charge in just 30 minutes, but the Leaf has admirable 100-mile range, which could cover the average commute for three to four days. So, give it a seven. Pretty strong. ^M00:03:12 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:03:14 The Volt only goes 40 miles on a charge and charging that battery from dead flat is about six hours on a 110 outlet and about three hours on a 220 and there's no option yet for a super fast charger like with the Leaf, but here's the big difference the Volt is a range extender meaning a little gas engine and generator will fire up when your battery gets low and keep generating juice so you can keep driving as long as you have gas even though it's powered by electricity. Follow that? So this comparison is sort of apples and oranges especially since we can't compare MPG as only the Volt uses NEG. I have to give the Volt an eight though because the range extender that can always run without being plugged in is going to speak to a lot of people who are nervous early EV buyers. So now it's Leaf 13 and Volt 15. ^M00:04:00 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:04:02 Round three, connectivity. Both of these cars are going to pioneer a new era of connected vehicles. The Leaf will connect wirelessly to a global center for data services, entertainment, support and more. The center display in the dash will come on and show you when you're low on electricity where to go for a charge and if you can make it there and how many chargers and what type they are that are available at each location. Slick stuff. You can use your Smartphone to remote access the car's HVAC and charging functions and there's also a little solar panel at the back of the roof to trickle charge the battery and run accessories. The Volt will have OnStar Mobile, a new Smartphone app and wireless service that lets you lock the car, check its charge, tell it to charge, run the heating and air conditioning, remote start, even locate the car anywhere in the world and both cars, of course, will have the usual complement of audio entertainment connectivity, all of that all optimized to weigh less and use the least amount of power. This one's close, but the Nissan is shaping up to have a little better handle on infrastructure connectivity, which is a big part of making EVs a success so give it to the Leaf on this one eight to seven. ^M00:05:13 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:05:14 Now the score Leaf 21, Volt 22. ^M00:05:16 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:05:18 Into round four, price. ^M00:05:19 [ Background music ] ^M00:05:25 The Leaf is priced at 32,800 before a $7,500 current federal tax credit. That makes it about $25,000 or so effective price before the usual sales tax delivery and such. GM says the Volt will be below 30 grand after that $7,500 tax credit. So, call it a $38,000 car. Since both are basically the same amount of space, number of seats and general market segment the Leaf has to win here by coming in thousands cheaper. I'm concerned that too many mainstream consumers may get turned off by the high initial price of the Volt and never even hear the tax credit message. So, give it to Nissan, eight, while the Volt gets a six. So, now our final score on these to be sold EVs the Leaf from Nissan gets 29, the Volt from Chevy 28. A close one. ^M00:06:14 [ Bell dinging ] ^M00:06:15 And let's remember the big factor here. We can't yet judge either car on how it drives because they're not in the real world yet. We're going to revisit this and do another prize fight on these two head-to-head when they're in showrooms and most importantly in the CNET garage. I'm Brian Colley, thanks for being with us on a prize fight. ^M00:06:31 [ Background music ] ^M00:06:37 >> Molly Wood: I have to say that I do like the Leaf. If you're going electric, you might as well go all the way plus if I got one of those 500 volt chargers, imagine how fast I could recharge my cell phone. For years anyone serious about PC gaming was probably also an expert in over clocking and water-cooled processes, but with the upcoming launch of a new gaming service called OnLive many PC games will be playable on just about any desktop or laptop, PC or Mac. ^M00:07:04 [ Background music ] ^M00:07:07 >> Dan Ackerman: I'm Dan Ackerman I'm here with Rich Brown, and we're taking a look at OnLive, the revolutionary new on-line gaming service that purportedly let's you play pretty much any high-end PC game on almost any computer Mac, PC, netbook whatever. >> Rich Brown: That is right so we have an iMac here. It's probably important is that this is an Apple computer and you can play all kinds of games that