CNET Tech Review
HP TouchPad aims for iPadThis week on the CNET Tech Review: Verizon's iPhone launch gets a chilly reception; HP debuts TouchPad tablet running WebOS; and Sprint's Kyocera Echo doubles down on touch screens.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review: Weather puts a damper on the Verizon iPhone launch in New York City; HP gets behind webOS in a big way; and in a little one, double your pleasure with Sprint's Kyocera Echo; and dude, don't get this Dell. It's all coming up right now. Hi everyone. I'm Brian Tong and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech and offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the Bottom Line. Let's start with the good. February 10, 2011, a date that will go down in the history books. I'm speaking of course of the day the Verizon iPhone went on sale to the public for the first time. Maggie Reardon was at the Apple Store in Manhattan, but she didn't have a lot of company. I'm Maggie Reardon with cnet.com and I'm here at the Apple store on 5th Avenue where Verizon and Apple are about to kick off the Verizon iPhone. The crowds here are not quite what they are for a normal iPhone launch. It's 6:50 here in Manhattan and there are 7 people in line. The phone actually goes on sale at 7 o'clock this morning and the temperatures are in the 10s, snow is on the grounds, and people are staying home. So, tell me, what brought you out on this bitter cold day in Manhattan to buy the iPhone. -I gotta go to work and aside from that, I'll be traveling later today, so I just-- I wanted to get it out of the way, you know, this morning, so. I thought there was gonna be a really, really big line. I was surprised. I got here around 6:30 and I was 4th in line. So, I was previously on T-Mobile and I guess now I'm a Verizon customer, so. This is actually my first time waiting on line for anything and I think probably I won't do it again. It's a little silly, but, you know? -It's about 7:30 here now, about a half hour after the doors have opened. It took only seconds for the line to dwindle down to nothing. Clearly, Apple was expecting a bigger turnout. The store inside is just a sea of blue shirts with Apple employees willing to help people, but they aren't a lot of customers to help. I guess we finally have our answer to the question, "What will keep people from an iPhone launch?" 20-degree weather in Manhattan. I'm Maggie Reardon with CNET news. -So now that the wait is over, have you decided if you wanna buy one or not? Last week, Brian Cooley told us his top 5 reasons why you shouldn't buy Verizon iPhone. And frankly, he had made some good arguments, but before she left on vacation, Molly Wood took some time to outline the top 5 reasons why you should get one. Let's hear her side of the story. -Hi. I'm Molly Wood, in for Brian Cooley with a CNET Top 5: the top 5 reasons to buy a Verizon iPhone. See, recently Brian Cooley brought you top 5 reasons not to buy the Verizon iPhone. Limited global roaming, no simultaneous voice and data, no 4G. Whatever. Hater. If the pre-sale numbers are any indication at all, the Verizon iPhone is going to be a monster hit. But if you're still on the fence, here are 5 reasons you might wanna take the leap. Coming in at number 5, no death grip. Because of a slight redesign with the iPhone 4, those issues about holding the phone wrong and losing reception are now solved. And you won't need an ugly rubber bumper to use with this model. Bonus. At #4, the Verizon iPhone can act as a mobile hotspot, providing wireless internet access to up to 5 devices. Yes, it costs an additional 20 bucks a month, but that's a lot less than a Verizon MiFi costs! AT&T is rumored to be working on offering the mobile hotspot capability, but right now? They cannot match that feature, and it is super handy especially if it's paired with #3, Verizon's unlimited data plan for 30 bucks a month. Now, granted, Verizon says the plan will only be available for a limited time. But if you're a serious Pandora streamer, podcast downloader, or Netflix watcher on your phone, and you wanna do the mobile tethering, the unlimited data plan is a big plus for as long as it lasts. Moving on to #2, duh, better voice calling. In his top 5 reasons not to buy, Cooley noted that with CDMA technology you can't do voice and data at the same time. That's true, but on the flip side, when the phone only does voice, you're a lot less likely to get dropped calls because the voice isn't being crowded out by the data. That's right. I'm saying they can hear you now. And finally, the #1 reason to buy a Verizon iPhone? For god's sake, people, you've been waiting 4 years already! It's like Santa came and it's Christmas morning. Finally, finally you can open the present and have your very own iPhone on Verizon! Who cares if there's gonna be another version in six months, go ahead! Scratch that itch! Alright, that's it for this week, everyone. For more Top 5 videos, head on over to top5.cnet.com. I'm Molly Wood and thank you for watching. -There you have it, guys, the pros and cons in the Verizon iPhone debate. Let's be honest, Molly's not getting an iPhone any time ever. Now, where do I phone this byte, you'll just have to tune in to Apple Bytes to find out and you can check