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Which laptop is the best for you?CNET's laptop expert Dan Ackerman reveals his favorite holiday picks and dishes out ultrabook and 3D laptop advice. Plus Amazon.com reveals their top Cyber Week sellers.
Speaker 1: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the CNET holiday help desk. I am Molly Wood across the table from the darling Brian Tong, back from vacation. Speaker 2: Dark intend. Beats to a nice little crisp. Like a basil, baked Alaska or a Christmas pie. It's very tasty. Look at how dark I am. Speaker 1: Isn't he adorable? Speaker 2: Is it Brian Tong's suit or is there a crackling in the studio. I don't know. Speaker 1: Since they're talking about how tan and relaxed he is. Luckily though, he is tan and relaxed and ready to answer your shopping questions for the next 45 minutes or so. We're taking your calls, your tech holiday shopping questions, obviously live. You can watch this later on demand. We've got quite attend and relax show coming up today. Speaker 2: Yeah and you know that we always bring in tons of guests help us out. So we're also gonna be bringing an our laptop expert. Everyone knows her in the holidays, laptops are a big deal. Dan Acreman is gonna be here. We're gonna interview him from New York. Also we have CNET's head chief's gate. The cheapest guy we know around, Mr. Rick Broida. He'll also be, will be talking a minute a little bit and then we'll also have Grace Chang from Amazon.com to talk about some of the deals they have going on, what was going on during cyber week. There is some huge things going over there with Amazon and a lot of E-retailers. So we'll talk to her about what's going on in Amazon as well. This is show number three, a total of five. So there's only two more left. Speaker 1: I know. Keep... So that... But there are only two left which means that if you wanna get your questions answered, you need to call us now. The phone lines are actually open 888-900-CNET is the number and I think we actually do have lines open. So get those calls in early. I know that it means wait not hold for a while but it's totally worth it. Yes. Speaker 2: And yeah just to be honest. They wanna talk to us live. Speaker 1: You do. You wanna talk to us. Speaker 2: There's nothing better than talking us live. Speaker 1: I know. But if you miss this one and you don't think you can get off work for the next one, you can always e-mail us, firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll check those out too and watch the show live at cnet.com/live and you can participate in our chat room because they have some pretty good answers. Speaker 2: Yeah pretty good. They have the brain. Speaker 1: They have the brain. All right. Now it's time to get to our chiefs gate. We love him. He's on every week. Rick Broid coming to us from the Banker in Michigan. What do you got going on? He's actually on the phone this time so we don't get a look inside the banker which is the bummer. Speaker 2: The beautiful. Yes Rick how are you doing today man? Speaker 3: I'm great. How are you guys doing? Speaker 2: Excellent. Speaker 1: Very well. Speaker 3: Yeah it's just now that we don't have video 'cause I didn't have time to tidy up the layer today. Speaker 2: Or do your make up right? Those are the two most important things. Speaker 1: Lesson we just make you furious to see how tan and relaxed Brian Tong is. Although I personally am fine with it. Speaker 2: Look how dark I am it's kinda scary. Sorry. I'm not vain. I just... It's kinda crazy. Speaker 1: We missed him. What's going on in the deals world today Rick Broida? What do you got going on the chiefs gate log. Speaker 3: You're talking to a guy with a case of Michigan tail here so you know, I'm jealous. Speaker 2: You got those pasty white thighs. Speaker 3: Oh my goodness. Speaker 1: Really. Right there is where you went really. Speaker 2: I like. Oh okay. Speaker 3: Messed up. All right. So today's deal. I'm uncomfortable now. Today's deal. Speaker 2: I don't know this for a fact. I just assumed. You're up Rick. I'll stop. I really will. I just came back. I'm breaking the show already. Speaker 3: That's okay. Today's deal is something that I am a big fan of. It's not exactly a super cheap deal although it is at a big discount. It's the Epson Megaplex which combines two of my very fair or mega unplex. The MG-850HD projector and what's kinda special about this particular projector is that it has an iPod dock. So you can drop in your iPhone or your iPad or your iPod and play all of your iTunes rentals, your Youtube videos, your photos, any... All of that good stuff. And in full 720P high def goodness and this projector has a list price of 799 but an online re-seller called PC Richard Amazon has the Megaplex for $644.97 shift. Speaker 2: Megaplex. Speaker 3: And really a big fan of this product. Speaker 2: That's pretty sweet. Speaker 1: That's actually pretty great and a lot of people still are buying projectors instead of TV's and to have all of that sort of streaming set built in is awesome. All right. I like it. Speaker 3: Yeah and you can even see the Net Flix from your iPhone as well. So that's kinda fun. Speaker 2: That's a little clever way to take advantage of that. Speaker 1: That definitely is. Also I am fired up about the bonus deal today. Did you see the (??) all the way to the bottom of the post. There was a pretty great little motion down there. Oh yes. Speaker 2: Oh goodness are you serious? I'm kinda freaking out. Okay I'm gonna click on this one you talk about it. Tell us about the bonus deal my man. Speaker 3: Yeah well everybody is... Everybody I know who owns a Logitech firm and a universal remote just absolutely loves it and they're becoming kind of all different flavors and prices and so forth that their... They usually fairly expensive. But today if you go to a side called B-Deals, they have a refurbished Logitech Harmony at 600, universal remote for just 29.99 shift and that is far away one of the lowest prices I've seen on any Harmony remote. Especially one that has an L video's great. Speaker 2: Wow. That's pretty impressive. Speaker 1: Yeah I'm already... Free as we speak. Sorry spoiler alert to a bunch of people on my list. Speaker 2: 299 cheap. Now also. Speaker 1: 29.99. Speaker 2: Are you out of your mind? Speaker 1: $30 for... And that's like ridiculous. Speaker 2: So also if you guys will listen to this, you have... There's a counter, a ticker of when it expires. At this moment. 