aren't really traditionally available for the Mac OS. So, this is the main OnLive interface. There's about 20 odd games or so. I'd say maybe half of those are A list titles; others are independent games. So, we've got Just Cause 2 here and there's no official Mac version of Just Cause 2 available so keep that in mind. Hit play, it'll take a minute to get started. ^M00:07:50 [ Background music ] ^M00:07:53 >> Dan Ackerman: All the rendering is not happening on your computer, it's happening offsite at a rendering farm and it's basically just beaming the game play video to you. The life of that, however, is pretty good. >> Rich Brown: It's minimal. I mean there's probably the question of bandwidth. If these guys get a lot of users set up for their service, who knows how they'll be able to handle that much traffic. >> Dan Ackerman: And, of course, they require that you use a wired hard line Ethernet connection. It's not going to work up a Wi-Fi right now and that helps with the local bandwidth issues. The most interesting thing about OnLive is probably how it works on Netflix and it tells that you need a dual core CPU to run it, I've got a single core basic netbook right here with an Intel [inaudible] and it gave me a little warning message that said that it's probably not going to work, but you know it still works fine, I've got Borderlands loaded up right here. There you go. It works pretty well. The lower resolution image actually works better on a smaller screen like this and, of course, I've got that hard wired Internet connection not Wi-Fi so if you're traveling, that will be an issue if you want to use OnLive. The system is in kind of a closed beta right now so you can go and sign up. You may not get access right away. Eventually they want to charge a 4.95 a month for access to the system itself and then you pay for games on top of that. I'm Dan Ackerman. >> Rich Brown: And I'm Rich Brown. This is the OnLive Gaming Service. ^M00:09:00 [ Background noise ] ^M00:09:03 >> Molly Wood: Rest assured people a rendering farm is absolutely nothing like a rendering plant. Thank goodness. Moving along reviewing audio equipment is one of the hardest jobs for our editors because it's so subjective. So, we all took a vote and decided Matthew Moskovciak's ears shall speak for the rest of us. Take it away, Matt. I said take it away, Matt. ^M00:09:26 [ Background music ] ^M00:09:29 >> Matthew Moskovciak: Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor at CNET, and we're here with the Samsung HT-C6500. This is a home theatre in a box system with a built-in Blu-ray player and it's currently selling for about $550 on-line. The HT-C6500 includes a 5.1 speaker system with two front tall speakers, smaller rear speakers, a Center channel and a Subwoofer. There's also the main receiver unit, which includes the Blu-ray player and also access the amplifier. We like the glossy black look of the system, but we're disappointed to see touch-sensitive buttons on the top of the player, which are hard to get to if you stack other devices on the system. We also like that Samsung includes iPod connectivity with a dock, but we prefer the design on competing home theatre systems, which integrate the dock into the main unit which makes for a sleeker design. The Graphical User Interface is the same one included with Samsung stand-alone Blu-ray players, which makes it easy to access included streaming media services such as Netflix, Voodoo, YouTube and Pandora. It does have built-in Wi-Fi so you don't need to have Ethernet in your living room to take advantage of the streaming services. Around back you can see it's connectivity, which includes two HD [inaudible] inputs, an optical audio input, and an analog audio input. That means you can connect up to four devices, which should be enough for many home theatres especially since the Blu-ray player is built in, but it's worth pointing out that some competitors such as LG's cheaper LHB535 offer a little bit more connectivity. We found the sound quality on the HT-C6500 to be outstanding for a home theatre in a box system. Movies sounded detailed enriched and even CDs sounded good, which many competing systems can't handle well. When we compared it directly to the Sony BDV-E770W, we really liked both systems, but we felt the Samsung had just a little bit fuller sound. So, overall while we had some complaints about the design of the unit, it features some of the best sound quality we've heard on a home theatre in a box system and a really strong feature set making it one of the best Blu-ray home theatre systems we've reviewed. I'm Matthew Moskovciak at CNET and this is the Samsung