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Episode 17: A Kindle bonanza!Torture-testing the Kindle Fire HD, unboxing the Kindle Paperwhite, showing how to record live TV onto your PC, and road-testing the Lytro camera!
-It's gonna be okay Kindle. This week on Always On, we unbox the Kindle Paperwhite, ooh, ah, and we torture the Kindle Fire 7-inch HD. -Oh no. -Plus Sharon Vaknin tells you how to record live TV on to your computer. -It's recorded. -And we take the Lytro camera on a photo walk. Always On is on. -Hey everyone, I'm Molly Wood. Welcome to Always On, the show that takes a look at the tech that's part of your life and your future. This week, I got a couple of Kindles in the house. I'm gonna unbox one of them, but first, let's torture the Kindle Fire 7-inch HD. Yeah. All right, we have here the brand new Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet and it's going through the torture test. We are starting with the cold test, two hours in the freezer. Alrighty. That's a big 7-inch tablet. See ya. Time to rescue the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch from the freezer. Alrighty. How are you doin'? Nice and cold. The real trick here is for me to remember where the power button is. It's the one I always get wrong. I end up doing the drop test by accident. There we go. Let's see. Ooh! Uh-oh! No immediate response to power. Kind of nothing happening here so far. So, we will let it thaw for a little while and charge. Maybe, the battery died in there. We know that can happen and see if it recovers. Kindle Fire HD gave us a little bit of a scare, but after I thawed it and charged it for just a few minutes, a little less than 5 minutes, it came back on. I think, though, that it just didn't like the cold because it is not all the way to the bottom of a charge and I only charged it for maybe 3 minutes. I think it just wanted to be warm, but it's okay. Wrap it up a little bit here. Okay. My Kindle Fire is done. -Ooh. It definitely has some plastic smell here. That is hot. The smell of burning components. This show is gonna kill me. I would think I can sue somebody, but it was all my idea. Okay, let's see here. We have no obvious damage. So unlike some of our recent gadgets, well, it looks like it is pulling away a tiny bit. So we do have a little bit of separation at the seams here from that heat. It's not very dramatic, but it is there, just on that one side, especially compared to this side. You can see it looks a little bit different. Ooh, it comes on. Ooh! You can-- Ooh-- It changed its mind. Good idea. All right, we'll let this cool for a little bit and see how it's doing. The Kindle Fire HD is all cooled off. Let's see how it's feeling. It looks like it actually shut itself all the way down after I tried to turn it on while it was still really hot. Okay. It's back to life. It seems to be okay. Kindle seems to be okay. It's okay. All right. I was gonna head outside and do a little reading. I've got my hands kind of full and oh, oh, Kindle hand cramp, too big to hold. Oh, uh. All right, let's see how we're doing here. I might as well scrape it along the pavement when I pick it up too just to add insult to injury. Actually though, this thing is in good shape. I don't really see any scratches or anything major on the back. The front is fine. A little scuffing here, some kind of nicks, but I gotta say that that's not a major damage. It's pretty tough. Maybe, we should just try the concrete. Ooh. It's so heavy. It's really dramatic. Although, once again, even despite some skidding, we do have a little bit more scratchage on the back here. Scratchage, that's an official-- Always On term. One more nick, but overall, I gotta say this thing is-- is pretty tough. I'm surprised. It's still fine after the drop. Oh, I need some cookie. Oh no! Oh, what a mess. That's terrible. What am I gonna do? Oh, I know! I have an idea. There's some lights. It's gonna be okay, Kindle. Okay. It's cleaned. Probably should dry this off a little now, I guess. Oh wait, the back still has some soda on it. Okay. All better. Ooh, my screen is still on. Let's see here. Look at that. The cookie is ruined, but the Kindle seems okay. I'll give it the rice treatment just in case. Time to check on our Kindle Fire HD. It's been in this bag of rice for 36 hours since we spilled soda on it and hosed it down. That was a fun day. Let's see how it's doing though. Okay. Moment of truth. It comes right on. I mean, it came right