CNET Tech Review
Prius V: The Final FrontierThis week on the CNET Tech Review: highlights from the 2011 Detroit auto show, including three new models of the Toyota Prius and the 2012 Audi A6; launch titles announced for the Nintendo 3DS; and get the best iOS games for your Android phone.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, Nintendo's 3DS unveiled and launch games announced; new car tech from the 2011 Detroit Auto Show; hot cop cars coming to a rearview mirror near you; and a whole new fleet of Priuses or Prii hybrid cars are headed your way. 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, plus offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of The Bottom Line. Let's get started with the good. In our wrap up of CES 2011 last week, we showed you Jeff Bakalar's first look at the Nintendo 3DS. Now, there was only one thing wrong with that demo: the screen didn't turn on. Well, this week Nintendo held an event in New York to officially debut the working version of the 3DS plus show off some of the games that will be coming soon to the platform. -Hey everyone. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com. We've got a first look at the Nintendo 3DS. It's right here. March 27 is the release date. It's going to retail for $250. Three cameras on this thing: there's one facing the user; two around back for 3D photos--very cool innovation right there. You've got an SD card slot. Wireless compatibility allows you to play on the go with people around the world, which is really impressive. Over here is the notification LED; really gonna give you a lot of information about what's going on with the 3DS, really is gonna deal with a lot of the connectivity, Wi-Fi base, and also local sort of stuff. This will really give you an idea of what's happening with the 3DS. There's a lot of connectivity that's automated with the 3DS, so there's really not a lot of manual configuration that's gonna have to happen. The 3DS can detect other systems and hook those up automatically, which is really cool. Up front, you've got 4 buttons that we're all used to on DS systems, but on the left of the unit is the analog stick, which is new for Nintendo portables--really excited to see how developers use that. Along the bottom are 3 new buttons as well: the select, home, and start buttons. The home button will allow you to pause mid-game, look into other apps without losing the action that's going in the original game. We're excited to see stuff like that. They've also streamlined friend codes. It's a lot easier now to play with friends. We're happy about that improvement as well. Up top is the 3D screen. We actually have it turned off so it's better for the camera. We're also looking at the Mii Maker software right here. You can take a photo of yourself and the Mii Maker software will configure the character to look like you, which is pretty cool. We've never seen anything like that before. The 3DS is also backwards compatible with the Nintendo DS and all the downloadable DSi games. So, we're happy to see that implemented in the design as well. At launch, the 3DS is gonna be available in black or blue. There's also a lot of pre-loaded software including a game called Face Raiders that takes a photo of you and inserts that into a shooting gallery--pretty cool. There's a game tracker. It's an app that tracks all of your progress through games and rewards you. There is a physical mobility monitor, sort of like a pedometer that tracks movement, your physical movement, with the device. That's something we've never seen. Also included is the ability to take 3D photos and view them on the 3D screen. You can also watch 3D videos on the top screen--really impressive stuff. That's gonna do it for us. That's the first look at the Nintendo 3DS. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com. Thanks for watching. Hey, I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com. We're here at the 3DS press event in New York City. We have everything we need to know about the hardware, but what about the software? Why don't you come with me and let's check out some of these games. Our first game demo is Steel Diver. You might remember the game as a tech demo but Nintendo gave its own game to the 3DS. It's gonna be one of the launch games, and basically, you're controlling the submarine, the height and acceleration of the-- of the vehicle, and you get to shoot missiles. There's also a periscope mode where you actually have to move your entire body to shoot missiles at on-coming ships. So, that's our first game demo. There's a lot more stuff to see here. Let's go check them out right now. I guess you can't release a new game console without Madden, so, here it is, Madden Football for the 3DS; plays sort of like how it used to on the iPad, that sort of experience, but it's going to be coming out very soon in the 3DS game launch window. We're really excited to our final hands on it and that's it for Madden Football. Alright, the next game we've got is the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's a game you might recall widely regarded as one of the best Zelda games ever; 3D makeover for the 3DS. The 3D really adds something special to it. The effect is spectacular and it's gonna make you wanna play the entire game over all