CNET Tech Review
I'm in your iPhone, stealing your contactsThis week on the CNET Tech Review: is your iPhone safe from prying eyes? No, it's not. Plus: T-Mobile's MyTouch goes 4G; counting down the Top 5 laptops; and we try out all six Kinect launch titles.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, T-Mobile goes 4G with the new MyTouch, our editors "Kinect" over their love of dance, we hit the highway in the 2011 Chevy Corvette, and don't let your iPhone out of your sight. 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 offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of The Bottom Line. Let's get started with The Good. T-Mobile has been enjoying great success with their line of Android phones but these days, it's all about 4G, even though the wireless companies about fighting about what exactly 4G means. For you, just think faster. Here's Bonnie Cha to explain how that all works on the MyTouch 4G. -Hey, everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and I'm here with your first look of the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G. This is the latest model in the carrier's MyTouch series of Android phones and it's definitely the most advanced one yet. It's also probably the sturdiest one. The overall shape of the phone is very similar to the other models but the difference is it's got a much more premium feel to it. Instead of an all plastic back like the rest, the MyTouch 4G has a stainless steel battery door and frame around the screen. It makes the phone a little heavier but I'd rather have it be heavier and more solid feeling than like unreal plasticky, plus it's still very thin so you're not dealing with an overly bulky phone here. On the front, you've got a 3.8-inch WVGA touchscreen that's clear, bright, and responsive, but not as rich as the Samsung Vibrant screen. The MyTouch 4G uses a combination of T-Mobile's own interface and HTC Sense widgets. I prefer the stock Android UI of the T-Mobile G2 but I also think this is very user friendly for consumers and first time Android users. Below the display here, you've got standard Android shortcuts to Home, Menu, and Back, but instead of a Search button, you get T-Mobile's Genius button which brings up the voice command function where you can conduct searches, make calls, launch applications, and more with the sound of your voice. So let's talk about some of the features. First of all, the MyTouch 4G supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network which promises 4G-like speeds and I've definitely got some great download and upload speeds here in New York. The phone also supports the ability to make calls over a Wi-Fi network and video calls over Wi-Fi or the cellular network. For video calls, there's a front facing VGA camera here and you can use either Qik or Yahoo Messenger to connect with friends. I gave it a quick test with Jessica Dolcourt in San Francisco before coming in here and I got the video feed just fine but couldn't hear her, although she can hear me. Also, I tried it with another blogger and got audio this time but no video so it seems like there are some kinks to be worked out. There are a bunch of other apps that come bundled with the MyTouch 4G including T-Mobile TV, Rock Band, and Asphalt 5, and it is running Android 2.2 so you're getting the most current version of the OS out there right now. Also has a second-generation 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and the phone has been very responsive so far. So it ranks up there with T-Mobile's other top Android phones like the G2 and the Samsung Vibrant. It might not have as rich of a screen as the vibrant but you do get HSPA+ support and Wi-Fi calling. The T-Mobile MyTouch 4G will be available starting November 3rd for $199.99 with a two-year contract. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G. -Well, it sounds like that phone has plenty going on for you to enjoy while they work out those video calling kinks, like downloading apps, and what better place to find out about the best apps available than our own show, Tap That App. This week, Jessica Dolcourt is here with a multipurpose search program that's giving Yelp a run for its money. -Hey, everybody. Welcome to Tap That App. I'm Jessica Dolcourt and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the mobile space. Let me ask you a question. Where do you go when you want to find information about restaurants, nearby gas stations, and movie theaters? Google Place Pages, Yelp, and Bing are all popular, but have you hear of Poynt? This freebie has been kicking around for a while but it's good enough and overlooks enough that we thought it deserved a little love. Right away, you can see that Poynt's a looker with an intuitive carousel you can navigate through to search for people, businesses, restaurants, gas stations, and movies. Oh, yeah, and you may have noticed the weather widget on the start screen, too. When you dig into the app, you'll see all of the search categories laid out for you in tabs with a sublist of options below. If you're into the silver screen, for example, you can search theaters and movies nearby, watch a preview, or pick your flick by looking through other criteria. Click the Buy button to virtually pocket a few tickets ahead of the show. Similar search techniques go for dining establishments and gas stations as well. There are even yellow pages and white page modules for finding people and other businesses. We were impressed by the reversed lookup functionality, though keep in mind that the service will only work for registered people and phone numbers. Poynt uses SuperPages, Citysearch, OpenTable, and