on. Wow! Screen seems totally fine. Carousel moving. Looks going still pretty responsive. Huh, all right, I'm gonna have to call that one a pass. Now, the Kindle Fire HD sailed through our regular battery of torture test, but we just couldn't come up with the perfect wild card idea, so please e-mail me some ideas, AlwaysOn@cnet.com, and we will revisit this at a later date. In the meantime, maybe I'll use it. Try to get used to holding it. I do remain impress by the toughness of the Kindle Fire HD and I'm still waiting for your wild card suggestions. I also remain annoyed by its hand-cramping ways. So, now, let's unbox the Kindle that is hopefully a little more portable. Inside this box is the new E-Ink Kindle Paperwhite. Now, this is the one that comes with that light technology. I'm very curious to see, and it replaces the E-Ink Touchscreen Kindle which we have right here. All right, let's get inside the box. Pretty minimal packaging and actually that's a little dangerous. As you can see, our box arrived pretty banged up. Hopefully it's okay. Okay, so here's our Paperwhite. Note to self: Do not call it paper weight. You're gonna want to, trust me. So, inside the box, we just have the charging cable, no wall wart. You can never complain enough about no wall wart. The bezel is black, not that kind of charcoal gray that we've all gotten used to with those-- the latest gen Kindles. Okay. Oh, it's pretty nice. It's super sleek and you can see there are no physical buttons on the side. All-- This is all touchscreen. It feels supersmooth. The matte back is really grippy. Some of the other Kindles are a little bit slippery. Hopefully it's a little bit charged for us, thinking. Ooh, wow. So there's that light. You can see that come on immediately. This is meant to be kind of across between a tablet and an E-Ink Kindle. You can compare here. Our E-Ink Kindle isn't in the greatest of shape, but this looks a little-- much more like a book. That is bright. All right, while we load up our books here, let's get to the specs. It has this 6-inch e-ink display using Amazon's patented light technology, which they claimed evenly illuminates the screen for perfect reading under any condition. There are 2 gigabytes of internal storage which translates to 1100 books. The previous Kindle Touch had 4 gigs of storage, so this is a little bit less. It weighs 7.8 ounces and there are no buttons. It's fully touchscreen. And Amazon says, a single charge will last eight weeks. Even with the light on? We'll see. Unfortunately, there's no headphone jack or audio output for audio files. The Paperwhite costs $119 with ads for the Wi-Fi only version and there's also a 3G version that will run you $170. If you wanna opt out of the ads, it will cost you an extra 20 bucks. I gotta say, at first blush, the Kindle Paperwhite is like cognitive disconnect because it looks like a Kindle which is kinda like a book, but then it acts like a tablet or a computer with all the touchscreening and like shiny light and stuff. I mean it's nice. It's a very nice device and I'm sure that the light would actually prove to be pretty handy. It might take a little getting used to, but all in all, I suspect it's gonna be a winner. It is also, in fact, a CNET editor's choice, so it's definitely a winner with David Carnoy. You could read his full review over at cnet.com/kindlepaperwhite. Now, let's move on to this little gadget, the Lytro camera. Remember this thing? It's supposed to revolutionize photography. All you do is point and click and then you can change the focus later because it captures all the available light wherever you are. We wanted to see how this would fly as a consumer device because they are trying to sell it as a point-and-shoot replacement. So, we put together a little focus group. We invited three normal people, regular photography people, and one pro-photographer. And we asked them to go on a little photo walk with the Lytro and see how it turned out. This is our road test of the Lytro camera. I'm gonna go meet Frederick, Lindsey, and Alisohn. They'll go on a little photo walk around San Francisco and then download and process their pictures so we can see how the Lytro fares in the real world. -Hi, I'm Frederick. I'm a professional photographer, host of This Week in Photo, and I'm looking forward to playing with the Lytro. -Hi, I'm Lindsey. I work as an environmental consultant and I am a recreational photographer. Point-and-shoot is my thing. -Hi, I'm Alisohn. I'm