7 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds. You better act fast. Speaker 1: Just know that I am... Speaker 2: 42 seconds now for it. That's a nice fine. Speaker 1: So that's gonna be... That's gonna cut into their spoiler. Speaker 2: Well because I like the projector but then I'm like... I'm not gonna drop $650 right now. I will drop $30. Speaker 1: But some people are I mean.. I know that that's been a bit of a... You know people have been deal hunting for TV's and all kinds of various things and this projector can definitely do... It's like a great work thing and it's, I don't know it's something useful. That's a pretty good deal. Speaker 2: No projectors have yeah... Very functional. Speaker 3: Right. This has a built in speakers too so you get kind of a home theater anywhere you decide to set it up and to point at that wall. Speaker 1: Yeah exactly. I love that. All right. So are you seeing any... We have to ask you week after week if you're seeing any new trends crap up because so far it's all been about TV's. Are you noticing any other kinds of deals like these ones or refurbished things? Anything new? Speaker 3: Well I didn't know if I'm noticing any trends so much as something I want I just kind of... Kinda mention to people with regard to tablets. I actually wrote a post just this morning for seeing at the market place on this very subject about cheap tablets. Because now that we have 199 you know a candle fire and altogether tablets coming down in price. We're really starting to see a ton of kinda cheap knock off Android tablets for 90 bucks or 100 bucks for a 7-inch tab or even like a 150 for an 8 or even 10-inch tablet. But in my experience, this cheap-o tablets are to be avoided. They are terrible. They're slow. They have poor screens. They have no Android markets. So if see a tablet deal that seems too good to be true, I would still (clear? 0. Speaker 1: That is good to know actually and that's very good advice. Because I think people are... This is the time of year when... If anything it's dangerous and you might get soccer by deals that seemed too good to be true. Don't buy any old cheap thing is what you're saying. Speaker 3: That is for sure. Yeah. You don't recognize the brand on the tablets or it has specs that seem a little off or out of date to you, definitely, definitely avoid it. Speaker 1: Good to know. Good tip. All right and the overall price trends are you seeing about the same as last year or better deals. I mean certainly better deals on some devices. But what are you seeing there? Speaker 3: You know I'm not seeing remarkable in price trends. As you mentioned TV's are definitely starting to come down and obviously all the action right now in any product categories is in tablets. But I haven't really seen anything you know, any big price trends that are worth it and super excited about. Speaker 1: All right. Cool. Well we will obviously keep checking in with you as the season where is on. Everybody make sure that you are visiting the cheap gates blog at least daily. If not, a couple times a day at cnet.com/cheapsgates. Rick. Thank you so much and we will talk to you next week. Speaker 2: Thanks Rick. Speaker 3: All right. Thanks guys. Speaker 1: All right. Bye-bye. Speaker 2: You know there is a one trend that I saw that kinda gets me juiced a lot is a lot of Blu-ray disc. You can get them at least during Black Friday and you've been seeing them for like under 10 bucks, 8 bucks, you know. Speaker 1: Really. Speaker 2: Yeah during... Yeah the actual Blu-ray disc. So if you guys do a little looking around I mean they were going on fire on Black Friday. But even after that, I still saw some of those. Those are kind of nice little scoop ups too. Speaker 1: Yeah. Speaker 2: Just a little FYI. Speaker 1: You'll be happy to know that my universal remote has successfully been ordered but it would only let me buy one. So there are still stock for you guys. You'll be fine. Speaker 2: Can you... You are ordering while running the show. I'm just sitting here looking tan. This is amazing. Speaker 1: Look how tan he is. I'm fine with that by the way. I'm fine with that. Speaker 2: I make sense of it all. Speaker 1: All right we do have Dan Acreman joining us from our New York studio to talk about laptop deals, answer your calls and e-mails and the best laptops, the specs that matter, all of that. If you have a question for Dan or for, on any tech topic, call us up 1-888-900-2638 is our phone number. In the mean time while you start dialing, let's have a look at Dan's top pick in the laptop category. Speaker 4: I am Dan Acreman and today we are going to shine the product spotlight, the one of our current favorites, that is this little guy right here, the HP Pavilion DM1Z fall 2011 edition. That means that this particular system is pretty similar in a lot of ways to the original Pavilion DM1Z that we saw in the first quarter of 2011 but it's also different in a lot of ways. Visibly, it's about the same size. It's still an 11-inch ulta portable laptop and it uses A and D's fusion platform. The difference now is the first version used something called the NDE350 which was a perfectly nice low power but decent performance CPU. This version uses the new upgraded E450CPU although to be honest in our benchmark testing we didn't really see that much of a difference. But that really tells you is a system like this, you can do basic computing task, surfing the web, doing e-mail, watching videos, basic part activity, better than what used to think of this very small inexpensive laptop like a netbook. Those things were okay for basic web surfing, maybe e-mail. But they really started to get sorry if you did anything more than that. And well those systems will maybe 3 or $400. This new generation of ultra portables exemplified buy of the DM1Z, they're about 450 maybe 500 if you're tricking out with a few extra option so they're a little bit more expensive. But they're actually much more functional as a regular computers. Now in the new version of the DM1Z, we really liked some of the design changes a lot, the hinge is lot slick and so the big battery kind of sitting in the middle there, you just have two little hinges right here on the whole side curves out instead of the kinda glossy back that we had on the first versions. This ones got of a mat color on the back. It picks up fingerprints less easily just looks a little nicer and probably the biggest change is the touch pad right here. The first version had, kind of a click pad, just one big pad that didn't work very well. It's hard to click on the corner for the left mouse button in the right mouse button. And this version, they've actually got a separate pad which has a nice texture on it, that's pretty easy to get your finger around and then separate left and right mouse buttons that are decent size, not too small, so we found left clicking and right clicking a lot easier on this version. Now when you put all that together, what you have is one of our favorite laptops the DM1Z, getting out a pretty decent face lift that are keeping the name the same, keeping the price about the same. Some configurations are actually a little bit less expensive and that all adds up to one of our top pick for right now. And that is the HP Pavilion DM1Z fall 2011 edition. I am Dan Acreman with product spotlight. Speaker 1: Welcome back to the holiday gift guide. That is our laptop editor Dan Acreman's top pick in the laptop category. That is actually... That was a lovely machine Dan. Speaker 2: Yap. Dan the man. Speaker 1: Yeah and in fact. So we got your via Skype. We're gonna put you on the spot. We're gonna have people ask you questions for the whole show. Even about other stuff. Not laptop. Speaker 