CNET Tech Review
Secrets of iOS 5, Area 51 explainedThis week on the CNET Tech Review: take a peek inside Apple's latest iOS update; hands-on with HTC's dynamic Evo duo; the Top 5 hybrids that aren't as green as they seem; and Molly Wood delves into the mysteries of Area 51.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, take a look at with the hood Apple's new iOS 5, hands on with the new HTC EVO and the new HTC EVO. Find out who's fastest in our tablet speed test, and I've got all the dirt on what really goes on at area 51. It's all coming up right now. Hi everyone, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET tech review where we collect hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world tech plus offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start with the good. Between all of our coverage from E3 and breaking down iCloud last week, we didn't have time to tell you about the other big news coming out of WWDC specifically all the new features we can look forward too in iOS 5 as we promise in last week's show. Here's Kent German to break it down for you. -Hi, I'm Kent German, senior editor here at cnet.com. Today, I take a First Look at the beta version of Apple iOS 5 that will run on the iPhone 3GS. It will run on the iPad and then will run on the iPod Touch as well. I'm gonna start off with notifications 'coz that's one of the more exciting ones. Luckily, Apple has taken a page from androids, but actually of course Apple does it differently by a pull-down menu, so you just take the top the screen, you pull down, and you'll see all of your notification. You'll see missed calls. You'll see missed e-mails. Apple added a couple of new things though. You do see a current weather. You can see a stock ticker, so really nice to see those notifications, updates. It's just something Apple has needed to do for awhile and great to see it. Next feature is a newsstand. This is very similar to iBooks. It looks very much like the iBooks icon. You can go there. You can see all your magazines in 1 place and then as new magazine subscriptions come in so as new issues come out, they'll be downloaded to the phone automatically, really nice there. To add better Twitter integration on iOS 5, you can tweet a photo straight from the photo application. So once you take a photo, you can do it all from the photo, so that's really nice. You can also do things like add a location. You can sync Twitter with your contacts list and you can tweet directly from YouTube, Safari, and Map, so nice to see there. We also have a new reminders app. Now, that enables you to do sort of like a to-do list and you can put them on on one thing. They'll send you reminders as you need to. The reminders also can be tied to your location so that's a new feature. Camera controls, couple of things you'll be able to do is you'll be able to-- You can gridlines when you're taking a photo. You can pinch to zoom and then once you take a photo, you'll get camera editing features. Not a really extensive amount of these, but you can do things like crop, you can rotate, you can do red eye reduction. So, nice to see there and again that's just from the photo gallery application. iMessage, this is a brand-new feature. It's very similar to BlackBerry Messenger. So, it's a free messaging application. You can do group messaging. You can send multimedia messages. You can send videos or photos and to-- just another feature to keep in contact and more from messaging. One of the best things is PC free. This enables you to activate your iPhone and do software updates without plugging the iPhone into your computer, so that's a great thing. Inside the e-mail, we'll have a few options. You'll be able to flag messages. You have a rich text format among other things, better indentation, and the ability to drag addresses between your 2 cc and bcc line. Also, in the mail application, you can search within the body of e-mails rather than just the subject to and from lines, so another good addition. Finally, the Safari browser. You'll be able to add links to a read later list, also have a reader feature that will strip down all the junk on a web page and just give it a nice clean format. Other things you will see is you will get a split keyboard for the iPad. You'll get a revamped music app for the iPad. Also in Games Center, you can buy games directly from Games Center. Apple did say they will have 200 new features in iOS 5. They only really went through 10 of them and I've mentioned a few of those 10 here. iOS 5 is a smaller update. Hopefully, this sets us up for something bigger down the road and sets us up for a new hardware, maybe hopefully in the fall of 2011. I'm Kent German here with the First Look at iOS 5. -Now, as Kent mentioned, Apples promise 200 new features in this latest smaller update. Stay tune for Brian Tong's. Look at more of those hidden nuggets later in the show. Needless to