CNET Tech Review
LL Cool G, or ladies love cool gamesThis week on the CNET Tech Review: new cars and concepts from the New York auto show; double-duty cases for your iPhone and iPad; how to put Apple's location tracking on lock-down; and iPad games help guys get girls.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, highlights from the 2011 New York Auto Show, clever cases for your iPhones and iPads. We'll count down the top 5 worst products named in tech and Brian proves it once again what a chick magnet the iPad really is. It's all coming up right now. Hi, everyone. I'm Molly Wood 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 offers some unique tech wisdom in the form of the Bottom Line. Let's start with the good. It shouldn't come as a surprise given gas prices these days that the New York Auto Show was all about small cars and better gas mileage this year. Whether it was eking more efficiency out of Subarus or trying to make a Mercedes into a sexier econobox, the message was clear, [unk]. -I guess you can call it the new New Beetle though VW doesn't. Gone is the cookie arched roof giving in to something a little more rakish. So, too, the taillights ceased paying slavish homage to the past. Inside, this Beetle gets a grownup dash and instrument panel while shedding the little bud vase but offering an upper glove box that does say original car. One thing you'll notice right away is the top of the dash isn't as absurdly deep as it used to be since the windshield vase is pushed back and atop the dash, 3 sporty gauges. 3 engine choices as well. Most exciting to me is a torquey 2-liter TdI that should deliver 29/40 MPG but there's also word of a Beetle R with a 270 horsepower turbo motor out of the Golf R. Now, VW needs this new Beetle to deliver more than the 7% or so of its sales it's been doing in the last couple of years if the company wants to hit audacious goals of being the world's biggest carmaker by 2018. The new 2012 Beetle arrives in the U.S. September of 2011. Here's the new face for the revised Ford Taurus, all kind of angry and menacing-looking especially on the show audition. And there's new increased sculpting around the body, a new shape on the hood. Now, non-show Tauri will get a light revision as well. But the most interesting thing is this will be the first Ford to offer a choice of 2 eco-boost engines. Those are the ones that combine direct injection and turbo charging. One will be a new version of the 3.5 liter V6 that will now deliver a healthy 290 horsepower and the other will be a little 2-liter four that should deliver 31 MPG from this big car. MyFord Touch will now be available on the LCD screen of a Taurus and rumors have it some sort of video streaming could be coming to that system. The electric power steering will enable the same impressive automatic parking tech we recently saw on the Focus. The New Taurus hits the market in 2012 as a 2013 model. Subaru has been on a tear in the U.S. but the Impreza has been uninteresting outside of a WRX. This new Impreza is no-looker. The sedan is super suburban. The hatch looks sportier until you come around the back and mistake it for a chipmunk with jowls full of nuts. They have downsized the engine dramatically from 2.5 to 2 liters to much improve the car's previous mediocre fuel economy, now projected to be 27/36, which Subaru claims will make the new Impreza the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in America. Now that's with a CVT gearbox. Shift it yourself with the 5-speed manual and you'll lose a few MPG. Oh, by the way, at the Shanghai shows, Subi also showed off his wilder cousin to the Impreza, the XV Concept, which for the first time would take an Impreza in a crossover direction. We'll have more on that when we see it in person. Ever seen a Mercedes A-Class? Yeah, this dorky little thing. Well, forget that and check this, the new A-Class concept. They just went from being about as sexy as an elevator to being a pulse elevator. Lots of tasty sculpting around its sort of mini-shooting brake body style but none of it is so outrageous that you can't squint and see a production car here. Well, except for this highly unlikely interior with all its LED-illuminated pods and such. Those vent nozzles turn red when heating and blue when cooling. And of course, Mercedes is envisioning streaming radio, Facebook and Twitter through a docked smartphone which are pretty much becoming must-have technologies right now. Under a hood, they see a turbo direct-injected 2-liter four that will put 210 horsepower into a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual to the front wheels. Also available, things like radar-adaptive cruise, lots of luxury. This is likely a real answer to BMW's 1 series and Audi's 3 in a world where small and premium no longer seem like odd bedfellows. The new Chevy Malibu debuted at Shanghai, but a couple of days later, dropped a bit of a bombshell in New York. That is, it'll be available as a mild hybrid called the