4: You can ask me whatever you want. I always wondered what that video is for. I think since we shot that, I'd like to point out, I've lost about 15 pounds. Speaker 1: Noted. Noted. We'll definitely... Speaker 4: Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 1: We'll go ahead and ask crews for that and say, Dan that was... Speaker 4: That was awhile ago. We shot that like back in September. Come on. Speaker 1: But Dan Acreman represented here may not be the actual weight. Speaker 2: Dan Acreman's voice you know oftenly tried to be impersonated but not easily replicated. Speaker 1: Never. Never. All right. What are... Do you have other gift picks for us. What are some of the... trends in laptops. It seems like everyone is talking. Kind of surprisingly to me about ultra books. Speaker 4: Well that's like a fake... It's sort of a fake name but we've all started using this. We might as well just get use to it. It's sort of an Intel invented marketing term. Intel basically said, all the PC makers, HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, they said listen, Macbook here is doing really good. Why don't you guys make your own version of a Macbook here and we'll help you out with some research money and some marketing donors and we're gonna call them ultra books and that's what everybody did. I was very skeptical about the concept initially. But I'll tell you the first generation of hardware that we seen from Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, the HP one is coming out very soon. It's actually all been pretty impressive. They actually really are Windows versions of the Macbook air, they're not as good. I'm not gonna say that was good but they are less expensive. Some of them around 799, that includes like a 128 GIG SSD in a very thin laptop and that's pretty good. Speaker 1: That is actually not bad. So what is not as good about them that they're just you know... Speaker 4: Well you're not gonna get that. Yeah you're not gonna get that Macbook sort of thin and finished. They don't have the big... Even if they have a big click pad dial touch pad, obviously nobody can do that, sort of multi touch gesture stuff as well as Apple does. And nobody's really gotten to hang on something that's very, very important which is that close the lid, it goes in, kind of a slip hibernate mode, open the lid, it just comes right back up. You never have to worry about what it's gonna do. That's what Macbooks do really well and that's what even these Windows ones, even though they claim they're better with that, yeah you know, sometimes we go to sleep, sometimes it'll hibernate, sometimes to wake up on its own, sometimes it won't. It is a bit of roll of the dice. Speaker 2: Even when we did a price five between the most recent ultra book, I think it was one of the Asus. Speaker 4: Yeah Asus is end book. Speaker 2: Yeah you know even just the opening of the lid, because his device you know they make them so slim. You can have to one finger open them up and even that can be a little tricky and something settles that. It's just the hands on the mechanics that can be tricky too. So... Speaker 4: Though we sell these end books for the first time that this Asus press conference here in New York, I checked it out on the little pads though and I had a hard time actually getting it opened you know the lid was... And then the chairman of Asus got up to do his presentation, he had the same problem, he can't open the lid. He was like, oh, come on. Speaker 1: To be fair I occasionally have that problem with my Macbook air too. I'm like trying to get the fingernail under there, like I think that's thin, it's hard to open. I am seeing actually. What do you think about this deal Dan? I'm seeing a refurbished Macbook air. The cheaps gate block for $699 ships the 1.4 GIG. Speaker 4: Yeah but it's at the... It's at the current generation or is a previous generation. Speaker 1: Yeah it's the 1.4 gigahertz. So I'm imagining it is the previous. October 2010. Speaker 4: It might be (??). October 2010 yeah that's the pre-Corei5 versions. So I would actually... Well the battery life is so much better now. Speaker 1: I'm on that now actually. Oh really. Speaker 4: The performance is so much better. Speaker 2: But that's the laptop that you currently have. Speaker 1: That is the laptop I currently have and I'm very happy with it. Speaker 2: And you said it was 699 right? That was on the Tuesday Black or.... Speaker 4: The 15-inch or the 11-inch? Speaker 2: 11. Speaker 1: Let's stand down because it's sold out. Speaker 4: Already got. Speaker 2: She's just teasing us with that. Speaker 1: I know well it didn't say that on the Black mass I got all confused. All right. Well let's get to other people's questions since my questions and comments are no good. Let's go ahead to the phones. We actually have a laptop question waiting ready to go. We have Paul. Speaker 2: We're gonna put you on the spot Dan and see if you can handle this. But Paul is calling us from the OC. Speaker 1: I know. Speaker 4: It's just to make up the answer anyway. Speaker 2: I know. I know. Paul from the OC. Hey, Paul. How are you doing today? Speaker 5: Doing pretty good. Speaker 2: All right. You have a question ready to roll for Mr. Acreman. He has your attention so what would you like to ask the man? Speaker 5: Okay. I have been finding just to spend on a laptop and I need to do some gaming. Actually wanna play the new and the most Star Wars and that's kinda I only consider right now. Just little bit of gaming and but I still don't have much money. So I'm trying to find a good deal on something. Speaker 4: I mean that's a tough one because if you want a just quick graphics card, you know that generally get you above 500 bucks. I can't think of... I actually got into the data for that Star Wars game but I didn't get a chance to actually download the kind and play it. So I'm not really sure how it'll go but if you judge by the previous Star Wars MMO, you might need a pretty decent just quick graphics card for that. Speaker 5: Yeah, yeah I found something online, Acer Aspire. It said that has this, quick graphic card but I also read that it's almost as good as the Intel HD whatever the... 21-inch. Speaker 4: Right okay. So it's probably that gonna handy chip and they claim that everything on the... They claim that every MBA chip kind of has a discrete GPU built in and I guess that's true, to an agree but you know at the same time, even more expensive laptops, 8, 900 dollar laptops, usually don't have this quick graphics card of them. Speaker 5: Yeah so I'm just wondering what... I mean, what would be my best option, what's my best bank for my $500. I mean even just in general. Speaker 4: I would say 500 bucks that depends on now. Here's the number of question I ask people and they say, oh what option I get. I ask them how many days a week do you plan on carrying this laptop around with you because that helps us decide whether you want something that's like, I'd say a 15-inch and 16-inch laptop or 13-inch or 11-inch. Speaker 1: Oh it doesn't need top be portable. It doesn't need to be