say, iOS 4 running on iPad 2 has plenty of good things going forward already, processing speed being one of them, But how does it stuck up against the worth opponents like the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Leave it Erik Franklin to put them through places. -Hey guys, Erik Franklin here. I'm in the CNET Lab and casual day apparently. You, I recently called the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 the iPad of Honeycomb tablets. Thanks to thin form factor and clean design, but how does it compare to the iPad 2 in performance. I've come up with 3 new tests to find out. Cue the on screen stop watch. First up, web speed loading test will go to NBA.com to see how the Heat are faring and they're off and the Galaxy tab is in the lead. The iPad 2 is up. I think the Galaxy Tab is about done. The iPad 2 comes in right behind it. So, there you go, website loading speed. Second speed test, downloading an app. We'll see how fast to download Angry Bird Seasons. Here we go. Alright. And they're off. Looks like the Samsung Galaxy Tab is on the move. The is iPad is on move as well. They both going pretty fast. The iPad 2 is catching up. It looks like the iPad 2-- very, very close. It's gonna be close, very close, and the iPad is done. Samsung is-- Now it's down. So Samsung Galaxy tab few seconds behind the iPad 2 in app download speed. Now, for our final test, Facebook photo upload speed. Each photo has been taken with its tablet's camera. Go. And they're off, and they iPad is done. The Galaxy Tab is now down. So, a little bit behind the iPad, but didn't really make much of a difference. They're both really, really fast and both really, really close. Very close results. It seems the 10.1 is a bottom par the iPad 2 in performance, give or take a couple of seconds. For more detail test results, check out Crave, but until next time, stay cool. -So, let me get this straight, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad 2 look a like, cost the same and their performance is basically too close to call. I can imagine why Apple and Samsung are accusing each other or copying in court right now. In other Android new, it was like EVO ferry visited our offices this week. HTC grace us with not one, but 2 new EVO models. See if you can tell the difference between them. - 3D is a big trend in tech these days and now it's making its way into smartphones. Hey, everyone, I'm Bonnie Cha and I'm here to bring you another look at the HTC EVO 3D for Sprint. We first got a glimpse of this Android smartphone during the CTIA Spring Show and it's finally hitting store shelves on June 24th for $199.99 with a 2-year contract. It's the newest addition to the carrier's EVO line and as you might have guessed from the name, it offers 3D features. First, it has this glasses-free 3D display. There's something called the Parallax Barrier that sits on top of the 4.3-inch qHD super LCD and displays two different images so you get that 3D effect without the glasses. You can use it to play 3D videos and games and the phone actually comes preloaded with a copy of the Green Hornet in 3D and a trial version of Spiderman 3D the game. For some reason, we couldn't get the movie to play on our review unit but we checked out some 3D videos from YouTube and also played Spiderman. It's not gonna show up in our video here but it was pretty neat to see images popping out from the screen. There are also dual 5-megapixel cameras on the back that you can use to capture 3D photos and video, and you can shoot 2D as well and there's actually a convenient little switch here on the right side to switch between the two modes. 2D photos looked great but the 3D pictures made my eyes cross since it was hard to focus on them and gave me a bit of a headache. Scott Stein, another CNET editor here, and I actually compared it to the Nintendo 3DS which also uses the same technology, and we noticed that the 3DS offers more depth of field, so instead of objects just popping out, the image was deeper into the background which I thought provided a better 3D experience. It's all pretty fun in small doses but 3D isn't the reason why you should get this phone. You should actually get this phone because it offers good performance and a solid set of features. The EVO 3D improves on the original EVO with Qualcomm's 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and it also ships with a larger battery. Definitely noticed an improvement in battery life and the phone felt very snappy. This smartphone is also running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and features the latest version of HTC Sense which brings some great enhancements like the new lock screen. If I can add some things to my wish list, it would be more internal memory and slightly better call quality, but overall, I think the EVO 3D ranks among Sprint's best Android smartphones, especially if you're looking for the latest and greatest features. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your First Look at the HTC EVO 3D for Sprint. Hey! I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a first look at the HTC Evo View 4G. This is a 7-inch tablet running Android 2.3 and running on a Sprint's 4G network. It's going to set you back 399 dollars plus a 2-year commitment to a data plan which starts at 34.99 a month. But if tablet contracts give you the heebie jeebies, there's a Wi-Fi only version that sells for 499 dollars called the HTC Flyer. Either way, I think the price is a little stiff for an Android tablet that's not running Google's latest Honeycomb tablet OS. The Evo View is more or less just like a super-sized HTC Android smartphone and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I like the way HTC skins Android with their own interface and this 3D design style but I don't love it enough to pay this much, especially when most of the interests these days are with 10-inch tablets that are running Google's Honeycomb. The thing that really does make this tablet special is the Magic Pen or the HTC Scribe Pen. Usually as stylist as a [unk] but the tablet is using a cheap resistant screen but this one is different. You don't need the pen to use the tablet and in fact you can't even use this pen for navigation. It's really just here for taking notes and signing documents which might sound dull but the whole thing is very well thought out and includes integration with Evernote, to store your notes online. For a limited time, Sprint is bundling this pen with the tablet. But if you want to replace it, it still gonna cost you 80 dollars. So, expect that you probably will lose it because the round design here has a tendency to roll off tables. So, that's the Evo View 4G from HTC and Sprint. Now, with all the great 10-inch Honeycomb tablets out there for under-500 dollars, it's tough to justify the cost. But, if you have your minds set on a 7-inch tablet and the pen technology in a 4G wireless speed Sound like something you really use, the Evo View 4G could be the perfect fit. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell. -Well, I guess that wasn't that hard, but there you have it, thumbs up for the phone, thumbs kind of sideways for the tablet. Let's go ahead and take a break because we still have a lot more show to come. We'll be right back with more tech review right after this. Welcome back the CNET Tech Review our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we have seen here at CNET TV. Continuing on in the good. Since Apple showed it off last week, more and more of the hidden features of iOS 5 have been emerging. Brian Tong if up next with some secrets inside iOS 5. - Hey, guys. Brian Tong here with CNET.com and Apple recently announced some of the new features that we can expect to see in iOS 5 for iDevices when it's released this fall, but we have the developer version so we wanted to show you some of the hidden features in iOS 5 you might not know about. Now, customization has always been one of iOS's weaker points and they are bringing widgets but there are other ways to trick out your phone. How about keyboard shortcuts? Go into General, enter Keyboard Settings, and you can now create a shortcut you type in that will display a phrase to make life a whole lot easier. Apple's also improved the accessibility options that can be helpful for all of us. You can turn on the LED flash for alerts, but you can also turn on custom vibrations on your iPhone. Now, it's not what you think so you guys can stop giggling. Now, go to Sounds and find Vibration Patterns. You have the ability to enter and use pre-made ones or create your own custom vibration by tapping on the screen for a contact that you know is more important than others. Now, on the iPad, you can also use a custom gesture to open different menus on your screen by turning on Assistive Touch. At the moment, you can't assign it to unlock your screen or launch any apps but it's probably coming in the future, and the multitouch gestures we've seen from previous builds have returned in iOS 5. The notifications center is one of the big revamps and you can create the alert style if it's more important, the option to view it in your lock screen, and how many notifications show up at one time. You also have the option to purchase more ringtones or alert tones in the preferences. If you check out the photo app, it allows you to create albums on your iDevice and also move photos into different albums. Safari, the web browser, has a nice option that allows you to open a new page in the background instead of interrupting the current window you're viewing, and the weather app has a panel for your local weather instead of adding a new one for every city you visit, and for all you sketchy people with something to hide, you will now be able to delete individual calls from your call list. Plus, one