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Episode 53: Road testing the iPhone 5CIn this week's show we road test the iPhone 5C, we check into the most high-tech hotels, and we torture-test one of the toughest action cameras ever, the GoPro.
-GoPro is rolling. -This week on Always On-- -You gotta keep rolling. -You're rolling. -Should we walk across? -Yeah, let's do it. Oh, look at this. We're totally on a date. -And here it is, the iPhone 5C. Look, it really looks like Crocs. -Oh, my God. -Yup, still going. -Hi, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to Always On, the show where we take tech into the real world. This week, we're teching into a high-tech hotel. Yes, there's wireless Internet, but there's also smart TVs, iPod docks, and a 3D view of any street in the world. Take a look. -In today's modern world and especially in San Francisco, it is not enough just to have free Wi-Fi in your hotel anymore. Here at Hotel Zetta, we're looking at the highest of the high-tech hotels. -We have to be relevant in a tech world. Technology is advancing so rapidly and you have to stay current. Hotels in the past would update technology every three to five, seven years even. You have to update your technology almost every year nowadays. -So, what exactly is Hotel Zetta doing? For starters, they've created a lounge so guests can play video games or even call the family from the road over Skype. They also have a Wii U console running Wii Street View which is a virtual reality Google Maps system that gives guests 3D street directions. -And what this does is it gives you a 360-degree street view map of basically anywhere you wanna go in the world. We have preloaded 70 destinations and-- -That is fantastic. -Yeah. -That's so much better than the thing where-- I mean, I appreciate the thing, but where you spread out the map and then draw a little line with the pen and we're here and then-- -Right. -that never works for me. -Hey. How did you do that? -So, we can sort of navigate to any landmark. -Yeah. -What are we looking for here? We're in the Golden Gate Bridge. Yehey. Now, we don't have to go there in real life. It's so windy. -Should we walk across? -Yeah. Let's do it. -All right. -Oh, look at this. We're totally on a date. We're in the middle of the street. That's not a good idea. -Yeah, it does. Let's get on the sidewalk. -What else do people do when they're up here and [unk] with this thing? -One of the things we find the most is people like to show people their hometown. -Okay, like if they met at the hotel bar and then-- -Of course. And hold on-- -By the way, you have my-- That's from where I was born, [unk]. -No way. -That's delightful. Oh, I can completely imagine when people do this. -Oh, yeah. -They have a couple of drinks. They're like, "Come on up. I'm gonna show you my house." -Hotels around the country see tech as a new amenity and a new way to bring in savvy travelers. At you Yotel, New York, guests check in at touchscreen kiosks and a robotic luggage handler takes their bags. Hotel 1000 in Seattle has a body heat doorbell that lets housekeeping know if you're still in the room. And Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas lets you customize almost everything about the room, like how and when the lights and TV come on and when the curtains automatically open or close. At Zetta, rooms offer some of the latest high-tech amenities as well. This suite is decked out with a Samsung Smart TV, music from Jambox, a retro Atari 2600, and a streaming movie dock for your iPad. -So, this is our G-Link by Obsess-- -Okay. -and what this does is any mobile device you connect to it, there's a button on the top that says TV, you press it and it will stream whatever you're looking at on your mobile device to the TV. -Oh, really? -Here we go. -This is not the movie I was watching last. -It totally is the movie he was watching last. -My girlfriend must have hacked my Netflix again. -I'm sure that happened. I'm positive. -So, this is our Jambox by Jawbone and it's a mobile sound system where you can connect via Bluetooth. -So, basically, you've just kind of gone around and picked out great technology to put in these rooms? -Yes. Everything mobile, everything wireless. -For business travelers, Zetta built this high-tech conference room complete with a large screen Delta projector and Livescribe pens. -Well, the Livescribe pen allows you to record anything you write in here in a session. So, it's already recording. -Right. -So, everything we say-- -I'm gonna be taking notes while here? -And all the notes that Molly records will be streamed via Wi-Fi to our Evernote account. Another great thing about this software and this system is