portable. I can be... I probably carried only once a week, twice a week. Speaker 4: Okay but then your best bank for your bucks is gonna be getting probably like a 15-inch laptop and I would go and check out the... You know the Dell basic Inspiron 15 or the, or like a Lenovo, idea pad 15 and just put together. You can configure those and add the lowest costs this quick graphic cards and see how much you come up with. It's definitely gonna be more than 500 bucks but you know what, they're doing a lot of holiday specials. The pricing seem to jump like every week or you know, jump up and down. So you may get lucky. Speaker 1: Yeah and it looks like those it's not gonna be much more like maybe 585 for the Dell Inspiron or something like that. All right. And we have a question from the chat room for Dan actually. Thank you very much by the way. Speaker 5: Thanks very much. Speaker 2: All right. Thanks a lot Paul. Speaker 1: Thanks Paul. I hope that helps. Good luck. Happy shopping. And then we have a question from the chat room and Liz wants to know what tough laptop do you recommend like a toughbook line that is will take a beating. Speaker 4: Oh god. That's a good question. You know I tell you. They use to make a lot more the semi-raged laptops. We have not seen too many recently. Obviously the Panasonic toughbook series is one of the... Those are more industrial laptops, they're very few and intended for sort of consumer even small business use. It's funny we actually just got in recently a Dell, I think it's like XFR super crazy industrial military great laptop but that's not really for regular consumer use. The toughest regular everyday laptops that I've seen recently, have all male construction and I would say definitely the Macbook Pros and also the HP-MD line, also solid aluminum there. Those are the toughest, can take the most bangs which is regular laptops. If you don't wanna go crazy industrial style that I've seen and those NV's actually started like 999 for a really decent laptop that's actually pretty good. I had no idea that the envy was... I mean I guess it makes sense that it's pretty tough. Speaker 4: I banged up a few and they turned out fine. Speaker 1: Really. Good to know. Speaker 4: Some accidents here in the lab. Speaker 1: Very good to know. All right. We also have an e-mail question that is laptop specific and we'll get you know, we may do a broader topic now but this is definitely a hot category this year. I think every year. So we have an e-mail from Natalie who says, I'm looking for a laptop for my sister for Christmas. She wants a smaller ultra-portable a 11 to 13 inch screen, 4 pounds or less to keep at home and take back and forth on trips for the holidays. She likes to watch TV online and I'm sure she'll mostly be using it to surf the web but what can she... What is there something. Do you have any suggestions for under $500. Speaker 4: I directed back to our... Yeah I would direct you back to our product spotlight video that we just saw. Speaker 1: I thought so too right. Speaker 4: That's an HP DM1Z. But other people make similar you know laptops to similar components. That's at AMD fusion platform, the E350 or E450 CPU, 11-inch screen, 1366x768 resolution and they are usually 400 to 500 bucks. Sony actually makes one color and YD series that's very similar. Speaker 1: Now are these the new Netbooks? This little ultra portables that are $400? Speaker 4: What happened was yeah... I mean we all remember the Netbook Era and what happened was everyone finally realized that they just weren't good enough for everyday use. Some have said, oh I can get as many 300 bucks in a laptop, that's fantastic. They didn't realize, these are sort of secondary devices. So nobody makes those anymore and all the PC companies have succeeded in their biggest dreams in the last 3 or 4 years which is to get people to take those Netbooks, get rid of them and spend a little bit more money on something that's a little bit more expensive and a little bit better. That's this ultra portables. I mean Molly you'll specially remember 5, 6 years ago an 11-inch laptop was like a $2000 CEO toy. Speaker 1: Totally. Speaker 4: 'Cause this have seen an extensive 11-inch laptop. Now that is the new you know 4 or $500 laptop and you know what, they're all pretty good and you can actually use them like... I don't know if I'd use one full time 40 hours a week but they're pretty good for all the computing if you need it in the pitch. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 1: And I think one of things, this might be able to pulls off too. But I think one of the things the Netbook to improve was that people don't need as much processing power as they thought. So they realized they needed more than they had in a Netbook but not as much as maybe a full pledge work horse, that's not replacement. Speaker 4: Yeah that's what Netbooks taught us that for years people just been buying too much computer because back then when Netbooks first came out like a budget laptop for like a $1000, now that's like a high end. Speaker 1: Right. All right. Well then I have to agree for Natalie. It definitely looks like the DM1Z is like the way to go for 400 bucks. Speaker 4: Yeah try that one. It's also a slightly more expensive Intel version if you want a little bit one. Speaker 1: Ready. All right let's take a quick break. Yeah. When we come back, we will have more of your calls and questions, 888-900-CNET and we'll be talking to Amazon to find out what's happening there. Speaker 1: Welcome back to the holiday help desk everybody. Molly Wood across the table from Brian Tong. Speaker 2: How you guys doing? Speaker 1: We are taking your holiday questions. We're taking your e-mails. We've got Dan Acreman still on the line to answer those laptop questions. So please feel free to give us a call with any questions you have and joining us from Seattle, from Amazon is Grace Chang. Speaker 2: Got it. Hey Grace. How are you doing? Speaker 6: Hey, pretty good. Speaker 2: All right. So you're coming us from Amazon and we saw a huge explosive sales during cyber week. I was reported that 6 billion dollars in sales occurred to the, well currently a record for that period of time and Amazon's been a huge part of that. Can you kinda tell us how did that go for you guys? Speaker 6: I mean cyber Monday, we were really busy. We had millions of packages going out of our warehouses on cyber Monday. You know we really stuffed up in our for filming center you know getting ready for this really busy holiday season. In general, cue force actually are busiest season and so you know we anticipate that every year and we are excited that you know this year's cyber Monday was such a busy day for you know not just us but across all the retailers. Speaker 2: Now what are the big products that you guys have that everyone is talking about is not only just the kindle fire but just the kindle line as a whole, with the new touch reader and the new pricing. How did the kindle sold for you guys over the... I know you guys typically don't release numbers. But if I threw at a ballpark number, would you be able