over again. Alright, this is Pilotwings Resort, takes place in the same area you might remember from Wii Sports Resort. Pilotwings is a classic Nintendo game where you fly around and hit goals and use jet packs to pop balloons and stuff like that--really fun. And the 3D effect on this is so far the most impressive that we've seen out of all the games here. It's a lot of fun, gives you that really realistic 3D flying effects. There's a lot more games. I have to play Resident Evil 531 at some point. Let's go check it out. Alright, this is Super Street Fighter IV for the 3DS, completely rendered in 3D. This is very a interesting new experience because you're playing in one dimension and the background's in another, and you're sort of, you know, it's almost tough to keep your eye on the action 'cause you're sort of looking around all over the screen. But this is going to be one of the launch window titles of the 3DS. It's coming soon; can't wait to final version. Let's see what else they god. Alright, we finally made it. This is Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D. It's sorta like an all-star game. It features a lot of scenes from past Resident Evil games and combines them into one sort of arcadey experience. By far the best looking game we've seen here at the event today and the 3D effect is just awesome. Once you lock in, it really is spectacular. Alright, there's a lot of other games that we didn't get to like Nintendogs + Cats, Ridge Racer. There's gonna be a lot of stuff available at launch. But one thing we wanna sort of disclose to everyone is, you know, all these games we've been showing has had the 3D slider off. Now, you have to have it off so that the camera is able to shoot the image and it doesn't look all screwy. But when you do pick it up and you turn that 3D effect on, it works really well, and once you're locked into that sweet spot, the game actually is pretty spectacular. That's gonna do it for us here in New York at the 3DS press event. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com. That's so much for watching. -That thing does look pretty amazing and $250 is a bit less than we thought it might be. Huh! Maybe if I buy one for my son, I can finally have my iPad back. Now, while most of us were packing up our company-issued long sleeved t-shirts to return from Las Vegas and CES, Brian Cooley was bundling up for his trip to Detroit for the 2011 North American International Auto Show. Why they schedule them so close together, I will never know. But Brian and his crew were serious troopers, and here are some of their highlights. -Audi's A6 has a got lot more interesting. It was always kind of the neither-here-nor-there car in their line. Great car, sells well, but neither the luxury of the 8, or the nimbleness of a 4 or a 3, or the sporting pretensions of an R8. It was kind of a, you know, sober Audi. But it's gotten really well equipped now. This is an all-new version. Although it doesn't look dramatically different, notice it's got a shorter rump, a little longer front, so it gives it a more rakish sporting look. Underneath, it's based on the 7, one of the very new Audis that is a really hot-looking car; little more space and volume all around. We're also seeing 3 familiar engines here: a 3.2 V6; a 4.2 V8; or a 3-liter supercharged V6. Inside, quite a bit of revising of the dash; notice this kind of horizon band across the top of the instrument panel. We've got a little different sculpting here of the center stuff. Quite a bit of LCD; it's been pushed out right up against the speedo and the tach. And, of course, we've got a really nice push and swivel screen right here that is controlled by Audi's familiar MMI interface. Notice this I'm seeing now. Borrowed from the A8, you've got the touchpad here which we've shown you before. That can be used to draw letters on the screen, or in this case, point to radio presets, what have you--very cool Audi-only stuff. Even bigger news is this: Audi A6 Hybrid. First time Audi's had a hybrid in the sedan or a passenger car. There is a Q5 Hybrid. This will use the same powertrain; 2-liter, little tiny, little turbo gas engine hooked up to a 45-horsepower electric motor. Now, one of the things they did, come on back here, was to put a big old kludgy battery in the trunk. This is called a retrofit, folks, not a completely re-engineered platform. Now, if you can put up with that sacrifice, you're gonna get some interesting numbers. This thing is supposed to be doing about 38 combined mpg. For a big-ish with a whole lot of luxury goods rammed in, that's a nice number, and we'll be looking for this guy hopefully sometime in 2012. The distribution plans aren't firm. That base A6 with any of its conventional engines, that'll be happening late 2011. Ugh, been a long day shopping or covering the Detroit Auto Show. You come back to Ford C-MAX and what do you know? Your hands are full. Damn it, keys in your pocket. You can put one of these down in the snow, or the slush, or the mud, or the wet and, you know, you pick it up and it's all soaked. It's a grocery bag and the bottom rips out. But, they've got something here called a Hands-Free Liftgate deal 1010. You take your leg and you wave it underneath the middle of the bumper right about there, and because I have