that we can connect up to 20 devices to it via Wi-Fi. So, it completely eliminates the need to have one person pilot a presentation. Each person can have their own portion, jump in and out of the presentation. -New rule, all our meetings are gonna be here from now on. -Okay. -Of course, all these great high-tech features have their drawbacks, whether it's technical problems or the need to constantly upgrade the tech. The hotel business is competitive and managers are always looking for an advantage. -It's funny that there's almost like an arms race, so to speak, with our comp site as everybody is tying to find the newest, latest thing to one-up each other. So, it's gonna be really interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years. It's time for us to take a quick break. When we come back, I'm taking the colorful iPhone 5C for a little Molly road test and we're checking out an epic action camera torture test that you'll only see here on Always On. Welcome back, everyone. Now, the iPhone 5C was built as a beautifully unapologetically plastic smartphone. It's basically a slight upgrade to the iPhone 5 and it's not that much cheaper. I took it out for a test run to see if it's worth the price. And here it is, the iPhone 5C. Now, I chose my favorite color combination, the blue phone with the green case. Let me get it out of this case so we can see how the color looks. Now, despite that comment about it being unapologetically plastic, it does not feel as plasticky as something like the Galaxy Note or the Galaxy phones. It's clearly plastic, but it's not lightweight. It does have that kind of pleasant iPhone heft so it makes it feel a little bit more premium, even though it's a lower-priced phone and this is unquestionably plastic. Now, as for these cases, these are 29 bucks which seems a little excessive. They do add that kind of extra style, although someone on Twitter pointed out that they look a lot like either Crocs or Connect Four, and I'm not gonna lie. That kind of ruined it for me 'cause look, it really looks like Crocs. The overall style is on trend. It's definitely hip to be all kind of 80's in neon, but it's not something you're gonna wanna carry for more than a year or two cause it's gonna look dated. All right. Let's check out iOS 7 and keep going about our day. I'm posting empty mall scene #zombies. Oh, I'll check out some notifications. It's currently 64 degrees, the high will be 73. Kind of cool. So, once I have my photo, I can do all kinds of editing. So, I'm going to edit menu. I can of course auto enhance. There are filters now built right in which is kind of cool, very Instagram ready. The filters are pretty subtle. The only thing I don't like about all the filters is that when you apply them and make all these edit changes, you can't save an original. You just save the edited version and that's kind of a bummer, but then sharing gets very easy. So, the first thing you notice is that you have AirDrop as a menu option which, in theory, lets you share instantly with people nearby who also have iOS 7 devices with AirDrop turned on. That's kind of Apple's replacement for NFC. I'm sure it's easy and seamless, but it obviously depends on adoption. Use as wallpaper. I'll set my beautiful hummingbird as both. Ready and check me out. I'm so artsy. Now, one extra bonus that came along with iOS 7 is iTunes Radio. If you're like me and you've been trying to sort of hack your Spotify together with your iTunes collection, you know that Spotify is obviously not well integrated with iOS. This gives you the ability to have streaming radio stations, and if you pay for iTunes Match, then you can stream all the songs you already own which kind of increases the size of the streaming catalogue. In playing with it for a little while, I'm kind of liking it. It's super easy to create new stations, to add them, and to integrate with music that's already on the phone. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up Spotify, but if you're an iPhone user, iTunes Radio is pretty sweet. Now, obviously, the most noticeable difference about this phone other than the shockingly bright colors is iOS 7 which is making all iPhones seem new. iOS 7 is one of those things that I think you're either going to love or hate. Right now, because I'm somewhat new to it, I'm kind of in the hate camp mainly because I do not like the aesthetics at all. I don't like the fact that if you have folders filled with apps, they become two-page folders. I don't like the fact that you cannot turn off the animations, which makes me insane. Now, there is a way to slow it down a tiny bit. If you go into the Settings under General and Accessibility, there's an option called