to like you know give us a link? Like how did the kindle product line do because there is a lot of buzz and hyper around it right now. Speaker 6: I mean kindle in years passed you know we have come out saying that kindle is the best selling item across all of Amazon, the most wish for, best selling and currently I can tell you that the kindle fire is the best selling item across of all Amazon. Speaker 2: Oh so I'll join the kindle reader now. It's for past that. Speaker 6: Yes currently it is the best seller and so the (??) right now are hot and so yeah, I mean we're excited about it. Speaker 2: That's impressive. Speaker 1: That's amazing. Speaker 2: That's a good nugget to know. Speaker 1: By the way we have the kindle fire here 'cause we have definitely all been passing around the office. We can't get enough of playing with it. Who... Grace, who would say I mean, you know if... Is this the device you really intend to appeal to everyone and to the sales seem to be baring that out? Who's the target audience here for this? Speaker 6: I mean, I would say, I mean this tablet, I would say it's for anyone. I mean customers have access to millions of movies, TV shows, books, songs, apps, games, I mean you name it. It's got so much digital content that it could really, it's for, I mean the age ranges all across the board. I mean kids could use it to play games. You know we've got the elderly people who if they want to read books or watch movies. It's really compact. It just has everything all in one. And for the price tag, $199, I mean it's just such a great gift. Speaker 1: So can you talk to others great page, amazon.com/bestsellers. Can you talk to us about some of the other things that have been telling well this year and maybe any trends that you see as a result to that. Speaker 6: Yeah so I mean, twice is always of really big category for us this time of year and one toy that I have noticed that has been on the best sellers list is Lory Story Cubes and one interesting fact about this specific game is that it... In the past year, we filled enough of these Lory Story Cubes to reach the peak of Mount Everest which is a lot right? Speaker 2: Another cool fact toy. Speaker 6: And so, that's a one little fact toy. But I mean this season toy, the frigid is really popular, let's rock Elmo, I mean who doesn't love Elmo, they come out with a new one every year, those are really hot. Speaker 2: I'm looking at it right now. It's pretty amusing just to look at. Speaker 1: I know, darling look at that thing. Speaker 2: I mean come on. And it's only 50 bucks. Speaker 1: Oh love, I don't understand but they do seem to love Elmo. Speaker 2: The whole Elmo taking me I do think is amazing like it is really cool. I bought one for my nieces. Speaker 6: Yeah I mean they have. Oh actually I did too. They have one... I mean they have every version of Elmo Altero like let's rock Elmo, I mean, you name it. They are just coming out with every version they can think of. Speaker 2: Hopefully not to spank me all many time soon. Speaker 6: Oh my goodness. Speaker 2: I'm not really looking for the guy. Speaker 1: Just ignore him Grace. Just ignore him. Can you give us any like look ahead, any sneak picks, and just some... 'Cause you also have this with the gold box deals and the deals of the day. Is there anything upcoming that we might really want to have our fingers ready for? Speaker 6: Yeah. Yeah. Well I mean, I guess I would just tell you guys to mark your calendars this week. We've got this awesome promo going where each day we're offering customers category specific deals. For example today is video games day and so once our main deal is the Just Dance 3 for only $25.99. Speaker 1: Oh get that. Speaker 2: Oh come on now. Speaker 6: Yeah I mean that's our number one best selling video game in that category and it's been up there for many weeks now. And so that's the one that you're gonna wanna grab right away. And then everyday this week, we've got tools coming up tomorrow. You can save over 50% off, top selling power tools. So great gifts, you know that's a great gift for dad or your husband. I mean each day this week we've got awesome deals coming up. So I would just say mark your calendars. Speaker 1: And then how about those shipping deadlines, 'cause that is the one thing that seems to get people as we wait. Some people wait until the last minute. What are some of those cut off dates. What's the... Like what's the cut off date for free shipping for prime members? Speaker 6: Okay so for prime members, the last day is the 21st. Speaker 1: Okay. Speaker 2: We're closing you right now because we have a page full with every single dates so we're kinda just closing. Right now we're just kinda closing you Grace. Speaker 1: We're gonna be like... Speaker 6: Yeah. Oh come on. I got this down. Speaker 2: How about one day shipping? When is the last day for one day shipping Grace? Speaker 6: Oh my goodness. Come on. That's an easy one. That would be 22nd. Speaker 1: I know she's calling. Speaker 2: Nice. Yeah that's right. That's right. The 22nd she is correct. Speaker 6: What do I get? What are you guys gonna give me? Can I get some virtual price? Speaker 1: It does look like. Speaker 2: Am gonna give you a big virtual hug here, reach out. You could see me. I will hug you. You know, you don't wanna touch me. Speaker 1: And then how about... Speaker 6: You can't see me but I'm hugging you back. Speaker 2: Oh I feel so warm and cuddliest. Speaker 1: You guys have a thing. This is adorable. Speaker 2: Oh you know. She'll Tong us all good. Speaker 1: There is though, it's a great. There is a nice long list of the last days that you need to order by and in fact if you plan to get like the super saver shipping, that deadline is coming up, December 15th. Speaker 6: Yes the 15th. Speaker 1: How have you guys managed to... I was having just a little personal rant about shipping the other day and how... It sort of feels like everyone else in the E-Commerce world has not nailed shipping. You know like I ordered some clothes the other day that took a week and a half to ship. How are you guys doing this and why don't you feel like your reals is caught up to the frankly just the fast shipping thing? Is that your secret sauce now? Speaker 6: I can't... I mean I can't really comment on what other retailers are doing but I mean for us and we're focused on our customers 24/7 every single day of the year and we know that shipping is really important to our customers which is why you know they want fast re-shipping and so we're doing everything we can to get them what they want. So that's our main focus. I can't you know then can comment on why no one else or you know other retailers aren't doing the same but I mean that's what we love to do for our customers and we're you know, I mean I hope that you've had a great experience with Amazon shipping and I mean, I definitely have. So yeah I mean that's what we do. Speaker 2: Great stuff. Speaker 1: Yeah. Speaker 2: All right well thank you so much for hanging out with us Grace and we hope that you get all your little Amazon gifts that you wish