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Episode 14: HTC One X vs iPhone in a midair Road Test

This week, we're previewing the iPhone 5, which, yes, we plan to torture test. I know, it hurts us, too. Plus, drop-testing humans with a high-flying Road Test, unboxing the Kindle Fire HD, and taking the e-ink Kindle for a swim.

Now playing: Watch this: Episode 14: iPhone vs. HTC One X in midair

This week, you finally get to see the results of my high-flying Road Test of the HTC One X! I actually jumped out of a helicopter because we were so sure that this HTC One X commercial, touting its camera features to such an extent that it could be used in a midair fashion shoot, was a ridiculous put-on. You'll see in the segment whether I managed to get the shot, and whether the phone's camera and features performed as advertised.

Special thanks to the folks at GoPro, who helped us set up this shoot and loaned us their amazing and slightly insane stunt team, the GoPro Bomb Squad. Neil Amonson (now forever known as the "Chicken Man"), Marshall Miller, and Jesse Hall jumped with us, just a few weeks after they wowed the nerds of the world in Google's Project Glass Skydiving Demo. The great guys at Skydive Surfcity kept us safe on the way down -- they were our tandem jumpers. And special special thanks to Sarah Harbin, who produced the segment and handmade the costume (the "chicken suit") that our very willing model, Neil, wore during the jump. Amazing!

One Road Test wasn't enough for Always On, though. To get more than one gadget into the mix, the totally rad Jeff Cannata jumped out of the same helicopter with his iPhone to see if he could get the shot and if the iPhone's vaunted camera would outdo the One X's. Behind-the-scenes note: I intended to compare the One X with the iPhone 4S, but at the last minute, Jeff decided to use his personal iPhone (for obvious reasons), which turned out to be a 4 and not a 4S. You'll see later why that makes the comparison even more interesting.

Speaking of iPhone, we will have a new iPhone 5 to unbox for our September 25 episode (shipping channels willing!), but I should warn you that since we buy all the gadgets we torture here at Always On, we'll have to wait to get an unlocked model that we can buy outright before we can torture it. That's OK, though; it will give me plenty of time to think of creative tests, and to hear from any of you about whether you've already managed to destroy yours!

In the meantime, we've got a little wrap-up of the news and a preview of what's to come (to go along with CNET's comprehensive collection of everything you need to know about iPhone 5), and that's about it for iPhone, since you're probably a little overwhelmed with news about it.

Throwing my reading material into the pool ... poor little Kindle.
Throwing my reading material into the pool ... poor little Kindle. CNET

And really, there are so many other new and cool gadgets out there, like the new Kindle Fire HD! That's our Unboxing this week, and it is a really interesting 7-inch tablet. Mainly because it feels more like a 9-inch tablet; what is up with that huge bezel? Donald Bell has a little comparison of the Kindle Fire HD vs. the Nexus 7, which I encourage you to check out.

Finally, speaking of Kindles, the 2011 e-ink Kindle went for a swim this week in the Torture Test. It's a tough little gadget, but could it survive a day at the pool? Please trust me when I tell you that this shoot was nowhere near as difficult for us, the hard-working Always On crew, as it was for the Kindle. I hope you enjoy, and that you'll keep the feedback and e-mails and suggestions coming, because Mailbag is fast becoming my favorite part of the show, as it should be. Enjoy!