the RF key in my pocket, the vehicle knows that I'm authorized to get in here and lift the door for me, and off we go. Another interesting thing Ford is showing here at Detroit this year is a way to keep these guys from spending much time at your front door regarding your kid. It's a new level of services on MyKey from Ford. This has been around for a while but now, they've got 2 new functions. One, you can set this up. The key you give to your teenager or anybody for that matter to set the top speed at 65, 70, 75, or 80--for 4 new tiers for how fast they can go top end. It also can be set to block any of the nasty channels on satellite radio. I'm talking to you, Howard. And previously, it's already had the ability to do things like mute the radio until the seatbelt is clicked; also to maintain radio volume at no more than 44%. You can almost rename My Surly Teen, but if that's the only way they're gonna get the keys, they'll play ball and they might even smile. Last bit of tech I wanna show you that have to do with, you know, consumer satisfaction with this whole electrified era, Ford's got a couple of things happening in the future dashboard. We've seen MyFord Touch before, but a couple of those screens are new. One is called MyView. It's gonna show you the effect of various vehicle systems on your range and not just how you drive, but if the radio's on, if the heater's on, and if the lights are on. And if they don't need to be, they all take some juice out of the battery, and we're learning that that's a part of the factors that will drive people nuts when it comes to range anxiety. And there's another one in here called Brake Coach. It tells you as you're driving, and of course, that's using regenerative braking in electric cars, if you got all the energy back you could've in that braking scenario. So, it'll say, "Well, you just came to a stop. You got about 80% of the juice out of it that you could've. If you brake a little differently as I'll show you, then I can get 100% of the available energy recaptured to the battery." Well, here's a fun proposition: a BMW 1 Series, the little guy, in an M configuration. Yes! Now, what's unusual here is, this is the first M car they've ever done that doesn't have a special purpose-built handmade M engine. They just borrowed up a 3-liter twin-scroll turbo like you might find in the Z4 35is. That' motor's good for 335 horsepower and 332 foot-pounds of torque. In this little, that means 0 to 60 in 4.7 or so, plus this retains the overboost function of that motor in some other cars, which means for short blasts at wide-open throttle, you get the torque up to 369 foot-pounds, I think. So, that makes for some interesting dynamics. Speaking of dynamics, they've worked over the rear end, the suspension, all the various tunings to make sure you can have a decent chance of keeping it right side up, one gearbox. Thank you God, it's a 6-speed manual, and that's it. No fancy computerized blah blah-- not one. It doesn't make sense. Lots of work done to the body and to my eye, it's a good thing. Once it has always looked a little bit pitiful to me especially this big saggy, sad, sill line down here. I hate that. But now, my eye is taken away from there by this good-looking fender bulges, front and rear, and some really great-looking, really kind of retro-style BMW BBS-looking wheel. This guy is gonna run about $47,000 base. They're only gonna make 2700 of them. So, get ready. Get in line. -Electric cars and connected cars were the big buzz at the Detroit Show, and everyone from Hyundai to Porsche had something we loved. Check out all of Cooley's Detroit videos at cnettv.com. And now, let's take a quick break. But never fear. We'll be right back with 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, even as Android phones continue to gain market share and challenge the iPhone, there's no question that iOS still has the best games. So, what's an Android owner to do? Well, here's Brian Tong with some answers. -[unk]. Welcome to Tap That App guys. I'm Brian Tong and this is the show where we cover the hottest mobile apps in the mobile space. iOS games get a lot of the attention and for good reason, but this episode is all about finding Android equivalents for those games and we'll one up them by finding free versions. First up, "Cut the Rope" is one of the hottest puzzle games no iOS devices right now. It's $0.99 on an iPhone and $1.99 on an iPad. Just slice the rope with your finger to collect stars and get the candy to the green guy. But there is a version or basically a plain rip-off of it for free called "The Rope Cut" on Android. It isn't as smooth. The physics aren't as tight but it does a decent job plus it's free. Now, we all know about "Fruit Ninja." That's $0.99-- or $2.99 on Apple devices and it's $0.99 on Android, but I bet you haven't heard of Fruit Ninja Kaka on Android. Slice as many fruits as you can. Avoid the bombs and, sure, the graphics may not look as good but who cares? It's free, too. Now, have you seen NinJump where you scale 2 sides of a building and jump back and forth, slicing birds and avoiding obstacles at the same time? Well, Backflip Studios has also released an Android version. So, why pay when it's free? And how can we talk about mobile games without talking about Angry