Episode 34: The MacBook Pro rocks and rolls!We torture test the MacBook Pro with Retina Display at a gigantic rock yard. Three testers take the LG Optimus G Pro phablet on the road; is it fabulous or a flop? And, a whole new way to gather data about your health. Plus, an Always On torture test...
-Come on in. This week on Always On, we rock out with the MacBook Pro in a pretty tough torture test. -And we take the LG Optimus G Pro out on a road test. -Plus the future of technology that can keep track of all your vital stats. [unk] fit all over me. Always On is on. [unk] Welcome to Always On. I'm Molly Wood. -And I'm Jeff Cannata. -And this is the show where you take a look at the tech that's part of your life. -And your future. -We have an amazing show for you this week, featuring the MacBook Pro with Retina display. -I love that Retina display on the MacBook Pro. It's so beautiful. -So pretty. But is it tough? -Tough? -Yeah. We took it out into the field to see just how droppable this laptop. -You're smashing that beautiful display. Please tell me you're not smashing it. -All I'm saying is that we're dropping it. Let's have a look. It is time to test the toughness of the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display. We went looking for a location with a lot of different options and we landed here at American Soil and Stone where we're going to scratch, drop, and dunk our poor little MacBook. Let's get to it. Now, one thing I actually consider a weakness of the MacBook Pro is its aluminum body. It's already a little scuffed up just from sitting on the rock earlier, so we decided to take the scratch test concept and kick it up a notch. -All right. Let's just-- -Come on in. Ooh, it's in there. Now, we're gonna shake it up. Whoa, that was awesome. So, I'm betting that it's a little bit scratched up. Certainly dusty. Yeah, we have some scratching. We have a lot of dirt. I got to say this is not nearly as bad as I thought it was gonna be. It turns out a little bit tougher than I thought, at least in the scratch department. Oh, I'll be careful. I don't wanna smoosh him. Also, another thing about our MacBook Pro is that it's really dirty. So, I think it's time for it to get a little shower while it's open. Oh, that's terrible. That's just awful. It's like you're on a photo shoot and like a rogue wave comes and it just gets splashed up pretty much longer than that. So, let's rest it here. All right, our screen definitely turned off. I just wanted to wash the dirt off. All right, let's see. I mean, it's off. So, I think what we're gonna do here, I did the worst thing Imaginable, which was press the power button. Whoa, oh, oh, it restarted. The thing that usually goes first is the trackpad. That seems to be the case here. Oh, no, the trackpad is on. I'm logged in. This thing is turning out to be a lot tougher than I thought. It's totally functioning after its little shower. Time to keep going. So, arguably, right now, we still have a perfectly functional MacBook Pro and I am as surprised as you, but it's time for the drop test. All right, three, two, one, walk in. I guess it doesn't skid at all. It sounded really, though, we have dentage. I definitely have one good dent right here. Let's see if I can't skid it just a little bit. Three, two, one. God. Okay, we have some scratching, a couple more dents, nothing too serious, but I think we should find out how our Retina display can handle a drop if it's, you know, open. Three, two, one, oh. The hinge feels a little tight, but the screen is okay. I'm not really seeing much more dents. The hinge is just a little bit of-- got a little bit of a hiccup, but, you know, that's no big deal. All right, other than our little scratches in there, it kinda looks like a bear got it ,but other than that, it seems fine. I'm just saying it's a laptop that's meant to go on the road. It's all totally possible. -Listen, I don't like this. I don't like that we're doing it. I've voted against it. -It costs a lot of money. You should know if it's worth it. -But there's more to come. -All right. But before that, we took the LG Optimus G Pro out on a road test, gave it to several users to see if it fits into their life and their pockets. -Check it out. -Time for a road test of the LG Optimus G Pro. I personally-- I'm totally in love with this phone. Have any of you heard of a phablet or just that silly name. -Yup. -No. -No, no. Yes. So, what we're gonna do today is each of you will take one phone out and look for specifically design, the features, and the kind of usability of the phone, and then report back to me, okay? -Yup. -All right, here's your LG Optimus Pro. For you, for you, for you. -Thank you. -I feel like santa right now. -Hey, I'm Peter Brown. I'm an editor at GameSpot, a gamer by day, techy by night, and I really like playing around with mobile devices. -Hey, I'm Summer Hoff and I'm [unk] here in San Francisco and my favorite thing to do is hop on the back of my boyfriend's motorcycle and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. -Hello, my name is Alex Brown. I'm a student filmmaker and I love shooting on my tablet device or my phone. I wonder if I can really get my hands on. -I think the phablet form factor for the device is probably a strength for gaming 'cause I think you can obviously see things a lot more clearly and the dimensions really help. It doesn't feel