other content aggregators to accomplish this and other tasks. For each category, you'll see multiple selections for what to do next--call a person or place, search for other places nearby, and get directions in your favorite app. Lucky Android users can take advantage of turn-by-turn voice navigation if they select Google Maps to provide guidance. Overall, Poynt makes a great alternative to your other apps for reviews and it does a bang-up job taking existing information from multiple online services and wrapping it up in a clean, colorful, and easy-to-use package. The great news for you is that Poynt is available free for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry smartphones, so there's our suggestion for the week. We hope that you like it, and if you have any more suggestions, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'm Jessica Dolcourt, and keep on tapping. -It's so nice when we find an app that runs on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry. Sorry, webOS. Our next first look video features a product called the Jawbone Jambox so there's really nothing else to say. Jawbone Jambox. Just say it as many times as you can and take a look at the product. -Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a first look at the Jambox from Jawbone. This is a portable, rechargeable Bluetooth speaker with a cool look and suggested price of $199. The speaker comes in four colors, black, red, blue, and gray. The top and bottom have a nonslip rubber coating and the middle features this wraparound metal grille. There's a diamond pattern embossed into the metal on this black version, but different colors use slightly different shapes. At the very top, you've got three oversized buttons. Two are for volume control and one's a multipurpose button that gives you the battery status, can answer calls, can also be programmed as an autodial button when you pair this with your phone. On the side, there's a three-position power button that triggers the pairing mode when you hold it up. -Jambox is in pairing mode. Waiting for device to connect. -Beneath that, you got a mini jack aux input and a micro USB port for recharging or connecting to a computer. Jawbone doesn't cheap out, either. You got a nice flat wire aux cable in the box along with USB cables, a power adaptor, and a case to keep this thing pretty. Now, at $199, this thing isn't cheap for a portable speaker. For half the price, you can get a Logitech Z515 that pulls the same trick and also gives you a USB dongle for connecting to your computer. The Z515 also has a 10-hour battery life, which is a little better than the eight hours you're gonna get out of the Jambox. On the other hand, it's not nearly as cool looking or as small. Also, as you'd expect from Jawbone, the Jambox includes a quality integrated microphone so you can use this as a speakerphone, too. Another detail that really adds to the long term value is the micro USB port, which allows you to update the firmware on this to help maintain compatibility. You can also side load Jawbone's own apps, change the language of the system voice, and do other custom tweaks. Sonically, the Jambox is a mixed bag. It uses two small drivers and a passive radiator on the back to deliver a relatively beefy sound that's impressive for the size. When you turn it on, it even gives a little sub-frequency kick just to show off. That said, compared to sub-$200 speaker docks like the Logitech S715i, the sound from this thing is still a little weak If you're really just looking for something to play music on around the house. Where it really shines, surprisingly, is with the iPad, giving it a way to improve the sound quality of games and videos without having to plug in your headphones or put this thing in some kind of dock. So, that's the Jambox from Jawbone, extremely stylish and extremely tiny portable Bluetooth speaker. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell. -I so want one of those for my iPad, and not just because of Angry Birds, I promise. It's just so cute. Alright, it seems like the Car Tech Garage has been all about muscle cars lately, so why stop now? Brian Cooley took the 2011 Chevy Corvette out on the road and here are some of the highlights. -Alright, I'll be the first to admit it, I've got a little bit of a prejudice against Corvettes. I'm not the only one, but when I see the door of one open, I expect to first see some white patent leather loafers come out, followed by a big old beer belly, some out-of-date Foster Grants, and a bad comb over. Shoot me when that's me. In the meantime, I will give a very fair shake to this bad boy, the 2011 Corvette Z06 while we check the tech. Corvette cabins are tight and meant to be that way. Holds you in place while you're hitting the corners hard. Directly in front of you, one of the best instrument panels in production today. Great, crisp, clear gauges. No obnoxious stylizing to make them look dated a few years from now. That is a great looking driver's instrument panel. Right above that is a head-up display that is exactly the opposite. That's like something I get at the Maker Faire, or I go down to Radio Shack and buy a bunch of diodes and just make it myself. Yeah, the information's cool but, wow, that display is clunky. But I must say that head-up display is standard gear on the Z06, even while things like the navigation head unit remain optional. Speaking of the navigation head unit, I'm so glad to see General Motors has worked out a partnership with Fisher-Price. They clearly have engineered this nav system, and it looks like living hell. That is about the worst resolution I've seen in six years of