Birds? It's $0.99 on an iPhone but you can flame those birds at those pigs for the low price of free, free, free on Android. Now, many of these apps will have ads running on them but free is free. And if your friend brags about his iPhone games, forget about it. You'll have something to shut him up with. Now, if you guys have any other apps or dance moves you'd like to see, send us an e-mail to email@example.com. I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching and I'll see you on Fruit Ninja Kaka. [unk] -Ninja Kaka? Yeah. Maybe my 4-year-old would rather have an Android phone instead of a 3DS. Either way, I get my iPad back. Alright, let's see what's happening in the bad. This week, it's bad news for the bad guys as we revisit the Detroit Auto Show, and Brian Cooley shows us the next generation of police cars. -You know, we never review cop cars at CNET Car Tech, more it's a pity because they're kinda cool with all kinds of interesting tech that other cars don't have. The Crown Vic, the most popular police car, is going out of production. Here's what Ford is proposing that fleets use to replace it. It's a Taurus-based Police Interceptor. And although if you took off the gear and it painted it one color, it might look pretty ordinary. There are a lot of different things going on here. Let me tell you about a few of them. First of all, a car like this is emphasizing durability: has to idle all day and day long, has to be able to get a 75-mile-per-hour rear end collision and maintaining safety and integrity for the officers. They have a lot of common parts on these. So, whether you have this or that utility version over there, just about all the maintenance items are the exact same parts even though they're different cars and actually have somewhat different engines. Oh, and all V6 now. No more Police Interceptors with V8 'cause today's V6 does what yesterday's V8 did and probably quite a bit more. Now, beefier usually means heavier. You don't want that in a car where you're trying to get better fuel efficiency to save government's money, as well as drive this thing on a V6. So, hoods are now aluminum. Lots of the pillars are boron steel--a stronger yet lighter steel. A little pricier but there's a reason for that. Ford even pre-drills this hole because these cars have to deal with very exacting roof crush different types of tests. Ford even drills this hole for the light itself in a perfect precise spot because these vehicles have to handle some very stringent rollover and collision-collapse tests, and if they don't get that just right, it'll break and fold away too easily. Let's go inside. Now, the inside of a Police Interceptor is probably the part you don't wanna see in your lifetime, so, let me show it for you here on the show floor. First of all, notice the seat bolsters here. They're actually kind of flat because when you got a Sam Browne on, and a couple of clips, and some pepper spray, and your weapon, you'll be dragging this thing all day long. Cops hate that. So, they shaved these down even though you might think it holds it in place less. But you got this grip that you kinda utility-fabric that will help with that. Up here on this wheel, either on this version or one that has the MyFord Touch controllers on each side, you'll find specialty buttons for things like lights, and siren, and PA. You wouldn't have that on your Taurus. Oh, here's a great spotter's tip. If you ever wanna know if a Taurus or one of those utilities was actually originally built as a Police Interceptor, here's the dead giveaway: column shifter. They don't offer column shifters anymore on regular retail cars. That's a police thing only, and they do that because they wanna leave this area here for a police department installed console full of their gear. Brian Tong, pull over to the side with your hands up and the product in your hair. Well, that's easy. And up here where there's normally, what, a little sunglass binnacle-type thing, they've taken that out and put in a flat place to mount things like forward-looking sensors for speed guns. Now, you think a Taurus is a significantly smaller car than a Crown Vic, at least it prints that way, but I gotta say when you pull out the console, you get a lot of space in here. In fact, there's plenty of room back here for the weapon rack. I imagine those are replicas. Now, the change is continued in the back seat as well. This door opens like 70-something degrees wider than the standard Taurus, which this car is based on. So, when they're ramming your uncle in the back seat, he won't bunk his head so readily; also, a very simple, very clean one-piece plastic door panel. So, when he wants to be generous and share his bodily fluids, we can take care of that later with not too much muss and fuss. Now, sport utility police cars have been fairly rare in the past. Ford's gonna try pushing this really hard alongside the sedan as well. And then, of course, you got cars like this which don't look like police cars until that happens. Yeah! That's how BT and I would roll when we do, you know, CSI CNET. This is a concept of a detective or federal car that I love. Standard motor in the sedan is a 3.5-liter V6. The utility gets a 3.7. It's also available with a 3.5 EcoBoost. That's the twin-turbo with 365 