HT-C6500. ^M00:11:42 [ Background music ] ^M00:11:44 >> Molly Wood: In other Samsung news, earlier this week the company held an event in New York City to debut a handful of new Android phones based on their Galaxy S design. Here's Bonnie Cha's first look at the Samsung Vibrant. ^M00:11:57 [ Background music ] ^M00:12:00 >> Bonnie Cha: Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com with your first look at the Samsung Vibrant for T-Mobile, their new Galaxy S phone, and as you can see, it's a very, very gorgeous device, I think. ^M00:12:12 On front you've got a 4-inch AMOLED screen that is absolutely popping with color and very, very sharp. Below the screen you've got four touch sensitive sensitive buttons. You've got the menu, home, back and search buttons. ^M00:12:25 Very thin device. Kind of reminds me of another phone from [inaudible] company perhaps. On top you've got a micro USB port as well as a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack and on back it has a 5-megapixel camera, which is capable of recording data in HD format. ^M00:12:43 As far as features, it's running Android 2.1, and it will be upgradable to Android 2.2. Also running Samsung's [inaudible] 3.0 interface, and I really like what they've done with the main menu of applications. ^M00:12:56 It's very nice looking and easy to understand so I think it will be great for consumers. T-Mobile is [inaudible] device with plenty of entertainment features including a full copy of Avatar, MobiTV, the Amazon Kindle app for Android, and also Samsung's Media Hub where you can download movies as well as magazines and books. ^M00:13:16 The Samsung Vibrant will be coming to T-Mobile on July 21st for $199.99. It's going to make a great addition to their lineup, kind of their flagship device. ^M00:13:26 One other thing about the Vibrant. It's running Samsung's one-gigahertz Hummingbird processor so that should equal some pretty good performance. Looking forward to checking it out, and I'm Bonnie Cha with your first look at the Samsung Vibrant for T-Mobile. ^M00:13:40 [ Background music ] ^M00:13:42 >> Molly Wood: So, as Bonnie mentioned, the Vibrant will be coming to T-Mobile, but if you prefer to get a Galaxy S for another carrier, you can get the Captivate for AT&T, the Fascinate for Verizon, and the Epic 4G version for Sprint. I know they're all based on the same phone; it's just kind of one of our weird carrier things. Look for more on all those phones at [inaudible] CNETTV.com. But not yet. We've got a lot more fascinating and captivating tech review coming up right after this break. It's going to be Epic 4G. ^M00:14:14 [ Background music ] ^M00:14:22 Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, your weekly digest of all things good and bad from CNETTV. In other good news this week, the iPhone 4 hit the stores with a bang. It looked so awesome that people brought their kids, their dogs and their pride and they got in line and nobody works a line like Brian Tong. ^M00:14:40 [ Background music ] ^M00:14:49 >> Brian Tong: What's up Apple buyers? I'm back and I'll be back for a while so let's get into all the good and bad inside the world of Apple. Now it's impossible to avoid the iPhone 4 fever. It all started on launch day so let's check out some of the action from San Francisco that wrapped around three whole sides of a city block. ^M00:15:05 [ Background music ] ^M00:15:07 Brian Tong here with CNET.com at the launch for iPhone 4. These people have been here what since 3 a.m. or so? That's 30 hours. It's very sad. Are you guys ready for this thing? >> Yeah. ^M00:15:20 [ Background music ] ^M00:15:23 >> The phone I have right now is the phone I've had for five years. It's like an LG. >> Brian Tong: Wow. >> It's really old. Cover fell off, every time I try to use it, it shuts off. It can only store 50 messages and do nothing more. So, this guy, Chris, right here was the first person in line. He's been waiting for two days, and I actually saw some of the blogs that he had been awaiting here, had reserved the spot ahead of him, and he reserved a spot through a site called AirB&B, and I had actually went to the site and took that reservation. I paid $400 for it. >> Brian Tong: How long have you been here? >> For about like a minute. >> Brian Tong: A minute. Would you rather be here in line or doing something else? >> Doing something else. ^M00:16:04 [ Background music ] ^M00:16:07 >> So I think the most frustrating thing about today is that I just came here to get new ear buds. >> I've been here since 5 a.m. yesterday. >> Is that [inaudible]? >> Yeah, 5 a.m. since yesterday. So, I'm number five or six. If someone comes up to me and