doing cars at CNET and we've only been doing them for five years. It sucks. When you zoom way out like this, it looks either like a map of roads or one of those stylized neural synapse diagrams you got in 6th grade science class. Take it in a little bit and you can make out that, yes, indeed, that is an image of roads in the world, but I have no idea what world because I can't read the streets because the resolution is awful. We've also got the 3LZ package on this car which is basically a seating package. You get what apparently is better leather, perforated stuff going on here. This whole carbon fiber center stack cover is the real deal and that's in the option package. Oh, and that's attractive, a nice, big stitched Corvette on the front. I can live without that, too. Our sound settings reflect the fact that we have optional Bose audio on this car which is a good thing because anything less than that would not overcome the booming thunder out of the rear end of this vehicle. Speaking of which, let's go listen to that. Herein lies the throbbing heart of the beast. This is a 7-liter all-aluminum dry-sump V8. Dry sump means the oil doesn't live in a crank case pan down, sloshing around during hard cornering and extended performance driving, it's pumped in under pressure. Pretty high-end stuff. It also allows the engine to sit lower in the bay 'cause there's not a big old belly pan hanging there you gotta make clearance for. Oh, and by the way, 7 liters is more than just big as all hell, it's also got some historical reference in the Chevrolet world, that's a 427. All I gotta say, right? This one, by the way, hand made, they all are. You can help do it. That dude right there on that label could have had the owner alongside him for $5800 helping to build this engine. They call that the Corvette Experience and then you take delivery of your actual car at the Corvette Museum. Now, whether you help build it, or just write the check and let them do all the dirty work, the result's the same, 0 to 60 in 3.8, while delivering pretty good 15/24 MPG. Our 'Vette has the pricey performance package on top of its Z06-ness. That means a bigger cooling system, 19s in the front, 20s in the back, ceramic brake rotors to haul it down from its 198-mile per hour top speed, and magnetic ride control which offers touring or sport modes. Now, unless you're pressing this car pretty hard, there's no real difference between the two, and the touring mode is firmer than just about anything else you'll drive in your life. Don't even try sport. A Corvette's kind of a one-car category, too. I don't consider this a sports car. It's, honestly, overly muscled for that. Sports car is a car you drive at its limits, on reasonable roads. This is more of a race car brought to the street. Okay, let's put a price on Ms. America. 2011 Z06 is gonna base around $75,000. Now, we've got a 3LZ here which is the top trim level. That added about $7200, much better seats, Bose audio, Bluetooth handsfree, some other niceties. Z06 performance package tacked on almost $10,000 more. That's ceramic rotors all around, the 19s and the 20s in the rear, and that magnetic selective ride control. The option to walk away from is the least expensive, that $1800 disaster-in-the-dash nav rig. Just bring a paper map. -How cool would that be to build your own engine and get your name on it, too? You know, if any of you want me to build your Corvette engine, you just let me know, and while I go grab my coveralls, let's take a quick break. We'll be back with more CNET Tech Review right after this. And welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen her at CNET TV. Continuing in The Good, lately there's been a lot of talk about tablet computers and netbooks, but the fact is that most of us still do the bulk of our mobile computing on a good old laptop, so here's Brian Cooley again to count down our top 5 faves. -Hello, gang. BC here with another T5, this time Top 5 laptops as of this mid-October 2010. You know, laptops aren't the other computer anymore. For most folks, they are the computer, so don't buy a crappy one. Here are five that are the opposite of that. Number five is the delightfully named Sony Vaio VPCZ128GX. It gets an 8.0 CNET rating, though, and big buzz from CNET users. Now, sit down. This one starts at $2000 and our test unit, $3400. But the design is slick, and the hard drive is an exotic 512-gigabyte solid state drive, and it's just about the most desirable thing this side of something with an apple on it. We did find the battery life to be just fine, but it does have switching graphics. That's the hot new technology that moves between a high-powered dedicated graphics card, or a less power-hungry integrated graphics chip depending on your task. It's one machine that actually lets you sit down next to somebody with a MacBook Pro and not feel like a tool. Number four is the new MacBook Air with an 8.2 CNET rating. So slim you'll worry it will cut you. The new Air uses solid state disks only, no mechanical ones, so it boots like an iPad and has major battery life. We tested the 11-inch and got like 4.5 hours on a charge. If you get the larger 13-inch model, battery life gets up near 7 hours. Now, it starts at a grand so kind of pricey, especially considering it uses an older Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and only the 13-inch model even offers an SD card reader, but you don't buy the new MacBook Air to win a brag war over specs with your geek bodies. Besides, they'll be too busy booting their laptops and dabbing the sweat from carrying them. Number three, another slick looker, it's the HP Envy 17. CNET rating? 