a tech lover and I'm a newbie. -Okay guys. Frederick, Lindsey, Alisohn, it's your Lytro photo walk day. I have here three Lytro cameras. Have any of you used these before? -Never. -No. -So, the deal with these cameras is that in theory you do not need to focus because they get all the available light and they create an image that you can manipulate later. So, here's one for you. -Thank you. -One for you. -Thank you. -And, basically, all you're gonna do today is take a walk down the beautiful San Francisco Embarcadero, take some photos and then meet me back at CNET to download your photos and play with the software. -It's very cool. -Okay. -All right. I'm on it. -Enjoy the day. -Great. -Have a great afternoon guys. -All right, thanks. -Bye! -Okay. -Shoulder bags. -This is actually-- It's kind of cool. It's got a good weight to it. -Yeah. -Here's the power button on the bottom. -There is a power button. -Oh no. -There is a power button. Okay. I'm on. I have a screen. -Oh, there you're in. -Oh. -This is the zoom right here-- -Oh, look at that. -which is kind of full. -Okay. I think I got it. Let's go guys. -Go. -Okay. -All right. -Don't let me lose the lens cap. -I know. I'm gonna lose this. -I just keep it in my pocket. -Let's see if I can get the bridge. -Right here. -I'm having trouble navigating around the screen. I like the idea of the simplicity of this thing. -Yeah. -But I-- I just feel like if my hands were even a little bit bigger than-- like if you're like-- when you're-- when you're like, you know-- -And I also kind of don't like the fact that if you go back to a photo that you just took, it's all blurry at first so it's-- that's how it's showing me-- -Yeah. -until you tap on something to focus it. -Uh-huh. -I didn't know that. -But then how do you know-- Yeah. But then like how do I know it's a-- -I just thought it was a blurry photo. -Exactly. -So, I deleted one because I thought it was blurry. -Oh. I think-- I-- -Let's go take more. -Yeah, let's go take more. -Okay, got it. Thank you. -All right. -How do we know that that's what's in focus and not? -There's stuff around. -Like the foyer or something. -It was really blurry and then I-- I'm gonna tap on the F train to try to focus on that, but the screen is so small that I can't really know if it's focusing on the train itself or anything around it. And if I zoom in, it's just all pixelated. -I don't know. I guess we just have to wait until we-- -See it on the computer. -upload it, yeah. -Yeah. -Welcome back! -Hello, hello. -How was the walk? -It was good. -Cool. Well, I can't wait to see what you got. Let's go. Let's get to the fun part now, the-- the downloading. -Yes. -Yeah. -Let's do it. -Okay, let's do it. -It was a gorgeous day for a photo walk and I think that our subjects did have a lot of fun, fun that was about to end when they got into our focus group room. We're gonna take a quick break before you see that, though, and when we come back, Sharon Vaknin is going to show you how to record live TV on to your computer. -Cable companies are way behind. I wanna be able to take what I record on my TV and transfer it to my computer. Well, until they fix that, there is a solution. It's called an HD PVR. And today, I'll show you how to record live TV directly onto your computer. But before we continue, you should know that CBS Interactive does not condone or encourage illegal duplication or distribution of copyrighted content. Okay, with that out of the way, we can get started. Here's what you'll need. You'll need an HD PVR. I got this from Hauppauge on Amazon.com for about $200. You'll also need your source. For me, that's my cable box, but it can also be your TV or even a gaming console. Lastly, you'll need a computer. Now, let's get everything linked up. So, first, I'll connect the HD PVR to my cable box. I'm using component cables because, right now, you can't use HDMI. Component is the best quality you'll get. That will give me 720p video, which looks really good on a computer and on mobile devices. So, once I have it hooked up to my HD PVR, I'll hook everything up to my cable box. Okay, this isn't rocket science. We'll just match up all the colors. That's all set now. The last thing I need to do is connect my computer to the HD PVR. It uses USB 2.0 Because, right now, 3.0 isn't available. Okay, everything is linked up and it really is that easy. Now, we should be able to see what's on my TV on my computer screen. So, I launched the software that came with the