just tell me, here, I'll give you a thousand dollars, I would give it to them. >> Brian Tong: You would do it? >> If they would give me like 800, I would still do it. >> Brian Tong: So, what are you most interested about with this iPhone? >> [Inaudible]. ^M00:16:35 [ Background music ] ^M00:16:40 >> Brian Tong: Where are you guys from? >> Alabama. >> Brian Tong: Why from Alabama to California just for the iPhone? >> Well, we wanted to be here for the Apple experience, you know, in San Francisco. So, very proud to be here. >> Tried to pre-order, couldn't get it on a pre-order. >> Brian Tong: All right guys this line extends around two city blocks. I'm here at approximately the three-hour mark. That's three. I think I'm going to sit down for a little while. Oh, yeah. This is sad. >> Processor booths, two cameras, HD video. >> Brian Tong: Will you be using [inaudible] at all with the ladies? >> Oh, hell, yes. That's the first thing I'm going to do. I just need to find a lady with a 4G. >> Brian Tong: Okay, you guys, got your phones, how do you feel? >> Oh, man. >> Overwhelmed. Whew-hu. I'm so excited. Yeah. >> I'm so emotionally drained. >> Yeah. >> We live in a loft so I'm going to face time her from downstairs while she's upstairs. >> That sounds dirty. [Laughter] >> Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, baby. ^M00:17:38 [ Background music ] ^M00:17:41 >> Oh. [Coughing] The next thing you know he's going to talk about his o-face time. >> Molly Wood: We interrupt this episode of the Apple Byte so that we can bring you the bad. ^M00:17:52 [ Background music ] ^M00:17:55 Turns out the iPhone 4 has some issues. We now return you to the Apple Byte already in progress. >> Brian Tong: Now early reviewers are touting the iPhone as the best phone they've ever seen, but maybe getting their phone a week early got them a little too excited. Videos flooded the Internet showing some of Apple's new baby losing signal bars or even dropping calls when covering the left-hand corner with your hand. Your hand. It's the thing that we use to hold phones. Now apparently bridging the gap between the two antennas with conductive material like a key or even your skin is enough to affect the signal. SJ even responded to a customer's email saying non-issue, just avoid holding it that way. Okay, that's a total BS response if I've heard one. Now, it isn't happening to every phone, but bloggers have found a solution. Apple's bumper case, you know, it's that $29 rubber band they're selling? Now, I actually have some right here and they are free. Now, that's not all. Other people are also discovering yellow spots and bands of discoloration on their iPhone 4 screens. According to Gizmodo, Apple has told customers that it's residue from the manufacturing process and the yellow spots should clear up in a few days. Kind of sounds like my blanket in sixth grade. Now, count them up that's two black eyes for Apple on launch day and both are worthy of some real nasty bad apples. ^M00:19:18 [ Screaming sound ] ^M00:19:21 But it's not stopping Apple from selling an estimated 1.5 million phones in the first day. That's just ridiculous. Now, just think of all those people waiting in those three plus hour lines hoping to be a trendsetter at their local swimming pool with the all-white iPhone 4. Apple announced the white version will be delayed until the second half of July due to some manufacturing issues and to those people in line, it sucks to be you. Now Steve Jobs told us that iPhone 3G owners wouldn't have all the iOS 4 features like multi-tasking, but who would have guessed that custom wallpapers would be too much for the 3G to handle because those intense animations just really slow down the user experience. All right that's going to do it for this week's show. I'm Brian Tong. You can send your emails to the Applebyte@cnet.com with your iPhone 4 reactions both positive and negative. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you guys next week for another Byte of the Apple. ^M00:20:15 [ Background music ] ^M00:20:22 >> No, no. I can hear you perfectly fine. I'm supposed to hold it this way. That's what Steve said. Yeah, perfect. Okay. Cool. >> Molly Wood: It's pretty astonishing that 1.5 million people bought the iPhone 4 on the first day, and it's too bad you're not allowed to actually touch it when you use it, which brings us to this week's bottom line. ^M00:20:44 [ Background music ] ^M00:20:48 Now I was skeptical at first, but there's no debating the fact that the iPad has been a huge success, which begs the question, can any tablet or netbook beat the iPad? At the second installment of the CNET Showcase held in our