like you have to really like bury the device too deep in your hands to get a good grip on it. I can hold it kind of gingerly, so, that way, I can, you know, see more of the screen and I'm not worried about dropping it. -I really like the design, the smooth edges. It's big, but it's nice and thin. Tough, feels like bold, you know. Put it in my pocket, doesn't even feel like I have my phone in my pocket. -Simply, awkward as far as talking on the phone. Maybe, it's because I'm a woman and my hands are smaller and my fingers. Something that I like to do all the time when I'm talking on the phone with people is being able to do stuff with my other hand, but I feel like, with this, I kind of have to-- I don't know. It's just-- It wasn't working for me and it just didn't feel normal or right. -[Foreign Language]. -So, how many cases of [unk] do you think that you go through a week or a month here? -I would say about a couple of kegs a week. -I love that you just said that. -Using this phone with my retailer is not very easy. It's not user friendly and I was having a hard time taking notes with him and I couldn't figure out how I would open up a presentation to show him. Also, I couldn't figure out how to open up an e-mail to show him numbers of how my business is and how it's healthy. And I couldn't figure out how to take notes on it. -The keyboard is nice and large 'cause I have big fingers. I don't have a problem hitting the keys and hitting double keys. I can see myself leaving my tablet at home and just taking this to class and using this, taking notes and stuff. I can't see really any downsize to the phone. It seems pretty fast. It's a nice size. It's definitely a good crossover. -It's weird. We're just trying to play a game and the screen got dark. And so, when I went to the settings menu to try to up the brightness, I got a message saying, "unable to brighten more due to temperature increase," which is really strange, but I guess it was playing with 3D game and the processor got a little too warm, but I was only playing the game for 30 seconds, a minute before that happened. So, that's kind of a downside. It doesn't seem like it got a good control and heat management, unfortunately. -Wow! The camera is really good. I can catch some [unk] shots of this. It's pretty good. It's definitely 1080p. It's really clear. The clarity is really nice. It's not grainy at all. It doesn't look like I'm shooting with a cellphone. It looks really good. Only thing it lacks is I can't rack focus, but it's a camera on the phone, so it's really nice. It's a great camera. I could definitely go out and shoot with this-- shoot a film with this. -One of the things that struck me as odd is this button right here. It sort of brings up an odd memo overlay and so, when I was trying to just do something simple, I found myself inadvertently pressing this and then drawing on the screen, having to back out. It's kind of gotten the way of productivity. -I'm trying to find actually where the camera function is and I can't actually seem to find it which is very frustrating. Oh, there's the camera. All right, I'm Silly Sally. It's not-- Okay, cool. It actually looks like it's really good quality. The detail is actually really beautiful. I'm impressed with that. Having a phone that takes really beautiful photos is very important to me. -All right, you guys spent a little while with the phone, testing things out. Let's go, let's go kind of down the line. What are-- What are your first impressions after using it? -I loved it. I love the screen. I love the bigger screen. I really wanna get one now. -Really? -Yeah, it really motivates the upgrade. -Okay, so, we've sold one LG Optimus G Pro. So, for our-- Let's move on to Summer. What did you think? -I was actually extremely frustrated with the phone. I couldn't figure out a notepad. I couldn't find the camera forever. The operating system is very different for me. So, yeah. -Okay. -I wouldn't buy it. -All right, cool and you're the [unk] now 'cause we've got a tie verdict too. -Yeah and I've kind of mixed feelings about the device. I like that it's really light. I think the size is pretty good. The build quality is pretty sturdy [unk] you can take the back off to replace the battery if you want or add memory. From a gaming standpoint, not strong enough-- -Right. -but as a phone, it's a good phone. -So? I think I know what you're gonna say, but would you buy it? -Yeah, I would buy it. I'm gonna be waiting for this to come out. -All right. -Yeah. -Pick a no, no. -No. -No. -What about you? -Unfortunately, no. It doesn't interest me. -Oh. Okay, so, two nos and a yes. I guess that's kind of a failing grade for our LG Optimus G Pro. It's time for us to take a quick break. When we come back, we're looking at the future of your health on your smartphone. -And more tough stuff on that MacBook Pro. I think there may be a forklift involved. -It's gonna get ugly. -Oh, boy. -Welcome back everyone. It is time for our future tech this week. -And this one is all about health, the idea of the quantified self. -That's right, tracking everything down to the heartbeat literally plus a little genetic testing thrown into. -Ooh. -Why not? -So, here I have my 23andMe genetic testing kit and I am going to take the plunge on camera and I just like to find out all about me. I'm such a girl? I don't even know how to spit. [unk]. I