for. Speaker 6: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 1: Thanks Grace. Good luck. Have a great holiday shopping season. We hope to talk to you next year. Speaker 2: All right. Speaker 6: Thanks, bye. Speaker 2: Well I'm just like swimming in this Amazon like eggnog right now. I'm a little drunk from it. But we're gonna keep the theme rolling with the kindle fire, Don O'Bell, he's gonna break down the tablet for everyone. Speaker 7: Hey. I'm Don O'Bell and this is a first look at the kindle fire Amazon the $199, 7-inch tablet. With a 199 bucks buy, here is a dead simple way to access digital entertainment. At the top here you'll see categories for news stand, books, music, videos, docks, apps, and the web browser. With the exception of docks and the browser, each of those categories are going to toggle between the collection and Amazon's digital store for that content. Another interesting feature is that when you're looking at your collection, you get another toggle here between what's stored on the device and the stuff you bought in the past that's backed up to the cloud. This is really dramatic and the music views since Amazon allows you to upload your entire musical ready to their cloud, we can stream your music or select songs or albums to download. All the navigation is done on the screen and when you're in app or a menu, you'll see controls on the bottom. Settings are accessible at the top of the screen and on the main menu beneath the categories, you get a nice big view of your recently used apps and files along with a shuffle of your favorite stuff. This can be your favorite apps, books, albums or websites and add them by just holding down the icon up here. Beyond entertainment, you also get an e-mail client and a web browser. E-mail is fairly a straight forward and get some help from Amazon's on custom keyboard which I personally liked. The web browser is typical for a 7-inch Android tablet. Pager time is swift and I'm glad to see that there's a setting here that will force the browser into loading standard web pages instead of those smaller mobile versions made for cellphones. So in general I'm not a big fan of browsing the web on a 7-inch screen. It's better than a Smart phone but it's still easy doing more zooming and scrolling than you would on a larger tablet like the iPad. As for what's missing, well there's no GPS, no maps, no Bluetooth, no cameras, no microphone, no video output, no calendar and no card slot for extra memory and I'm probably forgetting a few things. But let's go back to my original point. It's a $199. At that price, I think it's a slum dunk. You're getting more entertainment options than on Barns and Nobles in that tablet. More screen than Apple's $199 iPod touch and an easy views you're really not gonna find at any price. Would I rather have an iPad? Absolutely. But for $300 less, the kindle fire is a good enough option for those who are mostly looking for entertainment or workable way to e-mail and browse the web from the couch. So that's the kindle fire. It's all the fun stuff on a simple tablet with a great price. Cnet.com. I am Don O'Bell. Speaker 2: All right guys. Welcome back to the holiday help desk. Molly Wood in the house with Steven Beach and then myself. Our phone lines, Dan Acreman joined us from New York. Speaker 1: Still hanging out on the phone. Speaker 2: Still hanging out with us. We have questions for Dan but we also want you guys to ask him. So if you guys can jump on your phone, it's 1-888-900-CNET, that's 2638. We still have some phone lines open so you guys can call us and talk to us directly. We'll even let you ask us pretty much anything if you want to. Speaker 4: I mean I have to say, I'm gonna disagree with the... My learn and colleague Don O'Bell. The video we just saw, I saw him weekend playing the kindle fire and I was really up to liking and I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I found it to be actually a pretty start and re-experience especially for web browsing. I was considering getting one for... I don't know to reveal who. But in older family member, who I thought would appreciate it, but after the end of the weekend, I said to myself, I just gotta get an iPad for this person now. I think if I get him the kindle fire, he's just gonna go, what am I doing with this thing? Speaker 1: You know it's funny that you say that because during Donald's video, I was saying that I am starting to get the feeling that the longer this is on the market, the more negative reviews do seem to be coming in. I mean it's a very promising price point. It does integrate a lot of Amazon stuff but I've heard that the silk browsing experience is not very good, that the fire is a little bit slow overall and that people who have been torn between the two, this is purely anecdote all right. This is coming from Twitter but I saw a headline to that effect today, I think on tech names, somebody was just like, those thing is a brick. Speaker 2: And I was coming to you for me anecdotally. Speaker 1: Yeah exactly. So that's, it's starting to... You know I just feel like there's starting to be this bubble, this bubble about maybe the Nook tablet is. Speaker 4: And I know what sluggish tablet feel like 'cause I tested Windows tablets for years and they all sucked. Speaker 2: I mean the sluggishness is a babe, it's the whole thing right? Are we gonna get a simless, are we gonna get a smooth as butter tablet at 199. Have we seen that yet? Speaker 1: Right. Speaker 2: That's 'cause I haven't really truly seen that yet. Speaker 1: How about the Nook tablet though? How about that one? Right. 'Cause it seems like... I'm just saying, the fire came out and nobody was like done with the Nook tablet but then now the Nook tablet to me at least you know in the buzz world seems to be making a little come back. Speaker 2: Yeah we'll see. Speaker 1: So maybe you could check that one out for the older family member then. Speaker 4: You know it's just people are tied into one of those Eco systems, the bonds on our Eco system or the Amazon Eco system for E-books and stuff. So once you're in that, that's kinda Apple people have the same problem once you're in there sort of iTunes Eco system and you have your iPhone and your Macbook and your iPad, you're really not getting out. Speaker 2: Yet they want. Speaker 1: That's what they want. Speaker 2: That's exactly what they want. Speaker 4: We could build a CNET Eco system. Come on what do you guys think? Speaker 1: Hey yeah. Speaker 2: I could try cloning. Speaker 4: You guys construct by sending me some of those holiday decorations you have 'cause I got nothing here. I mean like an empty warehouse. Speaker 1: I know your CNET Eco system is very baring. Speaker 2: Yeah we're working on that. Okay Dan. We'll come back to you but we're also gonna... And feel free to try my... Speaker 1: Or help us with those and you got... Speaker 2: And I mean we can all help out together. But we have Adrian calling us from Switzerland. Adrian how are you doing today? Speaker 8: I'm fine. Thanks. Speaker 2: Thanks so much for calling all the way from Switzerland. Speaker 