it out at cnettv.com. It wasn't all iPhone news this week. In fact, HP put all its weight behind the webOS platform at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. Among HP's many announcements was the unveiling of 2 new webOS smartphones. Here's HP's senior VP and GM, Jon Rubinstein with the details. Then stick around for Eric Franklin as he wraps his mammoth hands around the tiny HP Veer. -This is the HP Veer. The Veer has all the features even the most sophisticated smartphone offers coupled with the unique functionality of webOS, so it's everything a smartphone should be in one powerfully small design. In fact, it's just about the size of a credit card. Me? I never leave home without it. It's slide out QWERTY keyboard is one of the best most usable keyboards we've ever made. It has a vivid 2.6-inch capacity of touchscreen and a gesture area for navigation. With the Veer, you get a high performance web browser because you access to the full web including support for Adobe Flash and it comes with a built-in GPS that integrates location where apps to help you find your way or find cool things to do. The Veer has full multimedia capability including a 5-megapixel camera and it comes with the USB port and audio jack using a really, really cool magnetic connector. Veer supports HSPA plus, 802.11b/g, and bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. It's got 8GB of storage and the same memory as the Pre2, so it's got more than enough horsepower to play even the most intense 3D games. Veer is one of the first smartphones to use Qualcomm second generation Snapdragon 7230 processor, and it comes with all the sensors you'd expect from this class of phone. Its performance stands up to any device in the market. And with HP's mobile hotspot, the Veer can act as a mobile Wi-Fi router for up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices. Never before has a smartphone done so much and felt so little. All of us and especially our CEO can't wait to get HP's first webOS device to the user's hands as soon as possible. The new Veer will be available in early spring. The Veer is just one way we at HP are thinking beyond. As I said before, customers want a device that works well for them. And a lot of people out there spend their time on the go while they're on the clock. They want a smartphone that makes it easy to do e-mail, view documents, and have video calls with colleagues, but they also want to browse the web, watch Youtube videos, and play Assassin's Creed all on the same device and they wonder why is that so much to ask. Well, it's not too much to ask of HP. Today, we're introducing a smartphone for professionals who want a powerful productivity without giving up their personal passions. Meet the Pre3. Yeah, come on, yeah. Finally, a phone you can use for business that you don't wanna leave at work. The Pre3 is a full-sized fully equipped office on the go. It's a thin portrait slider with the largest QWERTY keyboard we've put on any webOS phone to date, so it easily handles business class e-mail. It has a gesture area for navigation and a gorgeous 3.6-inch WVGA display. It's okay. It's okay. That's 2-1/2 times the resolution of the Pre, so it really accentuates the webOS experience for both professional and personal use. Pre3 has full multimedia capability including a 5-megapixel camera that shoots HD video with video stabilization and a forward-facing camera for video calling. Pre3 comes in 2 versions, HSPA plus and EVDO Rev A whirl phone. It supports 802.11b/g/n as well as bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. It comes with 8GB or 16 GB of storage; and again, the same memory we have in the Pre2, so running even the most demanding application is a breeze. The Pre3 includes the standard suite of sensors you'd expect in a phone with this level of performance including a compass. It's Qualcomm processor runs in a stunning 1.4 gigahertz. It's got great performance. All these and more makes the Pre3 a professional workhorse designed for today's increasingly blended mix of work and personal life. -Hey guys, this is Eric Franklin from CNET. We're here at the HP webOS event. What I have right here, the Veer. Let me give you an idea of how small it is. This is my iPhone 4 right here right next to it and it's, as you can see, about 2/3 the size. The TouchPad is even smaller than the Pre. I plan to use it myself. My hands are really big, so the buttons are actually too small for me. I may have to resort to using my fingernails to actually use it to actually get some kind of precision with the buttons. One of the new features of webOS 2.0 is just type. So basically, if you have a card up and you just start typing, you'll get a couple of options and like I just type "rats" just as a random. And you can even use that text to go to Google Maps, go to Wikipedia to do more research on it or you have like go to Facebook and just post whatever you just typed. It just feels really small. It has a camera on the back. It really lights. I feel like people who don't really like larger phones are probably gonna be really be into it. We don't know anything about pricing yet or anything about confirmed date so far, but stay tuned to CNET and we'll be bringing you more news of the Veer. -During