HD PVR. It's called TotalMedia Extreme. As soon as I launched it, there it is. I can see what's on my TV right here. Before we start recording, we have to change a few settings. So, I'll go into format settings and here is what's important. You wanna take a look at the max bit rate. This will determine the video quality and the file size. So, the lower the bit rate, the worse the video quality, and the higher the bit rate, the better. For me, I'm going to choose 7 megabytes per second. That will give me pretty decent video and a smaller file size. So that's all set. I'll hit okay. Lastly, I'll choose the format of the video. I'm doing MP4 so that I can put it on my Android phone and my Google cloud drive, but if you're burning it to a DVD or a Blu-Ray, you're going to wanna choose TS. We're all set and we're ready to capture. So, I'll hit play on my cable box and the video and the audio come rolling through here. I'll hit capture and my video is recording. I'll let this run for a couple minutes and then I'll show you what it looks like when it's done. All right, I think that's enough video. I'm gonna hit stop. I'm gonna pause my DVR. And right now, the file is saving and I set it to save in my video folder, so let me show you what that looks like. All right, my videos, let me open it up for you. And there it is, playing on my computer and you'll see just how good this quality is even at 7 megabytes per second. And you saw how easy that was. Now, if I was recording an entire movie, it would be a much larger file size and it would of course take longer because you're recording in real time. Now that I have this on my computer, I'm going to transfer it onto my phone. I'll show you what that looks like. So, pause the video, just plug my Android phone into the computer. And, of course, what's easy about this is that it's just drag and drop. If you have an iPhone, it might take some converting. Again, if you recorded a movie, it's going to take much longer to transfer onto your mobile device, but that's the price you pay, right? So, for this example, you notice that I'm using a PC. If you use the HD PVR with the Mac, you're going to need to purchase a $30 program, but what comes with the HD PVR, that software is free for PC. All right, the video is transferred. Let's see what it looks like. It should show up in my video app. There it is. The video that was on my TV is on my phone and it worked just like that. Now, as you witnessed, that was super easy and once you have all the components set up in your media cabinet, it will take no time to record live TV onto your computer. Now, if you do make a habit out of doing this, you will wanna buy an external hard drive. Okay, if you have any questions along the way or wanna know more about the HD PVR, tweet me at sharonvak or send your questions AlwaysOn@cnet.com. -Now, you know, it's Fall Premiere season, so Sharon's tip comes in extra handy right about now. I'm just saying. All right, it's time for the exciting conclusion of our Lytro photo walk road test. Will Lindsey, Frederick, or AliSohn run, ride out and buy themselves the Lytro? Let's find out. Come on in. Have a seat. You'll see that we have computers setup with USB cables. So, basically, just do as you would normally do if you just got done taking a bunch of photos. -Excellent. -Okay? -Okay. -Great! -You put that in here. This is here. -I like that. I don't have to do anything. -Yeah. -Just plug it in. -Points for that. -Yes! -I wonder if this would work if you're-- let's say if I'm on Facebook on my iPad. -It's a good thing that they have so much stuff to gig out about 'cause, from my experience, this whole syncing and downloading thing can take a while. -Okay. So, it says "backup complete." -Oh. -I'm clicking done. -I'm not there yet. Yeah. -Done. -I guess I took less than you guys. -Not for a long-- like-- -Almost there. Maybe, I have a faster computer. -Uh-huh. -Now, it's importing. So, it backed up. Now, it's importing. -Okay. 2.3 gigahertz, Intel Core i7 with 8 gigs of RAM. -Yeah. -And it still set the fans off. -And the fan is running. -And there's nothing else running on this machine. -Yeah. -It's doing some math in here. -I only have one, two, three, four, five pictures out of 40 that are available to save here. -I have two. -If something really close happening in front of you and you take pictures, it's too tiny of a screen for you to figure out if you took a good picture. -Yes. -You have to capture that moment. -This