of the biggest ones you can't see right now, iOS 5 supports 1080p video playback which sets them up for better video output directly to TV sets and higher resolution displays for future iDevices. Now, there's plenty of other features buried in here but we wanted to show you a few of them that you can expect to see in the fall. I'm Brian Tong with your First Look at some of the hidden features in iOS 5. Use it wisely. -That local weather screen is pretty nice. It's such a drag to have to manually enter the town's name whenever you travel to a new location especially if there isn't like a bank with a thermometer nearby. Ask your parents about that one. But first let's see what's wrong with the world this week in the bad. For many people, driving a hybrid brings with a feeling of satisfaction for doing ones part to protect to environment and slow down global warming. We'll, I hate to break it to you, but if you're driving one of the cars on our top list this week, I wouldn't be bragging too much. -Some cars do indeed get much greener in their hybrid version. Others are a different shape. I'm Brian Cooley with Top 5 Brownest Hybrids for 2011, rolling piles of greenwash that get barely better MPG then their conventional version and charge you plenty for that lack of improvement. We've ranked these guys by the scant difference in their AVG MPG over the non-hybrid version, and when there was a tie, we broke it by looking at tailpipe emissions and price penalty. So the hybrids that made this list are sort of dirty, piggy and expensive. Not what you had in mind, is it? Let's do it. Number 5 is almost a caricature. It's Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. One of the first cars that signalled this whole hybrid things gonna get out of hand. It gets just 5 MPG better than a conventional Lade but that's at least good enough for an 21 MPG average versus a hoggish 16 on the straight gas engine model, but you'll pay $8,000 more that lift. Number is 4 is the BMW X6 Active Hybrid that kind of coupe utility vehicle. Average MPG of 18, just 4 MPG better than the gas V8 and it sports the huge price bump, almost 20 grand more than the gas engine ride while delivering the worst emissions numbers of any car in this list. Talk about some inconvenient truths. Number 3 brings us another BMW, the Active 7 Hybrid. Just 3 MPG average better than a regular 750i, though to be fair what this guy lacks in MPG improvement it makes up in speed. It's really quick like 4.5 seconds 0-60. But I'm sorry, the regular gas engine 750 is no slouch either and for the extra 13 grand you can easily soothe your ego with a really nice Chambolle Musigny every time you lose a drag race. Number 2 on our list of brownest green cars is the VW Touareg Hybrid. Get this Just 2 MPG better than a straight up Touareg without electric motor and it costs 16 grand more. Presently, VW calls this the 'rare beast' in it's line up and with numbers like these my hunch is it will stay that way. Before I take you to the number one brownest hybrid for 2011, let's restore your faith in the most hyped cars on earth. Here's a list of some hybrids that do deliver stellar, double digit MPG games over their conventional counterparts. Those guys will changes you fundamental fuel outlet. Okay, the number one 1 hybrid car that makes you mouth the word 'idiot' when its owner turns away is the Lexus LS600hL, also just 2 MPG better than a non-hybrid LS 460 L with a middling 20 MPG average and for that you pay, sit down, $37,000 more. I know, the equipment levels will vary between these models, but still you could buy an entire Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for the premium. It takes to get a Lexus LS Hybrid still have a couple grand left to go buy some carbon credits or something. Okay, if these little pieces just backfired horribly and now you want to buy one of these dubious rides, head over to cars.cnet.com where we have most of them reviewed. And for more Top 5's like this, go to top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley, thanks for watching. Actually, I think the message is pretty clear there. Watch all the top 5's you want, but do not buy any of those cars. I mean that Lexus thing ought to be a crime, but will I go call the green police, let's wrap things up with this week's bottom line. Now, a couple of weeks ago, Brian Tong filled in for me while I went on a secret assignment, but now I can tell you all about it. I went with the CBS Early crew to interview the author of a controversial new book about Area 51, and I talked to some of the guys who worked there. So let's get straight to the crazy stuff. Shall we? Area 51 wouldn't be area 51 unless there was controversy and conspiracy. And Annie Jacobsen's new book, Area 51 delivers both. She cites an anonymous source who told her a surprising story about the Roswell UfO and its connection to the mysterious Nevada military