1: I know. How awesome. Speaker 2: What time is it over there? Speaker 8: It's now almost 10:00 PM. Speaker 2: You need to go to sleep. No you do not. All right Adrian, throw out your question and we have a few suggestions that we hopefully will be able to help you point you in the right direction. Speaker 8: Yeah so I am looking for headphones. Between like a 100 and maximum like $300. Basically for like dub stuff or arthro kind of music. I really have no idea what to get. But reference of the Beats by Dre headphones but I don't know what to think they are kind of expensive and I'd like to know if they're any good. Speaker 2: Yeah I've been able to use of right them and compare them. So specifically the Beats by Dre. I will definitely tell you that they are super base heavy and they will cater to some of more that you know electronic music as well as hip hop but then it kinda muddies the highs and sometimes if that's... I don't... I wouldn't say they're necessarily the best headphones out in the market. If you are really looking for the heaviest base headphones, I would say yeah look at those. But also if you, you might wanna take a look at, we have our gift guide at cnet.com and we have a few DJ headphones. Speaker 1: I was gonna recommend this but the name is unpronounceable. So what in the... Speaker 2: We have a few DJ headphone recommendations but the IIITMA1 professional DJ modern headphone. That's one of them that we've given 4 stars as a CNET elders rating, really excellent sounding built to last, I would probably... Your payment, the whole Monster brand, you end up pay... They feel like that name has some cache and you do really pay more for versus the quality that you get. I'm talking about not only from their cables but their headphones too. Speaker 1: Right. Speaker 8: Yeah they look great. Speaker 2: Really their headphones too. Speaker 1: You're probably packed 'cause it's easier to say that III. Although I would check this out 'cause they're pretty attractive and... Speaker 2: 199. Speaker 1: Yeah we actually do have on the gift guide top gifts for audio files and this is only 199 you know if you're looking for really professional quality great headphones, this look very good. Speaker 2: Yeah Adrian, I'd also. Oh sorry go ahead. Speaker 8: No, go, go. Speaker 2: I would also point to if you're looking at like that $300 price range, my favorite headphones hand down at that price range are the Bows quiet comfort 15's. Speaker 1: Oh totally. Yes. Speaker 2: Like these are and they... The audio representation on that you hear is a really good bounce but especially for on the go and the fact that it literally kills the most noise out of pretty much any headphone I've heard or used. There are 299's and they both come out with 15's. They are recommended as one of our editors picks as well. Editors choice headphones and they have consistently been doing that for the past years. If you have an opportunity to try them out of the store, try them out because I never thought headphones are worth $300 until I tried them out like honestly. So it's a both clear for 15's. Speaker 8: Yeah when I go to the Apple store and I found they were amazing and it kinda cost like a $100 more. Speaker 1: Oh brutal. Well we do recommend in our top headphones list, we also recommend this, the Soul by Ludracris SL300 headphones, those are on our holiday gift guide under top head phones, they are like the 5th one over. Those are also listed at 299 US and maybe they won't have the $100 surcharge. Speaker 2: Yeah they're kinda like a take off of basically the Beats by Dre but Ludracris is doing his own thing. Speaker 1: But it sounds to me like maybe those III, once are the... Are the way to go to you in case you get another $100 Stockton at least they're only 200. Speaker 8: Yeah. Speaker 2: Yeah but hopefully those recommendations at least point you in some direction but those are few suggestions that I would really say it'll come down to the web price you wanna spend like 199 for the III's or 299 when you're talking about the Beats by Dre or the Bows. But take a look at those guys. Speaker 1: Yeah good luck. Speaker 2: Thanks for calling in Adrian. Speaker 8: Yeah. Thank you very much. Speaker 1: All right. Speaker 2: All right. Speaker 1: Bye-bye. Okay so let's get to a couple more, like, just a little laptop discussion as long as we have Dan Acreman and his infinite wisdom here and we can take advantage of it. Let's talk a little bit about one of the big trends that we saw at CES and whether it's worth but then they came up, Stereoscopic 3D laptops. Speaker 2: I know we saw this during the break you know. Speaker 1: I love this already. Speaker 2: We see the category and I was actually got first kinda surprised that it was a category for holiday gift guide. What you know your take on the whole 3D Stereoscopic laptops Mr. Acreman. Speaker 1: You've chose at least 5 that you think are good, right? Speaker 4: You know what, I feel like it's one of those things where people are sort of interested in reading about it and checking it out. Maybe not many people actually buy them like 3D TV's, there are some laptops that have just sort of mid to high end laptops. They just have a built in and if you don't wanna use it, it's still there. Since they started doing stereoscopic 3D on PC's, seriously they maybe 3 years ago in videos 3D vision is like 90% on the market share on that. They really improved how it works. So usually just one or two laptops I could do that and you needed just external and meter dangle and everything, now everything is built right into the laptop which is actually really nice. So all you need is a pair of Invidia 3D glasses which still cost about a 100 bucks each and that is what you know active shutter 3D glass has cost. The thing I like about the 3D on a laptop or does it work for a desktop as well is you can take pretty much any PC game whether it's meant to be played in Stereoscopic 3D or not and at least try to play it because what the Invidia 3D vision system does is, it just kinda thinks the 3D data in the game and attempts to show it to you. Now if the game, makes, takes a lot of shortcuts like using kind of painted flats in the background instead of real 3D data, you're gonna see that, it's gonna look weird but you can take a game that wasn't designed to be viewed in 3D like I don't know dragging age or mass effect or portal. I actually played them 3D and at least 60% of the time as a result is pretty good and there are some games like Batman, Arcom City, they come out really good in 3D. Speaker 2: So it sounds like more than anything, the benefit is more applied to gaming even more than movies because I do feel like on a laptop at least because your head may not be I guess moving around as much. It might be okay. Is it more geared for gaming... Speaker 4: Yeah. But you're gonna sit there in front of a laptop watching a 3D Blu-ray with a pair of glasses on by yourself? Speaker 2: I am. Speaker 4: Well good for you. No, no I will say there is one company that agrees with you. Speaker 1: And he owns it. Speaker 2: I am just kidding. I