CNET Tech Review
Do your business in the cloud with Office 365This week on the CNET Tech Review: Microsoft's ubiquitous office suite goes online; how to get started on Twitter; HP's TouchPad brings WebOS to the tablet; and the Vizio VIA comes to the coffee table.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, Microsoft moves office into the cloud, Twitter made easy in a handy how to, Vizio turns a tablet a TV remote, and the Samsung Trender is behind the times. It's all coming up right now. Hi everyone, I'm Brian Tong 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 the tech and offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start off with the good. Given the popularity of Google Docs and the growth of cloud computing in general, it was only a matter time before Microsoft got in the game. This week the folks behind Outlook, Excel, and Word launched Office 365, the online version of their business productivity suite. Here's Jason Parker to walk you to the new service. -Office 365 if officially launched bringing familiar web based apps and Microsoft services professionals and small businesses, but does it offer the tools that you business needs? I'm Jason Parker from CNET and this is the first look at the Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 combines familiar Microsoft Office web apps with web enable tools so business can e-mail, create and share documents, hold online meetings, and much more. At subscription service, Microsoft is offering a few tiered packages in that business of different sizes with varying productivity needs. Powered by Microsoft exchange online, business can now have access to e-mail, calendars and contacts from virtually anywhere almost any device. The Microsoft Outlook web app has the similar look and field to outlook for desktops and can be connected with office 2010 or office 2007, so you have the same e-mail and box everywhere. Microsoft also includes its forefront online protection for exchange, which scans continuously for viruses and spams to keep your business secure. Along with e-mail, you will be able to share calendars and quickly schedule meetings with access to you colleagues' availability. Simply go to the calender app, view your coworker's calender then set up a meeting time. Now, you're calender will show the meeting no whatever devices you logged in with. Then it's time to create documents, Microsoft office web apps act as a companion to the desktop versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint in one now, powered by Microsoft SharePoint. Though you won't have the list of options found in the desktop versions, the web apps offer enough features to create an edit documents while keeping the same formatting on your desktop and on the web. You can write and make style decisions in a document and word, edit spreadsheets and Excel. Create or edit a Powerpoint while away from the office and collaborate and share notebooks in one now. Office 365 keeps your organizations work in 1 place by letting you create team website. Here, you will be able to keep shared documents for collaboration, post messages for employees, or create new team sites for specific projects. Even with access to Office 365 from anywhere, sometimes you need to contact some directly even if it's over the web. Powered by Microsoft link online, you can have a quick chat over a secure client, hold online meets with audio and video, or share you desktop to show an employee exactly what you need. Even people outside of your company can be given access. So, you can meet up with clients online. When you're ready to share you wares with the world, you can use office 365 to create and maintain a public face in website. The service gives you several layouts and you can pick from hundreds of themes to match your type of business. You can make further changes to style and text for even more sight variations. You can also add custom CSS code if you wanna create a style sheet of your sown. Office 365 for small business under 25 employees cost $6 per user per month. Larger businesses, can choose from 4 enterprise plans for anywhere from $10 per user to $27 per user per month for more options and advanced tools. Overall, office 365 is a solid solution for collaboration and access anywhere tools for business. With familiar web apps, access from almost any device and tools to produce team sites and a public face in website. Office 365 just the might the solution your business needs. I'm Jason Parker for CNET, and this has been a first look for Office 365. Thanks for watching. -Now, while office 365 aims to help small business employees, collaborate more efficiently online, Apple iCloud service aims to help all of your personal iDevices work together more easily. In this week's top 5, Brian Cooley my maid man is counting down the reasons why iCloud gets it right. -Apple's iCloud. I bet you're intrigued by it, even if you don't really understand it. I'm Brian Cooley with the Top 5 reasons that Apple's iCloud rocks. Number 5, backup. Don't yawn, I know it's kind of a sleeper, but with iCloud, an iOS device can back itself up to Apple's cloud servers once a day when it finds Wi-Fi. That means photos, settings, apps, app data, all that fiddly stuff, and not only is it backed up that way, you can restore all that to a new iOS device you buy easily and wirelessly as well. That's pretty slick. Number 4, all your music, even the stuff you stole. Apple's tight with the record labels, so it was kind of a surprise that the new iTunes Match component of iCloud will recognize and sync all your music to all your devices, even your pirated