CNET's live blog of the event, Donald Bell said that the Veer actually looks like a choking hazard. I think it's small. Now, stick around for more from HP's event later on in the show. So now, we've covered iOS and webOS. What about android? Well, Sprint also managed to squeeze in an event of their own this week. They showed off a new android phone called the Kyocera Echo and answered the age-old question, "What do you do when you can't make a phone's touchscreen any bigger?" Add another one. -Hey everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at cnet.com, and we're here at a very special event in New York where Sprint just unveiled the Kyocera Echo. This is the first dual touchscreen device, and it will be available later this spring. As you can see, it has 2 screens. It's 3.5 inches diagonally and both WVGA resolution. They have optimized the software here, so you can use applications in standard mode, which is just the single screen. There is also a tablet mode. The feature that I am most excited about is the simultask mode, which allows you to use 2 different applications on the screen at once. It will only be available on 7 applications, mostly the main 4 features like messaging, photo gallery, browser. It's a pretty cool feature that I think will take multitasking to a new level. Some features that I am disappointed about-- it's 3D only, no 4G there. Another feature I'm disappointed about is it's running on 1G hertz Snapdragon processor, which may be enough to power this device, but everyone is looking to the dual-core processors, so that's little bit disappointing. One thing we will be checking once we get this device in for review is battery life. They are saying that you'll get about 5 hours of talk time on here and it's performing on par with other smart phone. They are shipping the device with an extra battery though, so if you do run out of energy, you'll have an extra cell with you. The Kyocera Echo will run Android 2.2 with no custom UI. Also has a 5-megapixel camera and will ship with an 8G microSD card preinstalled. This will be available starting in spring for 199.99 with a 2-year contract. For cnet.com, I'm Bonnie Cha here in New York with the Kyocera Echo. -Is it just me or does the Echo look a lot like a Nintendo DS? Maybe we should keep an eye out for a Nintendo phone sometime soon. Now, while we're waiting, don't hold your breath. Let's take a quick break, but we'll be right back with more tech review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV. I'm Brian Tong filling in for Molly Wood who's on vacation this week. Now continuing on in the good. This year at CES, our cellphone editors picked Motorola's ATRIX 4G as our top phone from the show. You can head over to cnettv.com for a full review of the phone itself, but before you do that, check out this video from Scott Stein. He took a look at the ATRIX 4G's innovative docking station to find out how it stacks up against a regular laptop. -Hi. I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor of cnet.com, and this is not a laptop. This is actually a laptop dock that is connected to the Motorola ATRIX 4G smartphone from AT&T. Now, we just reviewed this phone on cnet.com and this dock is a pretty well known and well high peripheral. We talked about it at CES, and it's-- it's got a lot of attention because it's one of the first laptop docks that's available for a smartphone. What is it exactly? Well, as you can see. It attempts to sort of expand that android experience after a larger screen and we thought, "Hey, you've got the smartphone reviewer's take, why not here from a laptop editor how it works as a laptop." And that's exactly what I'm gonna do. On first glance looking at it, it's thin. It's really nicely designed. It sort of feels like a bit-- like a MacBook, almost like the Google Chromebook that we looked at at the end of last year. Huge trackpad and a slightly compressed keyboard. There's nothing inside it though. What this is essentially is kind of a dumb dock that connects to the phone, which plugs in here on the little swivel dock through a little USB connector and a power connector here, and it blows it up on the big screen. Now, in addition to showing what is seen on the ATRIX itself, it also gives you a full Firefox 3.6 browser that is baked into this dock. The browser is great. The OS environment really kinda feels like a sort of a splashed top browser. There is QuickStart OS that sometimes you see on netbooks that give you a couple of functions, but not a full OS environment. On the other hand, the browsing experience is a little bit slower than you would get even on, say, a netbook based on our initial anecdotal experience. It does feel nice and, you know, Google Docs was a little bit slow. You can play Flash thanks to the Tegra 2 processor that's built in here, so we got Flash, although it's a little bit sluggish. Fairly, you know, it was about the level experientially as what you get in surfing at a netbook. One of the other small neat tricks on this dock is that it has an HD video playback center where you can play back your videos, and your photos, and your music on the large screen and thanks to the Tegra 2 processor, video playback actually looks really great when you play back some