Malibu Eco that will team a little 15-horsepower electric motor with a 2.4-liter four to give you 26/38 MPG, also thanks to it having regenerative braking and auto start/stop. Up front is what they call an expressive face in the auto biz, and that feature line along the sill continuing out to the rear bumper gives the car a very rakish stance. Out back, a clear nod to the hind end of a Camaro. And inside, the Camaro nod continues with the gauges, then over in the center is the new Chevy MyLink head unit which will be a first for GM and it will have app support for Pandora and Stitcher streaming and almost certainly more apps after that. Push the button at the bottom of the screen and the whole thing tilts up for a space to stash your connected iPhone. The other engine option is a 2.5-liter direct-injection four that puts 190 horsepower into a six-speed automatic. The new Malibu goes on sale first half of 2012. -The Malibu is so purple, how Barbie! Although actually, if we're talking 2 cars, I gotta say, I am digging the new New Beetle. Now you know the ladies are digging our mutual friend, Brian Tong. But this week, he has agreed to pass on some of his unique tech wisdom in Tap That App, iPad games to help you get girls. -Welcome to Tap That App. I'm Brian Tong and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the mobile space. Now we showcase a lot of games and apps, but really, the best way to use technology is with the ladies. So, we're gonna show you the best iPad games that will help you get girls based on my extensive research. Now, forget about violent games like Infinity Blade or Gun Brothers, girls don't care. And please, don't say Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja. Those games are played out, and trust me, you gotta be different from those other nerds. So here's my favorite iPad games to get the girls. Now first up is Harbor Master HD and it's absolutely free. Just ask the girl if she likes water. -Do you like water? -What? -Water. Here, let me show you. -Then buzz up the game and all you do is send purple boats to the purple docks and orange boats to the orange docks by draw and pass with your fingers. You'll need to move boats in and out of the docks and it gets good when the game gets hectic and trust me, you'll be multi-touching in no time. Now remember, it's free and the best take guys is the one that doesn't hurt your wallet. Now, if you really wanna get your game on with the ladies, check out What's the Difference? It'll cost you a chicken meat nugget happy meal at $3.99 but this is the classic game where you work as a team to spot the differences between 2 pictures side by side. You'll be saying things to each other like-- -Oh, you're good at this. -Nice. -Yeah, you are. Oh, nice move, very nice. -And best of all, you can show her that you're a guy who knows how to use his head. Yey! And my final recommendation, Little Things. I know, I know, don't let the name discourage you. It's $2.99 and it's an innovative seek-and-find game. You'll work together to find items in a colorful collage of cute icons. It's a game that more than 2 people can play and you know the saying, the more the merrier. But trust me when I tell you, it's a good thing when a girl asks-- -Can I play with you Little Things? -So there you go fellas, 3 games you haven't really heard of to break the ice of that special someone and what's the trend? Having fun, working together, and my friends, the rest is up to you. Now if you have any other apps you think are worthy to be here that we missed, send them to tapthatappcnet.com. I'm Brian Tong, thanks for watching, and we'll see you guys next weekend. -Who needs OkCupid when you've got an iPad? Of course, if an iPad doesn't turn her on, maybe the lady in your life could use a Vybe. In fact, this Vybe is our Editor's Choice. Rich Brown loves it, and here he is with a hands-on review. -Hi, I'm Rich Brown, senior editor for CNET.com. Today, we're gonna take a look at the Maingear Vybe Super Stock. So, this is an Editor's Choice-winning gaming PC. This config costs about 2900 bucks. It is one of the fastest desktops we've ever reviewed and it also comes in a nice tiny, little package here. Its major system is very well-built and generally, we recommended to anybody in the market for sort of an upper mid-range gaming desktop. So just a quick overview of the outside, you can see it's nice and clean. The front panel has a DVD burner up here while the media drive is here. And right here, you've got a pair of SSD slots [unk] with a little lock. The drive will open up and you can pop the drives in and out. Now despite the system's small size, it actually has a nice range of connectivity options here in the back. You can see there's 2 graphics cards here. Each card has tons of video outputs. You can see there's 2 DVI ports as well as 2 adapter-based Mini DisplayPort outputs. And here you get a single HDMI out. Down here in the motherboard ports, you get 7.1 audio, digital audio output, a couple