is the first time I'm seeing my picture. -Exactly yeah. -Great. -It's not about taking, you know, a picture with your eyes closed and-- -And then going back and-- -Yeah. -I wouldn't even say this is a point and shoot. This is-- Right now, it's kind of like point and pray. -Exactly. -Personally, the software is too slow for me. -Yeah. -Are you still-- -I'm still importing. Oh yeah. It's ridiculous. -Yeah. -Look at this one. So this is me again foreseeing the issue, so I have these rings there, so the front is sharp. Let's see if this thing can get to 20 m. -Look at it. -Oh yeah, you [unk] -It's [unk] isn't sharp. If I go away back here, that's a sharp so that is dramatic. So, that's in focus. Now, when I click on the guy on the background-- -Yeah. -he's on focus. So, for macro photographers, this would be killer. -There's no flash on this thing. -No. So, if you have it inside-- -That's true. -then you won't be able to-- -That's-- That's a good point. You know, I don't know what the speed is of it like how is it on low light. -Yeah. -This is becoming a little bit of a photography clinic, so I think I'm gonna go ahead and rescue them and get their thoughts on the software and the downloading process. -Hey. -Hey everyone. -Hey Molly. -Hey Molly. -Hey Molly. -How's it going? -Slow. -Slow. -Slow. -Okay. All was unanimous. What part is going slowly? The downloading? The processing? -Processing. -Processing the picture has been very slow. -Are you happy with the images that you can see so far? -No. But let-- let me clarify. I'm not-- I'm not happy with the images because it seems clear that this would perform better when you're doing close-up-type shots. Not everyone is gonna be shooting pictures of grains of rice and want to get the bowl in the background, you know. So, most of the pictures I took are pretty wide, you know, like landscapes. -Uh-huh. -And everything is really grainy. -Uh-huh. -And when I go in and I try to focus on, let's say, a span of the bridge or a seagull or something, it's not dramatic enough to notice. -Speaking of someone who would like to take a picture of a grain of rice-- -And the bowl in the background. -That's generally inside and it doesn't have a flash on it. So, I don't know if the quality would be good. -Well, design-wise, I had-- I had a comment on the-- the lens cap. I expected it to turn on when I took the lens cap,-- -Oh. -you know, like it's-- -Interesting. -just a switch. I mean, how come-- how come-- why is there a physical button on here if you have a magnetic lens cap. -Uh-huh. -Every time I put that thing in my bag, the lens cap falls off and then it's at the bottom of the purse and it--, you know, it's not-- the magnet is not very strong. -Yeah. -Yeah. -It fell off three times while we walked back to CNET and I have to go back and pick it up while we were waiting. -Yeah. -Oops. -And yours fell off on the way in the door? -It did. Yeah. Oh, it fell off on the floor though. -All right. So now, we've been talking for what, like 10, 15 minutes. -Yeah. -Yeah. -How far have we gotten from-- you were at 10 photos before. -Okay. I have two, four, six, eight, 10, 12. I have 14 now. -[unk] -That's 74. -You only had four photos at the time when we were talking. -Yes. -So, none of you feel like you would buy this camera at all? -I wouldn't. -Okay. -I don't think I would either. -No. -I would-- No. -So-- So, it's $399. -Yeah. -Yeah. -It's kind of a high-price threshold for something that does something very specific. -Uh-huh. -Exactly. -And it doesn't do it as well as I would have liked it to perform. -Yeah. Personally, I wouldn't spend $400 on it. It seems more of like a-- an expensive toy that a photographer would have around or a geeky person is like, you know, really excited for it. Other than that, my favorite thing about it was the color. -It is [unk]. -It's nice. -Yeah. -Okay. Well, it sounds like we have a pretty good verdict on the Lytro. Thanks guys. -Thank you. -Thanks for all your thoughts-- -Thank you. -You're welcome. -for the Lytro photo walk. -Yeah. -You're welcome. Thank you. -Thank you. -I gotta say, after my personal experience with Lytro, I was not surprised to see Frederick, Lindsey, and Alisohn have pretty much all the same problems. I hope that Lytro is watching this and that they'll work on especially some of that software uploading because it is painful. Lytro does state they're working on a better lens cover which is good news, and actually, some time soon, here in the