of the videos you shot on the ATRIX and they look really great on the 11.5 screen. So, the idea here is that this dock, which also has an 8-hour battery built into it and can recharge the ATRIX while it's plugged in, will function as a little mobile workstation for you. You can sit it on your lap or put it on a desk. You can view your phone and its full functionality from within the dock itself, so you can actually make phone calls via bluetooth or otherwise while having it in laptop mode. That's pretty cool. And you can play back of course any of your apps. You can blow them up into a larger screen, so it blows up the app to a larger size here, but take note this is not a touchscreen, so you can't do any multi-touch techniques like you would on an iPad. As far as ports and peripherals go, there are two USB ports in the back here along this lid, and you can use Wi-Fi or you can use the 4G data connection, but that's it. If you unplug the phone from the dock, the dock does not work on its own. So again, this is really a docking tool. Think of it as kind of a smart keyboard more than anything that really is like a laptop. There's no internal storage in here. I mean, really, it's just a chassis. You know what's surprising? This is an android phone. This is a Chromebook-like laptop. What is the browser that you expect to be on here? Probably Google Chrome, but no it's Firefox. The cost is $500 for this dock unless you get it as a package with the phone and a tethering plan in which case the phone and the dock are $500 together. Now, what does that get you in the laptop world? It gets you a lot. I mean, $299 gets you a 10-inch at a netbook, which is the cost of this dock in the bundle package. $500, if you're buying it alone, would get you a wide variety of laptops, 11.6 laptops including the ones with the new AMD fusion processors. You could also get an iPad, which while it won't have a keyboard will give you a lot of that big screen functionality. Overall, there's a lot of interesting ideas baked into the concept of a laptop phone dock, and we'll probably be seeing a lot more of these types of ideas soon. It's not there yet particularly if you're spending your own hard-earned money on such a device. You really might just be better off having a phone and having a netbook or having an iPad with you, but for now, it can be an interesting view as to what's to come. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Motorola ATRIX 4G and its laptop dock. -That's by far one of the coolest docks I've ever seen, but 500 bucks? That's way too much, but don't worry Motorola will let you keep your reward. Okay, it's about time. Let's see what we've got this week in the bad. As more and more of our files and documents and data moves into the cloud, many of us rarely need a printer very often anymore, but if you're still in the market for one and happen to come across this all-in-one printer from Dell, I think Justin you would say "keep on walking." -Hi. I'm Justin Yu, associate editor for cnet.com, with the First Look at the Dell V515W multifunction printer. So unfortunately, this all in one leaves a lot to be desired. Straight out of the box, it's marred by physical flaws and a bulky design, not to mention a cheap 2-line color LCD display that looks like it belongs more on a graphing calculator. So, let's take a quick tour of the machine. You'll notice it has its bucket design with a 35-page auto document feeder on top. That's actually useful for scanning, copying, and faxing multiple pages or photos. You also get a standard flatbed scanner underneath and Dell also includes optical character recognition software that does its best to read a scanned document and import the text into a word processor of your choice. The printer has no problem stacking individual sheets of paper in the output tray down here, but we did experience several paper jams during testing once we approached the 25-sheet output limit. In contrast, most other printers we test can hold at least double the amount for the same price. So, the Dell also comes with 802.11b/g wireless connectively that's suppose to help you cut the cord and free up USB ports, but we experienced a lot of installation errors and too many pop-up messages that gave us a headache, and we just defaulted to a hardwire connection after awhile. We should also note that the V515 is a big ink guzzler. It uses 2 separate ink cartridges for tricolor and black, and you can also purchase high-capacity cartridges from the website, but the standard cartridges that came with the unit didn't last long enough for us to actually finish our tests, so be prepared to spend lots of money on ink refills if you choose to buy this machine. So, with lots of frustration and expensive ink cartridges, the V515W doesn't have many redeeming factors. So, instead of purchasing this guy, we recommend spending your money on a more capable machine like the less expensive Epson Workforce 310 or the slightly pricier Canon Pixma MX870. You can read more details on the full review on cnet.com, but that's gonna do it for me. I'm Justin Yu. This is the Dell V515W All-in-One Printer and that sounds pretty good to me. So, instead of getting that Dell printer, you can just do what I do and use the printer at