of USB 3.0s, USB 2.0, Ethernet, eSATA, FireWire, and a couple more USB ports. Now inside the Vibe is nice and neat, which is what we're used to from Maingear. Up here, you've got 2 graphics cards. It's a pair of AMD Radeon HD 6950s. Down here is an Intel Core i7 2600K chip and has a stock speed of 3.4 GHz but Maingear is overclocked up to 4.8. Between that chip and these 2 cards, this is one of the fastest systems we've ever seen. It has a couple of memory sticks here and you can actually add 2 more if you wanna go to 16 G. That's probably a little overkill for now anyway. You've got room for 3 hard drives over here. Now there's one SSD drive installed already. Now, it's actually a 250-gigabyte driver, probably a little excessive. You can actually go into 120-gigabyte driver at Maingear's website, knock $400 of the price of the system, so it's probably not the worst idea. Down here, you've got a 1-terabyte standard hard drives and you got a free drive spot here. Now, the system does come with wireless networking integrator, but there are few other great options available on the motherboard. You get a 1x PCI express slot here and here, there's a single PCIe slot available in between the 2 cards. Now, you don't have room to add a 3rd graphics card to this PC, but there is still plenty of rooms to upgrade and more than we would expect from a system that's kind of small like this. As I said, the system is one of the fastest we've ever tested and it also play any game out there at a high image quality and a high resolution. So between its speed, its value, and its design, this is one of the best gaming PCs out there right now. So, I'm Rich Brown and this is the Editor's Choice-winning Maingear Vybe Super Stock. -What did you think I'm in? Get your minds out of the gutter people, and while you would take a moment to wash your brains out with soap, we're gonna take a break. We'll be right back for 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. Continuing on in the good, many new iPad and iPhone owners are compelled to buy cases to protect their pricey new purchases. If you're one of those people, you might consider a case that actually adds functionality to your i device like these two right here. -Hi, I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com and this is not a netbook. This is an iPad 2 docked into the Logitech keyboard case by ZAGG for the iPad 2. It's not even plugged in. It just rests here and for those people that are looking for a perfect keyboard solution for their iPad, hey, adding keyboard just like a laptop, well, this is the type of device you might be looking for. At $99, it's a pretty good price compared to other iPad peripherals and it doubles as a case. And as you can see, it's a real keyboard. This isn't a sort of glued-on rubbery keyboard or any sort of a fake-feeling keyboard. This keyboard has keys that feel like a real keyboard. Although compressed, it's a little more like a keyboard you'd find on a netbook. It's not a real full-sized keyboard, but the fact that it comes inside this case and allows the iPad 2 to be set up within it, it makes it a really nice solution for an all-in-1 type of device. Now, there are some drawbacks. The case is not really a perfect case for the iPad. It does allow the iPad to fold down and store inside it, but you can't really easily remove it, so it's not gonna be useful in case you wanna take it with you on a subway for some quick iPad reading. Also, call us crazy, even though there are rubberized bands here that will protect contact against the keyboard when the iPad is folded down, it makes us a little bit nervous to get the glass up close to a keyboard. On the other hand, this has some really nice ergonomic features to it. You can stand this thing up in a landscape or portrait mode. You can flip it up like this. Now, the back connector over here is a flip-up plastic. It's not great. It's probably one of the weakest parts of the case, but it does the job and allows it to stand up. It also has a really nice set of Bluetooth keys here. The control function is on the iPad. You may not be aware that it could control. For instance, there's volume control, track skipping for music. There's also undo and redo buttons. So, if you're working in a word processing, they'll actually work. It also has cut and paste buttons, but of course, if you're gonna be using those, you do still have to select text on the screen so that made being reaching up and touching the screen. You know, actually, typing on this keyboard really does make it feel like a laptop. It kind of gives us a nice, little coffee shop vibe. You can relax and lose yourself in your writing a little bit. Just got to be careful because after you work on this for a while, you're gonna wonder where that mouse or that trackpad is and you're gonna have to press back on that screen. It's get a little bit confusing. This Logitech keyboard connects by Bluetooth, so that's why there's no dock connector here or 30-pin connector. You need to set up Bluetooth on your iPad then you turn the keyboard on and you hit the Connect button. If it's already set up for pairing, it's good to go. The first time, it'll ask you to enter a 4-digit code on your keyboard to initiate the pairing process. This also has a micro-USB connector and its own little charge cable for plugging in via USB to charge the battery on this case. It's long enough of a charge. You're really not gonna have to worry about charging it too many times. Overall, it's actually a really nice, attractive case and it creates a nice, clean profile for the iPad 2, really makes it look like a laptop. If you're looking for a keyboard, you really might want to check this one out. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Logitech keyboard case by ZAGG for the iPad 2. -I'm Nicole Lee, senior associated editor for CNET.com and this is a First Look at the MoGo Talk XD. The MoGo Talk XD is an iPhone case but it also has a built-in Bluetooth headset on the back. As a case, it's a pretty normal-looking iPhone case. It fits very snugly around the iPhone. There are the buttons at the right place it should be. There are cuts out for the jacks. So it's overall a pretty decent iPhone case in general. What sets the Talk XD apart is that on the back here is a little Bluetooth headset. This means that the case has a slight humpback on the back here. To get the Bluetooth headset out, all you have to do is press down on the left side here and it will pop out also the charging cavity. The Bluetooth headset itself as you can see is extremely skinny. It's around less than 0.2 inch. On the side of the Bluetooth headset here is a very tiny, multifunction call button. On the other side here are the 2 charging points for charging in the case. The earpiece of the headset can be folded open just by clicking it forward and the headset can be fitted to fit on either ear. The headset comes with a variety of different earbud tips. While the headset is indeed very skinny and slim, it actually fits pretty comfortably in the ear. Also on the bottom of the case here is a micro-USB charging port to charge the Bluetooth headset. You can charge both the iPhone and the headset at the same time because of the 2 different openings. The Bluetooth headset has to be paired with the iPhone. It doesn't pair automatically just because you put the case on. However, it does pair quite easily. The Bluetooth headset has the usual Bluetooth headset features. You can answer calls, end calls and reject calls. Because the iPhone is close at hand, you don't need to use the volume controls on the headset, just use the volume controls on the iPhone. However, the Bluetooth headset doesn't have a lot of advanced features. It doesn't have a 3GP. It doesn't have on-board volume controls like we said. And it also does not have multipoint connectivity that lets you connect up to 2 devices at once. Overall, we think the MoGo Talk XD is a pretty clever idea. Afterall, Bluetooth headsets are notoriously easy to lose or misplace. This way, it's always close at hand. Perhaps our only issue is that it's a little bit expensive at $100 retail, but you can find it cheaper online. I am Nicole Lee and this has been the First Look at the MoGo Talk XD. -While those both seem like really good idea, they're not cheap, and they're definitely gonna add some bulk to your portable devices. But if neither one of those things bother you, don't let me talk you out of it. Let's just move along and see what's bad this week instead. Naming products and services in the tech world can be a tricky proposition. For example, how many of you know that CNET is to officially be named CNET with a little tight character, and it actually stood for the Computer Network. That was fine but after some time, we became CNET networks for Computer Networks networks. Awkward as that may be, it's nothing compared to the 5 truly terrible tech names in this week's Top 5. -Let's face it folks, tech manufacturers make tech for a living. They make screens, operating systems, processors, little buttons and stuff. Where they fall down all too often is when they name their gear. I'm Brian Cooley with the Top 5 Stupidest Names for tech products in recent memory, ranked in order of how much they made us cringe here at the CNET offices. Number 5 is a tie between 2 products that violate the first rule of reading the room: Never call yourself "cool" unless you rap for a living. But the Cool-er e-Reader and Cuil, the search engine missed that lesson. The Cool-er e-Reader just wasn't. It was a second rate, half-baked, cut-priced, ripped off of both the Kindle and the iPod. So it has the unoriginal-er name that it could have claimed. Now Cuil was a search engine that claimed to do what Google does but faster and better. The name was one of those we in the media biz say needs a pronouncer: Never go to market with a name like that. Some saw it reading "cool" as the founders intended. Others thought it said "quill" which had kinda