San Francisco headquarters last week, we asked experts and consumers what it would take to topple the tablet king. ^M00:21:07 [ Background music ] ^M00:21:11 >> Apple's iPad. If you believe the hype, this thing started the battle and won it immediately. The battle between slates, tablets, netbooks and notebooks, but here at CNET Showcase Live an awful lot of users arrived to say we're not so sure it's that black and white. >> iPad for me has been kind of a laptop replacement, but not quite because of some of its limitations. >> I still haven't drank the Kool-Aid. I've heard too much about the limitations, and I really want something that does more than that. >> I would love to see something coming from someone other than Apple. >> So we put together a panel of CNET editors and brought in half a dozen manufacturers to show how they'll answer iPad and tablets with different visions of device, interface and usage and the jury is out on all of them. >> Where do tablets end, where do netbooks begin? Are there products that are kind of hybrids between the two? I think we find that the lines between all these product categories even one's a netbook and one's a regular laptop, it's really a lot fuzzier and a lot grayer than people think. >> But the reason so many of us are even scratching our heads over this is because Apple has given us more than 3 million reasons to do so. Not all of them rational. >> First of all they produce beautiful hardware, their operating system is designed for the touch interface. It's not, you know, something on top of another operating system, and their advertising and marketing is top notch. They know how to reach beyond our logic filters. You can do a lot of what you can do on an iPad in a device that costs half as much. >> Major netbook makers like Asus and Toshiba continue to lean hard on low cost and concepts like content creation and doing real work to put the iPad and other tablets in their place. >> You're actually looking at a true computer. If you actually want to get, you know, content creation work done, Microsoft Office, Excel or that type of work, a netbook is the way to go. >> Laptops are core to the experience, you know, your do everything device. The laptops aren't going to go away any time soon. >> At the same time Toshiba showed its much talked about Libretto W100 which shows they agree netbooks aren't the only answer. >> The Libretto introduced an entirely new ultra-mobile form factor where it actually folds up just like a laptop but has that kind of similar functionality to what the slates are delivering. We've actually [inaudible] six different keyboards, not just one here, keyboards are very central to the touch experience. >> But research from Morgan Stanley suggests the iPad alone will eclipse even the category of netbooks to become the hottest selling mobile product of all time and Forrester [phonetic] research largely echoes that saying tablets in general will be outselling netbooks by 2012, but how much are these rosy predictions driven by the breathlessness that seems to surround most things Apple? >> The big appeal of the iPad is still mostly novelty, and I think in a way you buy it not because you need it but because it's an exciting, interesting device to play around with, to bring home to show off. >> Perhaps the only thing that all makers and all users fully agree on is that at any time everywhere digital lifestyle is here to stay. >> It used to be years ago portability was being on a train, being on a plane. Let me tell you what portability now is on the couch, in the kitchen in addition to being on the train, but also at the cafe. It's all about being connected. >> Brian Colley: Back in the early MP3 days, Apple ran away with the music market. The iPod really never had any competition. This ain't then. Consumers are far more discerning, they've seen more technology come and go, and they're more sophisticated about their needs and the exact right device to meet them. This battle has just begun and the innovation along with it. I'm Brian Colley. Thanks for joining us. ^M00:24:46 [ Background music ] ^M00:24:49 >> Molly Wood: The bottom line this week, you don't need a tablet especially if you've already got a laptop or a netbook. In that case, a tablet would just be a superfluous accessory and everyone knows Apple has cornered the market on those although it is so good for movies on the plane. So good. And that's our show for this week. Everyone tune in next week for an all-new look at the tech week that was. Until then you can always find more great CNET video at CNETTV.com. See you next time and thank you for watching. ^M00:25:17 [ Background music ]