work. Sssh! Don't tell. Okay, let's go ahead and check out this week's Bottom Line. Earlier, we saw 2 new smartphones from HP, but the real news that came out on the event was the debut of the TouchPad, HP's 9.7-inch tablet, which also runs on webOS. Donna Bell was on hand for the announcement and to help guide us through a hands-on demo. -Hey! I'm Donald Bell for cnet.com. We're here at HP's Think Beyond Event in San Franciso where they unveiled their new TouchPad tablet, a competitor to the iPad that runs the webOS operating system they acquired from Palm. Let's go take a look. -Today, HP is entering the mobile landscape with a breakthrough new product that shows the power of webOS as a multi-device platform. This is the HP TouchPad. The TouchPad not only looks great. It feels great in the hands. It weighs a little more than a pound and a half, and it's just over 13.5 mm thick. The screen is beautiful, bright, and viewable from any angle. It supports video calling. That way. And has Beats audio technology for unparalleled music playback through either built-in stereo speakers or through Beats headphones. It's a power work tool too and has everything you need to be instantly productive. You can access and edit your Microsoft documents since TouchPad comes bundled with Quick Office. You can collaborate with colleagues using Google Docs, Dropbox, and box.net. The TouchPad supports VPN to connect to corporate networks and working with Skype and others to enable video calling. If you need to print something and who doesn't? TouchPad is compatible with HP's linge industry-leading printing solutions, allowing you to send documents wirelessly to tens of millions of HP's network and wireless printers. No matter how you're spending your time online, TouchPad brings it all together. It helps you keep your busy life on track. Now, when you turn it on, the first thing you'll notice is hard view and this is not a really great way to get in and out of applications. It's really a workspace and, you know, it's instant on, so being able to turn it on and instantly see what it is you're working on and get right back to it is a really powerful feature. Now, when I'm done with an application, I just flick it off the top of the screen like that. Around the bottom of the screen here, you'll see we have quick access to a few of the more popular applications that you're going to use, and at the top, we have notifications. We have the ability to actually swipe through and do triage right here. So imagine you're, you're in the browser, you get an e-mail, you'll see a text notification come across the top, and then go back to the browser, you can actually check it out right here. So being able to, to manage your e-mail and do triage from here is really a powerful feature. We've done some reformatting of the-- the e-mail application to take advantage of the large display of TouchPad. I can drag over like this and that will reveal other messages I have in my inbox, so I can easily switch between them. And if I want to do a ton of e-mails, I can just drag over here. You know, I've got more than one account. I'm sure you guys probably do too, and so being able to just crank through e-mails in my different folders and accounts and go through them like this is really a powerful way to keep my inbox in check. Another thing I'll show you here is our keyboard. This is a five-row keyboard. And also, it let's you resize it, so this is something I think it's really going to come down to personal preference. Some people are going to want it bigger, smaller, or sometimes you might just want to go big, right? But we also have a connected photos experience here. So, this pulls in pictures from both things that you have on the device as well as connected experiences through Facebook, Photobucket, or Snapfish. Let me show you another application, Kindle. The Kindle application gives you access to Amazon's entire online library, and I can flip through books, flip through pages just like you'd expect. It supports bookmarking and-- and note taking. Now taking a quick look at our browser, we also support Flash. So, what you're used to seeing in a web n the web browser is what you're getting here. So, I have here my Pre3, and I've looked up a recipe for chicken mushroom panini. And if I want to share it with my device, I just tap it there like. -So, does it have to be tapped on the-- the sensor itself? -Yes. So, the sensor is right around here. -And that's the home button sensor essentially, right? -Correct. It's not-- it's not the home button itself, but it's-- it's-- that's-- that's where we-- we put the sensor for the-- for the communication that you need to do. That pretty much concludes what I have to show you today. -The Bottom Line this week: webOS for the win! Well, for this week at least. Now, HP seems to be putting all of its eggs in the webOS basket. While the landscape is littered with tablets trying to be the next iPad, HP is attacking the entire Apple product line by bringing webOS to phones, tablets, and even desktops later in the year. Okay, that's it for this week everyone. Molly will be back next week with a brand-spanking new CNET Tech Review. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. See you next time and thanks for watching.