founding fathers' tonality to it. Then I just saw Cull, which is what happened here. Number 4 is the Samsung Smiley, you know, smiley. They branded it with both the word and the emoticon and tried to position it as the happy phone. Asking, what about it will make you happy? You know what will make me happy? This thing going off the [unk] market. Number 3 is the Pentax *ist, pronounced "ist," but with a leading asterisk in the structural tradition of a DOS wild card 'cause, you know, that's cool. The idea was sort of "this is the DSLR for whatever your passions are, whether you're an artist, botanist, naturist, or anesthesiologist" which works because they put this line to sleep in late 2006. Number 2 is the Olympus m:robe. I actually forgot about this one, had to go look it up. It was a line of portable audio and video players. The name was supposedly a contraction of music wardrobe. That's idiotic. And it used proprietary file transfer software called m:trip, which actually made Sony SonicStage look good. Olympus is blessedly out of the media player business now, but that unfortunately gives them more time to come up with unnerving stuff like this colonoscopy camera with an obscene flexible tip. Before we get to our number 1 worst-named tech product, a reminder: A bad name does not keep a good product down. If you recall the groaning when Steve-o announced iPad? And we all had our jaws in our laps when Nintendo announced Wii. And can there be a dorkier, geekier name than Android? "Danger, Will Robinson!" So, you see, Cool-er, you could have been a hit if you just hadn't sucked. Okay, the number 1 worst name for a tech product-- hands down, no exceptions for the remainder of history, is this media player called iBeat Blaxx. What? I mean, Sharpton's on the phone right now for me just reading this. Alright, in defense of maker TrekStor, they are a small company located in Lorsch, South Hesse, Germany, well known as the Silicon Valley of the former Third Reich. Anyway, from what I've seen, they were genuinely horrified when someone who's actually heard English spoken explained to them what they just called their product, so they fired their VP of Brand Development, David Duke, and soldiered on with a name change to the only moderately disturbing TrekStore Blaxx. For more Top 5's like this one-- well, none are quite like this one-- go to Top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching. -Wow! That did not really happen, did it? The-- okay. Well, that is a bad name, tech or otherwise. Let's just go ahead and check out this week's Bottom Line, shall we? Apple has been in the news a little bit lately over charges that the iPhone stores a huge unencrypted cache of your location data. Apple says it's not tracking you and the data is just more access points in some towers than visits to dirty bookstores, but still, until they roll out the fixes they say they're working, here's how to lock down some of that stuff before any private investigators come looking. -Bring Tong here with CNET.com and one of the hot topics in the tech world is Apple's tracking all of your location data on your iPhone or iPad as a file even if you choose to turn off the location services setting on your i device. Now, the data is being stored in an unencrypted file potentially accessible by anyone who's up to no good with some basic technical skills. This file is stored not only on your mobile device but there's also a copy that's saved on your computer's hard drive when it backs up files from an iPhone or iPad while syncing with iTunes. Now the good news is that Apple is not uploading this data file to their internal servers, but it still lives on your i device or computer and the data has mapped out your locations and whereabouts as far back as a year. Now there are plenty of you out there that care about your privacy, so what can you do to protect yourself? This file will live on your phone and you can't do anything about that but your best bet is to encrypt the iTunes backup that lives on your computer. So first up, plug in your i device with a USB cable into your Mac or PC. Then, select your device in the left-hand column of iTunes when it launches. Find the Options section and check the box next to encrypt the iPhone backup. Choose a password that's unique and make sure you don't forget it for once you do this, the file on your computer will be protected. I'm Brian Tong for CNET.com with your how-to for protecting location data. Use it wisely. -The Bottom Line this week, bug [unk], and while you're at it, all of you PlayStation 3 players might wanna go ahead and change all of your passwords and cancel your credit cards. [unk] say they don't know for sure if the credit card information was taken in their recent hack attack but do you feel like you can trust anyone lately? Alright folks, that's our show. We'll be back next week with a brand-new CNET Tech Review. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. See you next time and thank you for watching.