Reduce Motion. I don't notice a huge difference, but I notice that it does speed it up a tiny bit. That's as close as you can get to making it less cartoony. I definitely like the Control Center. I like how you can pull down from kind of the middle of the screen to get the search bar, but if you don't know that's what you have to do, you will find that you're constantly pulling down from the top to get your notifications. One other small improvement that I really like is that, now, when you open up Safari, the search and URL bar is permanently affixed to the top of the page like it should be and it's just one bar. I think it takes some getting used to if you've been living with the old OS for a long time. It is obviously gonna be more of a shock to the system and I'll let you decide for yourself about the aesthetics. At the end of the day, the iPhone 5C is all about the looks. If you like their colors and you like iOS 7, this phone is 99 bucks on contract. So, for a certain kind of person, this kind of person, the 5C is definitely a buy. Over the past five seasons of Always On, we have torture tested devices and some amazing contexts. Remember, liquid nitrogen, melted chocolate, rock yards, freezing rivers. Well, one gadget was with us for all those torture tests and our other adventures too. So, I guess you could say that no device has been more thoroughly tested than the humble GoPro. Check it out. Go little buddy. That smells amazing. Oh, no. Oh, no. I got it all over the phone by accident. -You gotta keep rolling. -You're rolling. -I just wanna take it. -Oh! Ooh. Oh, ooh. -Oh, my God. Oh, my God. -Yup. It's still going. -Ready? -GoPro is rolling. -Yeah, I got it. -Okay. -Oh, I hate that GoPro. Oh. -That was awesome. I think we should go with the GoPro which, look, is recording. We got a little fryer basket. We'll record every-- Oh, my God. Oh. It's still recording. The light is still flashing. Now, in case you're wondering, we haven't lost a GoPro yet, tough as nails. All right. Now, it's time to answer some of your mail. Today's e-mail comes from Aaron H. who says, "Hey, Molly. Instagram is available on Windows phone in the form of 6tag which is as fully functional as the Instagram app on my iPhone and it is free. Also, you can share to Facebook directly on Windows phone. You just sign in through the Windows phone settings and it works very well. As to the shutter speed, this can be adjusted in the Pro Cam settings. Also, Smart Cam and the Windows phone camera take photos much quicker than Pro Cam, although at 5 megapixels. Being both an owner of an iPhone and the 1020, I can tell you there are almost no apps that I miss on Windows phone and those that don't have official apps have very good, fully-featured, third party alternatives. Thanks again for the informative entertainment. Aaron H." Now, that was the only even remotely civil e-mail or tweet that I got about the Nokia Lumia 1020 review. So, I believe that you, Aaron, and you alone are entitled to your clarification. 6tag is a 100% API compliant Instagram replacement for Windows phone. Unfortunately, it was not available when I tested the phone. It came out a couple of weeks later, but now, you have it. Also, although I did download and install and sign in to Facebook the official Windows phone app, I did not go into the Windows phone settings and enable that Facebook account which would have brought up Facebook sharing in the camera world. Good catch and to the rest of the Windows phone community, you are not helping your cause at all. Keep the feedback coming. You can e-mail me at AlwaysOn@cnet.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And that's it for this week, everyone. Coming up next week, we're headed to Wine Country to find out how high tech is helping out vintners during the harvest season and it's a bucket list check for me. I got to go grape stomping in a torture test of, ironically, the Nokia Lumia 1020. That's all coming up next week. Thank you for watching Always On. Couple of other fun notes about iOS 7 Siri can now finally become a dude. See what the guy sounds like. Wait, sorry. It stopped being tethered to my iPhone and Siri still does not work if you are not on the Internet which is ridiculous. Actually, it might-- Let's see. Siri is supposed to open more apps now. So, let's find out if we can make it work. Siri is not available, cannot connect to the Internet. Siri cannot even open an app locally. That is ridiculous. That's the kind of thing we're like, "Don't make the apps look prettier. Just make Siri be able to open the Gmail app or the built-in mail app about being connected to the Internet that is so stupid. Pardon me while I connect to the Internet.