base. -Well what I write in the book has made some people uncomfortable because its not reflective of what they want to believe the government does or did at Area 51 and in the end of my book I reveal what someone told me, an engineer, who was a source for me. What the source told me was that a flying disc really did crash in new Mexico. It was taken to Wright Patterson, and that it did wind up at Area 51, hence the name area 51 it went there in 1951, and he was one of 5 engineers that reverse engineered that craft. It did not come from mars, it camera from Russia. -And Joseph Stalin apparently engineered this craft and sent it as part of disinformation and fear campaign -The craft is believed to have been built by two former 3rd Reich airplane designers named Walter and Reamer Horton and they had the blueprints on this craft and Stalin got a hold of it and sent this craft as a means of a hoax ala the "War of the Worlds" -And, her source told her, there were little green men inside the aircraft, but not the kind you think. -This is information that came to me from the source who I absolutely believe, I stand by, I've spoken with him since the book has been published and what he said was that the child-sized aviators had been the byproduct of this horrific human experimentation program by Stalin in collaboration with the doctor from Auschwitz, Dr. Joseph Mengele. Eventually my source told me, "we chose to do the same thing," and that upsets a lot of people this idea that the United States government could have experimented on humans. -The allegations have shocked readers, and some of the veterans Of Area 51. -I can't conceive of it. That was not the atmosphere. We weren't that desperate at that time. I can't picture Stalin being that desperate, but then again people, they do crazy things sometimes in the interest of you know-- I just can't picture it and because I would then be forced to say I don't want to be part of it. -We don't know. We can't-- you know, it's just personal opinion. Everybody got their own opinion about certain things. -And for me, its completely plausible because I looked at the entire landscape of area 51 and that need to know and the compartmentalization of secrets, and I believe that something like this, a rogue program could have happened -Area 51, says Annie Jacobsen, is a story of incredible feats of technology, but also a story about a place far out in the Nevada desert with hardly any oversight and hardly any rules. -We had no bosses you might say, we were top of our field and there wasn't anyone superior to us and we reported to no one except the customer -I rather see it as a clear progression of what can happen because one of the themes that I write about in the book is using the Lord Acton quote "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Some of the men in the book show great moral courage No matter what and I write about that. These are American's cold warriors, but what I also write about in the book is a number of men who experienced a downfall when power sort of overwhelms them and you have the old archetype of hubris taking over and they push things too far and there are very serious repercussions. Remember that Area 51 was setup to push military, science and technology faster and further than any other nation. That is what we did, and the rogue program is an extension of pushing science over the edge into black science or wicked science. -Now, since we interviewed Annie Jacobsen, TD Barnes, and Jim Friedman for this piece, controversy about these allegations has continued to grow. The roadrunners, the group of Area 51 veterans that meet to talk about their experiences there now say they feel blindsided by the story, and they have e-mailed us to try to discredit the tale. What would you hope would come out of this? -Well, I would hope that people would read the whole book and be able to make that judgement for themselves at the end because everyone gets to have an opinion about whether or not they believe the veracity of my source as I do. and if it is even remotely possible what he said happened then there are questions to ask about black operations at Area 51. -One thing is clear, and probably always will be: very few people will ever know the whole truth about Area 51. The bottom line this week. God, I love the conspiracy. I got to say there are plenty of people who are shocked and outraged by the allegations in Annie Jacobsen's book, but I for one with her, read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions because let me tell you, it's a hell of read and head over to CNET.com for other videos in our series about how to get to Area 51 or as close as you can get and the video on all the cool tech on in inventions that came out of the place. Alright folks, that's our show. Come back next week for an all new CNET Tech review and tell them there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.