US, you'll be able to buy this camera on-line at BestBuy.com, Target.com, or Amazon or even in some retail stores like CityTarget. All right, it is time now to answer some of your mail. First up, we have some video mail from Jose or as I like to call him, Fu Manchu. -Hi there Molly. I absolutely love your show. Always On is one of my favorite things to watch in the week, although I do miss Buzz Out Loud. But now, to my point, every time you do a water test, you immediately try to turn a device on. Stop it. Stop it. Electronic zone like water, if you try to turn it on and there's water in the board, it will short out and won't work. If you immediately just turn it off or if it turns off on its own, you'll leave it alone, put it in the bag of rice, maybe, you'll have a better chance of turning them back on. Come on. Work with me. Love the show. -And that's been kind of hard to hold your head still all that time Jose. Although I do wanna tell you that I know that you're not supposed to turn gadgets on after they come out of the water, it's just that we're trying to simulate what happens in real life, and you know, that the first thing somebody does after they drop their phone in the toilet is try to turn it on and see if it works. I am in the business of simulating real life, not protecting our little gadgets, but I do feel pretty bad about breaking that iPhone 4S, so, maybe, I'll stop that. Moving on on e-mail. Hi Molly. After seeing the e-mail about the industrial freezer, I thought I could [unk] off it. The person in the e-mail said that their house was at -40. So, my idea is to drop it to -321 Fahrenheit by using liquid nitrogen. After dunking the gadget into bitter cold for five seconds, we will see what is the strongest gadget after all. When you're done, you can use the rest to make ice cream. How fun! Love the show. From Jack, Miami, Florida. Here's the map. I know where Florida is. Come on guys. This is becoming like a little mail mim. Anyway, liquid nitrogen? Yeah. I'm all over that. Ooh, maybe, we could get Richard Blais on the show and then we could do a whole like molecular gastronomy cooking devices thing. I'm lovin' this, crossover. Next up in our e-mail, dear Molly, you are quite an interesting person, but-- and it is a big BUT-- I would like to ask why you didn't do the key thing with the iPhone 5. I bet you would look awesome scratching a key onto the back of an iPhone 5. Do you recommend any cases for the iPhone 5? Do you probably think that I am too crazy, but I don't care. Stay fearless and rockin', Mark L. What's with the big but thing in the all caps? The BUT. When you spell it that way, it means butt. Anyway, I did the key thing to the iPhone 5. We don't really love how the video turned out, but we will show it to you so that you can see what happens. Well, I've had a lot of tweets from people saying that they tend to put their phone in their pocket with their keys. So, our first scratch test will be keys in the pocket, so my phone in, see what happens. How are we doin'? Oh, yeah, oh, we are making a mess of this. How was that? Huh! Okay, that's terrible. I was gonna drag my keys along it to make it more dramatic, but I don't even know that I need to. These aren't dusk, by the way. This is scratching. I mean, I hope you think that I looked awesome scratching a key onto the back of that phone. It definitely did some damage, and of course, the roughest test of all apparently was my own purse which completely scratched the glass on my iPhone 5. I did get a replacement. So far, it's fine, but I'm being a little bit more careful. All right, thanks for all the awesome feedback everybody. Keep it comin'. AlwaysOn@cnet.com is our e-mail address. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Googe+. That's it for this week on Always On. Next week, we unbox the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 2. We torture the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook and I go to Detroit again to check out the future of cars with GM and Ford. That's all coming up next week. Thank you for watching. Okay. Shake it off [unk]. Shake it off. This is crazy. And what's that rabble. It's making me [unk]. Oh, no, okay. -What is that thing though? -Oh, they play the Metallica and they're supposed you're drumming. -Oh my God, that was-- -Darkness has taken my sight, taken my speech, taken my hearing. Metal girl. Back in the days, my brother and I were always like, yes. Okay. I made myself a little sweaty.