music. Sure, you paid $25 a year for that part, but that's a lot cheaper than dealing with the lawyers they could have sent. Number 3, hiding the sausage. No, I mean, you don't see sausage being made in iCloud. Now, a certain faction of people think iCloud should have been more literal and folder-based with you being able to get your hands dirty dragging and dropping stuff across directories and network shares. Apple decided no and they're probably dead right. Most of their consumers have lives, and don't want to administer a server. Number 2, just do it. iCloud is largely a synchronizing service that happens to use the cloud to make that work. That means a high degree of automatic background, just-do-itness that you won't find in, say, Amazon Cloud Drive or Google Music. If it works right, Tylenol sales and a certain amount of harsh obscenities should plummet. And the number 1 reason I bet you find iCloud at least a little bit irresistible is the freeness. The heart of MobileMe, contacts, calendar, e-mail that used to be $99 a year is now part of iCloud for the approximate cost of...nothing. Free. $99 off. 100% discount. You get it. Google hates this part, but you're gonna love it. Now, for more Top 5s like this including next week's Top 5 things that are wrong with iCloud, head to Top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching. -And be sure to come back next week for Cooley's Top 5 features that could make iCloud even better. Yes, there is always room for improvement. Now, there over 30 million Twitter users in the world today, but are you one of them. If not, what are you waiting for? Maybe you want Sharon Vaknin to explain how easy it is to get started. You'll change your mind. Hey everyone, I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com with your guide to getting started on Twitter. Now, this is Twitter 101, so we'll over the basics like setting up your account, Twitter lingo like RT and pound signs, and finally I'll give a basic strategy for twitting. On Facebook and Twitter, I asked you guys to give me your best steps, so I'll include those too, and I should also mention that there are ton of Twitter apps for desktop or your mobile devices, but I'm just gonna focus on what Twitter does and you can decide which app to use after we cover the basics. Okay, so let's get started at twitter.com. First pick a user name, which should be short and sweet. Refrain from picking weird handles like dogloverxo. We just don't do that on twitter. Now, edit your profile. There only a few things to do here. So, it's important to get it right. Upload a profile picture and add a bio. As Ashley [unk] explains, you bio should include who you are, where you're from, and what you're interested in. It will help people decide if they should follow you or not. Good, now that you've got your profile set up, let's talk about twitting. This is where you tweet and below this is your timeline where you see updates from people you follow. For tweet, you are limited to 140 characters or less, which you probably know, but there is some twitter lingo you need to learn. If you wanna talk someone in a tweet, use the @ symbol followed by their user name. Your tweet will show up in their mentions tab and anytime someone tags you, you will see it in your mentions tab. So, if wanna say something to Eric Franklin or nidopal on twitter I'd write @ nidopal then the message. This will only show up in Eric's mentions and the timeline of anyone who follows Eric and I, but if you tweet something and include @nidopal somewhere in the middle, it will show up in the timeline of everyone who follows me. @ Replies or Mentions are public, so if you want something a little more private, send a direct message. You can send a message to anyone who follows you, just to the messages tab and send one here. No let's talk about retweets. If you see something interesting from someone on your timeline, you might wanna repose it to your followers. Just click Retweet under the tweet you wanna repose, and it will show up in the timeline or you can copy the tweet and preface it with RT than the person's Twitter handle and that way it will show up on the person's mentions tab, but now that you know how to communicate on twitter, you might be wondering what the heck is to tweet about. Unless you're Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen, you're not gonna get a million followers instantly. Be patient and use my tips to build your following. And Simon [unk] points out please, please, please don't talk about what you have for breakfast. Instead find a niche and tweet about things that you're interested in or good at like if you decided that your niche is gaming just link to articles you found, new games you're playing and retweet other people in your gaming community. When you retweet, you're building relationships and getting the attention of other people like you, which is important for building a following. Talk to people or you'll get really lonely. Send them out replies and ask questions, comment on their tweets and make conversation. If you're looking for people to follow, twitter will give you suggestion over here on the front page like this person said be active in other people's conversations and don't be discouraged if others are not active than yours. Another key twitter check is to use hashtags, which are like keywords for tweets, just put the pound sign before any word. For example, I can tweet I found this awesome recipe on chow.com. I can't wait to try it, then, you click that hashtag and see who else is talking about recipes. Sometimes hashtags become so popular that they end up in the trend section in the side bar. It's a quick way to see what people are talking about. So, those are basics of using Twitter, but before I go, here's some advice from Joe Siegler. When starting new, try not to follow too many people too quickly. You can get overwhelmed. I've seen a few friends quit Twitter because of too much information. Thanks Joe. Now, if you do get overwhelmed or does have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter or Facebook if it's more than 140 characters, and if you wanna see more how to videos, visit howto.cnet.