horsepower. They reshaped all the shift points in the transmission. The suspension's heavy duty, so is the braking, so is the cooling, and by the way, all the new Police Interceptors, sedan or utility, are all all-wheel drive now--makes it a lot easier for the police to focus on the perp and not on keeping their car from fishtailing. I think episodes of COPS may look different in the future. Airbags are mounted differently so they don't deploy into mounted gear and cause problems, and ballistic door panels keep the bullets out to some degree. These cars will be coming into police fleets mid to late 2011 because the bids begin right around July, and most governments are on that mid-year start of their fiscal year when they start to go out and buy new cars for their fleet. It's gonna take many years for all the Crown Vics to wash out, but in the meantime, you might start wanting to get used to a different profile in your rearview mirror. Watch out for it. -Good call, Brian. That is definitely the only time I wanna see the inside of one of those rides. Alright, let's wrap up our auto show coverage as we move along to The Bottom Line. When it comes to hybrid cars, everybody's trying to get in the game, but there's really only the one you think of. Well, soon, there could be 3 of that one. -We have a property as hot as Toyota's Prius brand, what do you do? You do what's called a line extension in the brand and marketing world. You build more model and variants off of it, and that's what's happening with the Prius. Here is the first additional model to wear the Prius badge. It's called the Prius V, and this is kind of a what? A little bit of a people mover. It's not dramatically larger than a Prius sedan, but it's got a little higher roof line, a little more flatly arched roof line, and a little more mass all around. That gives you kind of a mini minivan. Powertrain is the same as the standard Prius sedan. As a result, when you add more mass with the same powertrain, you're gonna end up with a little bit lower mpg. So, where the current Prius sedan does 49 highway/51 city, this guy will do 38 highway/42 city. So, you get, on average, about a 10 mpg haircut, but a lot more room. Let's look inside; okay, different layout in the front here of the cabin, a little different sculpturing in the center stack. We're gonna see the same technology, again, the same kind of controls. That's the same powertrain. You've got your electric eco and power mode. These we've also seen on the current Prius. Now, look in the rears here, you see some real usable space: very flexible, flattenable second row seats. And beyond that second row, with pretty good seating flexibility, you got a cargo box back here. It's just a very different thing in a Prius. And you know, overall, from the outside? I think the way this works out in here makes for better lines out there. This is just simply a handsomer car than a Prius sedan, don't you think? Now, Prius high mileage nuts have been adding batteries, homebrew style, to their cars for quite a while, making plug-ins. Here's the factory version finally announced for real--the Prius Plug-In. It's the standard Prius sedan, but of course, we've got a charging port up here that leads to a bigger stock of batteries in the car. What's the point? It can do more electric driving than the standard Prius. That means, your overall blended mpg is gonna be even higher. The numbers aren't out just yet, but, they say you'll get 13 miles of pure electric running, and then after that, it goes into traditional regenerative hybrid mode. When you do plug it in, if it's dead empty, you're gonna only take about 3 hours to get a full charge on that battery. Oh yeah, it's not a battery electric car that runs all of its range on electric power. That's why the charge is relatively quick: 3 hours on a 110, hour and a half on a level 2 or a 240-volt charger. This guy's gonna be creeping out sometime in the early timeframe of 2012. And last of our trio of Prii is this new one, very concepty as you can see. They're calling it the Prius C concept. This is, you know, possible production 2012. This is not slated for production yet, but this would be the leanest, smallest, most compact of this new triad of Prius vehicles, so, the opposite direction of the V. This is something very city-oriented. You can imagine having the same powertrain with less bulk, mass, and weight, would then raise the mpg numbers even higher than the already quite astounding ones that the Prius sedan gets. The form factor here has been penned by the European design studio for Toyota. It's got a little bit of a CRZ DNA going to it, but definitely has the urban statement all over it. So, we've got 3 levels of Prius now. As promised about a year ago, Toyota taking Prius from a model to almost a sub-brand within the Toyota brand. -The Bottom Line this week: a Prius for the rest of us. Now, yes, the Prius has to offer more options to really take off outside of San Francisco that is where it's already king. But man, a Prius mini minivan? Is there anything less sexy than that? Maybe we could watch that Audi video again. Alright, that's gonna do it for this week, everyone, but come back next time for a brand new CNET Tech Review, and until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.