8.2. Gorgeous design, Blu-ray playback, 17-inch 1080p display, HDMI and DisplayOut ports, as well as USB 3.0, but the battery life's a little short and that ATI Mobility Radeon HD5850 is your only graphics choice, but at a snick under $1300, we're still on board with this guy for affordable luxury. Number two, the Toshiba Portg R705-P25. It also gets an 8.2 CNET rating, but it's got an Editors' Choice attached to it, and got big CNET traffic lately. Another sophisticated laptop but not as pretty as the HP or the Sony we just saw, so why the buzz? Value is the story here. At around $900, and down as low as $800 street, it juggles beautifully the balance of performance, design, and cost. Now, no one thing stands out, but it does have a great keyboard and touch pad, you'll use those quite a bit, and Intel's Wireless Display technology for that second monitor. And our favorite laptop, number one on the list, is the MacBook Pro with an 8.3 CNET rating. Let's face it, these guys invented lustable design and the latest MacBook Pro looks no different, but inside is now available a Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GT330M graphics that switch flawlessly with the integrated Intel graphics chip for the common tasks. The multitouch track pad is the best in the business. It has really powerful, one-, two-, three-, or four-finger gestures including the one you might just give every other laptop in this list after you play with this little ingot of aluminum for a few minutes. Now, it really should offer HDMI out, Blu-ray, 3G, but Apple has instead doubled down on what their machine already did well. Expect to pay $2200 or so for the best 15-inch factory config, that's what we tested. So there you go. Your iPad is now officially a toy again, and you can give your netbook to the kids. Five really great laptops, and the latest list, you can check out from Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein, it's over on CNET.com or just bounce over to top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley, thanks for watching. -With two entries on the list, Apple might seem like the big winner this week, but not so fast. Let's take a look at The Bad to find out what else is going on in Apple's world. On last week's AppleByte, Brian Tong brought a pretty serious iPhone security flaw to our attention. Of course, being Brian, he couldn't just tell us about it, he had to act it out. May I present TheAppleByte players. -What's up, I'm Brian Tong, your tech-knowledge-y. Get it? You know, technology. Alright, well, welcome to TheAppleByte for all the good and bad inside the world of Apple. Let's get to the stories. Now we all love our phone and so much of our personal information and contacts are stored on them. For some people, it's their best friend, but we here at TheAppleByte think of you as our friend so we wanna educate you about a security issue with iOS 4.1 on your iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4. Have you ever wanted to know everything about that special someone? Well, you can with the iPhone running iOS 4.1. On someone's lock screen, just go to the emergency call mode, then dial a number and immediately press the Hold switch, and look, you'll have access to their entire call history, their voicemails, and their address book. Wanna hear the latest music on their phone? You can do that. Share a contact with your friends? Hey, you don't even need Facebook. Get access to someone's photo library? You can do that, too, and to that, stalkers, creepy guys, and jealous boyfriends say... -Thanks, Apple. -Wow. And to that, we're throwing out a really, really bad apple. Now we hope by the time you watch this it'll be fixed. They fixed the FaceTime bug but this issue is bigger than that. It's a huge deal and requires a software update for everyone so, Apple, you guys need to get on this. -So, anybody still running iOS 4.1 on your phone, you should be careful until you can upgrade to 4.2. That should fix the problem, but, more importantly, who let Gene Simmons into our office? And, Brian, why do you have so many wigs? Actually, never mind. I think I know the answer to that. Let's just move along to The Bottom Line. Microsoft's much anticipated Kinect system went on sale on Thursday. Now, with only six Kinect games available at launch, there may not be a lot to choose from, but odds are there's something that might pique your interest. Check out our survey of the Kinect launch titles. -I'm Dan Ackerman. Microsoft's Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360 is an impressive piece of hardware. -But it's not a compelling user experience unless you got the right software to go with it. -So Scott Stein and I have decided to play test the entire launch day Kinect lineup to figure out which games are worth getting. -Well, that was exhausting. -There you have it, the entire launch day lineup of Kinect games. Scott, what was your favorite? -I think it's a tossup between Dance Central and Joyride. -I gotta agree with you. Those were probably the best ones. Of course, all these really felt more like tech demos than full-fledged games. Hopefully, the next generation of Kinect games will be even better. I'm Dan Ackerman. -And I'm Scott Stein. -And don't forget to invite us to your next dance party. -The Bottom Line this week, let's see that again. Oh, yes. There is now video footage of Dan and Scott dancing to Funkytown on the internet. Better them than me. Alright, folks, it's time for me to go. Join us next week for a brand new CNET Tech Review just for you. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETtv.com. See you next time and thank you for watching.