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. -See, that's not so hard. Of course, once you do sign up, make sure you follow me shamelessplug@brian_tong and, you know, don't to follow Molly Wood too. Now, they are probably better known for their laptops and TVs. Toshiba and Vizio are just 2 of the latest companies to dive into tablet deep in. Let's take a look at what these new models have to offer. -I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com and this is a look at the Toshiba Thrive Tablet. Now, you're seeing a lot of Android Honeycomb tablets around, but this one's a little bit different. What makes it different? Well, it's got a 10.1-inch screen, it's got Android Honeycomb 3.1, but it takes a few steps that make it a little bit more like a netbook in terms of its customizability. It's got a back cover that's replaceable, including a battery that's replaceable behind it. It's got an SD card slot that supports up to 128 gigs of extra memory, and Toshiba built in a file manager so you can actually browse pictures and music from it and be able to play them back so it expands the memory that's usually pretty limited on these tablets. Now, the pricing is pretty aggressive, although the memory starts limited, 8 gigs for $429, 16 gigs for $479, or 32 gigs for $579, and it's available in mid-July. Also, what's really great is that despite its thickness, it also is able to work in a number of full ports that you don't see on tablets very often: HDMI, full USB, and a mini USB as well. Also, as you might expect from Toshiba, there are some built in AV enhancements that are supposed to improve the quality of standard definition video, common to what we've seen on Toshiba laptops. I'm Scott Stein and that's a quick look at the Toshiba Thrive Tablet from the CEA Line Show in New York. - I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com, and this is the First Look at the Vizio Tablet at the CEA Line Show in New York. Now, you wanna talk affordable, this Android Gingerbread tablet is $349. Now, that does come with 4 gigs of memory, 2 of which are assigned to apps, 2 of which are user-specified, but it does have a micro SD card slot for up to 32 gigs of add-on memory. It also has an 8-inch screen which is not something you normally see in a tablet. It affords a lot more space and has a 1024 X 768 resolution that also comes with stereo speakers that align vertically or horizontally, giving you a little more of a home theater feel in either orientation. Also, really interestingly, this acts as a remote. It actually has an IR blaster, that's the great part of it, and if you pair it with any variety of TVs, DVD players, receivers, what-have-you, it can recognize them and be used as a remote universally. Really, you don't have to use it with a Vizio TV or any other, and that's a really-- it could be a great appeal for many people. In addition to IR and Bluetooth, this Vizio Tablet also comes with video output and USB, courtesy of HDMI and USB outputs here. It's priced really kind of above the e-reader market, below what most people think of, and this is Android tablet price. Whether or not the internal storage will bother you depends on whether you're gonna think at investing in those micro SD card slots can be worthwhile, and maybe you really think of it as more of kind of a super smart remote that you also can use as a tablet. This is the First Look at the Vizio Tablet that will be available starting in July. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Vizio Tablet at the CEA Line Show in New York. -I could totally see the Vizio via, you know, propped up on coffee table if I didn't already have this piece of junk. Now, will I see if can find someone who wants to use iPad? Let's take a break, but we've still got a lot 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, now continuing on in the good. With some many versions of android phones out there, it can get pretty confusing if you're trying to decide which one to buy, but if you happened to be a T-Mobile customer, I'm about to make things a whole lot easier for you. What's up Prize Fight fans? I'm Brain Tong, and this is a match up between 2 4-inch 4G touchscreen phones on T-Mobile. It's Prize Fight punch out between T-Mobile's G2x and HTC Sensation 4G. Our judges for this fight are senior editor Bonnie "Boom Shack-A-Lak" Cha, senior editor Nicole "it's so cold" Lee, and myself Ring a Ling Ding Tong. Now, we'll take all 3 judges blind scores and average them up to the nearest 10th each around. The final Prize Fight score will be an average of all round using the same decimal system. It's 5 rounds to the finish, so lets it on. Round 1 is design. T-Mobile's G2x has a solid design with a matte on the back. Its camera lens puts little bump in its trunk, but this is a classy phone with a vibrant orange 800 x 480 touchscreen display. HTC Sensation 4G ups to any with a 4.3-inch qHD display that's even crisper with a 960 x 540 resolution, but not as bright. Now, we all like its contoured body, but its weeping three-tone