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'A tempting smartphone proposition' and other great CNET comments this week

Each week, we round up some of the most thoughtful comments from the CNET community. Here are some of this week's best.

The long-awaited, customizable Moto X. Can it withstand the pressure? Sarah Tew/CNET

Wow. Your comments just keep getting better and better.

Last week, we saw some of our most thoughtful reader comments in response to the launch of the Moto X, Motorola's first really big phone post-Google acquisition. Some found the X's lack of super-high-end parts disappointing, but one particular CNET reader thought differently, and we appreciate his perspective on what real users want.

We also heard from lots of you about our review of the Nvidia Shield (a "performance monster!") and CNET's scoop on the "port-reader" software the FBI has developed (spoiler: you are not fans). Thanks to all of you who are jumping in with thoughtful comments. I can't wait to see what you write this week.

-Lindsey Turrentine, CNET Reviews Editor in Chief

Motorola Moto X review: A comfy Android with mass appeal

by Brian Bennett (Read review)

With a powerful new processor, an elegant design, and fresh Android software, Motorola's Moto X is a tempting smartphone proposition.

JayGloab: The pricing is a bit steep, but I suspect that's a strategic decision on the part of Motorola and the carriers to position this as a high-end phone, regardless of specs. The unlocked version may well be cheaper than the locked but off-contract pricing we're seeing from AT&T, since that's going to cater to a more techie audience.

As long as the user experience is good (and by all early reports it is excellent), the average buyers won't care at all that the specs aren't top-shelf. A quad-core CPU that doesn't make the phone any faster except at synthetic benchmarks isn't going to impress these people, nor should it. A 1080p display might, until you hold the One and the X next to one another and ask the customer to say which is sharper. And if you compare the X against the S4, then ask the customer which is more comfortable to hold and use (especially one-handed).

Remember that battery life is part of the UX -- making compromises in CPU and screen resolution that make little practical difference in use makes for a phone that you don't have to worry about plugging in twice a day (or maybe even once!). This adds up to a considerably better experience.

The always-on voice control is something I'm very interested in. Seems like it would come in really handy in the car, if nowhere else. And the smart notifications are interesting at least, certainly more useful than a notification LED.

The customization is sure to entice some users, though I'm a basic-black kind of guy myself. I wonder about the overall durability of these phones, though. Smartphones in general aren't noted for their resilience. If they're not tough enough to survive in the real world without a case, I'm not sure what the point of the customization is.

I think this is a phenomenal move by Motorola (and Google). I really hope it pays off and leads to more phones that focus on UX first rather than specs. See post.

Nvidia Shield review: A great gaming portable awaiting great games

by Eric Franklin (Read review)

The Nvidia Shield is a performance monster, but needs many more quality games to prove its worth. Only hard-core gamers need apply for now.

jzh10: Two ways to improve it.

1. Ability to separate the screen and the controller, using Bluetooth for the controls just like everyone else. Then what you have is a very powerful, gaming optimized tablet that you can take with you in one piece if you wish.

2. The PC-to-Shield streaming is not enough. Instead, add the ability for Shield-to-PC, then you can take advantage of the large screen that you expect to be connected on the PC.

See post.

FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software

by Declan McCullagh (Read article)

CNET has learned the FBI has developed custom "port reader" software to intercept Internet metadata in real time. And, in some cases, it wants to force Internet providers to use the software.

legaliis : What I find absolutely appalling about this and similar stories is how these bureaucrats simply don't get the actual pulse of the citizens. WE DON'T WANT THIS! It's not up to agencies to decide what's right for us but it is up to us to dictate to the agencies what we will accept and these intrusions are just that, intrusions that we don't want. And that, dear readers, is my humble opinion. See post.

Obama vetoes Apple sales ban in U.S.

by Josh Lowensohn (Read article)

The Obama Administration has vetoed a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission that would have led to a sales ban on older iPhones and iPads.

lil_pengy: Obama was in a bad spot. Allow the ban to happen and the Democratic Party loses millions in donations and support. Also guarantee the next U.S. president won't be a Democrat.

Overturn it and keep the money and support, but demonstrate to the public that patents are meaningless and if you have enough money, yes, you can ignore them to make billions in profits. Not exactly the best example to give, but that's what the president chose to do. He now endorses and supports theft of technology and ideas by others. He just went on the record with his actions.

See? It doesn't matter if you're for or against Obama or Apple -- they are in a no-win situation. The only winner here? Ironically, it's Samsung. This has opened the way to permit them to sue Apple for 100% of all income generated on all infringing Apple products from the date they were released to today. That's going to be more than $50 billion owed to Samsung right there. And Apple has no defense. It's now recognized and official. In order to have any chance to avoid it, Apple will have to petition Obama to go back on his decision openly and publicly... and he's never done that before.

OK, well, so he does it regularly, but we shall see!

See post.