guess I loved that, though. I mean, really, like this is what it takes to get a full genetic profile? Not so bad. So, all I do is mail off that little box of spit and wait for a full report on my genetic history, ancestry, and potential diseases. That would have been unthinkable just a decade ago and it's just one example of how your health is getting more personalized everyday. Whether it's a wristband that tracks your calories-- -That's got five LEDs on it. So, if you tap it, it actually tells you your progress against your goal, but what's also important about it is that it uses bluetooth 4.0, so it wirelessly syncs in the background to smartphones. -A toothbrush, an app that measures your brushing habits, or even a fork that makes you eat more slowly. -The demo fork that we have here has been pre-programmed on a 10-second interval. And it basically means that, if I'm putting food in my mouth under 10 seconds, it will vibrate. -Too soon, too soon. -The tech is enabling a trend that some called the quantified self. The idea that you can gather data about your health, your habits, and your history. The benefits can be far reaching. With more accurate aggregated data, doctors could provide better care, even possibly preventing more serious diseases like cancer and diabetes. I visited Paris-based Withings where the company's internet-enabled scale lets you keep track of your weight, share the information with your phone, and create a database of your behavior. -So, you see, now, my weight in the scale, and in some seconds, it will receive a push on my iPhone-- -Okay. -and will indicate this measurement. This scale can work both in Wi-Fi and bluetooth. -Okay. -So, this is the last measurement, I made 75, that something [unk] and so it will be added to my chart. -Oh, wow. They've also built a phone app that connects to a blood pressure cuff. -You just connect it on the iPhone. -Oh, that's cool. -And it starts automatically the application-- -Uh-huh. -and then you just press start button and it will start the measurement. -That's awesome. It's pretty high. -Probably because you are not sitting-- -Sitting. -somewhere and because you are-- -And so, it's not just the monitoring. It's the fact that, once you have all of the data in one place, you can see patterns-- -Yes. -and you can-- -Yes. -Yeah. -And you can share with your-- you can share it with your doctor. -Right. Now, we've seen plenty of heart rate monitors, but here's an app that detects your heart rate using your phone's camera. This one comes from Azumio. Here's how it works. When the heart beats, blood is pumped into your face which causes it to change color. The camera can pick up this information and actually determine your pulse. -You just hold it in your hand like this distance. -Okay. -Center your face and just dab the center of the skin. Now, this should take around 15 seconds to get a measurement. Your heart rate is [unk] -I went up to 94 when I first got here. I was like, it's you-- -Yeah, maybe. -or the flu. After going through a few these technologies, I realized I might need to watch my blood pressure, and maybe, even my heart rate then, of course, there's the genetic testing I did with 23andMe which could tell me if I'm at risk for things like diabetes or even cancer. There can be downsides to knowing all about your health, but, hey, at least you know. I think there is nothing but upside to this trend. Monitoring your health from your phone just makes you smarter. -I agree. I love the idea of tech making my organic life better. -I totally agree. But back to torture testing. We cover -- We cover the gamut on the show. Let's-- -That's right. So much for a healthy stuff. Let's break things. -Yeah, let's find out how things were going with that MacBook Pro. Now, most of the time, we try to keep these tests within the realm of possibility. It's time to veer from that, just a tiny bit, although I think this could happen. Our buddy, Big John, here is gonna pick up those pallet of bricks with his forklift and then accidentally set it on top of this one. Come on in. There we go. Oh, I'm not [unk], I heard some really terrible noises come out of that just now 'cause I think the forklift also got the computer. Okay, let's take it away. I changed my mind. I don't want those bricks after all. Oh, God, I'm almost afraid to look. I am not seeing any obvious signs of damage right off the bat. The screen is not damaged any more than it was. The case is not damaged any more than it was. I mean, granite, it was only like a pallet of half full of bricks or whatever. Considering that even that couldn't do it, I think we gotta go boulder. Okay, Big John, I need a boulder. Help me out. This is not okay. Just let that let that sit for a minute-- Oh dear, oh dear, oh God. Well, now, that can't be good. I can't even rock that. Okay, come and get it. Oh, my God. This isn't like good too. It is-- Oh, no. Oh, God. Okay, we definitely messed up the pallet. All right, let's see. I have some decent dentage here for sure. That was not nice. Okay, I can definitely see denting. The screen does not lay flash like it used to at all. Let's see if the screen is still intact, though. Oh, the hinge doesn't wanna open at all. Oh, we have cracked the Retina display. So, you have a little bit of spider web pattern here. This is kind of where the impact zone was, but I gotta say, nowhere near the