pattern on the back reminds of a girl skirt, but it doesn't hurt it here. The Sensation 4G takes the first round with a 4.7 and the G2x gets a solid 4. Next round is control and user interface. This round is an easy one. The T-Mobile G2x springs a pure stock android experience. There're no bells and whistles and it makes for a clean design. You'll still get widget customization, and if you want more good news, it feels a tad bit snappier to use. Now, HTC Sensation 4G brings the next generation of its user interface with an even sexier design, yup, I just called in OS sexy. Now, there's 7 home screens and flasher animation across the board. The Sense UI has always been a favorite of ours and it just gets the edge with a perfect 5 and the G2x gets a 4.7. So after averaging 2 rounds, the Sensation 4G leads by half a point with plenty of fight left. Next round is features. Both of these phones pretty evenly matched dual core processors, 8-megapixel cameras, android [unk] maps, and voice to text, and HSPA Plus compatibility, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth and you find everybody's favorite Swype keyboard technology on the G2x. It also comes preloaded with 8 gigs of internal storage space and an additional microSD card slot to add more storage. The main difference here is that it's currently running only Android 2.2 with a Gingerbread update coming soon. Now, HTC Sensation 4G is preloaded with Gingerbread and you will get some of the cool benefits like a much better cut, copy, and paste and application task killer or launching apps directly from the lock screen. It's comes with its own flavor of Swype called Trace, but it tends to be a little less accurate at times. The Sensation also gives you access to only 1 gig of internal storage space and the microSD card slot is occupied with an 8 gig card, which limits some of your flexibility out of the box. We're calling this round even at 4. Next up is web browsing and multimedia. Web browsing is a push and a pretty similar experience on both phones. The sensation was a tad faster a pinch in zooming, but in many cases the G2x was a bit faster when loading pages. The G2x features an 8-megapexil camera with a single flash and a micro HDMI port for video out, while the sensation brings and 8-megapexil camera with a dual LED flash. Both cameras record and playback 1080p video sources, but we had mixed opinions with the image quality of their pictures. The Sensation 4G also brings the watch app that allows users to rent or buy movies directly from their phones, but in the end the Sensation 4G gets a 4.7 and the G2x gets a 4.3. So after averaging 4 rounds, HTC leads by just 3 tenths of a point. The final that decides it all is all quality and performance. T-Mobile G2x was excellent with its clear and crisp sound quality with little to no distortion or static in the background. It was also the snappier performing phone between the 2 with it's dual core Tegra 2 processors and menus that jump instantly from one to another. Now, the Sensation 4G sounded excellent as well. The speaker phone wasn't as strong, but regular voice calls was pretty clear. Qualcomm's new dual-core processor kept things running smoothly, but maybe the centralized animation were little too taxing, but this phone, but this phone was still a tiny step behind and you can feel it. The G2x gets a perfect 5 and HTC gets a 4. So, let's average out all he scores and a Prize Fight where an HTC Sensation 4G took an early lead T-Mobile G2x stormed back, but it was wasn't enough and the Sensation takes this battle 4.5 to 4.4 and is your Prize Fight winner. T-Mobile brings 2 heavy heady contenders that you can't go wrong with, but the final decision as usual is up to you. I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching. We'll catch you guys next time on another Prize Fight. -So the sensation just barely squeaked by with a win over the G2x, but really like I said, you can't go wrong no matter which one you choose, which more than I can say for the 2 phones we have coming up in the bad. Okay, so these phones aren't terrible, but with so many choices out there, I wouldn't waste too much time considering either one of them or why don't guys just see for yourself. -I'm Nicole Lee, senior associate editor for CNET.com and this is a First Look at the Samsung Dart for T-Mobile. It is a very basic entry-level Android phone for T-Mobile, and as you can see here, it's a very simple silhouette. On the front, here is a 3.1-inch display. It's a little bit small by most smartphone standards. On the back here is a 3-megapixel camera lens. The Samsung Dart ships with Android 2.2, but it has Samsung's own TouchWiz interface on it. The TouchWiz interface means that instead of the main menu scrolling up and down like most Android phones, it scrolls side to side in multiple pages. The screen is quite small as you mentioned before and the resolution isn't really that sharp either. However, it's quite colorful, as you can see. The Samsung Dart, as we said, is quite basic but it does ship with a number of basic Android features that includes support for Google Apps and Services. It also has a very unique feature courtesy of T-Mobile and that's Wi-Fi Calling. That means you can make calls over Wi-Fi. The Samsung Dart is a quad-band 3G GSM phone so it can be used internationally as well. The Samsung Dart is available for free after a new 2-year service agreement from T-Mobile. I'm Nicole Lee and this has been the First Look at the Samsung Dart. -Hi everyone. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET taking a First Look today at the Samsung Trender. This is a new phone for Sprint but it isn't exactly trendy. Why is that? Because it's got a user interface right here that really takes me back, especially to the days when Samsung was really big into its proprietary user interface and that's what you've got right here. There are tabs along the bottom and then grids to select the apps and the phone features on this phone. These days, we see mostly Android as the operating system of choice for this type of phone. It's not the proprietary software on this phone that bugs me, it's some of the features. There is Webmail on this phone. The app is fine, although it's a little bit outdated, but really, it's the Twitter and Facebook apps, they are not native and so you have to reach them from the mobile web, and these days, you just have many more better options to do that than this method. There is threaded messaging on here which is nice. Other tools are driving mode and there are voice commands. The Trender has a 2.8-inch qVGA screen so it's a nice compact phone. There are hardware buttons below the screen. On the back, there is a 1.3-megapixel camera. I'm not impressed with the photo quality so far. The camera doesn't seem to focus very well. Behind the back cover, there is a micro SD card slot that takes up to 32 gigabytes of external storage. There is also the slideout QWERTY keyboard. On the keyboard itself, the spacing is good for my hands because it's kind of compact also. The problem, though, is that the keys are pretty flat so even though they're comfortable, the flatness really slowed me down in typing. Call quality on the Trender totally acceptable so there is no real issue there either. Right now, the phone costs $29.99 on Sprint's site. It's not a bad phone at all, but there are other budget phones for Sprint that cost the same or less and you get a lot more, especially if those are Android phones, and some of those are even free on promotion, so I'd say keep your eyes out for that because there's not really a compelling reason for me to get this phone instead of one of those. I'm Jessica Dolcourt, this is the Samsung Trender. Read my full review for more details on CNET.com. -We don't mean to beat up on Samsung, but trust me, neither of these phones is going to be trendy any time soon, which brings us to this week's bottom line. Let's wrap up this week's show with one more tablet. Rather than cluttering up the market place with another android device, HP's new touchpad is based on the off and overlooked webOS platform. While it might help HP stand out from the pack, this tablet has some other notable issues to overcome. -Hey, I'm Donald Bell and this is the HP Touchpad. It's a tablet that runs Palm's webOS and uses a 9.7-screen just like the iPad and the price is the same with a 16 gigabyte model going for $199 and a 32 gigabyte model going for $599. The hardware itself isn't that impressive. The thick glossy design feels a little like supra imitation of the original iPad, and the fingers might just ick you out. You should know that the back of this thing looks like a crime scene just minutes after you take it out of the box. Also, there is no camera on the back do you do get one on the front. Personally, I'm fine without, but it's something that every other tablet offers us in this price range. Now, there are some hardware tricks that are pretty cool. There's an optional dock that can charge the tablet regardless of how it's placed. HP also sells Bluetooth keyboard if you prefer typing on something with real keys, and if you have one of HPs phones like the Pre3, you can physically attach the devices together and transfer information. It's pretty cool. Really though, it's the software that makes this tablet unique. If you're looking for something beyond the iPad or Android, this is one of the few options out there that really approach the tablet from a different point of view. One of the main differences is the home screen, which is treated like a desktop. Each open task is represented as a stack or cards, which you can rearrange or throw away. What's interesting is that the stacks here aren't specific to each app, Specific to each task. So, you could be reading an e-mail, opening up web links, and those e-mail and web pages are all gonna be stacked together as a single task. If you want though, you can pull side separate e-mails or pages buy dragging them out of the stack and treating them as a separate task. It's a [unk] trick and for some it's really gonna feel like a more natural way to manage your work on a tablet. One other thing that makes the touchpad unique is that it makes a real effort to be compatible with a wide range of services. On the account page, you can link the touchpad to everything from Facebook to Skype, Dropbox, AIM, and lots more. Those linked accounts are integrated right into apps that you'll use them with so you photo app will pull in you Snapfish account, the messaging app will pull in your google talk account, and the calendar pull together you Facebook and Google events and all just works together. So, that's a brief look at the HP touchpad. Fore more details, be sure to read my full review on CNET.com. The bottom line this week my friends, where is the hand sanitizer? Like look at those smudges and fingerprints. At Donald's full review, he said the slippery backing felt like a plate at a pizza party. It may be called the touchpad, but I won't be doing any such thing. Okay folks, that's our show, come back next week for an all new CNET Tech Review and till then there tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. See you next week and thanks for watching.