am not gonna do that. Speaker 4: We did see one really crazy one, the Toshiba put out. We saw this a prototype back at CES, almost a year ago and then it actually came out and that is a no eyeglass stereoscopic 3D laptop. What it does is, it uses the webcam in the laptop to track your eye movement and that adjust the stereoscopic planes in the fly so even if you move your head a little bit like this or like this, it keeps the image going. Right now that only works with 3D Blue-rays and it's an interesting sort of prove of concept effect, it's not really that fantastic but it's really cool to see and check out. We have that at the CNET gothem shop in New York that we did back in November and it's very cool to be able to just come see in front and then check out. It's one of the bigger no eyeglass laptop screens that you can get right now. Speaker 2: You know Dan we saw it's kind of starting last year at CS and CS is coming around the corner. Are we gonna see a lot more of this no... I wonder how much harder they're gonna push, no glass 3D this year at CES because we saw a few tech that most... You know like Toshiba had their it was around a 40-inch screen but you really had to be in a suite spot to even see it and you couldn't move on a TV without glasses. Are they really trying to push that for with laptops or is it... They're still to figure it out? Speaker 4: That's what a 15-inch Toshiba laptop does. It solves that problem by tracking your eyeballs. So you can move your head but really only one person can actually watch it at a time. I voluntarily said that after they... The Fisher off an intend their 3DS, that was get, 3D needed to move into that no eyeglass space in order to thrive but I haven't seen a real proof of concept yet that really, really, really works. I think people may get tired of 3D before that happens. The only time I really use it is that on my big 15-inch Samsung with like consul games then they have a 3D. Speaker 1: In our chat room kinda rightly pointed out just now that they're not paying a premium for a 60% success rate. Speaker 2: All right. We're gonna go hit our phones. We have Rajiff calling us from New York. Rajiff you have a question that is still on everyone's minds about tablets. Fire away my man. Speaker 9: Yeah okay. Speaker 2: Oh can you turn down. If you turn down your volume on you computer. Speaker 1: Yap and you will get out there. Speaker 2: Then you'll be able to hear us and talk to us in real time for you. Okay. Speaker 1: Someone's really pissy. Speaker 2: No I'm not, it's not. I was doing a tutorial how to. All right can you still hear us Rajiff? It's like the classic radio move, I kinda... Turn on your radio sir. Speaker 1: You gotta turn down your speakers Rajiff and then we'll be able to talk to you. Speaker 9: Okay. Okay. All right. Speaker 1: Okay. No problem. Speaker 9: Okay so my question is, should I go for iPad 2 or it's gonna be a Zeus prime because when the kindle fire came out, we realized that thinks iPad or it's just iPad. It's the best tablet but not like a month or two you guys are saying like, like you had some drawbacks. So is that gonna be saying that (??) a month or two or because the iPad is still on our plan. So should I go for probably more iPads. That's my question. Speaker 1: You're right. Okay so well now to clarify I don't think ever that the kindle fire was... It's an iPad killer on price for sure. So people who are really, really price conscious and have never bought a tablet might be interested in kindle fire. If you are between those two (??) options though, the iPad or the prime then I think it transfer from prime I think you have a different kind of a question on your hands. Frankly to me they are two different tablet experiences right. The iPad is really a consumption device first and foremost, the transformer prime is gonna give you a lot more options in terms of flexibility. For one thing it has that optional doc that adds, that really makes it more of kind of a laptop like experience. But more importantly it has a lot of the storage is totally expandable. It comes with up to 64 gigs built in but there is also a Micro SD slot. There is micro HDMI so that you can do video out. So if you really... It partly depends on what you want to do on your tablet. If you wanna do things that you're gonna export like create video using camera on the back and then export it on to your TV then the transformer prime is gonna be for you. If you really want that straight forward and prove it and tablet experience, it probably still comes back to iPad. Speaker 2: Yeah and you know I'm not sure if you're locked in to the iTunes Eco system, maybe you aren't but there's some advantage to that and with the prime it's really like having the keyboard option and you will have to pay for that. Speaker 1: Right it's a $150 for the dock. Speaker 2: But at least if you're looking for something more still that can act like a laptop pr creation device at times, well then that's what you're looking at. Speaker 1: Because to me if you buy an iPad, you're still gonna need a laptop. If you buy and maybe that you have like a powerful system and then an ultra portable right? If you buy the transformer prime in my opinion you do get both. I mean you basically then only have a tablet instead of a tablet and an ultra portable or something like that. So it depends on if you wanna use it for work and travel with it, I would take a really hard look at the prime. I think it's very cool. Speaker 9: No because I already have a laptop. It's a matter of taking it outside so I was like keeping the keyboard with it, that means I should keep my laptop with me instead of taking two things with me. Speaker 2: Probably. Speaker 1: Yeah. That's kinda what I like about it. And my tablet stays at home because I already have a kindle and a laptop and the tablet is kinda redundant at that point. So yeah if it comes out of that, I don't know I just think... Speaker 2: It's all, you know when it comes down and sometimes also with these tablets, you're gonna figure out the used case if it really matches your lifestyle or not because I have friends who thought they wanted a tablet and they're like, I really, and they are techy and I have really no use for this and there's people like me, I use my iPad on the go all the time. I don't even bring my laptop when I am on trips. So it just depends on how you as a person really finds a spot for this device to be in your life or not. Speaker 1: Yap. We gotta go try and volt out. There is no other way around it. But good luck with the shopping. We are getting the wrap sign so I hope that helped a little bit. We will be back next week if you have more questions. Thank you Dan Acreman for all your excellent laptop advices always. Speaker 4: Yes. Thanks again. It's a pleasure. Speaker 1: And we will like, I said we'll be back next week and next week we'll be talking Smart phones with Jessica Delcourt and eBay will be here. So yeah if you have a phone question, call in, noon Pacific next Monday, 3 PM EST. And we'll see you then. Speaker 2: Aloha baby. Speaker 1: Mahalo Lulu everyone.