shattering that I might expect. If this thing still comes on after drying out, I'm gonna call that usable. This thing is tough. So, we're back in the office and we've had our MacBook Pro in the bag of rice for 24 hours, a lot of rice. It's been laying flat. So, we're gonna take it out and see if it comes on. Shake out some of the rice. Just to give it the best chance of survival, plug it in. Let's see. I'm just gonna keep holding this power button 'cause I'm keeping hope alive. I don't have any green light on my power cord and I don't have any activity on the screen. I don't know if it was the water or the boulder, but I'm sorry to say I think our MacBook Pro is dead. Wait, just when we thought it was dead, it came back on, not like on, on, but it just needed a little while on the juice to get a little bit of battery life back in it. It's not okay. The screen is definitely in a lot of trouble. So, now, you saw us do a lot of bad things to this MacBook Pro, and honestly, I bet you could replace this display and you would have a functioning laptop. This guy is unquestionably construction grade. -I love torturing technology on the show, and even I, had a hard time watching that beautiful screen. -Yeah, we put that torture test off for a while. In the meantime, let's read some of your mail. Now, before we get to your actual mail, I have exciting news to announce the return of the Always On Torture Test Sweepstakes. -Yes, it's back. -It is back. We are out to improve our karma and find better homes for the devices that we torture by giving them to you, dear audience. So, go to our blog at CNET.com/AlwaysOn to find out how you can win. And the first thing we're gonna give away is the MacBook Pro that we've been torturing this whole episode. -That's right. -Yeah. So, hopefully, you can be kind. -Yes. -Okay. -Nurse it back to health, perhaps. -Yeah. You know, we have gotten pictures and video from people who have taken some of the gadgets that we have broken, gotten them in the sweepstakes, fixed them, and are using them. -That's so cool. -So, hopefully, that will continue to happen. All right, moving on to the mail. It's been a while since we had like a really good torture test suggestion. This one really made me laugh. Rodrigo writes, "I have a torture test idea. You could put a phone or a 7-inch tablet in a toaster. I know it's not something that may happen very often, but it will be interesting to see if these gadgets can survive. Really like the show. Sorry if there are any writing mistakes." -It sounds-- -I can't find barely any. -It sounds like somebody who has put something in the toaster that he wasn't supposed to put it in a toaster. He's like, "I know it doesn't happen a lot, but you know, it could happen to somebody." -It could happen to someone if you're just-- -It's a possibility. -if you just were curious about that and you just wanted to know what would happen. -I like that idea. -I know. From Lima, Peru, by the way. -Very cool. I like this e-mail also. It says, "Molly, could you torture a Nexus 4? I may be getting one and would like to see if I need a case. Do they even make cases for it? I've never seen one. Also, I was in an earthquake." That's called burying the lead. -That is burying the lead. Also, it's an earthquake just one time. -Yeah. "Also, I was in an earthquake and my two TVs totally survived, but it was a very, very, very mild earthquake. Awesome show. Can't wait for the next episode." -It was more like-- more like a Tractor By-- like a Tractor By. -Yeah. -The TVs were totally fine because they didn't move at all. -These TVs are amazing for their ability to withstand very, very mild earthquake. -I do want you guys to know that we are going to be torture testing TVs in season four and we'll be simulating less than very, very, very mild earthquakes. -Can I throw game controllers at them? -Also that, yeah. -That's what I like. -So, then, we can test game controllers at the same time. So stay tuned for that. That's gonna be kind of our most dramatic torture testing to date, but I'm just saying a lot of you have e-mailed and said that your problems with, for example, hanging them on the wall without dropping them onto the floor. -Oh, boy. -Uh-huh. It could get-- -Drop test for TVs, get ready for that. -Yeah. -If you have suggestions for TVs or other devices or anything that you like to convey to us, please e-mail us at AlwaysOn@cnet.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. That's a wrap for season three, everybody, but we have a lot of good stuff coming in season four, like taking some tech under water to prepare you for your summer vacation. -I'm excited for that. And, in the meantime, you're gonna get a great episode next week. It's the best of Always On. -That's right. And the week after that, the one you've all been waiting for, the bloopers. -That's my favorite episode of the year. -Yeah, it turns out we're human. -I just like looking at Molly makes some mistakes for once. -Ever. All right, stay tuned everyone and thank you for watching Always On. -See you next season. -Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes before giving your saliva sample. Unfortunately, I have not done any of this thing within the last 30 minutes. So, apparently, I have to spit now. Could everyone just-- Could all you crew guys just turn around. It's just-- All right. You just stay back there.